The other day, I had a conversation with a young colleague about her brother’s impending proposal. My friend, it seems, was helping her brother step up the romance for this once-in-a-life-time occasion. As Heather and I discussed various options of his big day, the conversation prompted me to reflect upon the proposal stores of the couples with whom I have worked over the years. Where did grooms propose? Was it a surprise? Were there discernable trends among the proposals of marriage, among my terrific brides and grooms?
As I took a stroll down my own memory lane, it did seem that there were four or five general “types” of proposals that were familiar. A favorite (and, actually the idea used by my colleague’s brother) was to return to the location of the first meeting or first date, whether it was Central Park, Lincoln Center, or a romantic restaurant, among others. A few years ago, I did a sweet vow renewal for a lovely Canadian Couple Carmie and Bob. They had met in New York many years ago, and with Bob’s careful planning, they eventually came back to the Big Apple, where he asked for Carmie’s hand in marriage. The return to the romance’s beginning is certainly a tried and true option in “the Ask,” honoring the idea of the circle of life.
Another favorite spot for wedding proposals is right at home. I imagine several reasons for this. First, a scheming boyfriend can certainly throw his lady off the scent of the trail by going about the daily business of life, suddenly slipping in a proposal of marriage. I think this approach underscores what we all know about relationships—while there are spectacular, breathtaking moments that will be remembered for all time, it is the pleasures of daily living that make a partnership strong. An August groom Rick decided to serve Lauren breakfast in bed, with her very favorite coffee, one Saturday…..and that wasn’t the only thing on the breakfast tray! Likewise, my super-cosmopolitan groom Cameron orchestrated a proposal on the rooftop garden of the couple’s downtown apartment. (It ultimately turned out that rain and a mishap with the elevator and a jammed door required moving on to “Plan B,” but that just added to the charm of the story.)
Sometimes the proposal of marriage is organized around the old-fashion custom of asking a father for his blessing of the marriage, before asking for his daughter’s hand. Lee, an English groom of 2010, devised a special proposal in Australia, where his sweetheart Catherine grew up. Surrounded by her much-loved family members, under the New Year’s fireworks at the Sydney Opera House, Lee popped the question. All were thrilled, of course! Similarly, Ruston (a summer 2011 groom) planned to ask for his long-time love Kelley’s hand in marriage on a big family vacation cruise to Canada. Upon receiving her father’s blessing, Ruston swept Kelley off to a private spot under the moon and she agreed to be his wife. Later, they gathered for a big celebratory dinner.
The great outdoors and New York’s fantastic public gardens serve as the backdrop of many proposals. Countless grooms usher their ladies to some particular spot in Central Park to make “The ask,” be it the Bow Bridge, Boathouse, or Strawberry Fields, with the location generally attached to some past memory. In the re-telling of these stories, there are inevitably moving and humorous moments on each and every occasion. Ross, a Scottish groom of mine, asked for his bride’s hand at Wagner Cove, a romantic hidden spot in the middle portion of Central Park. As he was on holiday here from Scotland, he devised a meticulous, but complicated, plan for the proposal. One thing he had not expected, however, was dropping the ring in the pond! Good Samaritans that we Americans are, a large group of Natives formed a search party and recovered the jewel. (It is fun to note that Ross and Kimberley came back to Wagner Cove where they had their destination wedding, last month.)
My couple Yong and Kristin, whose wedding was just hours before Hurricane Irene landed, had a sweet park proposal. Yong brought Kristin to Madison Park, the spot of many dog walks with their Lab “Cooper.” The sneaky Yong had a friend deliver Cooper to the scene of the big event, at which time—in typical Lab fashion—the dog ran to his people sporting a special bow collar on which the engagement ring was tied. Turns out that the couple not only shared their engagement with Cooper, but he was “Best Dog” at their wedding, too!
For some, the proposal is designed around travel and adventure. Oren, an Israeli-born groom, took his All-American bride back home for the proposal. After ushering her to an historic site in Israeli history, he popped the question. Like ewise, a 2010 groom Robert developed a movie-worthy proposal in Paris. As the couple crossed the Pont du Nord, he proposed to Maria. The entire episode was caught on film as the detail oriented Robert saw fit to hire a photographer to wait on the other side of the Seine. Finally my military groom Law pulled off a proposal with a very high degree of difficulty, taking his honey on a helicopter ride (into protected air space over Washington, D.C. no less!) to ask Christine to be his wife.
These are just a few of the proposal stories of the scores of couples I have had the privilege to marry. And no matter what, each one is special and wonderful and perfect for that couple. For those prospective grooms seeking some inspiration, you might want to check out resources such as a book “World’s Greatest Proposals.” And for truly extraordinary ideas, consider hiring special event planners who have created a business specifically targeted at conjuring up and organizing extraordinary proposals of marriage. Once such planner is the Californian Jenifour Jones, who I married in a late evening ceremony at the Belvedere Castle. Her company is called “Go Get It!” Perhaps such a planner was involved with the proposal featured in this viral video where a smitten groom rode the waves of love on the back of a dolphin, carrying an engagement ring in his pocket, of course.