ANDREW Doyle’s proposal to his girlfriend of 11 months, Mehri Homayunfard, was a meticulously planned, unique moment; right down to the last detail.
The 28-year-old, who owns his own accounting and finance recruitment business, commissioned local artist Angela Parragi to paint a portrait of him proposing to Mehri in front of another portrait, with the painting to hang on a wall in the NewActon gallery where he proposed – creating a “three-way mirror” effect.
“We had to be a bit sneaky about it, so we arranged to have a look-alike pose for the painting and get a friend to take a few photos of Mehri standing that way,” Andrew explains.
“It was made a bit more complicated as I had to encourage her to wear the dress she was wearing in the painting in a way that wasn’t obvious, but it all worked out.
“The whole thing was under the guise that I was taking her there for work Christmas drinks to meet some clients of mine, and going into the gallery to have a quick look beforehand, so we worked with the Molonglo Group to open it up so only we were in there.”
Andrew also got “CityNews” on board, with our photographer Gary Schafer pretending to snap photos of the gallery as the couple walked in, turning his camera around once Andrew proposed to catch the moment.
“I really wanted a proposal that included businesses in the community, but that wasn’t too over the top,” Andrew says.
Mehri says she “had no idea” the proposal was coming.
“I was a bit shocked, I knew it was coming eventually but not today and not in this way – the painting is going to be a beautiful keepsake,” she says.
After Andrew got his “yes”, the couple went to nearby bar Parlour to celebrate with waiting friends and family – “a perfect ending,” says Mehri.
But Andrew admits he’s never been one for small gestures.
He says it “took time” for their relationship to blossom – they first met through his previous job at Hudson recruitment, when Sydney-based Mehri visited the Canberra office one day, and were friends for over three years before finally getting together in January.
“Things had been blossoming at the start of the year and I surprised her by coming up to Sydney to visit and basically ask her to go out with me,” Andrew says.
He says he had been trying to put Mehri “off the scent” in the months before the proposal.
“When we first got together, I had told her she’d have a ring within 12 months, which put a bit of pressure on me, admittedly; so leading up to it I had to keep saying it’d be a while, that I couldn’t afford it to try and get her thinking it wouldn’t happen soon.”
Andrew admits he is probably setting the bar for his friends, but wanted a unique proposal for Mehri “because she’s so special”.
“One of my friends was a bit annoyed when I told him my plan, as he thinks it’ll put a lot of pressure on him to outdo it when he decides to propose to his girlfriend,” Andrew laughs.