These stories from readers are all about falling in love, and just might inspire some others to pop the question.
Nothing is more romantic than a good proposal story. Whether it’s so over the top, deserves to be in a romantic comedy or is a subtle surprise, you’ll never forget the day you got engaged.
With all the love in the air this month, we asked readers to share their proposal stories. Some are extravagant, some simple and some just plain sweet, but all are worthy of swooning over. They might even inspire you to pop the question.
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My wife, Grace, and I had a long-distance relationship. We met in October 2012 and immediately fell in love. We set a wedding date for March 2013 even before I formally proposed to her. Everyone was so happy for Grace, but she didn’t have a ring.
During one of our many conversations, we started joking that I should send a ring by UPS and have the UPS driver propose for me so that she can get her ring faster. We laughed at such silliness, but I also realized how much she really wanted a ring.
So, one day, I flew down to LA to propose to Grace. But I didn’t take a ring. Instead, I sent it by UPS. On the day of delivery, I waited at the entrance to her cul-de-sac. When I saw the UPS truck, I jumped out into the middle of the street. I got into the truck with the surprised driver and told him our story. And I asked him, “Can you propose for me?” And he said, “Yes!” Then I told him exactly what to do. The UPS driver knocked on Grace’s door while I hid. When Grace opened the door, the UPS driver got down on one knee, extended his arm toward Grace with the UPS box in his hands, and said, “Grace, David loves you. Will you marry him?” Grace was shocked. Then I walked up to Grace, got down on my knees and proposed to her. And she said, “Yes!”
— David and Grace Kim, Bellevue
Leap of faith
Kaytlin and I took a giant leap of faith in the spring of 2013. We’d been dating for a little over a year and both found ourselves ready for something new. Throwing caution to the wind, we moved to Alaska to spend a summer driving tour buses. Using the money we stockpiled while working 70-hour weeks, we set off that fall on the trip of a lifetime — backpacking through Asia for seven months with little-to-no set itinerary.
I knew from the beginning that this experience would end one of two ways — never speaking to each other again, or married. I purchased a simple ring from a kind Burmese family and carried it with me up to Thorong La Pass, the highest point of Nepal’s famed Annapurna Circuit hike at 17,769-feet elevation. We set out at 4 a.m. to cross the pass, sick from altitude, having not showered for a week and taking every breath as if it were our last. At the top, I dropped to a knee and asked “Will you marry me?” in the languages of all five countries we had visited to that point. Cambodian and Hindi not being my native tongue, she first thought I was having a brain aneurysm from the elevation. She said “yes,” and we married 15 months later among friends and family underneath the shadow of the Space Needle. Each day is another leap of faith, but I never think twice before jumping.
— Caleb Heeringa and Kaytlin McIntyre, Seattle
A message in a bottle
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On Oct. 5, 1982, my then-boyfriend, Steve, and I had a lovely Italian dinner, then went to a waterfront park on Lake Washington for a stroll. After a nice moonlight walk, we sat down on a bench along the shore. Steve playfully kicked some sand on my feet, so I kicked some back, and in doing so, my toe hit something hard in the sand. On closer inspection, I had hit a bottle buried in the sand. I dug it out, and to my great surprise, inside was a perfect hand-calligraphied note on parchment paper saying, “Dearest Gabrielle, Will you marry me? Love, Stephen.” Steve then ran to the trunk of his car and pulled out chilled Champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries — my favorite. Ten weeks later we were married, on a stormy December day, during which he promised to love me faithfully, in sickness and in health, all the days of my life. Little did we know on that happy day the storms of life that would eventually come. I’m on my third round of advanced ovarian cancer now, and my dearest husband has been by my side, loving and caring for me selflessly, for 34 years and counting. Yesterday, we saw “The King and I” at the Paramount Theatre, and tears of thankfulness came to my eyes when Anna told the young lovers not to cry for her, singing, “All of my memories are happy tonight. I had a love of my own.”
— Gabrielle and Steve Dudley, Shoreline
Practicality wrapped in a bit of romance
My longtime partner Richard and I had discussed the concept of marriage occasionally over the 15 years we’d been together, deciding to wait until same-sex marriage was legal at the federal level, for political reasons. After DOMA fell in 2013, I prepared two versions of our estimated federal tax returns for that year showing that if we were married, filing jointly, we could save about $2,000. I printed out the tax returns, put them inside the latest issue of a glossy bridal magazine, and topped it off with a big silver bow. How could he not say “yes”?
We were married in 2014 on the 16th anniversary of the day we originally met at a mutual friend’s wedding; and for full symmetry, that bride officiated our ceremony!
— John Carroll and Richard Liedle, Seattle
A coupon and a credit card
So we happened to be in Las Vegas at the Palace (Caesars Palace). We had been together like almost five years and never talked about “the future” as in marriage. In the hotel room, there were these local advertisements. The love of my life was flipping through them and found a coupon for a discount if you got married at the Circus (Circus Circus). She said — “Hey, want to get married? I’ve got a coupon and a credit card!” I said, “I can’t imagine life without you,” and so we cashed in the coupon and used her credit card … that was about 40 years ago. I tell everyone we stayed at the Palace and got married at the Circus … And she continues to amaze me and amuse me to this day.
— Tom and Sherry Spott, Seattle
For the love of puzzles
Joe and I love puzzles. From coding problems to board games, anything involving strategy and logic is our jam. He and I recently moved to Seattle. When we were in New York, we had done tons of those Escape Room events, where you have to solve a series of puzzles to get out of a room in an hour. A friend of mine in Seattle invited me to go to Epic Team Adventures, which is one of Seattle’s escape rooms. I asked her if Joe could come (not realizing he had actually planned it), and we were scheduled to go on New Year’s Eve.
We started the puzzle room, and it was high stress as we tried to solve all of the puzzles on time. Toward the end, the clues started becoming very specific to things I knew about, like solving a Rubik’s Cube, references to my favorite movies and books, that sort of thing. I was, just like the beginning of our relationship, very oblivious to what was happening. When I opened the last safe, there was a ring box in it. I opened it, thinking it was another clue, but then I turned around. Joe was kneeling there, and he asked me to marry him. It was the perfect prize at the end of the puzzle.
— Cassidy Williams and Joe Song, Seattle
David and Jacqui had talked about getting scuba certified ever since a nearly disastrous incident in Mexico where they ill-advisedly persuaded a scuba company that they had diving experience. … Shortly following their certification, David suggested that they plan their first trip as certified divers. Jacqui agreed and suggested that they dive at Alki Beach, a serendipitous suggestion, since David already had plans in place there for months.
The time came for the dive. It was a gorgeous, slightly chilly October day in Seattle. Despite being certified to dive on their own, they had their instructor meet them for the dive. As David had emphasized, their instructor had done the dive many times before and would know where to find the legendary Alki octopus.
Not all went as planned. Among the unforeseen events, David’s tank went “into the red” far quicker than anticipated because he was breathing so heavily out of nervousness. However, Jacqui obviously assumed the octopus was making an appearance when the instructor pointed at something behind her. When she turned back around, David was holding a sign that read, “Jacqui, will you marry me?” After screaming and inhaling a significant amount of saltwater, Jacqui utilized her recently acquired, certified skills to clear her mask and regulator. Once she nodded and gave David the “OK” symbol, he leaned down to his flipper and pulled out the gaudiest ring Jacqui has ever seen (a ladybug costume ring that would not be missed if accidentally lost on the ocean floor).
David would later get down on one knee to audibly propose surrounded by friends and family members, many of whom he had secretly gotten to fly out from the East Coast for the event.
— Jacqui Merrill and David Martin, Seattle
Just a coincidence?
This was not a very romantic proposal, but it had a magical ending 20 years later. My girlfriend quit her job in late 1987. A couple of weeks later, we were driving to a restaurant on Broadway for dinner and had the following conversation.
“Now that you have quit your job, you don’t have health insurance, right?”
“Maybe we should get married, and I can carry you on my insurance.”
“Did I just propose?”
“Did you accept?”
“Let’s go out and celebrate!”
We were married at the Admiral Viewpoint in West Seattle on Jan. 1, 1988, by the Rev. Zady Evans of the A-A Vagabond’s Enchanted Chapel. The Rev. Zady wrote us the shortest ceremony she ever performed.
“Do you want to be married to each other?”
On Jan. 1, 2008, the day of our 20th anniversary, The Seattle Times featured the Rev. Zady on the front page.
— Glenn and Diane Brooks, Seattle
Back to work with a diamond ring
This takes place in 1947. We both worked at Dahlgren-Massey, the largest grocery, meat department, soda fountain this side west of the Mississippi. He was a butcher. I worked in the soda fountain. During our 15-minute break, I went to the bathroom. When I came out he was standing there, and he said “sit down” (which was on 100-pound sacks of flour). He sat down on one also and said, “Will you marry me?” I went back to work with a diamond on my finger! The diamond was so small, he took it back two months later and got one a little bit bigger. We got to celebrate 50-and-a-half years of marriage. He passed in 1998.
— Lucille Schumsky and Raymond Allan, Auburn
A proposal in reverse
Back in the early 1960s, I begged Rebecca to marry me. Finally, with no positive response, I told her, “We are through.” Then during her trip with a friend, I realized how wrong I was. When she returned, I begged to see her. We met and I said, “I love you just the way you are! I will love you even if you don’t want to marry me. I want you to be free to do what you want to do. I want to be your friend. I just want to love you and I won’t pressure you to marry me again.”
A few days later, we were able to spend an evening together. I had been trying my hand at oil painting, and as we talked, I dabbed bits of paint, unskillfully, on the canvas as Rebecca watched. We talked about her trip to Vancouver with her friend Violet. There was a pause in our talk and she said, “I want to marry you, Jim.” I was stunned. It took a moment for her words to sink in. I began to giggle, and then I began to laugh like a lunatic. I danced around the room in ecstatic delight and wonder at the grace life bestows. I was receiving the exact gift I had hoped for. I took Rebecca in my arms and we kissed, one of those long, movie-ending kisses.
— Jim and Rebecca Teeters, Kent
Tyler put a tour of Redhook on my calendar a couple weeks in advance. His grad program was going, and he said I should bum along. Skipping out of work early on a Friday to go drink beer was exactly my idea of a good time, so I agreed. That Friday I got home and everything seemed normal. As we were walking outside Tyler said, “We’re not going to Woodinville! Date Night!” We’re both in grad school, and have opposite schedules, so I thought this really was just a date night. We arrived at the sculpture garden and walked around for a bit. The weather was perfect: sunny and crisp; the sun was setting along the Sound. When we walked up to the top of the gardens, Tyler took my hands in his and said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. He then pulled out a Fran’s chocolate box, got down on his knee, and presented two rings to me. He said, “Kelly Suzanne Worcester, will you marry me?” I giggled and said “yes!” and he put one of the rings on my finger. He stood back up and I put the other ring on his and he said, “You’re not getting down on one knee?” I laughed, and we kissed and hugged. We jumped in a cab and he took me over to Heartwood Provisions, and my parents greeted us with noisemakers when we walked through the door! Tyler FaceTimed my sister in London, and she was able to celebrate with us. More friends and family arrived to celebrate throughout the night. It was wonderful!
— Kelly Worcester and Tyler Dustin, Seattle
In the heat of argument
My girlfriend of about nine months and I were sitting around talking one nondescript fall day in 1977. During the course of our discussion we got into an argument, although neither of us has ever been able to remember the issue about which we disagreed. Regardless, while we were both silent, stewing, and stymied about what to say next, I thought to myself, “You know, I love this girl. And, if I love her even when I’m upset with her, we’ll do just fine.” So I broke the cold-stare, heated-emotion silence by asking, “Will you marry me?” She gleefully said, “Yes!” We kissed and hugged, forgot the argument, and were married three months later.
We just celebrated our 39th anniversary on Feb. 4. We have three happily married children, and six wonderful grandchildren — with a seventh on its way.
— Lee and Maribeth Williams, Bothell
Second time’s the charm
My husband had to propose twice. It was a beautiful sunny day in May 1986. We were in the rose garden of the Rodin museum in Paris. Very romantic.
My now husband proposed, only to have me answer, “Aren’t you going to get on bended knee?” Which he did, and asked again. This time I said, “Yes!” We celebrate our 30th anniversary on May 16 of this year.
— Fiona and Jim Jackson, Seattle
“Whose ring is that?”
Twelve years ago my husband and I took a week off from work. We decided to explore Idaho together. It was strange because my husband, our trip planner, wasn’t appearing to do any planning. The night before, I said, “Babe, are we prepared for this trip?” He said, “Sure, we’ll just wing it.” Super strange comment coming from an Excel-spread-sheet, left-brain kind of guy. So we went to bed, ready to hop in the car the next day. However, that didn’t happen. I remember the alarm going off and my husband was standing over me saying, “The cab will be here soon … pack your bags!” I said, “What? We are going to Idaho? Why do we need a cab and why are we going so early?” My husband said, “We’re not going to Idaho.” I said, “Where are we going?” He said, “Just pack for warm weather!” So I pack in a flurry, it’s dark outside, he’s giving me no hints and soon we arrive at the airport. At checkout, I finally understand that he is taking me on a surprise trip to Kauai. We get on the plane with a ton of other very happy people. So instead of backpacks and a tent, we rent snorkeling gear and a car and make our way around the island for the next week.
On the last day, near the very northern beach before Waimea, at Ke’e, we were blissfully swimming with the sea turtles in something out of a dream, and my husband comes up from the bottom of the ocean to show me something in his hand — it was a palm full of sand, and in it, a ring. It took me with such surprise — as we had been together for 10 years and had talked about getting married once he finished graduate school — that I actually asked him, “Whose ring is that?” I thought someone had lost it. I honestly had no idea he was proposing. After a few seconds, with the waves crashing around us, I began to understand that he was asking me to marry him.
— Laura and Harry Ray, Seattle
“Ugh … I hate golf!”
We had been dating three years in college, I was 20 and he was 21, and we were graduating the next year. … I was graduating from nursing school in San Antonio, Texas, and him from college in San Marcos, Texas. We were in different towns, but I had gone to visit him for the weekend. We drove out to a park near a river for fun … on the way, he said we should take up golf to do together. My response was ugh … I hate golf!
When we got to the park we were sitting on the picnic bench, and he pulled out this piece of paper and asked me to marry him. It was a layaway slip for a ring (he didn’t have the money to buy it outright). This was in July, and we picked the ring up in October. We drove to the first place we had kissed, for him to give me the ring … and the rest was magic!
— Peggy and Rob Sherlin, Kenmore
More than one kind of ring
As I waited for my boyfriend to get ready for our date, I noticed a coffee can more than half full of pennies on his bookshelf. I asked, “What are you saving all these pennies for?” “For rings,” he responded. “For rings,” I answered. “I thought you just finished putting new rings in your Pontiac engine last month.” “Not those kind of rings.” And he pointed to his wedding-ring finger and said, “These kind of rings.”
That was 52 years ago this coming August. I don’t think he saved just pennies, because we went ring shopping in late September, and he placed the engagement ring on my finger in October. I’ve worn it ever since, although for our 30-year anniversary he added an anniversary band with 10 diamonds, one for every three years of marriage. To this day, I don’t think he ever actually made me a formal proposal.
— Paula and John Karlberg, Lake Forest Park
The subject of marriage had never come up. In the spring of 1970, Ron and I drove down the coast toward the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We listened to the radio and talked about what Ron would do next. He said he was thinking about Montessori school, popular with the alternative set in the 1970s.
“I’ve got it,” he said. “We can start a school. You can be the administrator and I can be the teacher. You learn how to do it in England.” “Yeah, right,” I said. “We don’t have any money. How can we go to England?” “When you get married you get money.” Pause. “Wait,” I said. “Are you asking me to marry you?” “I think so,” he said. “It’s not very romantic,” I observed. We sailed down the highway, silent, for five or 10 minutes. “I can’t live without you,” he said. “Is that better?” “Yes,” I said. “And yes.”
—Jan and Ron Schwert, Seattle
An Estonian proposal
I was lucky enough to meet a beautiful woman last year who was born in Canada to Estonian immigrants. It was crazy to think of a long distance relationship much less an international one, but over last summer, we fell deeply in love. By the holidays, I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. We had never discussed marriage, but I knew she was the one. She grew up speaking only Estonian, and I thought it would be mean a lot to her to ask her to marry me in Estonian, but I had no idea how to do it. I Googled “Will you marry me?” in Estonian and was given “Kas sa abiellud minuga?” but I had no clue how to pronounce it. Luckily, I had met her cousin at her Aunt and Uncle’s 60th wedding anniversary. I called him up and he patiently walked me through the proper pronunciation. My love and I were up in Whistler this past Christmas and on Dec. 21 (the winter solstice when the days begin to get lighter), I got down on one knee in front of a roaring fire with ring in hand, a bottle of chilled champagne waiting, and I stumbled through my proposal. With tears in her eyes she said, “Yes.” Lucky for me as I had forgotten to ask my new cousin what “Yes” was in Estonian!
— Bob Mighell and Merike Lainevool, Snohomish
Bad hair day
I knew the exact date that I was going to get proposed to because my now-husband told me to reserve it. Even though I knew the date, I had no idea that it was happening until it started. I imagined getting engaged in the evening. We were set to have brunch with friends and all the friends were late. I got mad because he rushed me out of the house and I wasn’t able to finish doing my hair. I was getting engaged that day so my hair had to look good! He suggested we go take a walk at Madison Park Beach. I had to keep repeating, “I’m getting engaged today” in my head to calm down. We sat down on a bench and he said, “Well, I guess we’ll do this here.” This was the same place, but different bench, where we decided to make our relationship official. Ten years later, we still laugh about how ridiculously mad I got over my hair.
–Crystal and Kyle Okada, Seattle