Photo: Pennance Photography
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!
Love at first sight: Fact or fiction? For Marlee and Wesley, it's undoubtedly the former. The two met at a high school football game when Wesley, who attended a different high school, tagged along to the game with a friend who was dating one of Marlee's friends. They didn't talk that night, but when he got home he told his mom that he sat behind "the prettiest girl in Fayetteville" at the game. Marlee was intrigued, too: After the game, when her friend asked if she was interested in the guy who'd been sitting behind her, she agreed to meet him.
See more: Design Your Dream Engagement Ring
By the time the two were close to graduating from college, Marlee made it clear that she wanted an engagement ring before her diploma. "I may or may not have told him that if I did not receive a ring by that time, I would not get a ring at all," she says. "He was graduating in May and I would graduate the following December. It was time for a commitment before we began to plan our lives together."
With her intentions clear, she went to New York City with two friends for spring break her senior year. On what would become proposal day, they got lunch at Serendipity, went shopping, and strolled over to Central Park, where one of her friends suggested they take pictures at Bow Bridge.
Hungry and tired, Marlee was less than interested in the bridge, and more excited about the snack cart nearby. But her friends, who of course were in on the plan, helped ensure Wesley's proposal played out perfectly.
"Kristen [Marlee's friend] asked for my shopping bags saying that she wanted to look at my swim suit again," Marlee says. "I thought it was strange, but I handed her my bags and headed straight for the snack stand. She quickly grabbed my arm and suggested that we go over the bridge. I'm pretty sure that I rolled my eyes at her. I just wanted those really yummy candied nuts and honestly did not care about the bridge. As I scanned the people on the bridge, I saw the back of a bright orange head."
See more: Over-the-Top Places to Get Engaged
That fiery red hair belonged to Wesley. Marlee immediately guessed what was happening, and despite her specific proposal requests, couldn't believe it. Wesley got down on one knee and proposed. "After Wesley put the ring on, he stood up and hugged me," Marlee recalls. "He pulled me back and said, 'Will you?' In the excitement, I had forgotten to say yes!"
As soon as she did, the crowd that had formed around them began to cheer. A secret photographer introduced herself to Marlee and the newly-betrothed couple had a one hour engagement shoot. "I could not have planned a more perfect proposal!" Marlee says.
1. Tell him what you want: Some brides may love a proposal that's a complete surprise, but Marlee was clear with Wesley about when she hoped she'd get a ring. And clearly, her man listened!
2. Get friends involved: Marlee's girlfriends were integral to the proposal. (Especially when it came to steering her away from that snack cart!) After Wesley popped the question, Marlee remembers one friend beaming and the other in tears. How sweet is it to have friends at your side when you get engaged?
3. A photographer in plain sight: A public proposal like this makes it easy for a photographer to snap the moment inconspicuously—no trees, bushes, or hiding necessary!