27 Perfect Proposal Stories You Need to Read
Whether your own proposal is several years in the past, currently in the works, or a far-off daydream, reading about couples' engagements never gets old. The reason? Though you may not know the duo or their backstory, witnessing the pivotal, poignant moment when they decide to spend their lives together is as emotional as it gets. Beyond the emotional factor, it's hard not to feel connected to their stories—especially if your own love story is in the process of unfolding.
If you're in the thick of planning for one big day, it can be easy to lose sight of your relationship's trajectory—to lose all of the smaller moments that will (eventually) lead to your walk down the aisle. Let reading the following proposal anecdotes bring back the memories of your own engagement. Chances are, they'll put venue searching, wedding dress shopping, and menu tasting back in perspective: You're working towards the moment when you and the love of your life are tied to each other in every possible way. Everything else is just secondary.
Before we get into the proposal stories that launched the following couples' happily-ever-afters, we thought we'd give you a preview. Enter Valerie and Jorge, the couple featured here. After two years of journeying around the world together, Jorge knew that travel would play a part in his proposal. Their trip to St. Petersburg, Florida, presented the perfect moment. After an afternoon of exploring, Jorge walked Valerie up to an awning draped in vines and flowers and got down on one knee. To document every key moment, he enlisted the help of photographer Gabby Hall, who captured the couple's first day of being officially engaged (a noteworthy idea, if you're looking to have the moment professionally shot!).
Ahead, proposal stories that put the very best parts of this incredible milestone on display—tears, shock, utter joy, and all.
On what was supposed to be a casual date night, Nate and Randy—the couple connected on Instagram before dating long-distance for a year—made a brief stop at the NYLO Hotel in downtown Dallas for a happy hour cocktail. Distracted by the beautiful rooftop views, Nate had no idea that Randy had picked that exact backdrop (a surreal skyline!) to pop the question.
San Francisco Picnic
Over Labor Day weekend, Sam brought Bridget back to San Francisco to rediscover their former digs—they'd lived in the area earlier on in their relationship—and make one monumental memory. After taking a long walk in the city, then made their way to Baker Beach, where Sam ultimately proposed. Afterwards, they set up a little picnic to relax and celebrate the milestone.
A Family Effort
Cole sought out his girlfriend Sydney's sister, Lauren, to help him surprise the bride-to-be with a diamond. Under the guise that she was helping Lauren, a makeup artist, bolster her beauty portfolio, Sydney and Lauren made their way to the waterfront for headshots, with their photographer Courtney Bowlden (a friend of the family!) in tow. In the middle of the shoot, Lauren told her sister to look out over the water while Cole snuck up behind her. Their photographer snapped photos of the future groom holding the engagement ring—and then showed Sydney those images. "She didn't quite understand what was going on, but when she turned around she found Cole on his knee," she explained. "She was in utter shock and kept saying, 'But I have so many questions!'"
A trip back to the downtown Houston rooftop bar where they'd shared their first kiss turned into Edwin and Lillian's engagement. The bride-to-be was retelling her version of their initial date when her fiancé dropped down onto one knee. That wasn't the only surprise of the evening though—her family and friends arrived shortly after the proposal.
Mark enlisted the help of his proposal photographer to set a romantic scene for his wife-to-be, Marissa, after he whisked her away to an Airbnb in Colorado. "He had picture frames, an aisle of roses, and a stunning backdrop for his proposal," recalled Florentina Soare. "Since Marissa was still in the guest house getting ready, we came up with a signal for when it was time. I knew that when Mark tapped on his head, I was supposed to go up to the door and knock so that Marissa would come out. It all went as planned, and Marissa said yes!"
After Diandra booked a couples photoshoot in Venice with photographer Valeria D'Angelo, her now-fiancé Kevin sent the pro a message, noting that he wanted to use the session as a chance to propose. He worked with D'Angelo—she recommended the picturesque docks outside a local fish market, just three minutes from Rialto's Bridge—to map out the moment. "When he knelt down she started screaming!" added D'Angelo.
An Outdoor Adventure
For Maine dwellers Ben and Ryan, an adventurous, scenic proposal was always in the cards (they met at the L.L Bean in Freeport, a mecca for hikers!). Ben knew that their trip to Banff in Alberta, Canada, would provide the landscape—all he had to was ask his partner of five years to be with him forever, which he did when the duo hiked to Peyto Lake. Naturally, Ryan said yes.
After meeting on Instagram and dating for a year, Marcelo organized every detail of this secret proposal in Paris—without his fiancé, Danilo, suspecting anything at all.
Memories at a Memorial
Kelly was so blown away by her fiancé Tim's Jefferson Memorial proposal, that she didn't even know that a photographer had been snapping away the entire time.
High School Sweethearts
What was supposed to be a friendship photoshoot turned into the moment of Courtney's dreams, when her high school sweetheart, Jacob, unexpectedly appeared on campus. She was shocked—she nearly fell down the stairs!—but regained her composure when Jacob got down on one knee.
This future bride traveled to New Orleans under the guise that she and her boyfriend were celebrating her birthday. After an hour-long gondola ride through NOLA's City Park, they walked over to a shady spot, which had been prepared with all of the engagement essentials—romantic photos, flowers, and Champagne.
Emily and Riley's Mount Cannibal, Australia, hike almost didn't happen—Emily battled a nasty cold the week head of her now-fiancé's proposal, which put some pressure on her girlfriend. Emily could tell that Riley really wanted to hike, however, so she braved the climb up to the summit, where her future-wife told her she wanted to fly her drone. She got down on one knee instead, much to Emily's surprise.
"A few days before Phong proposed, Shianne happened to find the ring in his glove compartment," photographer Michael Yang recalled. "Unfortunately for Phong, this put him in a tough situation. How do you surprise someone who is already expecting the surprise?" You wake her up at 3 a.m., put her in a hair and makeup chair, gift her a new dress, drive her three hours away, coax her up a mountain, and then ask if you can love her forever—that's how.
With the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, Nav pulled out a poem he had written about his and Parveen's best memories, his love for her, and his hopes for their future—which, based on his stance, obviously involved marriage.
Under the Tuscan Sunset
In some ways, Jerice and Mallory were destined from the start—upon their first meeting, they realized they'd attended the same high school and even played on the same soccer team. Knowing that she wanted her and Jerice's paths to cross forever, Mallory proposed under a Tuscan sunset in the fields of a local vineyard.
Andy had Cheree thinking that their trip to Bali was an epic birthday present until the last possible moment. It wasn't until the end of a two-hour beach photoshoot (another "gift") when Cheree stumbled upon a lit-up gazebo, complete with flowers, a photo gallery, and a bouquet, that Andy revealed his true intentions. He opened up a calligraphy board that read "Cheree Will You Marry Me?" before dropping to one knee.
Behind the Walls
To pop the question, Jorge, a wedding DJ, surprised his girlfriend Nazia with what she thought was birthday photoshoot. After touring around the grounds of their picturesque Ontario venue, the couple made their way to the courtyard where their photographer asked them to stand back to back for an "experimental portrait idea"—which, of course, involved Jorge's proposal. After Nazia accepted, all of the duo's closest friends and family (they'd been waiting in the wings!) came out to congratulate the fiancés before hosting a group brunch.
Tova of Tova Photography explained how she ensured that Rodney's Miami Beach proposal to Milly came as a total shock: "I waited on a bench for them to walk by me and then followed them from a distance as they walked onto the pier overlooking the ocean. I was pretending to photograph the view when Milly approached me with her cell phone in hand, asking if I minded taking a photo of them. Little did she know that just minutes later I'd be photographing her proposal."
Marvin's cousin Tony and best friend Christelle served as the soundtrack to his and Tracy's engagement. The foursome was strolling along San Francisco's Baker Beach when Marvin took Tracy headed to a secluded spot. Tony and Christelle began singing a verse from Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling In Love" before switching over to a hum, which Tony took as his cue. After Tracy accepted, the singers sang one last verse: "Take my hand, take my whole life, too/For I can't help falling in love with you."
Marcus originally scouted the Eiffel Tower for his proposal site ("For the iconic photo everyone loves!"), but reconsidered when he saw photos of the Tuileries Garden on the grounds of the Louvre. It stood out to him for its architectural landscaping and museum backdrop—and knew his future fiancé, Indiara, would appreciate its beauty. The groom-to-be took his love out for an early photoshoot, which culminated in this picture-perfect moment.
Modern Love in Amsterdam
For Jeffery and Naomi, two New Yorkers who met on a dating app, cities hold a special place in their hearts: After all, they fell in love in one. Jeffrey knew that the duo's joint trip to one of Europe's greatest cities (Amsterdam!) could provide the ultimate moment to pop the question. "After a full day of exploring, including a walking tour, Dutch pancakes, a market trip in De Pijp, and a drink at De Tulp, we went back to our Airbnb to freshen up before dinner," he recalled. "On the way to the restaurant, we made a pit stop at Magere Burg (the Skinny Bridge!), to take a photo. Next thing you know, we're engaged!"
This duo got engaged in front of the iconic Hollywood sign, in Lake Hollywood Park in Los Angeles, when they met for a photographer for an impromptu shoot. After a few warm up shots, the photographer asked the bride-to-be to face away from her love—when she turned back around, he was down on one knee.
Susan Stigliano of Susan Marie Photography and her second shooter, Kelli Meiss, played major roles in Peter and Megan's engagement. Kelli actually had the ring in her pocket the whole time, and Susan essentially facilitated Peter's big moment. After positioning the couple back to back, Susan asked both parties to share what they love the most about the other—when Megan turned back around, she found Peter on one knee, ring box in hand.
As Adia entered the McCasland Sunken Gardens at the Dallas Arboretum, she noticed a man staring in her direction. "I thought that was a little odd, but as I got closer, I realized it was Carlos," the bride-to-be revealed. She couldn't figure out why he was there, though—she was spending the day was her sister. Neither her sister nor Carlos would answer her questions, but she soon got her answer when her boyfriend guided her to the center of the gardens and pulled out a little blue box. "I was beyond happy—it was the happiest moment of my life—and I said YES!"
For their fifth anniversary, Jaimie whisked Nelly away to Holbox, Mexico, where he worked with their hotel to plan a romantic proposal on the beach. The candle-lit moment happened at sunset, when Jaime led his future wife to their oceanside table before getting down on one knee. "She was so in shock that she couldn't speak," said photographer Emmanuel Diaz, of the moment. "She started crying and knelt to hug him before saying yes."