The Man’s Guide to the Perfect Marriage Proposal

by A Manly Guest Contributor on June 17, 2008 · 61 comments

in Dating, Marriage, Relationships & Family

Asking for a woman’s hand in marriage is one of the most important things a man will do in his life. Therefore, a good deal of consideration should be put into the timing and setting of this event. You are certain that she is the one, and have gone ahead with asking for her father’s blessing of your proposal, solidifying her family’s approval of the union. Now that has been done, and you are ready to propose marriage to your future wife.

There are a few things you must keep in mind when contemplating the way that you will propose marriage to your lady. First, this is a memorable moment, which will be told and retold over the years to your friends, family, children, and grandchildren. Make it a story worth telling. Secondly, every woman is different; make your proposal specific to her taste and personality. Some women would love nothing more than to have all their friends and family be witness to the event, while others would much prefer a private and intimate moment with you alone. First and foremost, make sure the way in which you ask makes her comfortable.

Finally, Like many romantic displays, a marriage proposal that seems cliché to one woman is a dream come true for another. This must be left to your personal discretion. However, kneeling in front of your lady with a ring and a rose, whatever the setting may be, is timeless. The following are some tried and true methods for a man proposing marriage to his love.

The First Meeting Place Proposal

Show your lady that you remember and appreciate the little details of your relationship. Taking her to the place where you first met will let her know how grateful you are to have found her. That special location has proven a solid foundation for the first half of your relationship and is an especially symbolic and appropriate location to ask her to spend the rest of her life with you.

The Parisian Proposal

If you have the time and means, ask her the most important question of her life in the most romantic city in the world: Paris. Avoid locations where tourists dwell; rather, choose a place that is quiet and quaint, as that is the true beauty of the city. A dimly lit café or restaurant, or a remote spot on the banks of the Seine is a perfect setting for a romantic proposal.

The Natural Proposal

If your wife-to-be loves the outdoors, employ the help of some of God’s natural creation. Hiding the ring somewhere for her to find on a hike you both enjoy can make for an exciting and meaningful discovery along the trail. Also, asking her to be your wife underneath a waterfall or at the top of a cliff will provide an awe-inspiring view and add a dramatic effect to the moment.

The Valentine’s Day Proposal

However you may choose to propose, February 14th is a great day to do it. While she will expect a certain amount of romance already, your proposal of marriage will far exceed her expectations for the day. It will make for the best Valentine’s Day your future fiancé will ever have and ensure it as a memorable date for you both in years to come.

The Spell-It-Out Proposal

Write it out for her, but make it grand. There is no better way to get her attention than to write your marriage proposal across the sky. Hire a plane to spell it in smoke, or carry behind it a banner with your offer. She will be both entertained and impressed that you have announced your love for all to see. If you don’t have the means, or you want to make it more personal, write it in the sand while at the beach.

The Weekend Getaway Proposal

Disguise your proposal behind another occasion, such as a vacation or her birthday. Take a trip to the country and get out of town for the weekend. You will be able to enjoy your time alone together, and she will remain unsuspecting. After a great weekend together, asking her if she would like to spend the rest of her life with you will be the grand finale.

The High Seas Proposal

There is nothing like the serenity and solitude of being on a boat surrounded by a vast body of water. Charter a boat with just the two of you, or plan a cruise to a tropical location. This will provide an intimate setting where you can express undying love for your lovely lady. If you want seclusion during your proposal, this is the place to do it. A sailboat is the most romantic option, but make sure you know what you are doing, as popping the question on a U.S. Coast Guard rescue dinghy lacks the desired effect.

The Elemental Proposal

Use the weather to your advantage. Take your special someone to the mountains and propose to her in the snow. If you can execute the timing to perfection, surprise her with the question just as the snow begins to fall. A walk through the city streets at night in the rain is equally beautiful. For added dramatic effect, disregard personal comfort and kneel in the water. She will see that you are concerned with nothing but her at that moment.

The Spontaneous Proposal

Once you know that she is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with, let her know right then and there. Tell her that you cannot wait another minute to know if she shares the same feeling for you. She will be struck by your passion for her and your certainty that she is the only one for you. This is a perfect option for the adventurous romantic, so make sure your lady is not a traditionalist.

The Overnight Proposal

If you are more of the silent type, slip the ring on your love’s finger while she is sleeping. You don’t have to say a word. She will wake up to the best surprise of her life sitting on her hand. Be sure to be near when she shrieks with glee upon noticing her new jewelry in the morning.

Written by Ross Crooks and Jason Lankow

How did you propose to the love of your life? Share your romantic tale with us.

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alex June 17, 2008 at 10:06 pm

I strongly dis-agree with the V-Day proposal, i find it highly over rated and a cop-out just like doing it on new years eve or Christmas. I think the only holiday (if you must do it on a holiday) that is acceptable is Thanksgiving. Why you ask, well it is centered around family and what will you be doing with this women? That doesnt mean you have to ask in front of your family but maybe while taking a walk after dinner or before.

2 Marcel June 18, 2008 at 1:46 am

I have to say the overnight proposal is probably the riskiest, though, really, all of these should only be attempted if you know she’ll say yes in the first place.

3 Peter June 18, 2008 at 2:07 am

Maybe some would find it strange, but I personally didn’t make a formal proposal. About 2-3 months of dating, we started to mention in our conversations that we just should stay together the whole life…afterwards, sometimes my wife would refer to me as “my future husband”. After some more months, we went to a local church office and applied for marriage (but I asked for parent’s approval before that).

4 Justin June 18, 2008 at 4:19 am

When my wife and I were dating, she mentioned that she’d like to be proposed to at a specific place. Unfortunately, she moved out of the state not long after. I followed her (intent on reeling her in and brining her back). She had a snowglobe with a model of the place she wanted the proposal. We went hiking one day, and without her knowing it, I hid the snowglobe in my backpack. As we were hiking, I secretly brought it out and placed it behind her, got down on one knee, and the rest is pretty standard.

Whenever she tells it, she always cries.

Needless to say, the best advice is make it memorable. Nobody wants to have a lame proposal story.

5 Chad June 18, 2008 at 4:28 am

Note: You PROBABLY shouldn’t use the “First Meeting Place Proposal” if you met your wife at a bar……

Just for Clarification. =)

6 Will June 18, 2008 at 4:37 am

I did the “natural” option. We hiked a peak, and I brought champagne and OJ in a thermos. I did get down on one knee — with her holding me up so I wouldn’t fall backward off the rocks!

What I *didn’t* do was hide the ring in anything. Besides the danger of her chipping a tooth on it (!), or me losing it…since it wasn’t a heirloom, I wanted her to help pick out one she’d like. To my surprise, Emily Post and Miss Manners agreed: the proposal is about asking the question, and the ring can come later.

Friend of mine proposed to his wife, a schoolteacher, by getting her class to hold up letters to spell out WILL YOU MARRY ME.

7 shortshire June 18, 2008 at 6:40 am

Slipping the ring on the finger late at night and waking up to shrieks might scare her more than the simple marriage proposal. She might wake up and say “What happened to me last night? OMG OMG OMG!” Well that’s how I would picture it if i did it that way.

8 Neil Cowley June 18, 2008 at 6:42 am

Great article and the principles are surely key to fully winning a woman’s heart – I mean she needs a story to brag to her girlfriends about. Special is everything!

You can listen to couples tell their own stories on my site:
And look for a nice ping back to you here in a couple days!

9 matthew June 18, 2008 at 7:09 am

I met me wife to be in my Sunday School class. It was my second week back after being away for a few years and her first time visiting the church after she moved to the area to attend school.

We were courting 4 months later, and engaged just over a year after we met.

After courting for 7 months, we were at a point of having to decide whether to get married this year or wait for her to finish school, 2-1/2 years distant.

We chose this year and confirmed that on Valentines’ Day, I asked her that day to marry me, but I did not have a ring, so we weren’t really “engaged” and it was just a sweet time of quietly considering the future together.

I purchased the ring from a jeweler who attends my church and had it within 2 weeks of Valentines’ Day. He delivered it to me that Sunday and I was casting about in my mind how I might make this extra special. I was trying to decide whether to make it something special (downtown Chicago has many beautiful locations and vistas) or somewhere we’d be regularly and could remember fondly.

She did not know I had the ring yet.

I settled on frequent.

She was attending school in Downtown Chicago, but I decided that it were better to do it somewhere we were close to emotionally.

Which worked perfectly.

I always open her doors for her, and so as we walked out to the nearly empty parking lot, and I opened her car door, she got in and sat down, reaching around to put her things in the back seat. I positioned myself down nearly on a knee (the ground was wet) and when she turned around I had the ring out and the question on my tongue.

She was not expecting it then, by any means. It was a few feet from where we had first met and not much further from where we’d really got to know each other. And it was somewhere special to us.

I had no idea I was doing it right. :)

10 Tom June 18, 2008 at 7:59 am

I don’t like how some guys these days are hiring a photographer or cameraman to sneak around and hide and then jump out during the proposal to tape the whole thing. Why must everything be recorded these days? To me, a proposal is something really intimate, and should be seared in your memory, not burned on a DVD.

11 Josh English June 18, 2008 at 10:44 am

I am approaching seven years of marital bliss with my second wife. We have never fought, not while we were dating, not after I gave her a ring, and not once in these years have we fought. (We have disagreed, and that is a different issue.)
How did I propose? I didn’t.

She was going to Germany for a month, and I wanted to give her something as a remembrance, so I bought a ring. I put it on her finger in the car.

When she got back, we started pre-marriage counciling at our church and decided the ring was our engagement ring.

The closest I came to actually proposing was after our weekly swing dance lesson, and I said “we should hire Brian (a friend of ours) to teach swing after the wedding.”

At some point, we both assumed we would get married. It was all a matter of scheduling.

12 Mabel June 18, 2008 at 3:33 pm

Personally, if it were me being proposed to, the overnight one would end badly. Even if I would say yes otherwise, being asked is a big part. It seems presumptuous that the man would place it on her finger without first asking her… if I woke up and found a ring on my finger I would actually be more angry than pleased.

The rest of these are cute though.

13 Granata June 18, 2008 at 6:00 pm

My wife and I talked about getting married but she still wanted to be surprised and romanced at the proposal. Her parents lived in Kenya for a couple of years. After we had been dating for about as long, her and I visited for two weeks.

The house was in Kisumu, right on Lake Victoria and the sunsets were unreal. There was a veranda on the second floor overlooking the lake. A few days before we were set to leave, her parents left the house for the evening. The Indian restaurant down the street brought a rad meal for us to eat at a set table on the veranda. By the time the sun was setting we had finished eating and so I got on my knee and asked.

It was bad to the bone.

14 Westley Schomer June 18, 2008 at 6:10 pm

I just proposed two weeks ago. We went on a romantic picnic, but I conveniently forgot the drinks, so I ran back to the car. When I came back I had changed into some nicer clothes and was carrying a large bag. I kneeled down in front of her, and pulled out eleven roses,one at a time. With each rose, I gave a reason I loved her. Then I told her when the twelfth and final rose died, is when my love for her would cease. I pulled out a stainless steel rose that I had forged for her. Then I asked her to marry me. She said yes.

15 Lau June 18, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Westley that’s awesome. “My love for you is made of STAINLESS STEEL, BABY!”

16 Brett June 18, 2008 at 6:44 pm

My wife loves stuffed animals, so I went to Build-A-Bear workshop and made a white bear with blue nose wearing a tuxedo. I then took the ring, in requisite black velvet box, and wire tied it to the bear’s hand. I gave it to her as a Christmas present. The bear’s name on it’s birth certificate was “Merry Me Sunshine” (Sunshine being my nickname for my wife.) Her yes was immediate and passionate.

17 Brett June 18, 2008 at 6:50 pm

I should also mention, shortly after she said yes, we returned to Build-A-Bear and made a white teddy with pink nose wearing a wedding dress. My wife named her “Iwilla Mylove”.

18 Brett McKay June 18, 2008 at 7:15 pm

I should note that the above Brett is not me. My proposal involved a play and a park, but no teddy bears.

19 J Marler June 19, 2008 at 8:30 am

I had a very elaborate plan, with a small flaw, but it worked out regardless.

First off, my wife’s name is Monica. After Monica and I discussed getting married, and decided that when the time was right, we would get married. I asked her father and mother, who both approved wholeheartedly, and then I hatched a plan. I gave her a lilly (her favorite flower) and told her I would give her 12 lillies, and after the 12th, I would propose. I gave her a surprise lilly every few days/weeks or so until I got to 6. I decided it was taking too long, and wanted to surprise her with a proposal.

We live in Austin, and the plan was this:

* Dinner at Cheesecake Factory
* Ice cream at Amy’s Ice Cream
* A stroll through the park nearby where she would “discover” a bouquet of six lillies, after which I would drop to a knee and propose.

The flaw in the plan is that if you eat dinner at Cheesecake Factory, you don’t go to Amy’s for ice cream afterwords. You have dessert there. Duh! When Monica said she didn’t want to go to Amy’s, I had a small tinge of panic, and changed the plan. We went next door to Barnes & Nobles, and I called my friend Chris. The plan was to have Chris put the flowers out as we were buying the ice cream and then hide. I told Chris we had nixed the ice cream, and were at B&N about to head over. He said he would text me when the trap was set. We looked at some books, got the text, and we were off.

I didn’t realize at the time, but I was a bit eager, and practically dragged Monica to the spot where the flowers waited for us. Monica stopped to look at some other flowers, to which I said “How about these?” She saw the flowers, instantly knew what they meant, and started crying. I dropped to a knee, proposed, and she immediately said yes. Unbeknownst to us, we had an audience, who all cheered and clapped. Chris popped out from around a tree, yelled “Surprise!” and took our picture. When Chris dropped off the flowers, he told someone nearby “Some guy is about to appear with a woman and propose. These flowers are part of the proposal, so please don’t disturb them.” That’s how we got the audience. The people nearby heard the message, and stuck around for the festivities.

I wanted Monica to have a romantic story to tell people about our proposal that was original. The slight twist with the dessert made the whole scenario even more romantic, and she loves to tell the story whenever someone asks.

20 "Looking at Rings" June 19, 2008 at 12:57 pm

I go to pick up a ring this afternoon…

21 Gary June 19, 2008 at 5:56 pm

I had planned a hike up a local mountain for a picnic lunch and a proposal. However, the weekend before she was running a two day programming competition at the college where she teaches, and she came down with the flu. I was taking care of her, and had gone out to get her Chinese Penicillin (Hot and Sour Soup).

We had been dating a couple of months when I decided she was the one, but she must have read my mind because she mentioned her 90-day rule. No major relationship decisions until after 90 days.

Even though it wasn’t quite ninety days, I couldn’t stand it any more and asked if she’d marry me. She was completely shocked and said if I could propose while she looked like Death warmed over I must really love her, and she said yes.

When I tell that story I usually add that I realized I’d never find her more physically or psychologically vulnerable. I wouldn’t recommend such a short period of dating normally, but I was 50, she was 46. We know who we are and we had chemistry from the moment we met. We’ve been married for four years and each of us learned many lessons from our starter marriages. We’ve had moments of friction but no arguments. We’ve realized most marital arguments are to decide who’s right. We take the approach of “How can we solve this problem to our mutual satisfaction?”

It’s made all the difference.

22 Jim June 27, 2008 at 12:16 am

Disney World. Fireworks. Hot Chocolate.

Write that down.

23 Nishantha June 27, 2008 at 5:00 am

Be careful you might miss more and more opportunities…….
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mens dress shirt

24 John Lo July 9, 2008 at 5:39 am

When I proposed to my lady-friend I took the ‘nature’ option. We went on a cross country hike and took the ring with me. We got to her favourite place, a little woodland village named Rivendell, and I pulled out the ring and proposed to her.

Turns out though that the ring was the source of a dark lord’s power and I then had to embark on a perilous quest to cast the ring into the flames of Mount Doom. Also she said no.

25 Happycat July 10, 2008 at 12:16 pm

I got pregnant, unplanned. My boyfriend simply said to me “let’s get married” while we were sitting on the couch. I could not tell if he was being serious or not and turns out he was (or so he says). What a great proposal, not even a hug, not even holding my hands while he said “let’s get married”. Now I don’t even want to marry him because he really disappointed me with such a crappy way of asking me to marry him. It hurts me so much.

26 Gregory Smith July 22, 2008 at 10:08 pm

You have GOT to be kidding me … where do I begin??? I think I’m gonna barf. This could take a while to explain. Are you even a guy? If so – have you been married before??? WTF??? ha ha

Love is a cycle. It goes up and down – just like everything in life (like stocks, real estate, etc.) Marriage is the #1 cause of divorce. Be careful – don’t overthink things … and don’t rush into marriage – no!!! Just wait until you have been “around the block” a few times … stuff like what you have written here won’t even enter your mind!!! But the innocence I see in your writing is sweet – reminds me of me in my mid-twenties … ha ha. Good luck to you!!! OMG!!!

Greg Smith, Founder

27 Ken July 24, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Thanks, John Lo, for giving me a good chuckle.

I took the sneaky approach when I popped the question. My girlfriend had suggested that we go have lunch at a restaurant she liked in a small town along the Missouri River some distance north of the city. I have my private pilot’s license, and the town has a small airport, so I suggested that we fly, stuff our bikes in the back of the rented Cessna, and ride the short distance to the restaurant. (yes, two bikes can be crammed in the back of a Cessna 172) She thought that would be a great idea and planned the whole day out. But after lunch along the river I pulled out the ring. She was totally blindsided!

By the way, she did say yes, and has repeated the story time after time to her girlfriends. My original idea was to propose in the air, but I decided I had enough to think about up there and it would be safer to do it on the ground.

28 Brett McKay July 24, 2008 at 12:54 pm

@ Gregory- Thanks for comment. However, I think you might actually be a 14 year old girl disguised as a “midlife bachelor.” The only people I know who use OMG and excessive amounts of exclamation points in their internet communication are my 14 year old cousin and her little friends.

29 Gregory Smith July 29, 2008 at 8:35 pm

Brett – at some point in the future, you will know what I am talking about. Good luck to you!

30 Christopher July 31, 2008 at 6:32 am

Great article! I’ve got to suggest a few additions, though, namely “Plan B” and “Improvise.” Robert Burns’ comment on the planning capabilities of men and mice holds true, even during marriage proposals. Even the best planned proposal can go awry, and men would do well to have a Plan B which is simple enough to be foolproof. By the time I finally completed the deed on the day of my intended proposal to my wife, I was on Plan F, and in my nervousness at repeated failures I had forgotten my eloquent speech. When I finally got the words out, stammered as they were, the ring box stuck inexplicably in my pocket and I forgot to kneel.

Plan yes! But don’t be afraid to improvise if it all falls to shambles.

31 Geetha August 12, 2008 at 1:44 am

Marriage, How do I say anything about marriage without any experience?
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32 Lila August 12, 2008 at 6:59 am

My husband proposed to me in a variation of the first meeting place proposal. We met in school when we were like eight when our teacher put us together for this treasure/scavenger hunt thing (the grand prize was popsicles).
I was picking up my niece, who went to the same school we had gone to, and brought Charlie (my now-husband) with me. I went in my niece’s classroom while Charlie opted to stay outside, and upon exiting noticed that Charlie was gone.

I then got a text message clue, which brought me to the classroom we had first met in, and there were flowers outside. I began to get excited.
I then got another text message clue, which brought me to the cafeteria, and there were chocolates outside. I began to get REALLY excited.
I got a final clue, which led me to the teacher’s lounge. (which was the same room it had been 15 years ago- who knew?) The freezer door was open (just as it had been when we won the scavenger hunt thing 15 years ago), but instead of popsicles, this time the grand prize was a black ring box. I opened it, and it was empty. I began to despair- someone had stolen the ring? and turned around. There was Charlie, holding the ring, on one knee. (can’t you tell I’ve told this story a thousand times to anyone who would listen?)

Along with a romantic proposal, I believe a ring which suits the recipient and is beautiful is just as important.

I am an advocate for a sentimental proposal like the one I received- even though it does call for the right circumstances and the right relationship, (if you met at a bar, you can’t very well do something like this and produce the same effect, can you?) how can you say no to a proposal that took this much planning?

33 Robert August 13, 2008 at 6:03 pm

Great post. Now can you write one about how to pick the perfect ring?

34 Sudeshna September 29, 2008 at 6:36 am

That was quite of an experience! A man not so sure of what the reactions would be like wen he proposed to his love. So he picked up the phone and asks, “Would you marry me?!” The answer comes, “Yes”. The man disconnected the phone. Later on when he was asked why, all that he had to say was,he was prepared with a speech for his lady love’s “No” but did not know what to do if she said a “Yes” :-)

35 Kat October 10, 2008 at 8:46 am

@Westley Schomer – That was the coolest and romantic thing ever!

36 x-girl March 24, 2009 at 7:55 pm

for some people yes! marrige is importance but now some they really don’t care about that , just stay together and happy that all they want. more importance it’s how to stay together forever..

37 Simon May 3, 2009 at 12:01 pm

You can also begin to prepare the divorce proposal. Odds are 50/50. You’ll save time later.


38 BanjoCrazyKyle May 7, 2009 at 12:19 pm

I proposed to my wife after 6 months of dating. Having gotten her father’s approval several months prior, I bought the ring she picked out right around Christmas. I hadn’t planned for a stereotypical proposal, but it happened that way. I was staying at her parents’ house for a weekend after I bought the ring, and her whole family knew (3 sisters and Mom and Dad.) They all kept quiet. Her and I went out to take the dogs for a walk at around 1:00 am, (crazy, right?) and started talking about very important matters, like when I wrecked my truck and almost died, etc., etc. Eventually, about 10 min. before we got home, one of the dogs had to “take care of business,” so we were stopped. I knew it was now or never, so I pulled the ring out of my pocket, without kneeling for obvious reasons, and asked her to marry me. We had talked about getting married for some time prior to this, so she just laughed it off and said, “You know I’ll marry you, we talk about it all the time.” The I opened the box to show her the ring, and she leaned forward and squinted and I said, “No, I’m proposing to you. Will you marry me?” To this, she shrieked, said yes, and hugged and kissed me. When we got back to her parents’ house, her sisters were in the hallway with their heads peeking around the corner stacked up one above the other like something out of a 3 Stooges episode, (no pun intended.) She didn’t even have time to show them the ring and they started screaming. It was great. So, all in all, we had a really “crappy” proposal. The End.

39 Jack June 10, 2009 at 7:48 am

My wife of two years now and I met in Mexico while traveling for a non-profit organization; I was introducing her to all my contacts throughout the countryside. Well, we totally fell for each other, and we started dating.

The greatest proposal ever? After we had been dating for 6 months, I packed a bunch of travel bags, and picked her up Friday night of a long weekend. She loves to travel and surprises, so I would not tell her where we were going. I took her to our favorite restaurant (the one of our first date: a little dimly-lit, hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant) for her favorite dinner. After dinner, I drove her through back roads to an empty field where we sat out looking at the stars. Driving out of the field, I accidentally jammed the tire into a storm grate, getting us stuck out in the middle of nowhere with no cellphone coverage. Someone stopped by after about a half hour and pulled us free, and we started off again to the secret location. Well, we got pulled over about five minutes later for “crossing the double yellow line” while going around a turn. The cop let us go, and we spent the evening walking around a local town that sets up all these Christmas lights.

She LOVED that date, so for my proposal six months later, I had just returned from a job in Alaska where I had been for the last month. I packed a bunch of bags again, and had her pick out her favorite romantic music. We drove down that same infamous road to a different field, where I had setup a blanket and torches. We stood barefoot on the blanket dancing under the stars for hours. At the end of the evening, I pulled out one of the dummy bags (that was secretly full of roses) and recited a poem I had written for her about all the things I love about her (one line for each rose for each month of dating). When I pulled out the last rose (now one month over) I pulled The Ring off a ribbon tied to the stem and asked her to marry me.

(She still tells me that she was afraid that last rose was me telling her I was going to be gone for another month on a new job)


40 Evan September 19, 2009 at 3:26 pm

I met my husband at Barnes and Noble – he was working there. The first words he ever said to me, were “Can I help you?” Flash forward to years later, Christmas Eve, 2005, 9 am. I’d been dragged out of bed, hair frizzy, wearing a wonder-woman T-shirt and pink pajama pants, very grumpy at my husband. We were going to the grocery store right next to Barnes and Noble, with my mother, presumably to buy ingredients for Christmas Eve dinner. (“Why the hell does my mother need me to go grocery shopping?!”) They waited until we were at the end of a very long line. My mother said, “Damn, I forgot to get something for your uncle. I’m gonna run in next door to Barnes and Noble.” Dames said, “Oh, I forgot about him too…Honey, you’ve got the card, right?” Grumbling, I said I would wait on line and pay for the groceries. When I was walking towards the store, my Mom was walking back to me with a Barnes and Noble bag. “Here,” she said, “let me help you get those into the car. Dames is still shopping.” We walked back to Barnes and Noble, and as I entered, there was an announcement, “Damian, to customer service?” A little unusual, because he didn’t work there any more, but I figured I must have heard the announcement wrong. I went bounding up to him, and gave him a big kiss. “This is where we met!” I said happily. “No,” he said, “Follow me.”

He walked me over to the exact bookshelf where we had met – only I thought it was the wrong one. “No, honey, it was over here!” I said, trying to drag him one shelf over. “No, I’m pretty sure,” he said anxiously, still gripping my hand, “No! It’s here, sweet – ”

I had turned the corner, and there was my grandfather with a video camera.

“Oh!” I said, confused. “…..Hi?”

Damian sighed. “Come on out, everybody!” he said.

Seemingly all of my friends and family emerged from behind every bookshelf in the store. “Hi…” I said, still confused. My birthday and come and gone…what the –

“OH!!” I shrieked, and covered my face with my hands. Everybody started laughing. When I finally was able to take my hands away from my beet-red face, Damian was on one knee.

“The first thing I ever said to you, was ‘can I help you,’” he said, “And I’ve been helping you ever since, and I want to keep helping you for the rest of our lives.”

We got married in 10/7/07 – our second anniversary’s coming up. ^_^

41 the misfit October 22, 2009 at 12:07 pm

I always thought there was one and only one classic proposal (for everyone to whom it applies), and yet I saw it in none of the suggestions and none of the comments! So I’m commenting to add it. My husband proposed to me in a church – the one where I had received my First Communion and First Penance when I was six, and where each of us had attended separately before we even met, and where he knew I would want to be married (we were married there a few months later). Must be a good half my friends proposed in churches. I’m actually always surprised by the people who didn’t. If you subscribe to the view that God will be an inseparable part of your marriage (which obviously we do), I don’t understand how a proposal in a jewelry store or some skywriting thing will ever measure up. To each his own, of course, and I would never tell some other gal her proposal was sub-par. My husband didn’t have any specially fancy way to ask, but I wouldn’t have changed a single detail.

42 Benj April 25, 2010 at 9:59 pm

I have asked her father, he said yes, got the ring, and I am ready… So this friday is the day i am doing it. We are both coming to the end of our bachelor degree’s in Drama and Theatre teaching, and are putting on a performance, This friday, at our technical rehearsal I have pre-rigged spotlights and a projection of a star sky. Theatrical, given, but hopefully romantic and unique to something we share… Now lets hope she says yes!

43 Deirdre May 2, 2010 at 1:53 am

I love most of these ideas but could not agree more with Mabel about the overnight proposal: don’t do it unless you’re SURE she’ll love it! As poor Happycat’s story illustrates, a minimally-planned proposal can make your lady feel minimally cared-for. This is especially true if she is a planner by nature. Also, I like that your suggestions try to preserve the element of surprise a bit. It’s illustrative of how a great relationship should be, in fact: if the only time you *ever* have a proposal-worthy evening is the evening on which you actually propose, you should probably be putting a wee bit more work into having those evenings, which will make her feel loved (so she will make you feel loved!).

44 benj May 5, 2010 at 10:16 am

we’re all good. she said yes

45 Ryan Bob June 14, 2010 at 9:52 pm

I helped out a fraternity brother with his proposal. I was a pledge at the time what he did was told her they were going out on a special date where she should dress up then some other brothers rode up in a limo fake kidnapped her i.e. blindfolded her and took her to the university church.

We had set up a slide show he made of pictures of them throughout their relationship. I was in charge of the spotlight which was to be on him while he played their song on the guitar. Then he ended by popping the question. She said yes and they rode off in the limo.

She seemed to like it.

46 i wish June 16, 2010 at 4:39 pm

I feel the same as happycat. I always feel jipped by my husbands drunken proposal. No planning, no ring (to this day.. married and almost 2 years later.) He didn’t ask my dad either, which he knew was important to me. I never thought I was the romantic type, but every girl likes to feel special.

I try and convince myself that those things don’t matter, that he really loves me and materialism shouldn’t take the place of love. But if you really love a woman, shouldn’t you take the time and effort to make that moment special? Wasn’t I worth it?

Sometimes I don’t know why I said yes to any of it.

47 Abby July 5, 2010 at 2:33 am

@I wish:

Why did you settle then? I do have to agree that every woman should be made to feel special by her man at all times. Even by just a meanful look that he gives her. As women, whether admittedly or not, we fantasize from an early age about our wedding and our engagement (some go a bit overboard with it, and others just randomly dream of what it will be like). It is just in our nature to want a guy to take the time to think about us and how we would want to be proposed to. You don’t have to be a hopeless romantic to want these things. Just know that it is never too late to have romance in your marraige, and worry not, because to be romantic does not necessarily mean to be materialistic. My adivce to you is to talk with him on a mature level about your feelings and desires. In a marraige you should both feel that you can freely discuss these things. If you are having trouble with opening up to one another, try marraige counseling, or suggesting this website to him in a kind manner. Some men are either misinformed or uninformed on their responsibilties and duties as a man and as a husband. I truly hope that things turn around for you, and that you and your husband are able to find joy together.

48 Abby July 5, 2010 at 3:20 am

Something I forgot to add. A good thing to remember is that a person cannot go backwards to who they once were, but they can always move forwards when it comes to the concept of changing, aka maturity. It get better, I promise! :)

49 Chris July 8, 2010 at 11:44 am

I’m only planning to propose twice in my life, and twice because my ex fiance left me because I joined the Military…
My First proposal was totally unexpected, We were visiting her Aunt and it began to get late, so I was going to take her home, she took the keys and I let her drive, while she was backing out of the driveway I had gotten alot of the Taco Bell Packets saying “Will You Marry Me” and gave her each one stating why I loved her and describing my version of each intimate moment we spent together from complete memory then while in the car, and not quite in my seat belt I got on one knee on my floorboard and asked her to marry me.. She had this teary glaze in her eyes and after a moment she just lurched forward and kissed me then said yes. that was the most difficult drive she has ever had she couldnt keep her eyes on the road afterward always wanting to gaze into my eyes… IT WAS AWESOME!!… I decided on the Taco Bell thing because, It was our thing, growing up, with us, our friends, and such…

Now the Second one I’m still debating on. With this one I already have 4 kids, 2 biological, I still want to make it awesome as hell and deffo memorable.. Next month we are taking a flight back to Texas for a couple of Days, and I think during that time would be the best time to do it. Now, I’m trying to either wait until we get there, OR do an inflight my version, my written material mock up of The Wedding Singer… Its not one of common methods, but I would like the opinion of everyone here…

50 YgorDon July 12, 2010 at 4:02 am

This is how I proposed yesterday :) I was thinking a lot about how would I like to do a proposal, I also read all of this interesting tips.. But this is what I thougt was best for the two of us.

After waking up together in the morning I pulled out my guitar and played to her a few verses of a song that we both like, our romantic song. She liked that soooo much! Then I pulled out a big bouque of red roses, got my ring ready and knealed down in front of her, still sitting on a bed.., asked the question. At first she was quite confused, could not believed what was happening, I had really surprised her and she was still sleepy. But she said YES!

We then went to the balcony, brought the table and chairs there. It was early in the morning, and a beautiful summer day was in the making. There were only the two of us and birds singing. I then brought out the food (breakfast), that I had already prepared yesterday and poured ourselves a glass of strawberry champagne. We then had a short prayer, blessing this situation, food and ourselves, made a toast. We were both so happy and enyoyed the peacefull morning.

I think it was the right kind of proposal for us. It was simple, what we booth like, but still very romantic. I also wanted to do something so nice which she would never forget!

** And here is one more tip. Guys, learn to play the guitar or sometnihg.. really! It is so good to know something like that and then use it in such situations. Women just love it!

51 Andrew July 13, 2010 at 10:36 am

My fiancee is from Brazil, and we’ve known each other for over 3 years (we met in grad school). When we started dating, things clicked, and within a few months we discussion the logistics of us being from different countries and being married. Well, her visa for grad school ran out after she graduated, and had to go to Brazil. When I had to leave her in that airport, I knew for sure that I couldn’t be without her.

So, we started compiling information to go forward with a fiancee visa petition, even though she was still in Brazil. That summer, I went to visit her for a few weeks, and I brought a copy of the binder that we sent into the US government as proof of our relationship for the visa. After about 2 weeks, I finally got to take her out to a nice restaurant (we didn’t have the luxury of having our 1st meeting place proposal, since I had never been there–and the weather was very rainy for weeks on end). I brought the binder to the restaurant, because she hadn’t actually seen it completed. In the binder was the story of our relationship–our emails, message, even phone bills that showed how much we talked since we’ve been dating… And also a picture of the ring, but I turned in backwards. And when we got to the page with the backward picture of the ring, I said, “Why is this picture backwards?”

I pulled it out, and showed it to her, and her eyes lit up. As she was admiring it, I stood up, pulled out the ring, and knelt down and said “It looks much better in person.” Then, I told her how much I loved her and wanted to have the honor of spending the rest of my life with her. She loved it so much! It was somewhat cliche with the restaurant, but because of the weather, there were only a few people, and it was very intimate. Also, the binder was very personal as well because it represented not only our relationship’s history, but also its future, as we are petitioning a visa to be able to get married. I love her so much!

Best of luck to all you out there!

52 Britany September 27, 2012 at 9:31 am

My husband and I love the outdoors and are originally from Indiana but lived in Arkansas for a few years. While living there, his parents, sister, and her boyfriend came to visit for his birthday weekend. His sister and her boyfriend are outdoorsy as well so we decided to drive a few hours to Petit Jean State Park and spend the day hiking. While at the top of Petit Jean Mountain, overlooking the gorgeous Arkansas River and valley, his sister told us this story she had just read on a plaque about how the mountain and park got it’s name. Apparently, there was a young couple in France that was torn apart when the gentleman was sent to explore The New World. She begged him to marry her before he left so she could go with him but he knew The New World wasn’t safe for her so he refused. Not being able to bare thought of being without her love, she dressed up as a boy and snuck onto his ship as part of the crew going by the name Little John (Petit Jean in French). She lived and worked amongst them, and her love, for several months and they set up camp at the base of a mountain. She eventually became deathly ill and it was only after being checked by a doctor did they learn who she really was. She eventually died and they carried her all the way to the top of mountain so she could be buried with honor. After his sister finished telling the story I turned to my now husband and asked if he would’ve married me so I could go to The New World with him and he said of course he would. I rolled my eyes and jokingly said, “Oh right. You won’t even marry me now.” At that point he got down on one knee and pulled the ring out of his pocket. Luckily his sister was quick acting and got pictures of the whole thing. Apparently he had been carrying the ring around for weeks just waiting for the right moment. It wasn’t planned, and even though I knew he had the ring, it was a complete surprise. It was absolutely perfect and even though it’s kind of a long story to tell, I’ll proud to tell it over and over again for the rest of my life!

53 Tina December 14, 2012 at 7:39 pm

I think that showing thought in your proposal is very important, and that the date doesn’t matter as much as the way you do it. The most important thing though is to make sure to get her a ring that she’ll be proud to wear. My proposal was sweet but all but ruined when it was upstaged by this large gaudy ring that my fiance’ gave me. We got married, I got a new ring, and I still cringe when I think about our proposal.

54 Mike Hignite January 4, 2013 at 3:41 pm

It is important to lie when you propose.

We had done our homework and both of us realized that we were moving toward marriage. I had already asked her dad. But to make it a surprise, I led her to believe that it would happen in a month at her parents house at Easter by asking somewhat pointed questions. Then I surprised her by proposing at the lovely Dow Gardens next to the Frank Lloyd Wright sprite statute.

The first words she said after “Yes!” were, “but you lied to me!”

That was 26 years ago. I’ve been lying when appropriate ever since.

55 Lawrence G March 9, 2013 at 11:11 am

I asked my girl to marry me last weekend after a year of courting and boy was it a load off my heart! I came to this here thread and read & reread the post & the comments so many times and I want to tell you all thank so much.
What I learnt from the whole experience? Put thought, careful thought into the whole event;trust me, she will appreciate the care you put in more than you expect

56 Jenny April 24, 2013 at 6:22 am

I’m in a second relationship after the end of a long marriage. My first husband and I ‘discussed’ marriage and decided together…we were already living together and we knew how much pleasure a wedding would give our somewhat traditional families. We were together 22 years, so we did okay.

But, this time, I want a romantic proposal, not a discussion. I’ve been with this guy for almost two years and I want the surprise element and for him to go to some effort to make it special. Lately, I feel like he is testing the water in our conversations over the phone (we have a little distance between us) but I don’t want to talk about it over the phone, and I don’t want a ‘discussion’. At the same time, I don’t want to have to tell him that I want a more traditional proposal…kinda spoils it, having to ask. Sigh.

57 Daron September 15, 2013 at 9:01 pm

My fiance and I have been dating since last November, but we’ve known each other for about four years. We’ve talked about how much we love each other, and how great it would be to spend eternity together, but at the time there some roadblocks. She is LDS, and I wasn’t.
We’d been to see the missionaries a few times in April and May, unfortunately right before she moved out of state with her family. Unbeknownst to her, I had had a plan, I wanted to get baptized (not just for her, that would absolutely be the wrong move, and a terrible motivation. I’ve kinda been drawing closer to the church for a couple years. Most of my friends are LDS, including her.), but I was trying to wait for two of my best friends to get back from their missions. It looked like there would be a very short window of time for us to be all in the same place at the same time, the second friend was coming home just in time for the first one to go off to college, but then a couple things changed, and he came home early. I then had to convince my girlfriend to come back, under the pretense of visiting Daniel (the second friend, it was only partially a pretense), but she was dragging her feet, because she wasn’t sure he would want to see her (he’d had a bit of a thing for her before he left, so to come home to her dating me, he might not have been super happy. He was fine with it though, he’d already told me that he was happy for us). I told her that “of course he’ll want to see you”, but what was really going through my head was “I don’t care!!!”
Anyways, she came back (I had to drive 6 hours to go get her, and 6 hours back), and I surprised her with the fact that I had been seeing the missionaries without telling her, and that my baptism was scheduled for the next day. She didn’t believe me at first, then even after she did it took a while to sink in, but she was super happy for me. The next night, right after the baptism, I lingered behind with her, long enough for everyone to leave. I walked around the building, under the pretense of looking for an unlocked door to get back in for a drink of water (I actually kind of did have a bit of a scratchy throat), just to make sure we were alone. Then, when we’d come all the way back around to where we had started, I pulled the ring out of my pocket as I dropped to one knee. She was so surprised! Again!
By the way, the ring I proposed with was made out of wood, I carved it myself, out of the same hunk of wood I had used to carve an owl for her (inside joke; I say she is an owl). I am a big believer in making a proposal a delightful surprise, but also in working together to pick out a ring that she will love. That could be difficult to reconcile, though, so I came up with this idea. I used my wooden ring to propose (due to wood’s nature of not being as durable as metal, she generally wears it on a necklace we bought afterwards), and we are shopping for a permanent ring to be used from henceforth. She really loved the gesture, and being able to say that I made her ring with my own two hands is great.

58 Paul Capone December 18, 2013 at 8:11 am

First, i disagree with the V-day proposal. Never give the ring on a holiday or birthday. The ring is yours to give as a symbol of love, not a gift to her. It is your heart feelings and emotions that she is displaying in the form of a ring. Give it higher meaning than a gift.

Second, a silent proposal is a no-go. It takes away from the man asking will you marry me. A suprise is nice, but as a woman, a true lady to spend the rest of her life with yours is a question every man needs to ask and not take for granted.

Finally, Paris is dirty. Venice, Italy is the most romantic place. My plan, if I had the time and money is to learn a few phrases in Italian (which I have), tell the man on the Gondola boat to let me know where the most beautiful place is on the tour, and take our picture. I will then tell him that I will be proposing to her at that time and to keep taking pictures or record it. A beautiful background, romantic boat ride in the most romantic city.

59 Persephone January 2, 2014 at 8:12 pm

My husband, poor man, had a romantic proposal planned. And a plan B. And a plan C. Too bad he didn’t have a plan D! He picked out a beautiful ring, but had to get it sized. So the day it was due back in, He took me to my favorite restaurant. Too bad the ring wasn’t back yet. Then he took me to a Chinese tea house for a picnic. It still wasn’t back. Then he made me a wonderful candlelit dinner. Still not back! By the time he finally got it, he was out of ideas and proposed as I was falling asleep. Brave man, I told him that was the one way I DIDN’T want proposed, because my ex husband did that. This September will be 10 wonderful years, with a great lesson for my son: Propose FIRST! You can always size the ring later :)

60 Craig January 20, 2014 at 6:55 am


You know, I still cannot understand why people read stuff which do not interest them. They read articles which they know they’re not going to agree with and then bang – they comment something nasty.

A good article my friend. Best regards to you and your wife.

61 Monica February 16, 2014 at 8:28 pm

I can only say that I wish my fiancee had looked into this website before he proposed to me because he proposed to me at a Sonic Drive In (Not a well thought out place) just a few days after my grandfather passed away (not the best timing either), and I can’t help but feel it’s a precursor as to what our life will be like together? I wish he had put more time and thought into a memorable marriage proposal like my friends and cousins fiancees did.

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