Where to Pop the Question

By Jen Chaney
Washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Updated Thurday, January 30, 2003


    Engagements Pick the perfect spot to pop the question and she might not notice the carat size. (AP Photo)
You've gotten the ring and (you think) you've got the courage. It's time to pop the question. There's just one, minor detail: Where should you do it?

The question "Will you marry me?" is something that should be asked in an achingly romantic spot, say on a pristine white balcony overlooking the Aegean Sea, or, perhaps, in Rock Creek Park.

All right, so Washington, D.C., ain't the Greek Isles. Still, there are plenty of charming, special places in the area to ask your mate to commit to you forever. Here's our list, in no particular order, of the top places to propose in the Washington region.

At any of the monuments on the Mall: By day, the monuments on the National Mall are bustling historic tourist centers. But as the sun sets, they transform into softly lit, hushed places of beauty, among the most romantic places in D.C. or anywhere in the country. In other words, they make perfect spots for a proposal. With its view of the Reflecting Pool, the Lincoln Memorial may be the most popular. But also consider the oft-forgotten (and possibly more secluded) Jefferson and FDR memorials.

Great Falls: If your significant other loves the great outdoors, or even if he or she doesn't, Great Falls makes a scenic and lovely place to propose. Whether you're on the Maryland or Virginia side, you should be able to find a natural, private nook to make your pre-engagement speech. Just be careful if you get anywhere near the rocks. Falling into the Potomac would kinda spoil the mood.

The U.S. Capitol: The Capitol is normally associated with lobbyists and legislating; but in fact, it's architectural awesomeness can inspire more sublime feelings. If you're a Hill staffer with an ID, perhaps you can sneak over when the tourists aren't around. To be really cool, use the echo effect in Statuary Hall to pop the question. Whisper "will you marry me?" from far across the room and watch her face as the sound bounces in her direction.

Meadowlark Gardens: Many couples choose this as their wedding spot and it's no secret why: There are 95 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds here, including flowers, trees, lakes and picturesque gazebos. Anywhere you get down on your knee here will be glorious; just be careful of grass stains.

The chapel at the University of Maryland: If you're both University of Maryland alums or have a soft spot for Juan Dixon, it makes sense to propose on the College Park campus. Perhaps the prettiest place in CP is the area surrounding the campus's memorial chapel; ask for his hand (hey, women can propose, too, you know), then hurry up and book the chapel for the wedding because it fills quickly.

The boardwalk outside the Torpedo Factory Arts Center in Alexandria: Sit together on one of the wooden benches and look at the reflections of Old Town's twinkling lights on the Potomac. You'll be spouting a perfectly poetic proposal in no time.

Anywhere in Rock Creek Park: If you and your almost-fiance are always on the run, you're probably familiar with the trails that wind through Rock Creek Park. You also probably know that many spots along the way are very peaceful, private and, yes, proposal-material.

Woodend: Whether you're bird-lovers or not, the Woodend sanctuary at the Audubon Society headquarters in Chevy Chase is picture-perfect and open to the public during most daylight hours. In the grove near the mansion or elsewhere amid the 40 acres, you can profess your love and prove that a diamond really is forever. This is also a very popular wedding spot, so make sure your proposal doesn't disrupt someone else's walk down the aisle.

Hains Point/The Awakening Statue: Add the sound of zooming planes overhead to the sight of a massive statue bursting from the earth and what have you got? A pretty unique place to start your future as husband and wife. If you execute your engagement plan near the Awakening, you can even work it into your proposal: "The day I met you, it was like I had a sudden awakening . . . ." Just do yourself a favor: Wait until after the last plane has flown over before you start your speech. There's nothing romantic about hearing the question you've waited for your whole life popped like this: "SO, WILL YOU MARRY ME?!"

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