10 May 2024

Love is in the air at Owen Toyota as fifth couple tie the knot

| Oliver Jacques
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Daniel and Alana in front of Toyota

Daniel and Alana Panarello met at Owen Toyota and are now married. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Griffith’s Owen Toyota has celebrated its fifth marriage among staff who met at the company, after Daniel and Alana Panarello tied the knot in April.

Daniel was working as a sales consultant when a new employee in administration caught his eye.

“I was at reception when Daniel asked for my phone number for something ‘work-related’, but I knew what he was up to,” Alana said.

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The relationship then developed quickly, with a popular local winery being a common theme as things progressed.

“I asked Alana to marry me at De Bortoli Rutherglen, we got married at Emeri De Bortoli’s garden in Bilbul and on our mini honeymoon we went to De Bortoli’s Yarra Valley,” Daniel said.

Twin brothers Mark and Dean Owen, the dealership owners, interrupted a business trip in Japan to fly back for the couple’s wedding, with Mark playing the role of MC.

“They told me, ‘You’ve been here 10 years; we’re not missing your wedding,’” Daniel said.

wedding day photo

Alana and Daniel on their wedding day. Photo: Carmen Hickey.

A fleet of white Toyota LandCruisers took the bridal parties from the ceremony to the reception.

Alana has since left the company to pursue a career in primary education. The pair are now gearing up for a proper honeymoon in Europe.

Region asked Daniel the big questions.

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What parallels are there between car maintenance and relationship maintenance?

Reliability. You want your partner to be the one you can count on, and same with your car for adventures or big trips.

Compatibility. Shared interest, values and goals can make your journey together a lot smoother and a lot more enjoyable.

Maintenance. Regular maintenance keeps both your car and your relationship running smoothly. Don’t ignore any warning signs.

Trust. Just like you need to trust your car to handle in any situation, it’s the same with your partner. You want them to have your best interests at heart.

Customisation. Every car has unique features, likewise in a relationship you have to embrace each other’s unique qualities.

Toyota LandCruisers at wedding

Toyota LandCruisers transported the bridal party. Photo: Carmen Hickey.

What’s the best and worst thing about working with someone you’re dating?

The best thing would have been seeing each other every day and working as a team to get ready for our future.

The worst thing would have to be it was hard to differentiate work and personal balance. But it was only minor; it was actually fun to work together.

How did the workplace romance start and was it hard to keep it under wraps?

Well, from the day she got her interview I always thought, “Who is that?”

So, you could say I had my eyes on her from the beginning, but after meeting we just really fancied each other I guess, and it blossomed from there. We didn’t really keep it under wraps for too long.

Why does Owen Toyota produce so many marriages?

There is a little joke going on that people say this place is like Love Island and that there is something here in the water. But I think it just comes down to the environment and that everyone is close. But our wedding has been the fifth that has come out of Owen Motor Group so there is something going on here for sure.

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