by Alexis Ancel

The Short Take

Manpreet went all the way to Porto, Portugal to visit a famous bookstore without knowing that one particular book would be waiting for her in the stacks — along with a ring and her future husband.

How He Did It

While traveling through Europe with a friend, Manpreet made a day trip to Porto, Portugal specifically to visit a famous (and conveniently romantic) bookstore called Livraria Lello (established 1869). What she didn’t know was that her partner Ajaypal decided to take a special trip of his own to Porto, surprising the lifelong bookworm with a proposal straight out of the fairytale section.

He Set Up a Treasure Hunt for “The Book of Love”

Ajaypal coordinated with Manpreet’s friend to make sure everything would go smoothly. When Manpreet entered the bookstore, Ajaypal was already waiting inside hiding under the staircase, waiting for her to find one specific book. After some guiding and maneuvering, Manpreet eventually found the book titled “For My Best Friend Manpreet” that Ajaypal had filled with inside jokes, stories, and memories from their time together.

“The last page talks about continuing to build these memories forever.”

She Finally Found It

But their story didn’t end on the last page, and when Manpreet finished reading, Ajaypal was waiting at the top of the stairs on one knee with a ring.

At This Point She Could Read Him Like a Book 


  • A romantic personalized book
  • The ring
  • A picturesque bookstore, ideally in an exotic locale

Location: Livraria Lello in Porto, Portugal

Cost: $45 for the personalized book


Without the guidance of a friend, it’s fairly safe to say that Ajaypal’s proposal book was a needle in the proverbial haystack and one that Manpreet never would have found on her own. If you want the proposal to be a surprise, you’ll need help from a friend, family member or bookstore employee. Otherwise, you’ll probably need to lead them right to the book yourself (which can be just as romantic).


Ajaypal had been in touch with the bookstore ahead of time to make sure everything could go as planned (there’s a line to get in). Telling them that he would be proposing scored him five priority tickets for himself, Manpreet, her friend and their photographers so that no one had to wait in line and everything went according to plan. If your proposal location requires tickets or any waiting in line, make sure to factor that into your plan.

Beyond logistics, the majority of your prep work will go into the book itself. It takes a lot of time to fill a book, and this isn’t a project you want to rush. It’s also not a bad idea to ask a friend with an eagle eye for spelling and grammatical errors to read through it before it goes to print. 

The Couple Enjoys a Photo Op Under Stained Glass Windows

Photos courtesy of Ivo and James in Prague for Flytographer. Read more about their proposal story here.

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