There were tales of surprises, and of thwarted plans. Of bold gestures, and of quiet moments. Of romance on every level from the silly to the sublime. We received dozens of responses when we asked readers to share their proposal stories. Every one was different. But the ending for all of them was the same: The answer was always "yes."
My boyfriend, Peter, and I decided to get out of D.C. for the madness of inauguration week, so we planned a quick trip to Paris. On inauguration day, we made our way to the Eiffel Tower. The view from the top was spectacular, and as the sun had just set, we saw Paris truly transform into the "city of lights." We made our way back down to the first viewing platform where there was a bar made of ice and covered with snow as part of a "Winter Magic" display. We were standing by the snow bar, and just for fun I drew a heart in the snow and put our initials in it. Next to it, Peter wrote "Marry me?" and pulled out a diamond ring. I wrote "OK." So the end of the Bush era and the beginning of the Obama era also coincides with a new stage of life for us.
-- Kathy Cooke
Scrabulous will always have a place in my heart. Justin and I played the Facebook game off and on. He usually won, but I can get pretty competitive. On Halloween in 2007, he convinced me to play for a few minutes before dinner. For once I was ahead, and feeling pretty cocky about it. When Justin put down the word "ME" for zero points, I mocked him. "That is just not sound Scrabulous playing -- there are lots of better moves. I mean, really, I'm kicking your butt," I teased.
He told me to look at it again -- the "ME" was attached to the "M" in "MARRY." I thought he was just being cute until he produced a ring, at which point I burst out laughing. "Yes!" I told him. "And I'm really sorry I made fun of you." I learned later he had been hoarding his letters until he got just the right tiles.
-- Elizabeth Leis-Newman
We were on an early-morning Southwest Airlines flight to Tampa, my hometown, for a friend's wedding. All I wanted to do was sleep. But Alex kept waking me up. "If you're going to make me get up, you'll have to entertain me," I told him.
"I think I can do that," he said, pulling out a ring box. "Will you marry me?"
As soon as I said yes, the flight attendants started snapping photos - Alex had tipped them off before the proposal -- and the pilot announced our engagement over the intercom, which drew applause and congratulations from the rows of passengers.
-- La Tosha Lewis
Rob and I were vacationing on St. Croix. One afternoon, we went scuba diving and explored the reef life under 30 feet of crystal-clear water. He gestured me over to look at a coral, but as I looked closer, I noticed he was holding a diamond ring. My first reaction was, "Wow, he found a diamond ring -- vacation paid for!" It took me about 30 seconds to realize what was happening. He got down on one knee in the sand next to the coral, touched his heart and put the ring on my finger.
The ring he had brought for the underwater proposal was a fake; as I was admiring it, he was tried to explain that it wasn't real - not an easy thing to explain through diver sign language. Later that day on the beach, he proposed a second time, with the real deal.-- Lindsay Byrne
When I was little, my mother used to tell me tall tales. She convinced me that the small yellow butterflies that dotted the Florida coast were actually fairies. Sometimes she would tell me that she had seen them earlier that morning in the backyard, and I would rush out to find some small present or trinket she had left behind for me. It was a magical childhood.
Twenty years later, I met David, a kind, tall, crinkly-eyed man with whom I shared everything , even the now-embarrassing fairy tales of my youth. One hot summer day, he surprised me with a trip to a butterfly house in Wheaton, Md. As I marveled at the colorful creatures, David said quietly, "Look hon, the fairies left you another present."
I turned around to find David on one knee with a glimmering diamond flower ring, the best kind of trinket for the girl who never suspected that she might have her own fairy tale ending.
-- Adian Miller
When David asked me to marry him, he had planned everything perfectly. He made a fire, put in our favorite CD and poured us glasses of Champagne. Together we sat looking at the fire, petting our dog and winding down from a phenomenally busy week. I had indulged in a "casual Friday" that day and was dressed down in a sweatshirt and jeans, a ponytail and an old pair of beloved boots.
As our song -- "You're My Home," by Billy Joel -- came on, I was feeling relaxed and decided to take off said boots. I unzipped them and twisted to pull them off -- without noticing that David had reached into his pocket and was taking out a velvet box.
He was just pulling it open as I turned around and blurted out "Sorry honey, my feet really stink!"
"That's OK," he said. "I want to share the rest of my life with you anyway."
It was perfect timing.
-- Lizabeth Wesely-Casella
Greg and I were both in our senior year of seminary and preparing to lead congregations in the search for the holy. We had been dating for seven months, and things were serious, but I wasn't expecting an engagement anytime soon. So when Greg got down on one knee, my first reaction was to cover my face and exclaim "Holy [expletive]!"
It might not have been the most appropriate response from a soon-to-be pastor, but I quickly recovered with a resounding "Yes" and tackled him to the ground.
-- Heidi Grube Bolt
We took our first big vacation as a couple to Puerto Rico in July 2007. There were plenty of opportunities to pop the question: gorgeous beaches, lush mountaintops, dinner in Old San Juan.
No, no, not my boy.
It wasn't until the night we got home from the trip, as we were eating takeout and watching TLC's "Rock the Reception," that he asked, "What's your timeline for this?" I told him within a year would be nice. His response: "Let's just do it!"
He didn't get me a ring, but got me an electrical system upgrade instead.
-- Anna Milefsky
Three years ago, I shared a tale of woe with [The Washington Post's now-defunct Sunday Source section] for a story about disastrous dates. Coming home the night after that nightmare meet-up, I sat on the couch and wondered if I'd ever meet a normal guy. But as some kind of karmic retribution, I met Corey the very next day.
We'd been dating for more than two years last August when my parents invited us to join them for a vacation at Deep Creek Lake in Maryland. Corey proposed on the dock under a full moon, which was appropriately romantic, but after I accepted, he said he had yet to ask my parents for their blessing. We returned to the house to find my dad snoring on the couch and my mother nursing a black eye, newly acquired when she slipped on an area rug and hit her face on a side table.
It was definitely a scene: My dad groggy and half-asleep, my mom temporarily blinded in one eye, Corey nervous and me giddy. Under the circumstances, he was afraid they might say no, but I was confident they would be overjoyed. And they were.
-- M.J. Prest
CREDITS: Compiled by Amanda McGrath -- washingtonpost.com; Photos courtesy of readers.