Our Wedding Story: He proposed with a 4-metre banner on Tower Bridge

Italian Giulio Merolla’s proposal to Galway girl Sarah Ellis towered over the London sky

“Sarah Ellis Marry Me.”

The 4m x 1m banner hanging over the side of London’s Tower Bridge ensured Giulio’s Merolla’s intentions were clear to all on the June day he proposed to Sarah Ellis.

"His sister Raffaella, my sister Naomi and aunt Fran were all in on the plan," remembers Sarah, from Knocknacarra in Co Galway.

“While we were sitting at my favourite spot in London, the three said they were going to the bathroom – that’s when they took up their positions on the bridge. Giulio got me to my feet and pointed me in the right direction, where they were holding up the banner.

“When I eventually said yes the place erupted – and Giulio’s brother Angelo was hiding behind a tree taking photos of the whole thing!”

Finance

Sarah moved to the UK five years ago for her job in finance and met Giulio – born in London to Italian parents, Giovanna and Pasquale – online two years ago.

"We waited a month before meeting in person but as soon as we did, the relationship moved quickly. He came to Ireland for New Year's that year and met everyone. I don't think my dad Stewart and brother Bryan knew what to do when this big Italian guy came in kissing and hugging them – not really what Irish men do!"

The couple married in a civil ceremony and later travelled with 70 guests to Praiano on Italy's Amalfi coast, where the groom's family is from, for the wedding celebrations and a cliffside ceremony.

Poem

Sarah’s bridesmaid – her sister Naomi – was joined by flower girls Ebony and Mia, the bride’s goddaughter, who read a poem

Getting Married Means You’ll Have

, during the ceremony.

Afterwards, guests took a short stroll along the cliff (with champagne and canape pitstops along the way) to the reception at Africana, a restaurant and club set into a cave.

“I could really feel the love and emotion all day. My mum Pauline passed away a few years ago so we were all definitely that bit more emotional,” says Sarah.

“I’m not sure I can pick one particular moment: walking down the aisle with my dad, having all my friends and family, saying ‘I do’ in front of everyone and being so proud to be Giulio’s wife.”