Love in Portugal

Sometimes, the most careful, well-thought-out, painstakingly meticulous plans don’t pan out quite as expected. And sometimes, that works out for the best.

That’s exactly what happened when Steven Silva, 28 and from Cortlandt Manor, planned an elaborate proposal that involved a custom-made ring, an overseas vacation, a horse-drawn carriage, and a castle.

But first—how they met. Thanks to a little website called, the pair found each other in May 2009. So, what happens when a young lady of the Type-A, work-driven variety meets a fun, laid-back, live-in-the-moment kind of gent?

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You guessed it. “It was kind of instant,” said 26-year-old Angela Indriolo, who’s originally from Briarcliff Manor and is wrapping up her veterinary school education at Cornell University. “I’m an overworker—I’ll work every hour of the week until I have to stop, so we complement each other really well. He allows me to live life.”

After two months of dating, they made their relationship official, making weekend trips due to the four-hour distance between Angela’s Ithaca location for school and Steven’s home in Cortlandt Manor. Two-and-a-half years later, in September 2010, Steven pulled off a proposal that had taken months of planning.

Except things didn’t exactly go off without a hitch.

“He had the ring since January and proposed in September, so he was planning this the entire year,” says Angela. The two embarked a two-week trip to Portugal, where Steven’s parents are from, and many of his family members still reside. It was important to him that Angela—who had never been to Europe before—could finally see his country. They traveled the scenic countryside, spent time with Steven’s relatives, and more.

Steve had planned from the beginning to ask her during the trip. He even had the ring custom-made in Portugal to make their engagement forever linked to their proposal site. Rather than finding a way to ask Angela her ring size and possibly tipping her off to his plans, he found out on his own by sneakily stealing a ring from her jewelry box—and then chose the design on his own. Every detail was squared away—even down to having photographers follow them and capture the big moment.

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“One day he took me to mountain top, and we hiked on a goat farm,” said Angela. “The sky was perfect, and I was sitting there, flipping my hair, crossing my legs, and totally hoping he would propose to me. And as I’m sitting there, suddenly he was like, ‘Okay, let’s get going!’” We left—I was kind of disappointed.” Little did she know the proposal was to take place the next day.

Except on the big day, Angela got food poisoning; she was bed-ridden and vomiting all morning and afternoon.

Then dark storm clouds loomed ominously in the sky, threatening to ruin the outdoor proposal Steven had planned at the gardens surrounding Castelo de Chaves—a meaningful, favorite site from his childhood.

Not to mention that once Angela was feeling well enough to get out of bed for their evening out, the power went out, cutting her off in the middle of preparations.

“My blow dryer went out; I couldn’t do my hair. So I left the house, brought a change of clothes, and a few vomit bags in case,” said Angela. “He parked in the center of the town, and the castle itself was on the top of a mountain. The view was beautiful, and amazingly, the clouds literally parted and—with there were photographers there—he got one knee and asked me to marry him. “

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The couple took photos, after which point a carriage drawn by black Friesian horses took them around the city. And if that’s not romantic enough, they then had dinner inside the castle, in a roofless courtyard that gave them a view of the night sky

“There were candles everywhere and he had Portuguese guitarists play music for us, so we had dinner and were dancing.”

Later, in Steven’s home village, there was firework display—believe it or not, he hadn’t planned that part—and the newly affianced couple watched together as sparks flew.

Angela and Steven will marry on April 22nd, 2012, at the Botanical Gardens.

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