In times when the very institution of marriage is under threat, every proposal has a special meaning. It is a testimony to the feeling that there is something stronger than a live-in relationship or a civil partnership that can bring a couple closer. No wonder then that men – and sometimes women too – are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to propose marriage to their beloved. Here are 10 unusual real life marriage proposals that are sure to serve as inspirations if you are planning to pop the question yourself.
- Lip-dub your love
What more romantic way to propose than to lip-sync to the words of a popular pop song? This is exactly what Isaac of Portland Oregon1, did as he roped in his family and friends to propose marriage to his girlfriend Amy. One morning in May 2012 Isaac told Amy to meet him at his parent's house. When she arrived he had stationed his brother to sit her on the back of a Honda CRV with some headphones on. And then to the sound of Bruno Mars' 'Marry You', Amy was then serenaded by Isaac as well as his friends and family as her car moved slowly along the street. As the song finished, Isaac, emerged through a tunnel of people, got down on his knee and asked Amy for her hand in marriage. Left breathless and blushing by all the outpouring of affection, she said yes and then the couple embraced to great applause. However Isaac’s success didn’t end there. Two days after asking his girlfriend to marry him, Isaac posted it online and immediately the 5 minutes 53 seconds long video became the talk of the web. After racking up several thousand views in just a few hours, 'Isaac's Live Lip-Dub Proposal' emerged as a global hot topic on Twitter with many calling it "the best proposal ever". The video ended with the following message from Isaac: "To the 60+ friends and family who helped me put this together: Thank you. You'll never know the extent of my gratitude. And to my sweet pea. Thanks for saying yes."
- Paint your proposal
In June 2012, Drew Henkels of New York painted a message proposing to his girlfriend on the hoarding overlooking the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway2. The message which read - "Will u marry me Chelsea Mose?" – provided drivers with a much-appreciated change in scenery along the unromantic expressway near the Flushing Avenue exit. When Mose got home from work, he walked her over to see his handiwork. He then got down on his knee, pulled out the right and pointed at the billboard. However when she met his gesture with silence, his heart sank for a moment but Mose quickly relented and there were cheers all around.
28-year-old Henkels met his sweetheart a year ago in Perth in her native Australia, where he was on tour playing in a band. The couple exchanged old-fashioned letters for four months before she came to visit him in November, and after she moved into his Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment in April, he decided to marry her.
- Zero-Gravity Plunge
Graciela Asturias, a 27-year-old architect from Manhattan, got a rather unique birthday present when her boyfriend proposed to her a thousand feet above the ground while floating in an airplane cabin. When the couple boarded the Boeing 727 aircraft she thought it was her birthday present from her boyfriend but little did she know that this aircraft was specially designed to create the experience of microgravity during four-five minute plunges as it would fly up and down between 24,000 and 35,000 feet, allowing the passengers to experience a near zero gravity effect. While Alex and Graciela were floating in the cabin, Alex popped the question. Alex was a bit worried that while in zero gravity, the ring might float away but luckily everything worked out. Graciela not only had an extraordinary birthday but received a truly unusual marriage proposal. Incidentally, the couple plan on spending their tenth wedding anniversary in the orbit.
- Love sets you on fire – literally
With the aid of a well-known stunt man Eric Barkley, Todd Grannis devised a plan to not only entertain family and friends at their annual 4th of July family reunion but to also propose to his girlfriend Malissa. Barkley who's done many human-torch fire jumps himself, helped Todd set up a stunt to launch himself off a platform above a swimming pool while being completely engulfed in flames. Eric lit Todd's cape on fire and seconds later he became complete engulfed in gasoline induced flames. Todd ran off the platform, soared through the air against the night sky and landed in the pool, extinguishing himself from the fiery blaze. As he surfaced and pulled off his hood, Todd walked over to Malissa, got down on one knee and proposed. Already overwhelmed with the daring stunt, Malissa was faint with happiness at the ring and said yes.
- Sky is the limit
If you wish to make your marriage proposal truly memorable then, the sky is the limit. Mateo Martinez took the idea to heart when he decided on popping the question to his girlfriend on a sky-diving attempt3. So at 20,000 feet just as he and his girlfriend were about to dive out of the aircraft, Martinez asked his beloved to marry him – a proposal really heart-stopping and in more ways than one.
- Performance Pays
Andrew Gleason had been dating his girlfriend Andrea Wightwick and was ready to take their relationship to the next level. So he rented out a theatre and filled it with all of their friends. He arranged for the theater troupe to get them up on stage and act in their skit. Then, in the middle of it all, Gleason broke character and asked Wightwick to marry him.
- Go on air
For a proposal that would not only impress a girlfriend but be applauded by thousands of viewers across the country, a sure-fire way is to get it on a popular talk show. And this is exactly what Steve Rapetto did by grabbing the microphone from Sam Champion and declaring his love for girlfriend Camilla. Rapetto and Camilla Degody were high school sweethearts and had come to New York for their anniversary. They waited in Time Square in the cold for hours, but all the while Rapetto was planning something special. So when he went on the show, Rapetto grabbed the opportunity and asked his my girlfriend of eight years to marry him.
- Hack into her heart
This is one wedding proposal idea that even the most shy and geeky boyfriend would not mind exploring. Bernie Peng, 26, of New Jersey, proposed to his girlfriend Tammy Li, 27 by hacking into her favourite online game. To do this, Peng reprogrammed Bejeweled so that a ring and a proposal would pop up when she reached a certain score. Peng, who works as a programmer of financial software, spent about a month reprogramming the game. He presented the game to a surprised Li, who played until she hit the score that triggered a digital pink sapphire ring to drop down with Peng's proposal.
The story was picked up by video gaming sites and spread across the internet until the manufacturer eventually heard about it. Instead of being angry that Peng had hacked into their game, company officials were so impressed that apparently they even offered to pay for part of the wedding.
- Say it with umbrellas
You may have been told that flowers can always be counted upon to melt a woman’s heart, but umbrellas – surely not ! Apparently Sean Palmgren of Minneapolis, Minnesota had other ideas. As part of his wacky proposal, Sean first got his friends and family to carry umbrellas in a park. What he had done was to paint a letter on each umbrella. He then convinced his girlfriend Betsy to take a walk in the park. After rambling around a bit, they proceeded to walk towards a line of people all holding an umbrella right above their heads. This got Betsy very intrigued on what was going on and she wanted to take a closer look. About 100 feet away, upon a cue, everyone flipped their umbrella over to spell out, “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” at first Betsey thought someone else was getting engaged, but when she saw Sean on his knee, she knew the proposal was for her and said Yes. In fact so romantic was Sean’s proposal that it was declared the winner of winner of the first ''Platinum Marriage Proposal Story'' contest, jointly sponsored by Platinum Guild International, the worldwide marketing arm for Platinum jewelry, and GroomGroove.com, the leading engagement and wedding web site for men. As a reward, the couple won two platinum wedding bands courtesy of Novell Studios.
- Get a star to do it
Finally what proposal can be more convincing than one which ropes in a Hollywood star to do it? In 2004, Tom Cruise appeared on Portuguese television to ask a woman named Sonia to marry her boyfriend, Joao Martins4. Martins was actually a cameraman and had filmed the actor at the Spanish premiere of The Last Samurai. Once Cruise was told that Martins was planning to pop the question, the star agreed to lend a hand. In a clip shown on state channel RTP, Cruise said: "Sonia, you have to marry Joao. Please marry Joao. He is crying behind the camera." His girlfriend accepted the proposal. Martins, who works for RTP, was on the phone to his girlfriend when the marriage proposal was aired. Cruise also joked in the footage they should name their children after him.
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- US man paints marriage proposal on billboard
- ABC Good Morning America - Extreme Proposals: Will You Marry Me at 20,000 Feet?
- Breakingnews.ie - Cruise on TV to ask woman to marry her boyfriend