Courtney Callahan and Steffani Smith booked in a professional photo shoot before travelling to Australia on holiday in hopes they could capture some of the immense beauty that is Sydney Harbour.
As a pair the Florida-based couple contacted Averi Gerberding, 27, through Airbnb Experiences before both separately emailing her again with plans to propose to each other during the session.
It was English teacher Courtney, 25, who originally chose Mrs Macquarie’s Chair as the ultimate place to pop the question
‘We had talked about getting engaged and at this point our trip to Australia was already planned and booked,’ Courtney told FEMAIL.
After sending an email to Averi to confirm the secret plan the picture taker received another message, and this time it was from Steffani, 31, wondering if she might be able to squeeze a proposal into their session.
Courtney Callahan (right) and Steffani Smith (behind) planned a trip to Australia in July with the hope of soaking in some of the iconic sights of Sydney Harbour
Steffani had wanted to propose a week into their trip as they travelled along the Great Ocean Road down to Melbourne but thought the photography day might be a better surprise.
‘My first email to Averi said: “I am reaching out to you because I want to surprise Courtney and propose during our shoot with you. I am looking for some ideas or places that would make for the perfect proposal location and of course have you capture the moment with pictures”,’ Steffani said.
‘I thought Sydney had such iconic architecture and would be a beautiful backdrop for the perfect proposal.’
Steffani (left) had wanted to propose a week into their trip as they travelled along the Great Ocean Road but thought the photography day might be an easier approach
Averi was floored by the double emails but was equally as determined not to spoil the surprise.
So she convinced both ladies to propose at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, with Courtney going first. Steffani was facing away from her girlfriend when Courtney got down on one knee on July 6.
Averi put her camera to her face and waited.
The moment! ‘I remember the whole moment feeling like it was in slow motion and I had a hard time getting words out,’ Courtney (left) said
And again! Steffani (right) was equally as nervous on the frosty morning shoot and had ‘barely slept the night before’
‘I remember the whole moment feeling like it was in slow motion and I had a hard time getting words out,’ Courtney said.
‘I believe all I said was “Hi babe, I love you, Will you marry me?” in a very slow and drawn out manner. After she said yes I said something along the lines of “Okay I guess I should put this on your finger. Where should I put the ring box?”‘
Steffani was equally as nervous on the frosty morning shoot and had ‘barely slept the night before’.
Averi’s photos capture the moment the ladies expressed their love for one another and exchanged rings
What did the rings look like in the end?
Courtney’s ring is set in 14K yellow gold. It’s a pear shape with a halo of diamonds surrounding her main diamond. Her band also has tiny diamonds that wrap around it.
Steffani’s ring is set in platinum. It’s a round shape diamond that sits in a basket with a baguette diamond on each side of the main diamond.
‘I was so overwhelmed because Courtney had just proposed to me! I am pretty sure I said something along the lines of “Everyday I have been with you I have managed to fall more in love. I love the time we spend together and that you are my best friend, my partner in crime, my ride or die and I can’t wait to grow old with you”,’ she said.
Averi’s photos capture the moment the ladies expressed their love for one another and exchanged rings, each bending on one knee.
While they haven’t decided where they will tie the knot yet they are ‘definitely’ considering a destination wedding.
‘Who knows maybe Australia would be the place. We loved our trip and have raved about it to our families and friends,’ Courtney said.