Fairytale proposal for London lovebirds at ILLUMINATURE in Barnes

A South West London couple were engaged at one of the most romantic spots in the capital this November.

After just one day of opening, ILLUMINATURE, an ongoing event at London Wetland Centre in Barnes, was chosen to be the magical illuminated backdrop for a fairy-tale proposal.

Matthew Lorenzo, who had been waiting for months to find the perfect spot to propose with the peach sapphire and diamond ring he had made for Tao Lategan, got down on one knee on the bridge at ILLUMINATURE.

Tao said: “We had already walked around and interacted with all the parts of the trail and then Matt said we should do it again.

“It was when we got to the bridge again, which looked so pretty with all the lights, that he proposed and it was just beautiful – the perfect setting looking over the water and such a magical and romantic moment.”

Matthew commented: ” I commissioned the ring from a South African jeweler called Kallie Solo. She’s an amazing artist whose work Tao’s admired for a long time!

“Shipping the ring here was the most nerve wracking part. She loved the ring!

“We’d discussed marriage in the past and Tao had a pretty good idea of what she wanted to wear on her finger for the rest of her life. Luckily, Kallie absolutely nailed it!”

The Peach Sapphire and Diamond ring, which Matthew commissioned to be made in South Africa by a Jeweler Called Kallie Solo. Credit: Tao Lategan

Matthew said: “Tao’s got a keen love of nature, especially the residents of wetlands. During our walks we regularly find ourselves sitting by a pond, watching the ducks go about their days.

“Pair that with some magical lights and I think you’ve got a pretty good setting for some big questions.”

The couple, both aged 28 and originally from South Africa, met when they were in high school. They started to get to know each other at a fencing club where they became good friends.

Eventually Matthew asked Tao out on a date.

Tao enjoying her romantic date at ILLUMINATURE. Credit: Four Agency

Tao expressed: “We loved ILLUMINATURE and a favourite of mine is the otters and also the jellyfish lights, as I call them, which you can walk through and touch.

“Plus there are lots of animal figures, lily pads and light tunnels, and the bridge of course! I can’t imagine anywhere more perfect to get engaged.”

Matthew walking along the Lilly Pad lights. Credit: Tao Lategan

The couple are planning to get married next year.

The ILLUMINATURE trail features 214 different elements which include a heron, otters and owls.

The event is based at the WWT London Wetland Centre in Barnes, a 105-acre wetland visitor centre, an international award-winning visitor attraction and a site of special scientific interest.

Tao walking through a light arch at ILLUMINATURE. Credit: Tao Lategan

ILLUMINATURE is running every evening on Thursdays to Sundays from 4pm to 9pm, until Sunday 9 January.

Tickets are priced at £17.50 for adults and £12.50 per child and must be pre-booked online here.

Lilly pad lights at ILLUMINATURE. Credit: MK Experience and Four Agency

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