EXCLUSIVE: Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental 2018 Karen Gallman Is A Radiant Bride-To-Be In Her London Pre-Nup Shoot With Fiancé Ian Garton
They say “the best moments are the unplanned ones that just happen but make your day perfect.” Newly-engaged couple Karen Gallman and Ian Garton cannot agree more. A cool and laid-back pair, these two can manage to make even the simplest day turn into the most romantic one, for as long as they have each other to share the experience with.
Last June 15, the Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental 2018 titleholder announced on social media that she’s already engaged to her longtime partner Ian, with whom she’s been in a relationship for almost five years now. She posted an Instagram photo, which shows her sharing a tender moment with her fiancé as she lovingly holds his face and proudly displays her beautiful radiant cut diamond engagement ring.
In the caption, Karen revealed that, at the time she made the announcement, they have been engaged for two weeks already. She wrote, “WE ARE ENGAGED! Two weeks today, the love of my life asked me to marry him... I said YES of course! Thank you for making me the happiest girl on the planet, I am so blessed to have you in my life. I love you with all my heart. Thank you for making me the happiest girl on the planet, I am so blessed to have you in my life. I love you with all my heart.”
The couple gladly shared this good news as they were reveling in the beauty of Santorini, Greece, delaying the announcement so they can have this wonderful time just between the two of them. Sandwiching their studio photo taken by Rodney Torres are snaps of the couple at picturesque spots in the island. Karen posted two more engagement-related photos: one where Ian holds her left hand, her sparkly ring rivaling Karen’s beauty and the scenic destination, and another one where Karen wraps her arms around Ian as they pose by a cliffside in Thira.
Everything about their engagement is picture-perfect, but the proposal actually has an unexpectedly funny and imperfectly-perfect backstory. Karen told Metro.Style, “I was saving this story for my wedding day but it’s too funny not to share! I’ll let Ian answer this one as I wouldn’t know how to summarize it in a few lines even if I tried.”
“It was memorable for all the wrong reasons,” Ian then narrates. “I had planned the proposal six months in advance and was going to pop the question in Santorini, Greece and Karen found out late at night a week before our trip so I panicked. In my undies (it was hot because the aircon broke), I rushed to get the ring, dropped down on one knee and tried to remember my lines. This all happened at 1AM! Thankfully, she said ‘yes,’ and we both just started crying.”
Any girl would have loved to say “yes” in such a stunning place like Santorini—Karen is no exception—but she wouldn’t trade it with how Ian’s proposal unfolded. She says, “It was such an emotional and overwhelming night. And as much as I would have loved to get proposed to in Santorini, I must say I think I preferred how things unfolded. It’s definitely more memorable and a story to tell our kids and grandkids. I’d also like to add that, at the end of the day, it’s not about where he pops the question, it’s the love that matters and I’m just so over the moon that I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend. It’s ridiculous to think, though, that the word ‘yes’ is so easy to say, but when he asked me to marry him, I just couldn’t blurt the words out. Tears of joy streamed down my face and all I could do was nod. It wasn’t till about my 4th or 5th nod that the word ‘yes’ came out. Haha. How I wish there was a hidden camera somewhere that captured the hilarious moment!”
A few weeks after getting engaged, the couple carried on with their vacation and wasted no time by immediately setting an engagement photo session. As London is part of their European tour, it was indeed a perfect idea to capture their post-engagement bliss with this city—a place that holds special meaning to both of them—as the backdrop.
It may have been a pre-nup shoot that didn’t involve extensive planning, but the photographs served what they were supposed to deliver: images that capture the overwhelming love and pure joy of two people in love. Sans all the creative styling and over-the-top production, their pre-nup photos simply put the focus on their fun and fuss-free personality as a couple.
Karen and Ian collaborated with SweetEscape, a photographer booking-app, to make the most of their holiday vacation. Karen says, “My friend suggested to shoot with SweetEscape whilst on holidays and so we went for it not really having any concept in mind. We just made sure to look decent.” She added that, for an impromptu shoot like theirs, SweetEscape was very helpful because their photographer, Olga, “was so easy and professional to work with.” “It was a walk in the park,” Karen notes.
Well, it was truly like a walk in the park, literally—with Karen dressed in a stylish white jumpsuit and Ian clad in a pastel blue button-down and dark gray denim pants, the couple strolled around London and were photographed at tourist spots such as the Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the London Bridge Station.
Here, Karen and Ian reveal more exclusive details with Metro.Style about their relationship and their pre-nup photo shoot, and share great pieces of advice in maintaining a relationship:
How did you meet?
Karen: Ian was a schoolmate of my eldest sister, and we briefly attended the same high school but funny enough, never crossed paths. Eventually, we got to know each other because of mutual friends, and three years later of persistent messages and invites from him, I decided to say yes to a hangout, and I never looked back since.
What was your first impression of each other?
K: I was in a relationship when I met Ian, so my very first impression of him was, “Okay he’s kind of cute,” but I wasn’t interested. Ian’s first impression of me would be that I was shy, but in reality, I was only avoiding him.
In your almost five years as a couple, what would you say is the best memory you had together so far?
K: It’s so difficult to nail it to just one as there are so many great memories I cherish. Having said that, I think, in general, it would be when we moved to London to live. It was an incredible experience and adventure, and at the same time, we traveled through Europe together. I also love the times we just unwind and snuggle to a movie.
Ian: Geez, there’s a few. Our first few weeks together was magical, a bit of a fairy tale it felt like ‘cause I’ve been asking her out for a while and then there she was. A couple of years together, my favorite, I would say, is our stay-home movie nights.
What do you love most about each other?
K: Ian is such an easygoing person, humble, and is extremely proactive and helpful not only towards me but also to others. It meant so much to me when he was there for me when my dad passed away. He is always picking me up when I’m down and always encouraging me to be the best version of myself. He is extremely supportive in everything I do and I feel very lucky and blessed to have him as a partner.
I: I love Karen’s ambition to be successful at whatever she does and her drive for new challenges. She's also very funny and is such a bubbly person, which offsets my monotone personality haha, but it's great because it means we balance each other out.
Why choose London as the location of your pre-nup photo shoot?
K: London holds so many great memories for the both of us as it was our home for two years.
What do you love about working with SweetEscape?
K: What I love about SweetEscape is how they’ve nailed it in creating such an easy and simple app to book, shoot and grab the photos from which, in turn, make your experience so much easier.
Any tips you can share to others who want to do a destination pre-nup shoot?
K: If I could give any tip, it would be to try SweetEscape if you want a stress-free pre-nup shoot. And bring flats if you’ll be doing a bit of walking around the city.
Any wedding plans you can share so far?
K: It’s still quite early to share any plans. However, this I will share, it will be a destination wedding!
What is a dream wedding for you?
K: I love flowers, so a dream wedding for me would be one with an outrageous floral decoration.
Karen, what kind of bride do you think you are? Are you leaning towards a classic, romantic, or more fashion forward bridal style?
I would say I’m more of a classic and modern bride. And as for my dress, I want it to be simple and elegant.
What’s the secret to a lasting relationship?
K: The key to a lasting relationship for me is communication! Communicate, communicate, communicate, and always be honest! I think if you can do both effectively then your relationship will go a long way! Also, because we live in a world of social media, I want to stress the importance of being present. It doesn’t harm you to put that phone down for a few hours and give your full attention to your partner. Ian and I have this rule to not use our phones at the dinner table whether it be at home or outside, and it works for us! It allows us to be in the moment, vibrantly connected and truly present because there are no distractions. In conclusion, the best present you can give your partner is your presence!
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Photographs by SweetEscape