Spilling water on his future fiance was an unusual way for Oli Famoudun to propose to his girlfriend, but it ultimately worked. She said yes.
It was only part of Famoudun’s elaborate plan, that included a flash mob bursting into song inside London’s Gillray’s steak house, known more for its classic crystal chandeliers and wood-paneled walls, than singing waiters. In fact, it’s been described as “the most English of English dining destinations.”
After dating for three years, Famoudun was ready to marry his girlfriend, Yemisi, but needed help in coming up with a way to surprise her with a memorable proposal. He turned to Bookatable, Europe’s largest restaurant reservation site, and The Proposers, a marriage proposal business that has its own TV series in the U.K.
Bookatable and The Proposers had paired up to create a restaurant proposal video leading up to Valentine’s Day, which was perfect timing for Famoudun.
For the venue, Bookatable recommended Gillray’s, inside the London Marriott County Hall, for its “amazing food and spectacular views over London including The London Eye and Westminster Bridge,” Famoudun told Marriott Traveler in his first interview since the big day earlier this month.
For the rest of the proposal, Famoudun disguised himself as an old waiter, compete with a wig, beard, prosthetic nose, glasses and makeup. The restaurant was filled with actors who would erupt in song and dance.
But first, annoying his future bride.
Famoudun, as seen in the video above, accidentally spills water on Yemisi as she sits with two friends. After soaking her, Famoudun leaves the table without apologizing, irking Yemisi at the poor service. It was the perfect distraction leading into what came next.
Seconds later, a man starts playing a guitar, before another grabs Yemisi’s hand as he starts singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Other diners around Yemisi start joining into song, serenading her.
Famoudun returned in character to a now visibly confused Yemisi.
“You know how much I love you, I’ve always loved you,” he tells his girlfriend after removing his wig and getting down on one knee. “You’re such a wonderful, beautiful, caring girl. You’ve been there for me through hard times. Will you marry me?”
The restaurant broke into applause after Yemisi accepted.
I always knew I wanted to surprise my girlfriend when I proposed. I wanted it to shock her whilst being funny at the same time.
The proposal took three months for Famoudun to plan with Bookatable and The Proposers.
“I always knew I wanted to surprise my girlfriend when I proposed,” Famoudun told Marriott Traveler after catching up with the newly engaged couple. “I wanted it to shock her whilst being funny at the same time. I wanted it to be in a restaurant and I wanted to pour water over her as I knew this would surprise her completely!”
She certainly was.
“I was completely shocked and surprised when the flash mob started,” Yemisi says. “As water had just been spilt all over me, I was not expecting the waiter to start singing to me! My favorite part was seeing Oli dance and take his disguise off to reveal himself. That’s when I realised all the singers were singing for me! I was overwhelmed!
The Proposers wound up combining Famoudun’s ideas with dressing up and disguising him as a waiter in order to allow him to play his trick.
The flash mob took three weeks of planning with Bookatable and The Proposers.
“It was tough keeping the proposal a secret from our friends and family,” Famoudun says. “I had to call The Proposers when I was on my own and had to be careful that (Yemisi) could not hear me whilst I was on the phone. It was difficult especially as I had to let two of her friends in on the plan and I was worried they would let the cat out the bag but luckily they did not.”
Naturally, Famoudun was nervous on the day.
“I was really nervous,” he says. “I did my best to hide my nerves. I tried to just concentrate on the rehearsal and making it the perfect proposal.”
Gillray’s is used to such elaborate proposals, with the restaurant’s generael manager Jean-Francois Bissor telling The Daily Mail, “Gone are the days when a diamond ring is simply popped into a glass of bubbles, our staff are now regularly in on the act of the proposal and have a carefully orchestrated part to play.”
Famoudun has his tips for future boyfriends considering planning their own elaborate proposal.
“There is not harm or shame getting outside help when planning something so dramatic,” he says,” as there is a lot of pressure on the day too.”