In the June 7, 2010 issue of Marriage Memo, Mary Larmoyeux wrote about “Proposal Stories to Remember.” We invited readers to send in their own stories of “How We Got Engaged,” and a number responded. These stories prove again that there are few things more creative than men in love.
1. When we first started dating, I was 15 and Derek was 16. We met at a small Christian school we both attended.
We were coming up on our 6 year anniversary and I knew he had something planned. The only thing he told me the night before was to be up around 10 or 11am. (He knows I like to sleep in on Saturdays .)
Saturday morning I woke up to an envelope slid under my bedroom door. I opened it, and it explained how I was going on a scavenger hunt. At each location I would meet a familiar face to give me the next clue. Each letter began with: THIS IS WHERE …
The first location was, THIS IS WHERE … I asked you to be my girlfriend. It was at our school’s cafeteria where he asked me out at homecoming. Each location was a special place to us; our first kiss, where he told me he loved me, etc.
I eventually get let back home. I was told to get dressed for a nice dinner; I was heading to Anna Maria Beach to have dinner at sunset on the beach and to call him once I was there.
There’s a bridge that leads down to the beach from the location I was told to park. As I walked over the bride I could see Derek by the shore with a blanket laid out with a picnic basket (not what I expected for our nice dinner). I walked up to him and he handed me my last letter. It read:
THIS IS WHERE … I ASKED YOU TO MARRY ME. (The words were hidden under a flap that I had to lift up.)
I was so ecstatic. It was better than I ever dreamed our engagement would be and very unexpected.
Of course I said YES.
As we started walking up the beach to a restaurant to eat dinner he asked who was the first person I wanted to tell. As I was thinking of who, I looked up and both of our families were running out on the beach to congratulate us! What a surprise, they were watching the whole time!
I wouldn’t change anything about our engagement. Everything was thought through and so special.
2. Tony and Marja’s engagement story is better than the Tony and Maria story from “West Side Story”. On July 4, 1986 after a fun filled day Marja was drained from the summer sun and in the evening Tony started talking to Marja , who was very tired, about his future and goals. She has to admit she had no idea why he was being so deep so late in the evening.
Anyway Tony asked Marja “What are you doing the last Saturday in July?” Marja replied, “I don’t know.” Tony then said, “Not the last Saturday in July this year but next year.” Marja thought to herself “If I don’t know what I’m doing in the next 3 weeks I sure don’t know what I’m doing next year!”
Tony proceeded to say, “If you are not busy will you marry me?” Marja thought to herself “I know he is not proposing to me in this way?” Having the quick wit that he loves about her Marja got up, got her organizer and turned to July 1987’s calendar page and said, “Hmm I’m actually busy that day but I’m free on the 3rd Saturday.”
Tony then said, “What day is that?” Marja said, “July 18th.” Tony then said, “Oh okay then.” He realized that she actually hadn’t answered his question about marrying him so he went over to her and said, “So you do want to marry me, right?” Marja finally put him out of his perplexity and said, “Yes”. See that’s what you get for asking a “What are you doing?” question (smile).
3. In the planning of our engagement, I wanted to share the day with friends and family, but I wanted the actual engagement question to be private between the two of us, so I created the perfect mix. I have always been a fan of [the television show] “The Amazing Race, and my girlfriend a fan of “The Bachelor,” so I created an engagement proposal that combined the two into a memorable day for us. Since my girlfriend had been a single mom for more than ten years, I wanted to make this day special to her and her daughter. I wanted to give her a love story.
On the morning of our engagement, a limo pulled up in front of my girlfriend’s house, with a cinematographer following. The limo driver rang the doorbell and asked, “Will you accept this rose from Randy”? When she said yes, the driver handed her the first of twelve roses and the first of twelve clue cards. As she answered the clue, the driver drove her and her daughter to the next stop, where her best friend was waiting with the next rose and clue card.
Each clue card directed her to the next stop, where a friend or family member was waiting with the next rose and clue. The stops included places that were important to us while dating and each stop was manned by people important to us as a couple. In addition to her best friend, the rose givers included her sister and family, coworkers, personal friends, and my kids. I also tracked down a family that was important to my girlfriend during the time of her divorce, but of whom she had not seen in years. Additionally, I flew my parents in to man the 10th stop and her parents were at the 11th stop, where my parents and her parents met for the first time.
I was waiting for her at the twelfth stop, at the foot of a 60’ cross, set by a quiet lake where we had spent many hours praying and talking about getting married and our future life together. I presented her with the twelfth rose and asked her if she would marry me. She said yes. As we walked up the hill to the limo, each of the people who presented roses during the day, were waiting for us by the limo to congratulate the newly engaged couple. We then went to the local country club to celebrate our engagement. Everyone said the day was so perfect, that we should have just gotten married that day, because this was a tough act to follow.
4. Daniel and I (Marybeth) had dated for 4 1/2 years and it had been a long distance relationship our entire dating relationship. One weekend when I went down to Fullerton from Lancaster, CA to see him, we planned to go out to dinner. It was Valentines weekend, but I wasn’t expecting anything. He took me to a very nice Italian restaurant where we ate wonderful food while watching boats and gondolas go by in the harbor below, as the sun set. I had noticed the gondolas and remarked about them and how you don’t usually see them. Dan said it was probably just something special for Valentine’s Day. I figured he was right.
After dinner, I thought we were going back to his place, but he said he had other place for us to go. We drove around for about 20 minutes until he found the place where we were going: the gondola place! After he paid and was given a basket of goodies, we walked out on the dock and waited for our gondola. Once it came, we boarded, had our picture taken and proceeded to cruise the harbor between house boats and parties. The ride included operatic music playing in the background. Half way through the ride, Dan got down on one knee in the gondola and asked, “Marybeth, will you marry me?” “Yes!”
The rest of the ride was wonderful. Enjoying the fact that we were engaged, finally, and that no one else knew … yet. The only thing that would have made the night better is if I hadn’t felt the ring box in his pocket when we were leaving for dinner!
5. My husband Russ and I met through a dating website. He lived in Alaska and I was from Missouri. We had been blessed to visit in person several times and as the relationship had grown serious very quickly, we chatted many long hours over the phone, including keeping in touch through email, webcam and digital photos sent over the internet. Though it was February, we had begun planning on Russ visiting me again in Missouri during spring break. As teachers, we would both have some time off from school.
As we made plans, Russ would drop what I thought were hints about how he would propose in a canoe after a picnic near a lake. “How sweet!” I thought. I knew he was so eager to become engaged that he probably couldn’t keep a surprise. All along I didn’t know he was scheming with my dad to get me to an ice rink in February to execute a surprise proposal there. I had been taking skating lessons and my dad hadn’t seen me skate yet.
The day in February arrived and dad convinced me to go with him and mom to the ice rink. I didn’t know that Russ had flown in just hours before dad, mom and I arrived at the rink. Russ hid his identity from the rest of the skaters on the rink with a red hooded sweatshirt and ball cap. I didn’t see him at all! I skated around, nearly coming face to face with him several times, without realizing it. Finally, he caught up to me and said, “Excuse me…”
I looked over and wondered who this strange man was…he looked vaguely familiar. Russ tripped at that moment and I recognized him. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said “Yes,” after recovering from my shock of him being there at the moment. Skaters from around the rink brought me single roses as I looked over at my parents, beaming because they had known about the surprise all along.
6. A week ago today, I surprised the love of my life, Liz, with a proposal. It took a month of planning, but everything came together just right…except for the waiter. On the morning of March 19, I called her parents in Wichita, KS and asked for permission. Thankfully, they said “yes”. So that day, I started paying for the ring. By April 11th, it was paid for, and I could pick it up. That night
I made secret reservations at a restaurant called Iron Cactus in downtown Dallas. Our first date was there, and we sat in a large booth on the rooftop patio positioned just in front of a waterfall.
A week before proposing, I contacted 4 of her closest friends … to make sure they could show up and share this evening with us. All 4 responded “yes”. So I call Iron Cactus and am told that I cannot reserve the booth on the rooftop because it’s first come, first served unless I purchase bottle service or reserve the whole floor…2 things that would completely give away the surprise. I declined and said I’d take my chances.
We arrive at Iron Cactus at 6:45 p.m. and the booth is empty. The waiter approaches us and says the table is reserved, so I respond, saying I was told you couldn’t reserve this table. He then says, “I think someone is supposed to get engaged.” (DUH…IDIOT… was the first thing I thought. He allows us to sit there and have dinner while we wait for the “couple” to arrive at which point we’ll have to move. Around 7:45 the manager has him hurry to clean off the table and get us moved. So I get up, apparently angrily, to go speak with the manager. I actually went downstairs to tell the hostess I’m already here so they’ll stop bringing it up. The hostess then calls upstairs and gets the waiter downstairs, which sends off some alarm bells to my beautiful girlfriend. When I get back upstairs, she’s inconspicuously checking my pockets for a box.
I tell my beautiful girlfriend that we will be allowed to sit there until the mysterious couple arrives. Liz thinks her ring isn’t coming until end of May or early June. I move the table over, get on one knee and take off the ring she wore on her middle finger to use as a prop. I dropped it into my pocket, held her hand and said, “Will you marry me?” And she, while laughing and smiling, says, “Yes.”
Okay, now the plan here was to simply pull out the real ring. But, it was wrapped too well in the tissue, so I had to improvise. So, I pull out the tissue and unwrap the ring. The second she sees it, she loses her breath and ability to speak. She stammers out, “Is it really real, my real ring?” And she starts to cry uncontrollably. It was the best surprise I’ve ever seen and a response that couldn’t be created. Then, as she slows down the faucet of tears, I say, “Wait, there’s more.” And almost right on cue all 4 girls and Charity’s boyfriend, Alex, come walking around the corner. The rest, as they say, is history …
We have been happily married since 11/17/07 and are about to attend our 3rd consecutive Weekend to Remember. This time, we’ll be paying closer attention to the parenting section as our first child is on its way.
7. Hi my name is Natasha (South African). My engagement story is as follows. My boyfriend showed up at my house late one Friday night and said we were going for dinner. When I got into his car there were boxes of chocolates everywhere and he had a sparkle in his eye. We went to the restaurant where we had our first date and after dinner we took a stroll on the beach. It was a beautiful night, stars shining above. Suddenly Ben said he felt weak and dropped to his knees on the sand. He looked up at me and asked me if I’d be his wife. He then asked me to choose the left or right pocket on his jacket. I chose the right one and out came a beautiful engagement ring. I put the ring on my finger and I was tearing. I later asked him what if I’d chosen the left pocket, and he showed me what he had in there … it was my wedding bands! He had bought both our wedding rings and engagement ring at the same time! That was so romantic!
8. Rob told me to reserve the next Friday night for a date with him. This was odd since we spent time together every Friday night, without “reservations.” I had him pick out what I should wear since I didn’t know what he had planned. I was pretty sure he was going to pop the question.
He took me to a favorite local tea room that wasn’t usually open in the evenings. We walked in to find 30 of our friends, co-workers and family seated in the restaurant. This was not what I was expecting, so now I was confused.
We sat in the center of everyone. Throughout dinner, single red roses were brought to me on a golden platter until there were 11 in a vase. Then he handed number 12 to me and began to sing three love songs to me, accompanied by piano. The last song was “I Will Be Here” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Here’s the really amazing part: ever since I had first heard that song, I had imagined that the ideal proposal would be the love of my life singing that song to me. This was years before I had even met Rob. And I had never shared this hope with anyone.
After the singing, he spoke to me of his love and desire to be with me for the rest of our lives. He held out the ring and asked if I would marry him. Quietly, with tears in my eyes and completely oblivious to anyone else in the room, I answered yes and expressed my own love to him. Then someone from the far side of the table said, “So what did she say?” to much laughter.
9. My sister and I were having an open house celebrating our graduation from high school. Around 5 p.m., everyone had left except my immediate family and I was sitting opening up all my cards and gifts from the party. Josh said he had to go home and shower and change and he’d be back around 6 or so to take me out for dinner.
About 10 minutes after he walked out the door, his brother came in with a package. The package had a letter and a rose on top. He gave it to me and took out the door.
I opened and read the letter that said,
“Dear Beautiful, I hope you like this dress that I picked out for you, I know you will look stunning in it. Please put it on for me and meet me at 601 Arota at exactly 7:00 pm. I can’t wait to see your beautiful face. Love Josh”
I ripped open the package and pulled out a gorgeous silky jade green dress with jeweled slippers and a white shawl. I felt like Cinderella holding her glass slippers! My whole family was still there from the open house and they all knew right away what he had planned, but I was too excited to even think! I slipped on the dress, did my makeup, and took off to 601 Arota (which is our favorite restaurant). When I pulled up, I saw a red carpet leading from the entrance of the restaurant to a limo. I didn’t even think it was for me at first. But then I saw a guy serenading me at the door. I walked inside the restaurant looking for Josh, but instead a waitress came up to me and asked me if I was Rachelle. I said yes and she gave me another letter with a rose. I read it and it said,
“My gorgeous Darling, I’m sorry I couldn’t meet you here, but please take the limo to Falls Park and go to the bench where we sat on our first date together. I love you so much. Love Josh.”
I had never ridden in a limo before. He took me on a little drive and then we pulled into Falls Park, I got out and went to the bench and there was a man playing the song, ”You and Me” by Lifehouse, which was our favorite love song when we were dating. His guitar case was open with two bottles of sparkling cider and another love letter and a bunch more roses! I opened the letter and it read,
“Dear beautiful, please ride in the limo to the next place. I will meet you there. The limo driver knows the way. I promise I will see you soon. Please trust me. I love you. Josh”
I got back in the limo with my roses, drinks, and letters and I asked the driver where we were going, he said it was a secret and was told to keep his mouth shut. I couldn’t stand the anticipation. I wanted to see him so bad. It was the longest drive ever! Finally, he pulled over into a parking lot and Josh came to open my door and swept me off my feet.
He carried me down some stairs and told me to close my eyes. He set me down and when I opened my eyes I was sitting on a red heart-shaped blanket on a beach. The lake water was hitting the shore peacefully and there were rose petals covering the beach with candles. I was blown away! We sat and ate fettuccini alfredo and dessert and then we went on a walk on the beach. As we were walking and talking, he said, “Rachelle, you remember how you said that if I didn’t finish those 101 Questions then you would turn me down?” I said, oh yeah (laughing).
“Well, I stayed up all night finishing the answers for you.” He got down on his knee and said, “Here are 61-101 answers and I don’t care what your answers are because I know I want to marry you and you are the one God has for me. Rachelle, will you marry me?”
And of course I said, “YES!” with tears brimming. He held me and told me that he is the most blessed man on earth and that I am perfect for him. We got in the limo and rode back to my house where my relatives were waiting up to see us! The whole way I kept staring at my gorgeous ring and into his handsome face. It was one of the best moments of my life! And then, it got even better. He slipped my ring off and told me to read the inside of the band. He had Romans 1:11 engraved in it. That is the verse he shared with me when he asked me to court him! It says,
“For I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” (Romans 1:11-12)
I just kept kissing him and smiling all night. I could not sleep at all I was so excited!
So, that is our story of how we got engaged! He is the most romantic man I know and he’s mine! We are so in love and we believe that God brought us together for a purpose. We got married on September 22, 2006. He was the first man I ever shared a kiss with and I love him with all my heart.
10. I made plans to take Wendy to dinner downtown. We parked, and I suggested we walk a little before dinner because the sun was getting low and we might catch a nice sunset. We walked to a park bench in Tom Lee Park along the riverfront adjacent to downtown Memphis. The sky was spectacular … just enough clouds in the sky to scatter the rays of the brilliant orange and red sunset.
I kneeled down in front of her and asked her pulling a ring out of my pocket. “Will you marry me and make me the happiest man in the world?”
Her immediate response: “But I haven’t met your parents yet!” Then she said, “You know I will!”
She met my parents a short time later. They met her for dinner in Chicago where she was attending a conference. Wendy met my folks for the first time as their future daughter-in-law.
11. I secretly bought a ring and had it in my pocket on the night I planned to propose. We went to our favorite restaurant, but the food and service was unusually poor, as was the band that was playing. I decided to go to the beach for a moonlight setting. We ended up having a disagreement and it was too cold to walk along the sand. I came home with the ring in my pocket.
The next week we were going to a party at my brother’s, who was in college an hour away. I bought a little fuzzy creature from a gumball machine and it happened to say “Congrats” on the tag on my way to pick her up. As we drove I was so nervous that we finally stopped at a rest area so I could go to the bathroom. When she came out of the women’s room I had her sit at a picnic table and I pulled out the plastic container containing the ring which I had stuck on the fuzzy ball guy’s feet. I was kneeling in the mud when I handed that to her. She looked at the tag that said congrats and kept looking at my weird smile. Finally she saw the diamond shining and I asked her to marry me. She said yes, and the rest is 24 years of wedded bliss. We still laugh every time we go by that rest stop and have told our kids and all the youth group kids through the years about it. I guess you just need to follow the “urges” and forget the best laid plans.
12. At the time we were both living in Houston and he knew my love not only of the ocean, which was not far away in Galveston. He also knew the love I felt from the man who raised me as his daughter, my daddy.
To lay a little of the backdrop for our proposal. you have to know that there was only one motel built right on the water and my daddy was one of those men who helped remodel it many years ago. While they were remodeling a hurricane came and he had no time to get out so he somehow strapped himself to the huge concrete boulders underneath praise God he did and God allowed him to endure so he could raise me.
Richard thought it would make the perfect proposal spot and included my dad in the proposal. He promised to care for me just as my daddy had for all these years. He then took me on a horse-drawn carriage ride along the beach and to a wonderful dinner. It was my fairy tale come true. Unfortunately a week before our wedding I lost my daddy. Still I praise God I have a man who has held true to his vows and commitment taking care and loving me better then anyone ever has.
13. After the evening church service (held in the sanctuary), my boyfriend asked if I wanted to go inside the chapel (something we do regularly because its soooo beautiful) for a minute. I said yes, and we walked up towards the front of the chapel, just admiring the beauty and stillness. Sitting on the first pew, there was a guitar, and Mike said, “Hey, look! There’s a guitar!” and I said, “Wow, that looks like your little Italian guitar!”
Mike picked up the guitar and I chided him, “Don’t play that guitar, we’ll get in trouble!” But he started to strum, and asked me to come sit next to him. As I did, he started to sing a song I didn’t recognize. I realized quickly he had written me a new song, but not until he said the word “wife” did I think he might be proposing. Once I heard that, I started thinking, “Oh my gosh, this is it! He is proposing!!!!!”
When he finished the song, he got down on one knee, pulled out the ring, and proposed with the last line of the song, “Let’s not tarry, Stacey, will you marry me?”. And I was just crying and saying, “Yes, of course!” And when we walked out of the chapel, we found his best friend guarding the doors of the chapel so no one else could come in during the proposal And one year and four days later, on May 17, 2008, we were married.
14. My girlfriend Carli was playing with a team in Hoopfest, which is the world’s largest 3-on-3 basketball event, which takes place downtown Spokane Washington. I asked the executive director of Hoopfest if I could propose to Carli at Center Court during the dunk contest. So this 6’3” white boy who can’t even jump off a trampoline entered the dunk contest. I was the last contestant to go and Carli’s teammates had just rushed her over to the contest after one of their games was over.
With over 2500 spectators watching this outdoor contest, including both our families, I first attempted a dunk just to make it seem real. The adrenaline was flowing so rapidly through my system, I actually got the ball over the 10-foot rim, but barely. The crowd must have thought I was some kind of wannabe in this contest.
For my next dunk, I pulled out a chair and placed it in front of the rim as though I was going to jump over it. I heard a few chuckles from the crowd, and a few “Yeah, right buddy.” Then I spotted Carli out of the crowd and asked her to come onto the court and sit in the chair. “He’s gonna kill this girl” I overheard one boy say in the crowd.
I proceeded by putting a blindfold over Carli’s eyes and backed up while dribbling the ball as though I was getting ready to jump over her. Then my sister, who had the ring, tossed it through the air to me. By this time the crowd was onto what was happening. “Oh my God, oh my God” I heard some woman say behind me. I grabbed the microphone from the MC, dribbled up to Carli, took the blindfold off and opened the black box. Now I had a little speech prepared which I began to recite into the microphone, but the crowd was so loud no one, including Carli and I, could hear what I was saying. So I mouthed the words, “Will you marry me,” and she nodded her head and said, “YES!” She jumped into my arms and the crowd went nuts.
As we walked off the court, the MC asked me if I was going to finish my dunk. I replied, “No thanks, I’m done.” The MC said, “That’s okay, because once you’re married, your legs are gone!”
I felt bad for the gentleman that actually won the dunk contest later that day. It all seemed to pale in comparison to the white man that couldn’t jump.
15. My husband, Dennis, proposed to me on my eighteenth birthday. It was Dec. 1, 1995. We were high school sweethearts. He picked me up after work and we went and got an ice cream and sat on the tail gate of his truck in cold weather near the shore of Lake Wylie. It was a very nice night. We started walking toward the edge of the rocks when I tripped on a glass bottle that he placed there earlier. I noticed that there was something in the bottle. When I opened it up, it read “Will you marry me?” when I looked up he was down on one knee with the ring in his hand. Of course I said Yes!
16. Adrienne and I have been talking about marriage since early in our relationship. We’d actually gone ring shopping on a couple of occasions, and she knew that I had been working with a jeweler. We’d also talked about dates and had tentatively made some plans. However, she and I felt that it was important that I formally propose and that it should be somewhat of a surprise, even though I already knew that she would say yes.
With that in mind, I set about planning the proposal. I determined that the only way I was going to make this special was to do a series of surprises that would build so that she would not really know when I was going to actually ask her.
The first “event” was arranging for a card that I had made for her to be delivered to her while she was on a business trip. I arranged with one of her colleagues to have it sent to her in advance. It was placed on her pillow where she was staying in the Seattle area on June 4. A white rose – the symbol of purity – was delivered along with the card. The card contained the first three verses of 1 Corinthians 13 – the famous passage in the Bible about love.
The second event was when I was away for the weekend. We had arranged for her to stay at my place and look after my dog. I got a yellow rose – the symbol of Joy – and a similarly hand-crafted card with the next few verses of 1 Corinthians 13. I left these things where I knew she’d find them that evening while I was away. At this point she told me that she “detected a pattern,” so she knew I was up to something.
We had plans to travel to Southern California for my nieces’ high school graduation. We landed in San Diego where my brother lives, rented a car and I told her we’d be driving north. We arrived at [a friend’s home]. When we left for dinner, [my friend }Dave “forgot his sunglasses” and went back inside where he planted rose/card number three on her bed. This was an orange rose – the symbol of desire, and of course the card had the next few verses from 1 Corinthians 13.
The next morning we The next morning we got up at a leisurely hour and made our way to Newport Beach. We took the ferry across to Balboa Island where we had breakfast at an old haunt of ours that serves great eggs. By the time we finished and walked the pier it was close to noon. I was just going to drive her around a bit and rediscover a few of the old places I lived around. We went north again and as we were driving past Long Beach I nonchalantly suggested we have a drink on the Queen Mary, the former luxury liner and WWII troop transport that’s permanently docked in Long Beach Harbor.
As we pulled up, I got a text message from Barry, my other very good friend in the area. He informed me where to go on the ship to find rose number four and the accompanying card which I had previously mailed to him. This time it was a pink rose – the symbol of appreciation and gratitude – and the card contained the next few verses. She was very surprised, and at this point was wondering how I was pulling all of these things off.
We then made our way on around the Palos Verdes peninsula and admired the views. We stopped at Wayfarers Chapel, the famous chapel on the hillside that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. I had made a reservation at a nice restaurant in downtown Long Beach called L’Opera. We arrived at 5:30 and relaxed and enjoyed a splendid meal. At this point, Adrienne was telling me that since she’d received a white, yellow, orange, and pink rose that she was expecting a red one soon.
We stopped at Gondola Getaways, a small company that does gondola rides through the city of Naples, CA, which is modeled after Naples in Italy. I had made a reservation for a sunset cruise. At this point she pretty much knew what was going on. She was surprised by two red roses that were entwined together (the symbol for engagement) that were place on the seat of our gondola.
We got underway and I could tell that I needed to explain the meaning of these two roses that were entwined together. I waited for a few minutes to just the right moment and asked her “Will you marry me?” She said yes, and we kissed, and then I gave her the card which explained things, and presented her with the ring, which she opened and loved dearly. The custom for a gondola ride is that when you pass under a bridge you are supposed to kiss the one you love, and we complied for all of the many bridges along the way. Sunset was upon us, the moon came out, and it was positively gorgeous. This was perhaps one of the fastest hours of my entire life – both of us felt it just was too short.