Photo: Mary + Roy
First comes love, then comes marriage. But before the joy of wedding planning begins, comes the biggest, happiest question of all: Will you marry me? Thanks to HowHeAsked, we found some real, romantic, and ridiculously creative proposal stories that will get you inspired, tearing up, or both!
Loreen and Michael met much later in life than they should have: They grew up less than 5 miles apart from one another and graduated from the same high school. Yet it wasn't until after college that they were introduced through a mutual friend. Loreen was living in New York City at the time and Michael was living in Philadelphia. Two years and some back-and-forth visits between New York City and Philadelphia later, they both settled in Philly and began dating—eight years after their first meeting.
See more: Design Your Dream Engagement Ring
"I wanted to give Loreen the proposal of her dreams," Michael says. With that in mind, he picked the Philadelphia Museum of Art as his proposal spot for its famed "Rocky Steps" and view of the Philadelphia skyline in the background. The couple headed over to the museum on a Friday, ostensibly to meet up with Michael's mom for "Art After 5," a weekly event in which attendees can walk through the art galleries while enjoying cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.
But they didn't even make it inside: As soon as they walked to the top of the steps, Michael dropped down on one knee and proposed. "Loreen was so shocked and I don't even think she said yes right then," he recalls. "She was speechless and just stuck out her shaking hand."
Thankfully, Michael had contacted photographers Mary + Roy about photographing the event, and they perfectly captured the proposal and their engagement photos on the spot!
After all of that, "Art After 5" wasn't even in the picture. The celebratory evening continued at Loreen's favorite restaurant in the city, Talula's Garden. Michael had contacted them several weeks prior, and upon arrival, they were seated at a prime table and served 2 glasses of champagne. Following their meal, one last surprise awaited Loreen. She thought that they would be meeting their parents for a drink to celebrate at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia—but when they arrived, 60 of our closest friends and family were there.
See more: Over-the-Top Places to Get Engaged
"For the second time that evening, Loreen was completely surprised and whispered to me 'everyone's here,'" Michael says. Amid tears and hugs, they newly-engaged couple celebrated the night away. "The night was truly magical for both of us, and turned out to be an amazing way to begin our engagement," Michael says.
1. It's the thought that counts: Could it be more obvious that Michael put a ton of time and effort into his proposal? He picked a memorable spot, his girlfriend's favorite restaurant, and planned a party with for their friends and family. What more could a girl want?
2. K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, stupid!): With all of his meticulous planning, the actual popping of the question was relatively no-frills. Michael got it out of the way quickly, allowing he and his new fiancée the rest of the night to revel in their happiness.
3. Make it twice as nice: Having a post-proposal party is a growing trend that we love! It's like the step before an engagement party; it captures the immediate joy of a proposal, it involves only close family and friends, and it ensures that the surprises keep on coming.
4. Prepare to make it picture-perfect: Like many other smart grooms-to-be, Michael anticipated wanting photos of his proposal and hired a professional photographer in advance. This way, they got to take the engagement pictures right away! A+ planning.
Click here to read more about Loreen and Michael's engagement.