Passer-By Captures Engagement, Email Address Lost, Search Goes Viral - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Passer-By Captures Engagement, Email Address Lost, Search Goes Viral

Published November 29, 2015

Photos by
Jessica Bowe

An interesting internet-romance story unfolded in Reykjavík this weekend that even caused a slight thaw of our icy hearts here at the Grapevine.

Jessica Bowe, an American who’s lived in Reykjavík for several years, was walking home from Bravó on Friday night, when she decided to stop and take a picture of the snow falling on Skólavörðustigur. As she was taking pictures, a couple walked up the street, and before her eyes, the man got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend. Jessica was the only passer by who saw it happen, and captured the moment from a distance in a picture.

“My intention in the first place was to capture the falling snow in the midst of the twinkling holiday lights,” says Jessica. “Then these two people entered the street, and I thought it would look lovely to have some silhouettes in the frame. So I happened to catch a shot right before the man went down on bended knee, and then of course THE moment it happened. It took a few seconds to sink in that I’d just witnessed the biggest moment in their lives.”

So, this was a special night. I was leaving Bravó after a few happy Friday beers and snapping some pics of the lovely falling snow, with Hallgrímskirkja church in view up Skólavörðustígur, on my usual way home when this couple got engaged on the spot. I gave them a moment and then asked if they would like to have this picture as a memento. The man’s hands were trembling as he entered his email address on my phone, and I got some nice hugs of appreciation. Sometimes you’re just in the right place at the right time. ❤️ #reykjavik #iceland #magicmoments #luckyshot #hallgrimskirkja #winter #snowfall #arcticromance #love #proposal #happyaccidents #reykjavikloves

A photo posted by JR Bowe (@jrbowe) on

Jessica walked home glowing from the experience, posting the picture on Instagram, along with the story. But when she tried to email the picture to the couple, a problem emerged. “When I got home after taking the photo, I checked my ‘sent mail’ folder and noticed nothing there,” says Jessica. “I found the email with the photo stuck in my outbox, lingering with no email address. It was a bit of a panic moment. So I went to Plan B: the power of the internet.” Jessica got in touch with us at Grapevine, and we posted the picture with an appeal to try and find the couple and reunite them with the picture. Soon enough, via a combination of luck, Instagram and Twitter, it came to light that the couple were actually seeking Jessica, too.


Duly reunited, the couple got their picture, and our readers got to see the mystery solved. The couple were Mike Kent and Fiona Newlands, visiting Iceland on holiday from the UK. “Thanks so much for reuniting us with the picture,” said Michael. “I’m in awe!”

“I usually post Instagram pictures of cats, jogging trails, randomly parked cars, sunsets or decorative latte foam,” says Jessica, “but I think after this I need to take my photographic style in a new direction, a la Humans of Reykjavik or something. Or maybe a surprise engagement i-photographer for hire. Quality high-res photos not guaranteed.”

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 18.09.26

The story caught the public imagination – the photo broke our record for ‘most liked’ photo, and has just passed 1000 likes. We’re going to send the happy couple some his ‘n’ hers Grapevine t-shirts as an engagement present. And all’s well that ends well.

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