Relationships

The Real Proposal Story That Makes Me Cry

Jinx Marriage Proposals

As a chronic insomniac, I do my best to limit my nightly screen time. But I recently discovered one YouTube rabbit hole I can’t seem to climb out of…

Enter: simultaneous proposals.

The premise is simple. Two people, and in my viewing history, two women, are hanging out, at a zoo, let’s say. They go to pose for a picture when one of the women drops to her knees and pulls out a ring. Teary and stunned, the other woman doesn’t automatically say “Yes.” Instead, she goes into her purse, fishes out a ring, and ALSO proposes. And bam. Double the proposal, double the love.

From my screen-lit bed at 2 a.m., I can be seen sobbing wet, happy tears. Fellow weepy, romance schmoops, unite.

I’m not entirely sure where my affinity for jinx proposals came from. Perhaps I’m just a hopeless romantic whose heart melts at the sight of two people professing their love to each other. Maybe I’m utterly fascinated by the logistics of such an operation. Seriously, how can it be so perfectly unplanned? Do you carry a ring in your back pocket for months? (Is there a special tracking device you can keep on it? A Tile for diamonds? Because I’d definitely lose it.) Are you on such a freakishly similar wavelength as your partner that the desire to propose for both of you actually strikes at the exact same time?

Or maybe, it’s that I find comfort and joy in finally seeing myself portrayed in a narrative that has long been dominated by traditional, heteronormative stereotypes.

As a gay woman in a long-term relationship, I often get asked the age-old question, “BUT WHO WILL PROPOSE? Who’s the man?” And despite my initial facepalm, I can understand why people would wonder such a thing. For as long as I and, well, probably anyone can remember, it’s been an ingrained expectation that when two people want to get married, the man in the relationship will be the one to pop the question make the decision. But what happens if my own love story looks different?

My answer: WE’RE BOTH THE MAN. We’ll both propose.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not sure when I’ll get married. Maybe I’ll propose first, maybe not. Perhaps it won’t be spontaneous, at the same time, or grand at all. If anything though, isn’t it fun to consider all the possibilities?

This isn’t meant to be a veiled hint to my girlfriend that she should head to Catbird immediately and have a ring ready at any given moment. Nor is it to say that straight women have never proposed to their boyfriends before. Of course they have! Pinterest even suggests the trend is on the rise. But, the simultaneous proposal is a small, heartwarming way to challenge our perceptions of the way engagements are supposed to pan out and shift the paradigm to welcome all kinds of love into our cultural fabric.

So, for now, I’ll be the girl who stays up too late and dreams of jinxes.

Were you the one to propose to your partner? How did you do it? I’d love to hear.

P.S. A photo booth proposal, and 11 wedding dos and don’ts.

(Illustration by Kristen Solecki for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Mary says...

    We never had a proposal in the traditional sense! About two years ago my husband and I were sitting in bed and talking about the future. We decided we wanted to get married and planned it right then and there! We went and got our rings together (which we then would wear around the house before we got married) and made all the wedding decisions as a team. We’ve been married for over a year now and everything was exactly how we wanted it to be :)

  2. Cynthia Miller says...

    My now husband asked me to marry him very early on in our relationship. It wasn’t a romantic proposal, but it was meant. I said, “no,” because I wasn’t ready to marry him.
    About 8 years and 2 kids later, I woke up one day and said, “Let’s get married next month when my parents are in town.” So we did.

  3. chelsea says...

    I proposed to my husband with a graphic novel that I drew of our love story :) .

  4. Lisa says...

    I think technically my mother in law proposed. My husband and I had decided long before that we wanted to get married and I can’t remember exactly why or how it came about, but my in laws took us out for a lovely lunch at this place with incredible views and my mother in law said “is it true, have you decided to get married?” I said yes and we celebrated and spent the afternoon looking at wedding venues. My husband did actually do a romantic on the knee proposal a few months later, at sunset. It was wonderful

  5. Jessica says...

    We had been together for 6 years and around the 5 year mark it wasn’t if, it was when. I told my partner that I didn’t have the expectation of a big show in order to propose, but instead that I thought an official talk and decision would be more suitable for us. I hated the idea that I (the lady) was sitting around twiddling my thumbs, waiting for him to be ready! I also told him that I didn’t need him to spend a ton of money on an engagement ring. I didn’t even need one, I said. Again, it felt too one sided for our relationship. So on our 7 year anniversary we went on a sunrise hike by the ocean. I had full intentions of crafting this official “let’s get married” talk but before I knew it he got down on one knee and pulled out a family ring!
    I love knowing that we were both very much on the same page about being ready, and that he got to give me a ring he had dreamed about since he was a kid (and didn’t even spend any money!)

    Not exactly a simultaneous proposal but there were simultaneous intentions! ;)

  6. Anna says...

    I found out I was pregnant after we’d been together for 5 months as we were leaving for a road trip. When I told him, he was thrilled, and after a few hours on the road, just said, “well, we should probably get married”. I said, “yeah, probably” and that was it. I never got a ring b/c I didn’t want to waste the money on it, but I’ve always wished that we had a more romantic story!

  7. My partner asked me (after feeling out my folks, and my mother donating my Mimi’s —her mother’s Art Deco Ring) after a low-key vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner (cooked by yours truly) at my family cabin, by the lake, on the dock under a sky full of stars. I promptly proposed right back, with no ring—he’d left the ring inside in his camera bag, so he didn’t have one either. In my mind, things have to be 50-50, and he was grinning from ear to ear when I asked him back— such a happy moment!

  8. Kaitlin says...

    First of all, these comments (like all the comments on Cup of Jo) are incredible.

    I’m an outspoken feminist who never fantasized about a proposal or wedding. My now-fiancé (what a funny word) and I had talked about marriage since very early on in our relationship in a practical way I find deeply romantic – we were in it to win it. In those early conversations, he asked if I wanted a proposal and much to my surprise I immediately said “oh yes” (followed by an existential crisis about societal pressures and gender roles, naturally).

    I knew the ring was in the works, so when he was weirdly insistent on going for a walk one Wednesday evening, I was on to him. We got to a bridge near where I used to live, and he said “Remember when you told me this was your favorite view of the city?” Ever the romantic, I screamed “NO” and tried to run away. And, because I’m truly a terrible human, I then said “ARE YOU GOING TO PROPOSE RIGHT NOW?!”

    Of course he completely forgot the (I’m sure) lovely speech he planned, so he said “do you want to see the ring?” As I cried (from happiness and also because I had underestimated how cold the Chicago fall day was and was not wearing a coat), he opened the box to the most perfect ring he had designed with the jewelry designer who did all of our parents’ rings (weird coincidence!). He turned it over to reveal my favorite part – both of our birthstones on the underside.

    The whole thing felt so epically us – him being the sweetest, me screaming something inappropriate. It worked out.

  9. Andrea Stoeckel says...

    I proposed to my spouse of 20 years in my storage unit on April Fool’s Day with my Mother’s engagement ring. We’ll celebrate 20 years this fall

  10. Christina says...

    I am LOVING all of the comments on this post, the perfectly imperfect engagement stories, the feminist ideals in an old-fashioned tradition.

    My partner and I have had a lot of conversations about marriage, and I’ve even said, “will you marry me someday?” so I know we are on the same page. I think that is so critical – it should not just be up to one person to propose, and the other person either feels ready or doesn’t. I would be 100% happy with a conversation / decision and picking out a ring together, but I have a feeling my boyfriend would prefer to surprise me in some way.

    Just nothing public, please! No friends and family watching, no old ladies nearby applauding, no photo shoot. Something quiet and intimate and private. Harry and Meghan’s engagement story about ‘an evening at home, roasting a chicken’ really stuck out to me as ideal. But that’s life, isn’t it? It’s not always ideal!

  11. Anonymous says...

    I asked my partner to marry me on a Saturday morning, when we’d just woken up. He was thrilled. It was relaxed and spontaneous and ordinary and momentous all at the same time. Some people were surprised that I was the one to propose instead of him, or that it wasn’t more grand and elaborate, but this felt perfect and true to us. We couldn’t be happier.

  12. Laura says...

    When my husband and I were talking about getting engaged, I told him he should pick whatever he liked for a ring with the simple (so I thought) stipulation that it NOT involve sapphires, which I detest. Bless his heart, he glommed onto the sapphire part of that mandate and really ran with it. When he proposed to me and I opened the box up and saw a ring with three blue stones on it, I started laughing and crying at the same time because it was just such a MALE mistake. Nearly six years later he still asks he every few months if I love it yet, and the answer is always no (but that I do love him).

  13. Emily says...

    Oh dear, I can see myself about to disappear in to a you tube black hole!

  14. Caitlin says...

    Love this! I love proposal stories, however they happen. My husband and I decided together one night that we were going to get married. Laying in bed talking about the future, we lived in separate cities at the time so logistics were a part of it but we both knew the other was a partner we wanted for life. He surprised me later, not by proposing but by planning an engagement party with our family and friends and gifting me an engagement ring. So while the decision to get married was both of ours and the “proposal” was over conversation, there was still some element of surprise and romance for us.

  15. Oh my goodness, this is amazing. All I need in life is another internet rabbit hole to fall down, but I think I know where I’ll be tonight :)

  16. Sophie says...

    After a whirlwind romance (that involved writing each other letters for four years across continents), my now husband of 10 years proposed after four short months of dating. I was terrified of losing myself in a marriage (my parents made a terrible mess of theirs) and for a couple of months afterwards I would take off the ring each night (sleeping in it felt suffocating) and he would ask me again each morning if I would still marry him and put it back on. In this way he taught me by example that it is okay to be vulnerable, I learned so much from him through that time. And I still now think back and appreciate his steadfastness so much.

    • C says...

      Oh, Sophie, my heart!!!

  17. Krystel says...

    Back in the early 80s, my mother proposed to my father. He was in the military and was told that he would soon be stationed in Germany for at least two years. Even though they were living together, she could not move with him unless they were married. So she went down on one knee and proposed to him. Her only regret: even though they have been married for over 35 years, he never gave her a ring!

  18. Liz says...

    This is a lovely video, and I haven’t read all the comments, but I’m glad to see so many people have wonderful engagement stories. I do not, and that is ok. My wedding was also not the best day of my life, and that is also ok. These are just early moments in what I hope will be a long and meaningful relationship with my partner.

    With social media we get to see so many perfectly executed proposals and weddings, and I think that puts a lot of pressure on our partners and also on ourselves to feel a certain way. In reality, these are moments that represent your commitment to another person, and they might come with some pretty complicated feelings. And while this type of story isn’t as ‘sharable’ and is less heard, I think it is more common than we think and is also ok :)

    • Maria says...

      Thank you for this!

  19. Kelsey says...

    At 18, I got engaged to my high school boyfriend on our two-year anniversary. He showed up to my house (my parents’ house actually as I still lived at home) with 11 roses and told me I’d get the final rose later in the day. We celebrated with a movie, dinner and ice skating. Upon arriving home (to my parents’ house), he pulled out the final rose, a silver rose that opened to reveal a ring. We were engaged for about 3.5 years. I kept pushing the wedding date back. Then it was postponed indefinitely. I kept taking off the ring. I just knew it wasn’t right. We called it off the week of college graduation. Best decision ever!

    Fast forward to age 26. My boyfriend of almost 4 years and I were celebrating all of our friends weddings. About 8 weddings in the 4 years we were together. He was the best man in the last wedding on our agenda, in October 2017. I asked him if we could be next. (We already had lived in an apartment together, bought a house together, adopted a cat together—I knew he was “the one” three months in. He just needed more time to commit for life.) He didn’t want our wedding to glom on to all of our friends. So we agreed that in a year we’d get married. I told him no ring or big grand gesture proposal was necessary. The whole time at that wedding, we felt like we were keeping a secret—we were technically engaged!

    We finally told everyone the happy news six months later. And we eloped to a national park. It was perfect—simple, all about us, all about love! :)

    From experience, love is better than diamonds!

    • Monica says...

      Love is definitely better than diamonds!

      I felt like was reading about my own experience just now! I was also engaged in my late teens after a very big and public proposal. I broke it off during my first year of college. Then a few years after I graduated I met a great guy. Fast forward a little more and we also eloped to a national park :)

      Cheers to finding love worth more than diamonds!

  20. Angela Ianniello says...

    Being in a lesbian relationship, my (now) wife and I relished the freedom from traditional gender norms and I am so glad we did. We also know we make our best decisions together so discussing the appropriate timing and really talking through it was nice to have out of the way before the proposal!

    When we decided the time was right to move forward, we selected an ‘engagement week’ during which we would both propose. We both wanted to have rings during our engagement instead of just one person, we wanted to retain some (albeit minor) element of surprise, and we wanted the exchange of rings to be somewhat ceremonial. This was the perfect solution! She proposed earlier in the week and then I had planned a surprise getaway to NYC to propose to her and celebrate with friends knowing that at that point we would both have our rings.

  21. C says...

    I’m going to share my VERY HONEST engagement story for the benefit of other readers who maybe didn’t have the perfect story either! Background: my bf and I have been together since we were 19, some eleven years ago! We really grew into adults together: graduated college, got our first real jobs, tried out different careers, different cities, different countries, and grew into our present-day selves together.

    By the time we got engaged, I’d moved past eleven years of unwavering love to a few creeping doubts, crushing on a colleague, working out who I was as a person and not just half of a couple, etc. It happens to all long-term partnerships, I’m sure, but the timing of this and my getting engaged were a little tricky! My BF proposed right in the middle of my period of doubt. I saw the proposal coming (I found the ring box by mistake!) and the moment genuinely felt bittersweet. He proposed, I said yes, of course, cried with tears of so much happiness but also a little bit of the sadness of closing-off-of-possibilities.

    Those doubts remained real, and didn’t immediately evaporate! Five months later, we found ourselves working through some seriously tough conversations. We started to discuss niggling issues we’d never really discussed as a couple before, which getting engaged had helped bring to the surface (does he travel too much? are we intimate enough? is he too strong a personality in our dynamic? do we communicate enough? am I too detached? It was pretty tough stuff!). I moved out of home, briefly, to give us some space to think things over, and we had some very soul-searching conversations about our future. It was the first, and still the only, really big dark spot we’d hit as a couple, and it felt pretty raw.

    But we came back, and we worked through it. Genuinely the process of confronting this big, scary tangle of concerns together brought us so much closer. The thing I admire most about my BF is his optimism and his problem-solving, and he used every ounce of that to help get us through. And i know that next time we hit a rough patch – which of course we will – we are armed with much better tools and conversations to help us navigate a way through.

    Long story short – we’re finally getting married! It’s been a more messy process than the movie-style engagements I’ve grown up on, but it’s adult and real and it will put us in good stead for growing old together. Hope that offers a relatable perspective for someone else out there too :)

    • Claire says...

      Thank you

    • EJC says...

      Bravo, C, for sharing this very real (and I think, romantic) experience. If I had to bet on a couple’s future, I would bet on yours.

    • Another C says...

      C, thank you for sharing this story. It’s helpful for me! I am in a long-term relationship, living together, and my boyfriend and I are working through some really tough stuff. Alcoholism, depression, anxiety, grief, to name a few. Seeing a couples counselor.

      I keep feeling like we need to be on the other side of SOME of this stuff before we can get engaged; I want to feel more secure in things rather than just slapping a ring on my finger and pretending like that is commitment. To me, if we can commit to working through this together, we can get through anything and we really should get married. I like your point about, “it will put us in good stead for growing old together.” I have been thinking for a while now that our eventual marriage vows will be so much more meaningful. Glad to hear how well it’s worked out for you. Thank you again for sharing your story.

  22. Jennie says...

    Am I the only cynical person that thinks this was staged?

    • Joaquina says...

      Haha no this cynical person immediately thought, “no way is this real.
      gotta be staged”.

    • kelly says...

      No, you are not.

    • MariaE. says...

      No, you are not. I had the same feeling. However, I am enjoying and loving all all the stories and I loved their hug at the end of the video…

  23. Sara says...

    My husband proposed with a selection of candy rings in our kitchen one random night as I was cooking dinner (I chose the big cherry ring pop). He gave me the real ring later (his grandmother’s). We aren’t big diamond people. My favorite part was that he giggles when he gets really nervous so I had to keep asking wait, seriously? I was like, ok, I’m going to call my mother now, don’t make me lie to my mother, stop laughing! I wish the whole mess was on video =) This video made me tear up too!

  24. Kelsey Miller says...

    Heart flip!!!

  25. Mdell says...

    My fiancé and I knew we wanted to get married for a long time. I thought he would surprise me out of nowhere and propose. Instead, we talked for hours one night in June – about the next step and it ended with “start thinking about a wedding”. We felt giddy like we were engaged without anyone knowing. We picked out a ring and he said it would happen before the end of summer. Labor Day weekend he asked me (somehow still surprised me) and we finally told family we had already planned a wedding. The conversation in June still feels so special.

  26. Nina says...

    So interesting. I love your sharing this and everyone who has shared their own story of what worked for them in the comments. I’m not married and don’t plan on that. It’s not something that I’ve wanted since I was 18. I’ve had a few proposals and said “let’s wait a bit” and things didn’t work out. Even when I was pregnant, my son’s father (who had proposed previously) was like “Ok when are we getting married?” and I laughed and said “this isn’t the 1950s, I’ll marry you when you stop drinking excessively.” He didn’t want to so we aren’t married and he’s not in our child’s life. I wouldn’t say no, never but it’s no the be all and end all of my life’s purpose.

    That being said I really would love a man who, after we had discussed it and decided we wanted to marry, surprised me with a proposal and ring. I love that idea. I want someone who takes charge a bit. I’ve been told that I would need a subservient mate since I’m pretty strong-willed and I was totally offended. why can’t we be strong together? Do we always need one partner to be submissive and one dominant? (that’s why I love this joint proposal, both taking charge works for them).

    I had a friend who asked her husband out for their first date. And asked him to get married. And asked for a ring. And bought her own birthday presents. I’m glad that worked for her. I think, for me, I’d always have a feeling he didn’t care and he just did it because I made him. I want to know without doubt my mate CARES and WANTS me. absolutely.

  27. Carly says...

    Love this, Franny <3

  28. C says...

    My friend and her wife had agreed to propose to one another whenever each was ready. They ended up proposing on the same day! Both families knew that each woman was having a ring made, but one was a little bit further along in the process. When my friend’s wife invited the families to meet them after the planned proposal, her future brother-in-law managed to bring the other ring with him, so that his sister could propose that day if she wanted to. (The jeweler was a friend who sped up to make it happen.) Does it get sweeter than that?

    • Vicki says...

      Making me tear up ❤️

  29. Sandra says...

    I’ve been engaged twice. The first time was in my late 20s to my college boyfriend. We dated for close to a decade, he refused to really discuss our future in any detail while we were dating, and then when HE was ready he surprised me in a big, grand gesture proposal.

    I was over the moon at first, but within a few days something just felt off. Our relationship in general didn’t feel like a partnership of equals to me. He was always the one steering the ship. We tried to work it out for several months, but ultimately broke up. People tried to tell me it was cold feet, but while I couldn’t put my finger on it at the moment I just knew it wasn’t right.

    Fast-forward a decade after I spent some time alone figuring out who I was and what I really wanted. My now-husband and I talked about everything and slowly came to a joint decision that we wanted to get married and what we hoped that future would look like. SO much better.

  30. Elise says...

    My husband and I mutually proposed, but we planned it. He is bi and I’m a cis straight woman, so while our relationship passes for hetero, he didn’t turn in his queer card when we got together. The typical gender roles of the man surprising the woman rang false for us—but also the whole concept of this major, major decision being sprung on one person by the other. We had talked in depth ahead of time about what we wanted for our future, and it was important to both of us to be on the same page before making the commitment, because the alternative—talking about money or kids or religion or whatever—after the fact seemed to counter the promises we would have made. In any case, this is what felt right to us, and we didn’t miss the element of surprise. We picked the time and place and both got down on our knees. It was lovely.

  31. Julie says...

    My husband and I had gone ring browsing in November and then planned a 4 day trip to the Bahamas in January. The week before the trip I was late for work and needed change for the bus, so I went rummaging through his coat pockets and felt a ring box. I shrieked like I was burned (more out of surprise than shock, since I sort of assumed he would propose on our trip) and found change elsewhere.

    SO. On the plane to Nassau he would NOT let go of his carryon, he made sure to stash it under his seat and I just kind of chuckled to myself, like “How stealthy, my dude.” Then when we got to the resort same thing, we couldn’t check in yet so he lugged his bag to the bar while we waited. Finally, after we showered and changed we took a tour of the resort and he said sweetly “Hey, look, it’s sunset, do you want to go for a walk on the beach?” As we looked at the ocean I could feel him fumbling in his pocket and I had a quick moment of internal monologue-“Ok Jule, this is it, you love him so much and this is what you want, RIGHT? Right.” He proposed while a few middle-aged ladies watched and cheered, it was really just so cute.

  32. laura says...

    oh man- I know the exact video you’re talking about and I sobbed.

    I’m a straight(ish) woman who recently proposed to my longtime boyfriend. It was a romantic and beautiful moment/day, and will always be special to us. BUT what I didn’t expect was peoples’ reactions when they hear I proposed – and how entitled people are to hear every last detail. We really don’t feel like it’s something we have to share with people. People can’t help but really want the story to fit the mold of: I was so surprised, he got down on one knee, and “oh my god- I’m FINALLY engaged! thank GOD a man is willing to marry me! what a saint!”

    I haven’t felt gender norms shoved down my throat like this until getting engaged. When my Mom asked “omg – how did he do it? were you surprised?” and I said “actually, I proposed” – she seemed to get embarrassed for me and said “oh well, that’s okay” and changed the subject. When we told his parents- they laughed and said stuff like “well, he always just needs a little push”.

    It is a special memory for us, and we really don’t fit the gendered norms of man/woman roles in our relationship which is wonderful, but…
    UUUUUUUUUGHHHHH!

    • Kat says...

      Ugh to other people’s reactions! Many people seem to be stuck in last century and I know how frustrating this can be. But you did it the right way for you guys and you’re happy which is awesome! Congratulations :)

  33. Katrina Kardys Peaslee says...

    My husband proposed to me on a random Friday. He works from home, so he had asked me to text him when I left work so he could get dinner started. I arrive 15min later and walk through our garage which connects directly to our galley kitchen. The first thing I notice is food cooking on the stove top and a couple of candles right next to it. My initial thought was “That’s weird. Why does he have candles burning right next to cooking meat?” Our dogs greet me in the kitchen and they have bows wrapped around their necks, and again, I’m thinking, “That’s weird. Did my mom stop by and put bows on them today?” I look through to where our kitchen opens into our dining room and see the table’s been set with tapered candles and flatware, etc., thinking, “That’s sweet. He wants to sit down and eat dinner with me instead of in front of the TV.” (P.S. Can you tell how completely oblivious I am at this point?)

    I *finally* turn the corner into our living room (I’m making our galley kitchen seem like it’s a quarter-mile long, but I promise it’s *maybe* 20 feet) and there he is, kneeling. I’m stunned. He says some sweet things (I literally can’t remember a word, but I know it was sweet). I’m still standing there holding all of my work junk. He carefully takes my stuff, sets it down, and presents me with a ring box. I open it and it’s a Ring Pop (we always joked that he’d never be able to afford a real ring – come to find out later, he had initially *tried* to tie a couple of ring boxes with Ring Pops inside to our pup’s collars and failed miserably). He then presents me with the real ring and it’s freaking perfect. For someone who doesn’t like giving gifts, he’s REALLY good at picking out jewelry for me when he does. We laugh, we cry, I say “yes”. All is well.

    Flash backward to a couple weeks previous: I had been rooting around in our office for an external hard drive that held some of my old graphic design work on it. I looked through all of my desk drawers and made my way over to his side of the office to rummage through his (we shared some drawer space so I thought it might’ve ended up there). I start looking and right underneath the top layer of papers I find this long black box. I start to take it out just to look underneath it but then the words “*Brandname* Engagement Rings” pop out at me. I scream and throw the box, you know, as any normal person would do. My then boyfriend was at a meeting, thankfully, so he heard/saw none of this. After the initial shock, I picked up the box to look at it again, and my first thought was, “This is a really long box for an engagement ring. Maybe something else is in it?”
    ….
    I know what you’re thinking… “SHE LOOKED!!!” (Gasp. Shock. Horror.)
    ….
    Well reader, you’re wrong. I DID NOT LOOK. I decided to calmly place the box back into the drawer, carefully layering the papers on top, and closed it, as if nothing ever happened.

    Here’s where I messed up. For some reason, I decided to text my then boyfriend, asking, “Hey… do you think my external hard drive is in your desk drawers somewhere, maybe….?” He immediately responds, “Nope.” Apparently, my phrasing was suspicious enough that when he came home he realized maaaaybe he hadn’t hidden the box as well as he thought, and maaaaybe he thought the phrase “Yours, Mine, Ours”, after living together for 2.5 years, didn’t apply to his desk drawers. In the end, he realized I probably saw the box, and if I saw the box, I more than likely saw the ring.

    Flash forward to after the proposal:
    Him: You found the box.
    Me: I found the box.
    Him: So you saw the ring?
    Me: I DID NOT SEE THE RING.
    Him: (smiles) Good.

    Moral of the story: If you decide to root around in your boyfriend’s stuff and happen across “the box,” don’t look. It makes things so much sweeter in the end.

    • Emily L says...

      Laughing so hard right now!

    • Summer says...

      Love this! I did not find the box, but we had discussed it, and I was still *completely* surprised (BECAUSE WHO WAITS UNTIL WEEK TWO OF A TWO WEEK INTERNATIONAL VACATION TO PROPOSE).

      Anyway. He had told my dad about his plan, but as vacation went by with no news, I guess Dad got nervous and told Mom. Her response? “Well, she’s probably being a bitch.” Pssssh, I’m always a bitch, what’s that gotta do with anything. ;)

  34. Daniela says...

    My boyfriend and I recently turned his grandmother’s rings into the jeweler to get resized and replated. They were supposed to be ready last week but he hasn’t told me whether or not he picked them up!

    However, this soon to be engagement has been a process between the two of us. We’ve talked about it and he’s even asked me for ideas on how to propose. I couldn’t imagine not being a part of this decision and would be totally cool if we all of a sudden just decided to “put a ring on it.” Together.

  35. Rache says...

    I HATE the traditional narrative that the woman has to wait for the man to decide when she is getting married. A marriage should start the same way it will be maintained, with open communication. My husband and I had an ongoing discussion for a few months about whether we were ready to get married. Then we went to the jewelry store and picked out a ring together. At the risk of sounding no fun, I honestly think that surprise proposals are no bueno. You are embarking on one of the most long lasting relationships of your life. It should start with a lot of thoughtful discussion.

    • C says...

      Completely agree! People are so disappointed when I say my husband and I ordered our rings on Etsy and there was no proposal…

    • Laura says...

      Totally agree that marriage such start with a lot of thoughtful discussions. My now husband and I talked about it through and through, and then went ring shopping together (because I wanted a say in the ring I would be wearing for the rest of my life!), and then he proposed. The when/where/how of the proposal was all a surprise for me, but not the significance of the event itself!

    • Jessica says...

      I’ll provide one exception to this comment (which I completely agree with) and that is when actually getting married is not a priority for either partner. My husband and I were a couple for 10 years before we got married. We bought a house together after 5 or 6 years of dating. That was the big step in my mind, and there were MANY conversations leading up to that point about our future together. We were both on the same page that, officially married or not, we were in this for life. To us, the formal wedding was not necessary, and neither felt we could be bothered to plan it out. As far as we were concerned, we were already married. So I was completely surprised when out of the blue he proposed while we were on vacation. He had bought a novelty ring from the gift shop for the occasion (which was quite a feat in itself, because I could recall all of about 10 minutes the whole trip when we weren’t side by side). So while our narrative appeared traditional, it really wasn’t because we had done all the serious talk long before. I wasn’t waiting for him to propose, we were already happily committed. He simply had a change of heart about wanting to do the formal wedding-thing, and I was fine with that.

    • M says...

      I so agree with this. I had been married before to a giant abusive jerk who only showed his true colors after we got married. So to say I was gun shy is an understatement. When I met my now husband he was 40 and never married, never engaged even. Since I had a kiddo, I was not dating for fun. People can do that of course; I just knew that for me, I was dating to do things right this time, to find a loving and respectful partner and a daddy for my daughter. Within our first few dates we both knew this was different. We talked long and hard about next steps, logistics, trust, abuse and fear from my past, etc. On new year’s he was a little tipsy and said “I’m gonna ask you that question soon.” On Valentine’s Day (also my birthday eve), we had a nice dinner out and then revisited our first date: parked near the brewery and walked to a courtyard/fountain where we had shared our first kiss. He asked me to marry him standing up looking right at me and without a ring. And on the walk he’d said while grinning like a little kid: “are you ready for this??” He is not good at keeping surprises. :) it was perfect for us. I chose a non-conventional ring (not a diamond) that we got a couple months into our 3.5 month engagement. It does not have to be the cookie cutter or over-the-top performance proposal to set you up for a good marriage.

  36. Stephanie says...

    I just got engaged and constantly get told “Ohhhh he finally popped the question?!” or “you finally got him to settle down” or stuff like that. Actually no. We talked about marriage together. I was the one with more fear. One day sitting and talking on the couch I realized I was ready and we decided together that we were engaged. We cried! It was romantic. But it’s not the story people want to hear. I think we both feel a little miffed that people get visibly let down when they don’t hear how HE proposed in an overly grand way. But I guess that’s their problem and not ours. :)

    (not that I don’t love watching grand proposals. They are amazing. It just wasn’t our path)

    • MM says...

      Stephanie, I love reading this. I’m single and 28, but my best friend is married and dated her now-husband for 6 years before they wed. One of the most striking, and to me, beautiful things about her “proposal” story, is exactly this. She always tells it very simply, and it goes, “We were talking, and at the end of the conversation, we were engaged. And he said some very beautiful things, and I don’t think I’ll ever tell anyone else what they were.” I love how both she and her husband treasure the intimacy of that moment — it is tender and true, and far from a let-down.

  37. Katie says...

    The husband likes to joke how I proposed to him first, after dating IDK, 8 months.

    I was on a trip to with cousins/friends. One cousin and I were walking around Charleston looking at all of the beautiful houses. I snapped a few pics of my favorite. That night, after imbibing on one too many cocktails, I sent him a picture of my favorite house and said this is where I wanted to get married. He texted back ok. And that’s how I proposed.

    Fast forward about seven months later and we were in Napa. Again, after a couple too many glasses of wine, he asked if I thought he was going to propose. I said yes. He said he wasn’t. Umm, ok, thanks.

    Two weeks later, I met him at his apartment before a gala we were attending. On the living room table was a box with diamond earrings and a bottle of champagne. And that’s it.

    Two and a half years later, he still likes to remind me that I proposed first and I suppose I did. In all honesty, I would have married him after our second date.

  38. Katie says...

    Well this video made my seven-months-pregnant self weep at my desk this morning. Kudos to these beautiful women for clearly finding a great, like-minded partner in each other. I hope their life together is as blessed and happy as this moment was!

  39. Cynthia says...

    My husband and I were on the same page about a lot things, and so our proposal was a joint agreement after 3 months of dating. He told me how much he had to spend on a ring and we picked out one together and matching wedding bands. He had recently bought a house, and a new jeep. We will be celebrating our 41st wedding anniversary on January 21, and we have 2 adult daughters and a son-in-law, plus a charming chihuahua-rat terrier male dog. We are still living in the same house.

    • Meghan says...

      Congratulations! Sounds like a wonderful way to get married and a wonderful marriage.

  40. Gill F. says...

    Thank you thank you thank COJ and Franny for some queer representation, especially in terms of a topic that is so heterosexually dominated! I’ll be 25 this year and I’m in a long term relationship, so I think about stuff like this. Who would propose? How would we have kids? What would a wedding look like? I surround myself with queer people in my media, so I see ladies getting hitched and having babies and making lives together, but it’s rare to see in mainstream media. So thank you!

  41. Mary says...

    My husband and I were long-distance friends who talked every day for years at first; one day, he said, “I have to tell you something I just haven’t felt able to up until now. I’m in love with you, and I think we should get married.” I about fell out of my chair, because we’d never dated — we’d never even HELD HANDS — and yet, I instantly sort of recognized the feeling. I said, “But how do you know?? What if it’s BAD??” And he said, “No, it’s gonna be great. Trust me. It’s gonna be great.”

    We’ve been married three years. He was right. It is GREAT.

    • CJ says...

      This. I was friends with my now-husband for years. When we finally discussed whether or not to start dating, and I said if we dated, it would either end never-speak-again horribly or in marriage. We’ve been married for a decade.

    • Emily L says...

      Crying! Love this so much.

      My husband and I were friends for 6 years before we started dating – it was a combination of bad timing and too afraid it would wreck our friendship. I finally broke the ice over the phone by quoting line by line one of my favorite TV shows, something like “I have these feelings and I’m not sure if you have these feelings, but if you do have these feelings we should do something about them.” He did and we fumbled about how to long distance date for about 3 months but have now “officially” been together for 9 years and married for over 6. It was great because we were able to basically skip the first 6 months of “getting to know you!”

  42. Alyssa says...

    The comments here are just the best! I’m in a super wonderful happy relationship with the man I sure as heck hope will be my husband one day. We’ve talked casually about marriage and know that it’s the eventual goal. However, I really want a beautiful proposal. Doesn’t have to be crazy big, but I would love to be surprised. Of course, my two best friends were taking notes of my preferred ring styles should he come asking.

    • I feel you! I’m all for female empowerment and really think every couple should do what’s right for them. My bf and I have been together for 6 years and talk about marriage and even kids pretty often. Even so, I want to be surprised (I’m the planner; I rarely get surprised) and special. We have an email chain where I send him ring ideas every now and then ;)

  43. Lizzie says...

    I didn’t propose to my husband, but I did start the conversation saying, “Since this is 50% of my decision, I’m not waiting on you to do all the deciding.” (Which he needed to hear because I’d told him I didn’t believe in marriage when we first started dating–whoops.) We bought matching bands, made the arrangements, and eloped. He did propose a little before that, and just because I knew it was coming didn’t make it any less sweet. It was all pretty non-traditional and chill, but we still talk about it all the time. No matter how a couple goes about it, it always works out. <3

  44. Sara says...

    My now husband and I met when we were a little older, and decided to focus on having a baby before we got engaged/married. My one request was that we be engaged by the time we had the baby. Fast forward to me being 8.5 months pregnant and assuming that we’re going to just wait till baby arrives, when my thoughtful man took me out for dinner on what happened to be the anniversary of our first date- and proposed! Pregnant, hormonal me was shocked- even though I knew it was imminent!!

  45. Emma says...

    My husband and I are celebrating our 15th anniversary soon so we’re planning to take our two little chums to see where we got married – in a very windy castle on a very tiny island. It’ll be three days driving across two countries to get there and probably lots of ‘are we there yet?’ followed by, ‘can we go now?’, but it’ll be perfect anyway.

    • Anna says...

      I adore that you call your children your chums. So sweet.

  46. Hannah says...

    Awwww that video is so cute!!!

    On the matter of who proposes: My love and I are engaged now – just over Christmas we told everyone. But it was actually in October that we sat on a bench after a lazy walk around town, me finishing my coffee, that we talked about the future. And we both said, that we’d like to get married and then talked about what the wedding would look like. That night, in bed, I asked (slightly confused): “Are we engaged now?” and he said “If you don’t need a formal proposal… then yes.” And that was it – we were engaged. Because I didn’t need him to go and buy an expensive ring or get down on his knee – we had, after all, both decided to become engaged, quite naturally. And we’re getting married in August. <3

  47. Jessica says...

    This is the best!!
    I recently moved to Sweden to study. My boyfriend came with me, and he proposed a few weeks after he arrived. We’d talked about getting married, but he thought it was pretty archaic to need ‘a ceremony and a piece of paper’ to say that we love each other and are committed when we both know that already. I’d kind of made peace with that, because I mostly agree (although still love the romance of a wedding!), and because him following me to Sweden was the best confirmation of his commitment I could have wished for. But then he surprised me by proposing (in the middle of a frozen lake in a forest! at sunset!) and when we told people we were engaged, Swedish people kept asking where his ring was! Apparently in Sweden, both partners wear engagement rings, which I think is lovely :)

    • kd says...

      SO sweet! I love the equity of both partners wearing rings. :)

    • Christina says...

      Yes, we do! I would say most people discuss it together and then go to choose rings, but in case of an actual proposal there isn’t any ring involved. Often though only the woman gets a wedding ring.

  48. Claire says...

    Here’s a crazy idea… why do we have to get married at all? Seriously; I am surprised that so many young people and peers still look at this in a relatively similar way to our parents and grandparents.

    • Taylor says...

      Claire–I had the same exact perspective, especially after law school, with the divorce rates what they are and the truly life altering risks that come with marrying the wrong person. And then, like a cliche, I met my fiance and while I rationally understand that marriage is a legal contract it also feels like an ambitious goal worth doing. Like the hardest and best thing I will ever do, to work at a lifelong marriage with someone. And I’m so over the moon in love that I want to do whatever it is we can do to commit to each other, to demonstrate our commitment, which then leads to vows and the contract.

      That being said, weddings are dumb, the wedding industry is predatory and sexist, bridal showers are dumb (a party because….I’m having a party?) and finding someone to marry me is not an achievement, really. If we stay together 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, then I deserve a party!

    • liz says...

      I find it useful when dealing with the rest of society. I want my husband, not my parents, to be the one who can make medical decisions if I cannot. I want people to treat my husband as someone who is a part of my family and permanently in my life, not like a fling or someone who may come and go and perhaps “should not be included in another family member’s wedding pictures” (something unfortunately that had been repeatedly said to me about including my husband before we got engaged — ridiculous, I agree, but nevertheless that’s how we were treated). Additionally, there are plenty of financial reasons to get married. Overall, it makes investing in each other as a team a safer proposition if we are married than if we are not. There are decisions I could make that would be in my interest that I would not make otherwise if I have a spouse who’s now part of the equation. I can’t say I would make the same decision if I did not have that extra assurance in the form of a legal marriage (of course, not to say that others do not, but for me and many others, I need that assurance after having experienced a couple of long term relationships that eroded without any perceived warning) I say all this as reasons why I choose to do this, but I 100% respect people who make alternative decisions. Nothing is for everyone, and I do think that true love can persist just as validly without marriage, but I do think there are very practical reasons to marry the love of your life in 2019 given our society and economic structure (which unfortunately, you can never completely divorce yourself from).

    • Nina says...

      I think whatever works for you is lovely. If someone else wants it and likes it, your comment suggests that isn’t ok for them. I’ve never felt a compulsion to be married but I can see why people would and depending on the person, I may want that too. Many people did it before for medical insurance coverage (companies can choose if they allow domestic partners to be covered or not) or for property division, when children are involved that can change your perspective, etc.

      What is your reasoning against it? Besides just not doing what your parents/grandparents (and likely generations before) did? I’ve honestly known very few married couples who are happy so I’m not willing to put myself in a situation where I’m not happy and I haven’t met a mate that has made me think YES, I WANT TO BE TIED TO THIS PERSON FOR MY LIFETIME.

    • Claire B says...

      To each their own, I think.

      But yikes, Taylor- that’s rather aggressive and judgmental.

      Who are we to call others’ choices “dumb” based off of our own opinion and experiences?

  49. I’m with the ‘it was a joint decision’ people.
    My boyfriend and I first mentioned marriage about 5 months into our relationship so it was clear it’s something we both want. Then it just became a matter of when. We decided that, logistically and financially, this coming summer would be a good time for the wedding, and so, since weddings can take about a year to plan, we booked a venue this past summer and then told everyone that we’re getting married.
    The ring came a couple of months later after looking around for a while but ending up with my Mum’s engagement ring which she never wears as it magically fit perfectly on my tiny finger.
    When I brought the ring home from my parent’s I asked my boyfriend if he wanted to put it on me, ‘No, you can do it. My hands are greasy from making this sandwich.’
    So romantic.

    And we only had one friend who couldn’t get her head around how we’d done things – ‘so there was no proposal? Then how are you engaged?’

  50. Julia says...

    I don’t have a fancy engagement story (my engagement ring is a five dollar sterling silver band that my then-boyfriend, now husband bought for me when we were teenagers at our local farmers market, and our whole engagement/wedding process was equally glamorous), but I’m legit astounded that you apparently know MULTIPLE PEOPLE who feel comfortable asking something like: “BUT WHO WILL PROPOSE? Who’s the man?” Those, uh, might be age-old questions, but they do not seem like 2019 questions. On several levels, actually.

  51. Sandra says...

    My friend Claire had picked out a very specific ring to propose to her girlfriend; it was a ring that they had seen very early on in their relationship and found beautiful, in a tiny shop with handmade jewelry in Paris.
    She proposed when they were both on a picnic outing in a parc, and lo and behold her girlfriend was also planning to propose, had the ring in her backpack and it was THE EXACT FUCKING RING !! Ahah, they had both bought the same ring from the same place to propose to each other. Beautiful dorks <3
    (they are married now and both wear the same engagement ring, ahah)

    • Franny Eremin says...

      Omg! This is the BEST story.

    • Vero says...

      What!! This is the sweetest ever. I would love to see that ring! How sweet that they were so on the same page xoxo

    • liz says...

      loooove this, how hilariously amazing <3

    • Katie says...

      This reminds me of my parents. This isn’t a proposal story, but in my opinion just as meaningful . Two Christmas’ ago, after 35+ years of marriage, they got each other the same present, a fire pit, knowing how much the other wanted it for the house they’d just bought in the place they’d met (a dream they’d talked about even before being wed). Even better, it was literally the exact same make and model!

      They then joyfully spent the day bickering over who had to return theirs, surrounded by their children and grand child. This, to me, sums up a great marriage.

  52. Nina says...

    I have watched and teared up at this video before, it never gets old. I’m a sucker for proposal videos too! And have told my bf many a time that it is not a secret hint, I just love it when people genuinely like each other :)

  53. Lisa says...

    I love this comments section, and engagement videos and stories. It’s my favorite thing to read on my commute. Thank you all for the lovely stories <3

    My boyfriend and I started talking marriage after a few months of being together. It was a joint decision and we talked about all the aspects, but nevertheless he wanted to propose in the "traditional" way. And then it took years and years. I finished school (okay, not getting engaged while still studying was logical to me), we moved for my job and he kept dropping hints as in "if we didn't have this vacation this year, we would probably get married". I have to admit, at some point this really started to bug me, as much as I dislike myself for it. After 5+ years together last summer, when I had stopped talking about it altogether, my boyfriend brought up that topic again. It became obvious that, even though I had told him many times, he was kind of dreading a traditional wedding and didn't quite believe me when I said, time and time again, that I was fine with eloping. So that night we sat down, researched options and decided on a wedding at the place we went to for our first vacation, on our 6-year anniversary. When this date was approved by the wedding agency, he dropped to his knee and proposed, on a Monday night, just before going to bed :D Not what he originally thought of, but perfect for us. We picked a simple ring for me, designed our wedding bands together and the hardest decision I had to make concerned my bouquet. And now, 33 days to go (:

  54. Laurel says...

    My husband and I had just moved in together. We were sitting in bed one morning and started musing about all the things we would do after we got married. Back and forth for about 20 minutes…”it’d be fun to set a business together after we’re married.” “we should travel to Australia once we’re married”, etc etc. Then we both looked at each other and realized we’d just gotten engaged. We called our families and told them. 11 years and two kids later, it was still the right decision!

  55. Katherine says...

    Oh I love that proposal so much!! It made me weep the first time I watched it a few months ago. I can’t wait to read all the comments on this post; there will be so much love and joy and celebration shared here!!

    My husband and I talked long and hard about getting married before doing so. One night after we had been living together for a year or so (and after a few drinks), he called my mom and asked her if he could marry me, but she didn’t answer so he left a message speaking in Star Trek terms, since they’d bonded over the original show. He called her Captain Fuller and asked for permission to enter the family, saying he’d like to report to Star Fleet for duty as son in law. Needless to say, my mom called back with an affirmative the next day.

    Then a few months later we were walking around downtown Austin and stopped in a few jewelry stores to look at/pick out rings together, and I found one I loved and he bought it on the spot (!!) but said he still wanted to do an official proposal, but on a later date, so that our engagement could be something separate and special, which was okay with me because I knew he still wanted to get down on one knee. A few hours later, we went to the bar where we met (on the street where we lived) and he got down on one knee and surprised the hell out of me by proposing right then and there. He was so nervous he opened the ring box upside down! One of the bartenders took pictures and posted them on their Facebook page before we’d even had the chance to tell all our family the news!

    Three months later my husband lost his job, and three months after that we got married (just 29 people including us; we couldn’t afford a big wedding or reception), but after the ceremony we met our friends at the same bar where we met and got engaged so we could have a reception (we didn’t rent it out, we just showed up in our wedding attire and our friends were there waiting and it was awesome). So, overall there were some traditional and non-traditional aspects to our journey to here (which now includes our two month old daughter!), and all of it was/is absolutely perfect.

    • Summer says...

      I love everything about this (except the losing the job part, of course, but part of life)!

  56. Maggie says...

    I had no idea my proposal was happening and kept interrupting him. “You make me so happy.” “YOU make ME so happy!” “I can’t imagine my life without you.” “I can’t imagine MY life without YOU!” Finally I shut up, and he showed me the ring. We were on a boat so her smartly tied a small flotation device to it, anticipating me hitting it into the lake in excitement.

    • Franny Eremin says...

      Hahahaha, love this, Maggie.

    • Jessica says...

      That’s so funny, and reminds me a bit of my proposal. He started into some sweet talk about how much I meant to him and make his life better, etc, and I thought he was just being romantic because we were in such a beautiful setting at the moment. I was so not expecting a proposal, that when he pulled out a ring, the first words out of my mouth were “Oh, you actually want to get married??” It wasn’t a commentary on our relationship, I was just genuinely surprised! (We had decided a long time ago that formally getting married wasn’t that important to us, we were already fully committed.)

  57. Tera says...

    The concept of marriage proposals being a surprise seems completely insane to me now that I’ve been married for ten years. It is truly the biggest decision you will ever make, and it should definitely be mutual. I nearly broke up with my now husband when he didn’t propose shortly after we moved in together (I gave up my apartment on the terms that we were headed to marriage)….turns out the custom ring was taking a bit of time. Engagement should not be a surprise. Everything that follows (babies, in-laws, life, etc., etc. ) definitely will be.

  58. Mary says...

    I knew I was going to marry my now-husband the day we first met. Maybe I’ll sound crazy but there have been points in my life when I know certain things will come to pass and this was one of them. I can’t explain it but Ijust knew I would marry him at some point in the future. We started off being friends first (and no I wasn’t thinking we would date right away since I had gotten out of a long relationship 6 months prior). We soon became best friends and then slowly started dating. I was actually the first one to ask him to marry me when we were in Europe (I was drunk—whoops) and we laughed about it the next day and many days since. We still celebrate the drunk proposal day (11 years!) and years later he asked me to marry him on the same day as drunk proposal day . I look back and smile thinking about all our fun memories together and how it all worked out in the end.

  59. Sonja says...

    Proof that all is not lost! Swooning here.

    We decided together that we wanted to get married and while this tidbit is proposal adjacent my fiancee now husband wore an engagement ring too – his request! He said that if people knew I was off the market they should know he was too.

  60. lucy kalanithi says...

    LOVE THIS: “But, the simultaneous proposal is a small, heartwarming way to challenge our perceptions of the way engagements are supposed to pan out and shift the paradigm to welcome all kinds of love into our cultural fabric.”

  61. Kate Sullivan says...

    OMG. THIS. POST. My girlfriend and I proposed to each other 2 months ago in NYC – within 5 days of each other! (Franny, my ring was from Catbird!!) We live in Los Angeles but every year we head to NYC to celebrate Thanksgiving with our friends and skip the family drama. We had talked a lot about marriage and of course both had the conversation – who will propose? We both decided we wanted to be proposed to so we picked out our rings and let the rest be 100% surprises on when and where. My girlfriend ended up proposing to me in the West Village where we shared our first kiss (with a Billy Joel song playing in the background!) complete with dinner at Buvette, a surprise dessert party with all my friends in Brooklyn and a trip to the oldest soda fountain in NYC (It’s in Queens. GO!) I was dying the whole time because I knew I was going to surprise her with a ring at HER favorite bar with HER friends 5 days later! Our friends were at BOTH celebrations and managed to keep them both straight and not tell us which is insane! It was so magical and wonderful and felt like we were making this big decision together – 50/50! I can’t tell you how challenging it is to step out of the heteronormative box and make your own rules – but I’m so glad we did. And I love that Cup of Jo continues to celebrate every kind of love out there. Forever grateful! xx

    • Clare says...

      This is so lovely. Congratulations!

    • liz says...

      love!! congrats!!

  62. ZF says...

    me too! i am all teary and trying to hold back my tears! i read each comments and truly enjoyed reading it!

    thanks for giving me hopes.. :-)

  63. Meredith says...

    I carried a beautiful vintage watch around with me for about a year — through sixteen countries, two big moves, and grad school — just so I’d be prepared to propose back when the moment came. And I did!! It was the best.

  64. Amy says...

    I’m with the folks who made marriage a joint decision with their partner. I told my then-boyfriend now-husband on our second date that I absolutely did not want a wedding or a ring. When we were ready to have kids we looked at a calendar, picked a date, and booked the restaurant where we wanted to have the reception before we told our families.

  65. This is one of my favorite videos, partly because it is so adorable and romantic and partly because it is in my city! I love anything that gives Memphis some good publicity, and this fit the bill perfectly.

  66. nicole says...

    I just got engaged a few weeks ago, and I adamantly did not want the big surprise grand gesture. I wanted it to be a decision we made together, including picking out the ring. I got some push back on that, like how I should “let go of the control”, but it felt right to us to make this HUGE life decision together. We don’t always have to do what’s expected and that’s OK. People at work kept asking if I was surprised when he proposed and I simply replied “nope” :)

  67. kate says...

    Being on the cusp of 30, many of my friends have started getting engaged, and the left hand of one of my nearest and dearest recently got a little heavier. As exciting secretive process of ring designing and covert calls from the soon-to-be financé was, the whole process, question-popping included, was very much a case of “Good for her! Not for me.” I definitely see getting engaged as a BIG life step, and I don’t want the go button to be at the hands of my partner. I see it as a conversation!

    Personally, I also prefer a simple gold band to any diamond – the same for both people. My latin teacher in middle school was a wonderful Italian woman, and she and her husband had matching gold bands with their wedding date and a memory engraved on the inside – so romantic!

    • Kate says...

      My husband gave me an heirloom ring with a simple diamond that was set so oddly and the ring was 2.5 sizes too big. The sweet lug didn’t even think about getting it cleaned – I don’t even think he knows that’s a thing! I got it resized and reset and I joke to this day that I spent more on my engagement ring than he did, seeing as how it was gifted from a grandmother. I wasn’t too worried though, because I always knew I’d wear just a gold band after we were married. I have more people comment on the simplicity of my band and then look somewhat sadly at their huge ring and band set (not that there’s anything wrong with them!!). And my #1 suggestion – look for “comfort fit” bands! Sounds like underwear but it just means that the band is kind of curved inside, so there are no sharp edges. Guys who hate wearing their wedding rings have tried on my husband’s ring and said “oh, I could totally wear something like this!”

    • Katie says...

      I wanted diamond earrings, so that’s what my husband proposed with!!! I wear a gold band and he wear’s white gold, our preferred metals. They’re both engraved with “pet name” + “pet name”. It’s perfect.

  68. Em says...

    My husband and I did something that I don’t hear very often, but it was perfect for us. We discussed marriage for a while and eventually decided that we were both ready. We decided to pick out my engagement ring together, and worked with a local designer to make something we both loved! When it was done, I was like, “now what??” It felt anticlimactic to just pop it on my finger and say we are engaged! But I also had zero desire to wait around for him to try to surprise me with a proposal. And why would he need to ask me a question that we’ve already answered together? So what we finally decided was to plan an “engagement day” together. We picked an upcoming Saturday, and planned to go on a hike and then out to dinner at a fancy Japanese restaurant. There was no “proposal moment” but just a fun day that we spent together, chatting about our future and doing stuff we both love. He put the ring on my finger while we were getting ready in the morning, and we snapped some pictures throughout the day to share with friends and family. It was perfect for us.

    • Claire says...

      That sounds so lovely! I think marriage is such a significant decision that it simply makes no sense to not previously discuss it (at length) prior to an engagement. And, because I’d want something unique, I totally would want to have input on my ring and make sure it’s ethically made, as that’s important to me, too. Love that you two spent the day celebrating together – the fact that you picked the day together means you can actually remember it, vs a surprise speech that you were too in shock to comprehend!

    • Kellie says...

      We did the exact same thing! We decided to get engaged and had a ring designed at a local shop. On the day we “got engaged” we picked up the ring, went to lunch and then to the art museum. Some people seemed disappointed that it wasn’t some big grand gesture, but for us it was just right.

  69. Meredith says...

    I love this and all these comments!
    My husband and I had an interesting “proposal”…we weren’t even dating when we decided to get married!
    Just two best friends who had been secretly in love with each other for YEARS. We had seen each other through so many (terrible) relationships and it had been just pure friendship/partnership the whole time. I had always knew I wouldn’t “date” him, but I’d marry him. (Sounds weird, but felt right.)
    While living on opposite coasts, he came to visit me and at brunch he said “I think we should elope”. I was totally taken aback but equally giddy. And then we had a long lovely life talk about the gravity of what he was saying.
    We left brunch, walked to a vintage jewelry store, looked at rings, found a perfect one and he “proposed” on the stoop of the shop. Afterwards, ecstatic, we called our families/friends – it was equal parts “Finally!!” and “Wait… I didn’t know you two were even dating?!” (we weren’t).
    We were engaged for almost 4 years and now have been married for almost 4.
    I love love.

    • kathy says...

      you are a romantic comedy! i mean this in the best possible way. your story makes me so happy.

    • Claire says...

      Oh my goodness, that’s incredible! I can only imagine how meaningful it would be to hear the person you’ve loved from afar reiterate that he loves you back and wants to be with you, too. Plus, what better way to start a marriage/relationship that on the foundation of friendship. So beautiful.

    • Em says...

      Meredith, I love this! What a beautiful story! My husband and I have a similar one: always dating the wrong people, best friends for years and years. One day, he finally asked why I was so frustrated with him when he was around other gals, and I was (inexplicably!) able to eek out an “I love you” — thankfully, we’d finally found the right moment! We dated for almost no time before we put rings on it. Four years (and two very simple gold bands) later, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

    • Jess says...

      ARE YOU MEG RYAN?!

  70. Patricia says...

    I knew my now-husband was going to propose because we took a special trip to my parents’ house so he could get their blessing to marry me (unnecessary but sweet). He was SO nervous. My dad is ex-FBI and very intimidating if you don’t know him, but a real softie if you do. We did so many practice conversations where I pretended to be my dad. We were getting so silly and my husband ended every fake conversation with “good talk” which made us dissolve into giggles for some reason. So after that weekend I knew it was coming, but it felt good to be in on it with him at some level.

    • Claire says...

      “Good talk” – I love that! Also adorable that you helped your husband practice for the big FBI interview, haha.

  71. jade lees says...

    I am not currently in a relationship so am a fair way away from Marriage. It doesn’t stop me however from daydreaming about the possibility of proposing (more than dresses or flowers or rings (Heidi Gibson all the way) . I adore the idea of dual propositions. And I know for a fact that irrespective of whether or not I am the first to propose I will definitely be proposing.

  72. Diana McNeill says...

    I love the comments section at Cup of Jo!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Same :) :) :)

    • Edwina says...

      Me toooo! I wish there was a ‘like/love’ button for each one :)

    • Suzanne says...

      I agree! Love them so much…I see a, Cup of Jo Compilation Coffee Table Comments book in the future…

    • Diana McNeill says...

      Joanna–have you considered switching your comment platform to something like Disqus? Manrepeller uses it and it’s a really awesome platform for commenting and replying. It’s fun to be able to like people’s comments and have the option to leave replies.

  73. Shayda says...

    My husband and I have been married for almost 5 years. Neither of us “proposed”. The decision to get married was one we BOTH made after alot of talking, problem-solving and deep emotional digging. It was 100% collaborative. I get frustrated when my friends “wait” for their significant other to propose. Um…if you want to get married, then start talking about it! I feel that the man proposing is reflective of an archaic patriarcacal society that is no longer relevant. Time’s have changed.

    • Lia says...

      100% the same with me and my husband. In fact, we dispensed with the engagement and ring entirely (waste of $$) and didn’t tell anyone but our parents we planned to marry, then eloped to Alaska and got married with three people present. Seven years and three kids later we don’t have any regrets with our decision.

    • Kate says...

      Yes. Before we got engaged I made a (terrible) joke one night that was something like “if he doesn’t give me a ring on this next trip I’m buying one myself!” and he got so sad and upset that we didn’t even talk or look at each other for 24 hours (and we were already living together!). He’s very sensitive and I can be very brash and it was terrible. Fortunately we talked it through and he did propose on that trip and everything was wonderful and after 5 years our marriage gets better and better, but it made me realize that the traditional girl-waits-for-guy is messed up!! Your comment is SPOT ON.

    • Rachel says...

      My husband and I have been together since we were 15 years old. We have literally grown-up together. One night, about 10 years into dating, we were snuggled up at a hole in the wall bar and talking about our future. We talked until the place closed and on the snowy walk home we decided to get married. My mother in law told me recently that she fielded a lot of “how did he ask” questions after we announced our plans and she would reply “oh no they are a team they did it together”. Four years and 1 baby later- we still are!

  74. Allison says...

    Oh this fills my heart right up with all the happy tears! My wife and I planned to get engaged together in some sense. We picked out matching engagement bands from Bario Neal (great company with wonderful equality driven ethics, thanks to COJ for putting them on my radar years ago), and planned to have them delivered to a mutual friend and from there, it was on each of us to get one another’s ring when the time was right for our respective proposal ideas. Little did I know, the rings had arrived and my wife had sworn my friend to secrecy so I thought they were still yet to ship. On Christmas morning in 2015, she proposed to me with the ring that was stashed under the tree. I was utterly shocked, I think the first words out of my mouth were, “but wait…they’re not here yet…” while I stared in shock at the ring in her hand before bursting into tears. Despite her hoodwinking me, I said yes, and then retrieved my ring from our friend that weekend and asked my wife two days later. It’s funny, even though she had already asked me, I was still SO nervous to ask her in return! In the end, I am so glad we did it this way. There is something terrifically bright about being desired and asked and something profoundly humbling about being the one on the other side. We both got to make a choice, we both walked through those humbling nerves and we both felt the elation of being chosen. I can think of no better way to start a marriage.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      What a beautiful beautiful story, Allison.

    • Weep! This is so gorgeous!!!

  75. I proposed to my love in September in Paris. He knew from, like, day one that he wanted to marry me while I wasn’t so sure and had some trauma from a past relationship that I needed to work through and heal from. He would somewhat jokingly propose starting around our one year together, especially if he had consumed a few beers! So many dramatic fake proposals!

    I was in my dance class one Saturday which is my sacred, happy place and I had this thunderbolt of inspiration that I was finally ready to get married (after almost 8 years of dating) and that I was going to surprise him by proposing while we were in Paris. Of course, when the moment finally came I was a nervous, weepy mess and I did say that maybe it would’ve been better for him to do it since he has better emotional control that me! It’s one of my very very happiest memories. We’re planning to get married in Cabo in 2020 after a decade of dating!

    • Diana McNeill says...

      This brings me joy! Sounds so familiar to me. I am nearly a decade into my partnership with my boyfriend. Maybe we will have a similar proposal in our near future!

    • That’s SO cool Diana. I learned that you never have to rush the timing – it will feel right when you’re good and ready. :)

  76. Laura C. says...

    What a LOVELY couple and video, thank you Franny! It’s amazing, I love when the girl in the red dress starts to jump, she’s the cuteness! Goals for this year: feel like her!

  77. My proposal was VERY TRADITIONAL in the hetero-normative sense: I knew a proposal was likely on the horizon, he hunted down a ring he was mostly confident I would love, he planned a whole fun proposal in secret with my sister… it was all so romantic and lovely!

    But, TBH, if I could go back and do it all again, I wish we’d just decided together to get married (essentially proposed to each other) and then gone to get engagement rings together! You see, my husband (then fiance of course) was actually genuinely bummed he “couldn’t” wear an engagement ring as well. And even though I love the ring he picked, there are some things I’d change to make the fit and style even more perfect for me. Not to mention that waiting around for a proposal when you know to expect it sometime caused us both so much unnecessary anxiety — and wasted time! I wish we’d just done what worked best for us instead of getting sucked into what is traditional and expected!

    • My partner and I picked our rings together and he is happily already wearing his ring even though we’re not planning to get married until 2020. It’s SUCH a fun thing to do together. The anticipation of waiting to get them from the jewelers is such a fun time.

      I was married once before and I realized that all the tradition is something you only have to opt into if you’re into it. I decided that if it doesn’t work for me I’m just throwing out the window!!

    • MarieP says...

      Love and adore my husband of 23 years. Liked but didn’t adore the ring. Last year, I chipped one of the prongs at work and told him we’d need to get it fixed. He said, “Let’s get it redone; I think it’s time.” Now I have the 3-stone ring of my dreams (it’s not flashy, just perfect) with my original stone in the center. My original band was melted down and cast for my new ring. I still catch myself staring at it with joy and am so grateful I got a re-do. It’s like my first ring grew and changed into this new ring, just as my husband and I have grown and changed in our marriage!

  78. Gem says...

    I absolutely LOVE this post – and I love that clip, too. It made me weep and I rewatched like nine times a few months ago and just watched it twice more again. A friend of mine has a wonderful double-proposal story – I will send this to her and maybe she will share hers, too…

    gxx

    • Lindsay says...

      We didn’t propose to each other at the same exact time, but for my wife, Melanie, and I it was a matter of not wanting either of us to not have the experience of being proposed to. We both did propose to each other at different times but in moments of perfection that let us know we were right where we were supposed to be.
      We had traveled up to San Fransisco for Valentine’s Day and I wasn’t sure when or how I was going to propose yet, only that it was one of her favorite places and I had never been. The airport lost my luggage and while sorting that out, we missed our original dinner reservations. Wandering around the city with nothing by my purse and an engagement ring tucked inside, we decided to wing it. Some kind strangers took our photo in Union Square and recommended a small Italian eatery and the general direction we might be able to find it (go up 3 blocks, turn right at the 4th tree, etc). Laughing knowing that would be futile, we headed that way. All of a sudden we saw a place up on the left that had great lounge music playing and decided to check out the menu — wouldn’t you know it, we found the Italian restaurant.

      We were seated off in a small room on the side with only one other couple dining while the bar area on the other side of the restaurant was packed. There was no music in our small room and you could just barely hear the live music playing in the bar. The singer was playing a lot of upbeat disco/party standards and we sat and waxed poetic about how and when we first met, how much our feelings had grown and how deeply our love had blossomed. Smiling and gushing at each other we immediately paused and cocked our ears — they began to play one slow beautiful song in the midst of the lounge music… The Way I Am (a song we had discussed would be an amazing wedding song but one you don’t hear as frequently as something like At Last). Melanie smiled and said “This moment is so perfect, if I had a ring I would propose to you right now.” That was it. I seized the moment without thinking twice and there, in the restaurant, I proposed to Melanie and The Way I Am became “our song.” After she accepted, the music (again, playing in a totally different and unaware room) began to play At Last. I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried.
      2 months later, Melanie proposed to me.
      We were supposed to go meet at LACMA for our first date and ended up meeting the day prior for coffee instead. It had become the joke of our relationship that we had somehow never managed to make it there. Two days before our anniversary I came down with a terrible respiratory infection. I had a feeling Melanie was going to propose to me on our anniversary and an even worse feeling that I was going to have to suck up feeling badly and go on a light hike for the event to occur at a place we loved by Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.
      The night before, we had plans to have dinner with friends of ours. I should have known something was up when my mom didn’t yell at me to stay home and rest and told me that I had to eat either way so I should just go to dinner. I was, however, on an obscene amount of cold medicine that left my mind cloudy and completely unsuspecting.
      Tom and Lauren arrived to dinner late. Then everybody took forever ordering drinks. Then they ordered appetizers long before the main course. Then they decided they wanted dessert… and an apertif… and anything that could make this dinner drag on and on and on. At this point I was feeling near death at the table. I was coughing, tired, pretty miserable, and heard Tom say “Hey, we were thinking about walking over to the urban light installation at LACMA after dinner. Do you have any interest?” I laughed and made a crack about how we’d actually get there before our one year anniversary and we should go. I couldn’t walk so we compromised on a drive and, around 10:30pm, made our way over.
      For about 15 minutes we wandered around through the lights and took photos for Facebook together. Then, Melanie handed me her phone and told me to hit Play. She had cut together a movie trailer of our relationship and at the end of a beautiful homage to the kind of cheesy romance that only two women can share, it read Will You Marry Me?
      I looked up and Melanie was down on one knee with a ring. She apologized for the long night but had been trying to propose at midnight, on our anniversary, at the place we were supposed to have our first date. Just shy of 11pm, I said “yes” to spending the rest of my life with the most amazing woman I have ever met. She also divulged that we had no plans tomorrow and we spent our actual anniversary with our diamond-bearing hands entwined, in bed with homemade chicken soup.
      Our proposals were perfectly imperfect for two people absolutely perfect for each other.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh, Lindsay, I’m tearing up! “we spent our actual anniversary with our diamond-bearing hands entwined, in bed with homemade chicken soup.” All of this is so wonderfully loving and romantic.

    • Claire says...

      Lindsay… uh… wow?! That is just so lovely I don’t know what else to say. Congratulations, you two sound like the sweetest, most thoughtful couple. xo

    • kd says...

      What a warm and romantic story. You both sound perfectly thoughtful. Thanks for sharing! xoxo :)

  79. jeannie says...

    “A tile for diamonds” made me laugh. There definitely should be one! I love seeing the whole proposal ritual turned on its head. About time! And how lovely that the feeling is mutual no matter who proposes first. One of my favorite posts ever on so many levels. Thank you, Franny.

  80. when my boyfriend and I started talking about getting married, I told him that I thought it was important that we BOTH propose. he told me that it was important for him to propose first. I respected that.

    he proposed at a truck stop and it was honestly the best moment of my life: https://wullhay.com/2015/03/09/he-is-my-yes/

    I meant to propose before we got married, but we were engaged for less than six months and it just all happened so fast.

    so one morning in Seattle (we were visiting, but now it’s our home!) about three months after our wedding. I took him to Gas Works Park—right out to the water—and I told him how much better he makes my life and how I want him to be my “yes” forever and I was just so nervous! I got down on one knee and asked if he would be forever mine and held out a silicone ring (he’s a climber… so he could have an alternative ring for adventures). he said yes. it felt so wonderful!

    it was important to me and I wish that it would’ve happened before we actually got married, but it was perfect. BIG fan of the double-proposal.

    • Cailin says...

      Hi Rachel! Just followed your link (great story and beautiful writing!) and see you are (were) a Montanan. I’m reading from Big Sky!

    • Cailin! I love Big Sky so much! Even almost signed up for The Rut Race (again—oof) yesterday, but then was like, “What am I doing? I can’t do that race anymore. I live at sea-level now.”

      But I will just have to come back to Big Sky for other beautiful adventures. Soak up those mountains for me!

  81. Laura says...

    Yess Catbird!!!

  82. S says...

    I cracked up at “WE’RE BOTH THE MAN.” Yesss!!!

  83. Carly says...

    I simultaneously love and hate you for taking me down this rabbit hole. Don’t worry, the hate part is only because I can’t stop watching!!!!!! Seriously, how are they so in sync? More importantly, how are they so sure????

  84. Hillary says...

    I love this! After my wife and I moved in together, I told her that I was ready to get married whenever she was, so the ball was in her court in terms of proposing. I’d always been more serious in terms of our relationship, so I knew that when she did propose she’d really be ready to get married. Happily, we’ve been married for over 7 years now, with two foster kiddos and a baby due any day!

    • Franny Eremin says...

      Congratulations!!! xo

  85. Abbey says...

    The best part of social media is when we discover things, like this, that help us see we are not alone! Love this post!a

  86. Kari says...

    Oh my heart! I only wish Franny would’ve linked to a specific ring she may have her eye on… ;)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha i thought the same! :)

    • Kerry says...

      Believe me – I wish she had too! :)

  87. Anon says...

    This is so cute !

    No one proposed in our marriage ..not in traditional American sense at least as ours in an arranged one :)

  88. Josephine says...

    Love this! I’m in a hetero relationship, but my partner and I proposed to each other. We planned it in advance, which some people seem to think takes the romance out of it, but I couldn’t disagree more. This way we got to have a beautiful, tearful, happy discussion off the cuff when we decided we wanted to get married PLUS a beautiful, tearful, happy proposal on a hike in our favorite national park. During the proposal, we shared what we each love most about our relationship as well as our intentions for stewarding and growing our love through marriage. We exchanged gold bands that we wore on our right hands during our engagement and switched to the left when we got married. The anticipatory period between when we decided to get engaged and when we actually proposed was such an exciting time that I wondered if the actual proposal would measure up, but the proposal moment was still such a rush of emotion and joy that it felt completely special. I still get teary-eyed thinking about it!

    • jeannie says...

      I love this. I love that you and your partner planned to propose. This is so different to me, but makes the engagement such a beautiful mutual commitment. It marks you as equals from the start. And I love that your gold engagement bands became your wedding rings!

  89. Heather says...

    I’m a woman, and I proposed to my now-husband on our first big international trip together, after we’d been together for 7 years (most of them in college). The proposal wasn’t elaborate, but I planned it six months in advance when we starting booking travel and I thought, “I’d like to get married. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful time to get engaged?” I’m so glad I did, because while he was psyched to be asked, it hadn’t been on his radar. (I was like, “Did I steal your thunder? Were you planning something?” And he was like, “Nope!”) I’m grateful to live at a time when conventions are falling away for all kinds of couples, so that I could just ask when I was ready instead of waiting/wishing/hoping for him to make the decision, as Franny says.

  90. Christine says...

    My now husband and I dated for a year or so before it happened. He always proclaimed ‘There shall be no weddings’. One day I thought about it and decided I DID want to get married. Sitting at the table one night, after dinner, over coffee, I say “Pete? Can I ask you a question?” He said “Hey, wanna get married?” I was floored. How did you know I was going to ask that? He said you were? We laughed and laughed. It will be 20 years in March.

    • Annelies says...

      This made my day!

    • Julie says...

      This is so wonderful!

    • Erin says...

      This has me in tears! My sister is in her first serious relationship and she and her boyfriend went to stay with my parents for a few days last summer. When I asked my parents how the visit had gone, they simply said “those two sure laugh a lot together.” I can’t think of a more wonderful thing to be said about a relationship.

    • kathy says...

      the BEST

    • Claire says...

      That is so lovely. Great minds think alike!

    • Lizzie says...

      Love this!

  91. Lindsey says...

    Crying at work! This is so wonderful. I’m going down this joyous rabbit hole as soon as I get home!

  92. Margaret says...

    This video had me crying, then your follow up had me crying more, then the mention of hinting at Catbird had me laughing out loud (too true, for every woman I think!)