Photo: Courtesy of Diana Sala
Recently on National Tell-A-Story Day, we reached out to all of our brides-to-be on Instagram and asked them to share their real life proposal stories with us. The emails starting pouring in and, after many (happy) tears and a box of tissues later, we were in love with every single one of your beautiful stories. From an elementary school classroom to the Eiffel Tower, each one of these grooms-to-be planned a proposal to remember. Now, it's our feel-good Friday treat to you. Enjoy!
Photo: Courtesy of Jennifer Ariel
"It was the Monday after I ran the Long Island Half Marathon. I woke up still exhausted from those 13 miles that my legs carried me through the day before. I'm an 8th grade English teacher and just kept thinking, 'In 9 periods you'll be home for a nap...just get through 9 periods.' Sixth period rolled around and in my school we are lucky enough to integrate English and Social Studies. I figured this would be a good time for a quick bathroom break before my 7th period class. While finishing up I could hear people talking in the hallway. I assumed because it was May, it had to be the custodians preparing to turn on the air conditioning. As I opened the door, I was staring back at someone I knew; Ron's brother's girlfriend looked like a deer in headlights. She was holding a video camera and while my brain tried to process why she was standing in my hallway I heard a man yelling my principals name. The man in my hallway was Ron! IT WAS RON! It's pretty safe to say I contemplated every illogical thought as to why he was standing in front of me shot through my brain like rapid fire. My principal's secretary and Ron's sister were also standing behind me taking pictures as I repeated the question, "What are you doing here?" Ron held my hand as we walked towards my classroom. Mrs. Rodahan, my principal, was carrying a bouquet of a dozen blood red roses. As we walked into my classroom, I began to cry. Ron introduced himself to my 40, curious students. I listened as he commanded the floor and my students would start to realize what was happening. This would become the greatest surprise of my life. Ron asked all of my students to stand at the front of the class, facing me, and handed two of them a sign to be unraveled in his cue. In front of forty students and four adults, he took my hand, told me how much he loved me, and bent down on one knee as his sign would be opened to read, "Ms. Ariel, Will You Marry Me?"...and of course, I said YES!" — Jennifer N. Ariel
Photo: Courtesy of Kelsey Shinn
"Two days before the proposal my best friend (who lives in Atlanta) told me she was flying in that weekend for work. I didn't think anything of it. Joe had told me he had to work that Saturday night, so I of course, wanted to get dinner and drinks with my best friend downtown West Palm. We got all dressed up and left for dinner and things were getting pretty weird during the drive there. Everything she was saying wasn't adding up (turns out she was just stalling so Joe could get to the proposal site). We get down there and she asks for a picture down by the water so I go (kind of annoyed cause it was Florida in May and VERY hot outside!) We walk to the end of the dock to take the picture and I turn around and Paige (my best friend) doesn't join me. Then I hear someone walking up behind me and I turn around and it was Joe! He had a dozen pink roses in his hand and I immediately started crying. I knew what was happening. I honestly can't even tell you what Joe said during the proposal because I was so overcome with emotions and tears. But after a few minutes he got down on one knee and proposed with the most GORGEOUS ring (that I picked out months ago). I of course said yes while balling my eyes out. It was absolutely perfect in every way. I then turned around and saw my family walking up behind me snapping pictures and I had no clue they were there! I was so happy they could witness the best moment of my life. And turns out Paige wasn't there for a work meeting, Joe had her fly in for the proposal. Best friend EVER and best fiancé ever!!!" — Kelsey Shinn
Photo: Courtesy of Kayla Hearn
"On March 26 2016, my fiancé, Scott, and I climbed the Taal Valcano in the Philippines. Scott proposed at the top of the Volcano on the Red Lava Trail. Most amazing moment of my life!" — Kayla Hearn
Photo: Courtesy of Jaclyn Tarica
"My now fiancé and I met senior year of high school, spring break in the Bahamas. We immediately hit it off and had a great spring break. Last place you think you would find your husband, right? We both knew we were going off to college, so we didn't take things seriously. Except a few months into college and we realized we didn't want to be single. We made it official and dated long distance all through college. After graduating we moved back to New York and had so much fun finally being in the same state. Fast forward three years later, I got home from work on a Thursday night, and he told me to pack my bags, and that a car was coming to pick us up at 4am. He wouldn't tell me where we were going he just told me I needed to pack beach clothes. We get to the airport and get to our gate, and I see we are going to the Bahamas. I mentioned we both hadn't been there since we met eight years ago. Embarrassingly enough, I was still clueless. (We recently had "the conversation" and agreed we were in no rush to plan a wedding). When we got there and got settled into the hotel, we had a nice day on the beach. Later that night he had a car pick us up to take us to The One and Only resort. Years ago I had told him this is a dream wedding venue (I don't know how he remembered that!), but when we were on the way I started to realize something was up!! He went to the bathroom and I was escorted in a golf cart to the restaurant. They dropped me off at their beautiful garden, and I saw from a distance my fiancé was standing all the way at the top waiting for me with his arms crossed. I had to walk all the up to him crying, in heels!! He asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. We are now getting married and this proposal is one I will remember forever." — Jaclyn Tarica
Photo: Katie Scarlett Photography
"My fiancé's name is Stavros Makropoulos, I am Monica Kucera. Technically you can say we met on Facebook. Our parents made an effort to set us up but it stopped after his dad said, "You'd be a perfect fit for my son! But, oh, he hates when I set him up with Greek girls so you have to call him!" I'm like, "What!" Well, I ended up friending him on Facebook like a huge creep and the rest is history! Prior to meeting Stavros, I completed two marathons and a few half marathons. After we met, he said he wanted to "get into running" so naturally I told him we should sign up for a half marathon together. We started running them in March/April so we could begin training around the new year to make a New Year's Resolution out of it. For our third half marathon together, we chose the Sly Fox Half Marathon in St. Charles because the first two we ran were in Chicago and we wanted to do something a little different this year. Plus it fit perfectly in our March/April time frame (but little did I know, Stavros had something else in mind). I was so completely surprised about the proposal. I told Stavros I envisioned our proposal being more private. It ended up being the complete opposite! All of our close friends and family were there and it wound up being AMAZING. I couldn't have pictured it any other way. It was like a fairytale." — Monica Kucera
Photo: Courtesy of Kara Farruggia
"We met in our apartment laundry room 3 years ago, and it was love at first sight! I had learned to ski a few years back and told him that in order to date me, he would have to get back on a snowboard. We now work on Slope Security at Shawnee Ski Mountain in PA. On our first ski trip out west over spring break this year, we got to the top of Copper Mountain for our first run of the day, and it was absolutely beautiful weather with breathtaking views. Clint asked me to look at the trail map and while I did, he got down on one knee. My uncle called to me to turn around and look down. I asked why just as I saw Clint on one knee. I said, "Oh my god!" I immediately broke into tears at the sight of my great grandma's stone in the setting. The ring glistened almost a blue color due to how blue the sky was! All I could do after that was nod yes and kiss him! The proposal could not have been more perfect for us, and I can thank my uncle and cousin for their pictures and video to remember and share the moment." — Kara Farruggia
Photo: Courtesy of Diana Sala
"Nick got my father involved in the proposal. He had dad tell me we had a work meeting in Santa Barbara. So Dad and I drove up to Santa Barbara and stopped at our family's beach house at Rincon Point. I went inside to grab the missing item and found red roses and a note. The note showed me a map to the beach. I ran so fast. When I got to the beach there were roses lined in the sand with pictures of us starting from the very beginning of our relationship and ending with a picture of our church. I followed the roses and found him. He got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife and to "change the world together" I said yes! and immediately knelt down to hug him before he even had a chance to put the ring on my finger. It was perfect. Then he surprised me with having a nice outfit picked out to go to dinner with my family and his to celebrate." — Diana Sala
Photo: Courtesy of Casey Hiskens
"It has been my dream to travel in Europe. We were trying to save for a house, however I had my mind set on traveling which Bill (partner) didn't really want too. He allowed me to go over with a girlfriend and do a tour. We had one week in London with no plans, Bill saw his perfect opportunity and sent me a message saying in two days you must be at Hyde Park, by the round pond for a surprise. I thought deep down how lovely it would be if it was him but I couldn't see him justifying the money to go over when he always said no. As I ran through Hyde Park (late), I looked up and saw Bill standing by a tree. It was emotional and I gave him the biggest hug. Yet the moment didn't stop there. He walked me through a garden tunnel in Kensington Gardens and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes, so caught up in the moment I cried and forgot if I had even answered him. It was the most perfect proposal and we often get comments. Bill is not romantic but he saw his perfect opportunity." — Casey Hiskens
Photo: Courtesy of Erin Walters
"We actually met online and had been dating for about two years when he asked me if i could get time off from work at the end the February for a "surprise trip." I am ALL about surprises and trips and was lucky enough to get the 10 days off for a California road trip he planned all by himself! He made a folder and itinerary and researched the best sights to see! I am a native of Michigan so driving north up the coast of highway 1 was incredible to say the least. We stopped at few magical, beautiful place but he proposed on Pfieffer Beach in Big Sur.
"We actually got lost trying to find it! And Corbin was so anxious because the sun sets so quickly - I told him to calm down because obviously I didn't know what he had in mind, but I figured we could run to the beach and see the last few seconds at least! But luckily we made it with time to spare! This beach is gorgeous and so unique – purple sand and rock arches with waves splashing through. Corbin was off looking at these enormous pieces of washed up seaweed and I saw a lady with a large professional camera, way fancier than what I had but I figured she'd be able to work mine so asked her to take a picture. She said of course... I waved Corbin down, we posed, the picture was snapped and she came up to us and said the background was perfect but only our silhouettes were showing up in the picture because of the sun. She suggested to do something "romantic." As I'm staring to the ocean and sunset, still thinking of what we could do that was romantic, little did I know Corbin has dropped on one knee and said, no joke, "Romantic like this?" I was in shock! He had been carrying the ring around in his pocket for days waiting for the perfect moment and it honestly could not have been better!! And to make it more unique, the stranger that took our picture was celebrating her 60th wedding anniversary so I took pictures of them after our proposal! 60 years?! I can only hope Corbin and I will be so lucky to travel back to that beach 60 years from the day we wed!" — Erin Walters
Photo: Nikki Tran Photography
"The day was January 16, 2016. It was one of the coldest days of the winter so far in Minnesota. My boyfriend, Tom said he had a surprise date night planned for us, but he wouldn't tell me what it was. All he said was "pack an overnight bag." Oh boy! I don't know what we are doing AND I need multiple outfits?! But I did as he said and then we got in his car and drove. We ended up at the St. Paul Hotel, which is the fanciest hotel in St. Paul. I had always wanted to stay there and he knew that. I was so excited! We checked in, got to our room and unpacked our things. He then informed me that we had dinner reservations at 7pm, but again he wouldn't tell me where. We hung out, watched some TV, played some cards and then we got ready for our dinner out. As we were heading out the door, Tom said we were going to walk to dinner. I said I had hoped the restaurant was close, because it was -30 below windchill outside! But he didn't say anything, so I figured it was ok. We walked outside and since I didn't know where we were going, Tom took my hand and was leading the way. We walked right through Rice Park, which had white twinkle lights on all the trees, and they were all lit up. All of a sudden, Tom stopped and turned to me. He took my hands and said that he had ulterior motives for tonight's plans. I had no idea what he was talking about! Then he got down on one knee and started saying how special I was and how much he loved me, and then asked me to marry him! Of course I said yes! It was one of the most magical and romantic moments of my life. Then a photographer popped out of nowhere and she had captured the whole thing. Tom had gone and hired a photographer to get the moment on film, so we would always have it. I thought that was so special. After a few laughs and tears, we said good-bye to the photographer and continued our walk to dinner. Pazzaluna is a delicious Italian restaurant, one of my favorites, that is located right across the street from the St. Paul Hotel. When we walked in, the hostess said our table was ready and the rest of our party was already here. What?! The rest of our party? I was confused, who else was there? Waiting at the table for us was my parents and Tom's parents, with champagne and lots of excitement! Tom also wanted to include our parents in the proposal because we are both very close with them. They were so honored and excited to be included. I was so touched that Tom put so much thought and planning into the proposal. It definitely is a day I will NEVER forget." — Dana Hogan
Photo: Courtesy of Julianne Johnson
I" couldn't have dreamed of a better weekend. After he proposed on my favorite beach, I looked up to see family and friends cheering, fireworks and huge banners saying SAY YES! I went upstairs to the beach club house, where I was greeted by friends and family that flew in for the proposal. Then they played this video. I could watch it on repeat forever and rewind this weekend a million times. Our story begins before Billy and I were born. Our grandparents were best friends and Billy became best friends with my cousin. Even though we lived so close and shared so many connections, Billy and I never really knew each other. We crossed paths in college once, but it wasn't until I randomly visited his college, the University of Alabama, that we got to know each other. We went on our first date when we moved home & the rest is history! We have been through so much since we have been together. SO many good times, so many fun times, but unfortunately we've had to face difficult times. Billy's dad was unexpectedly diagnosed with a brain cancer called Glioblastoma in 1/2014 and passed 10 months later. The whole town of Jupiter knew his father, known as always giving back to the community. Only 8 months later, Billy's nephew, Austin Stephanos, went missing. Him & his friend Perry left the Jupiter Inlet on Austin's boat and never returned. We miss Billy's dad and Austin more than anything. Billy's dad asked me the first day he met me when the wedding was and Austin called me his Aunt, before Billy and I even met, as I used to babysit him. Them being there with us is the only thing that could make our love story more magical." — Julianne Johnson
Photo: Courtesy of Jodi Sparrow
"My proposal was so thought out and perfect it is something you would read about in a fairy tale! I went to college in Paris and the city is a huge part of who I am, my fiancé had never been before so we planned a trip. We had been planning the trip for a year so I didn't think a proposal would happen since we had our days completely planned out, but leave it to Ken to surprise me. The weather was touch and go while we were there (typical Paris showers) so we had to reschedule a few of our afternoons for earlier in the week, one of which was a private boat tour on La Seine. We rescheduled our boat tour for the same day we were having dinner at Le Cinq, so Ken thought it would be best if we dressed up for the boat tour and then went straight to dinner for a cocktail before. As we are driving to our boat tour our driver asks if he could drop us off on one side of the Pont Bir-Hakeim bridge and we could walk to the boat on the other side (yes, even the driver was in on the proposal!). We got out and as we are walking across the bridge Ken stops turns to me and drops down on one knee, I was completely shocked!! To top it all off, he had hired a photographer to capture every second and take our engagement photos later in the week in Paris! After a few photos, we hopped on the boat and sailed down La Seine. It was truly the most romantic thoughtful proposal and it still gives me goosebumps." — Jodi Sparrow
Photo: Impressions Photography
"January 15, 2016 was the day. It was cool day, and Wade planned a date night to kick off my new work rotation as an ER nurse. As I was getting ready for our date my best friend, Nicole called me. She surprised me and came to Omaha, Nebraska from Florida! I was ecstatic and we planned to meet up for drinks prior to Wade and my date. Nicole was waiting for us at Heartland of America park with her boyfriend, I was thrilled to see them both! After reconnecting with my best friend Nicole states, "I am not the real surprise." and turns me around. I turn to find the love of my life down on one knee holding the most beautiful pear shaped engagement ring. If I told you what he said when he asked that would be a lie because I began crying instantly and kissed him! Eventually I said the word he was waiting to hear, "Yes!" We continued to celebrate by going to the Twisted Fork in the Old Market for dinner, the first place we had been on a date to in Omaha. After dinner, we headed back to our apartment planning to meet up with friends later in the evening. To my surprise the night was not over. Wade planned a surprise engagement party at our apartment with our closest friends! We set our date for June, 3, 2017!" — Emilee Davenport
Photo: Courtesy of Suzanna Garza
"Alabama guy and a Texas girl. He surprised me in Big Sur with a 70's camper (56 acres all to ourselves) sitting on the side of a mountain overlooking the ocean. We were the only two people within miles of gorgeous untouched Big Sur. It was his birthday and we hiked down to a forest filled with Redwoods and a river flowing through it. Mid-hike we stopped and had some lunch and a few beers on a giant redwood that had fallen down. He starts to show me a video of all these memorable moments we have had. Me graduating college, our road trips, him hiding the ring and this surprise for months, and the final video was him balancing a ring on our dog Vader's nose. He got down on one knee and I could not stop crying. Afterwards, we jumped into a freezing waterhole and spent the week enjoying Big Sur all to ourselves. Whale watching and outdoor showers highly recommended. We are getting married this November in the city where we had our first date!" — Suzanna Garza
Photo: Courtesy of Sierra Clatterbuck
"My fiancé Josiah planned an adventurous afternoon rock climbing by the New River in Virginia. When we got there, I set up the hammock while he climbed to the top to set up the rope. Little did I know he was setting up tons of GoPros to get the entire proposal on video. He rappelled down after setting up and said we should walk around the route first just so I could get a feel for the rock outside. We started walking up and he was behind me making sure I didn't fall. About half way up, he shot in front of me and started climbing really fast. I was a little frustrated he left me behind, but kept climbing (okay, I got stuck a few times) until I got to the top. And that's when I saw him, on his knee with something in his hand. He helped me down and we stood on the edge of the ascent overlooking the tree line and river when he asked,"Will you marry me?" I immediately said, "Yes!" and leaned in for a kiss. It was definitely the most "Josiah" way of proposing, which made it all the more special. November 8, 2015, we got engaged and began planning to become Mr. and Mrs. Bumgarner." — Sierra Clatterbuck
Photo: Anna Kim Photography
And one token proposal story from a groom (and, in true guy fashion, it's a list)...
1. How we met: Kait and I met on the first day of college. I was an international student and we both came early to orientation. She was one of the only people sitting in my section and we were friends from day one. We were also in 2 freshman classes together. She was my first friend in college! However, we started dating only in sophomore year. We transitioned from friends to boyfriend and girlfriend (and best friends) and finally to this stage!
2. When I realized I wanted to spend my life with her: I don't think there was one clear moment - it was a build up. She's a very private person. It took time to peel through all the beautiful layers she had. Once I was on the inside though, it was crystal clear. When you can be your true self without even thinking of feeling judged, that's when I knew.
3. How I chose that location and the day of the proposal: I wanted that day to be special, hence Hawaii. Our parents and my sister flew in from NJ and India (my family is based in India) because the both of us are very close to our families, and also because I wanted to share this special day and trip with them. Our families had all met before on different vacations we planned together, so Kait thought this was just another fun family vacation with both families. I had told both families that I'd be proposing, and when I got the green light I started looking for a photographer. Kait is a blogger and I knew she'd want an engagement shoot. But I wanted to capture the raw moment. Not anything planned. I found Anna Kim's website and I was sold. She put me on to her associate, Ajja and Ajja told me about Po'olenalena beach. I saw pictures and I knew that was the spot. But there was another problem. I had a feeling Kait knew I was going to propose this trip. That's one disadvantage of knowing someone so well. She knew that I was going to propose and I knew that she knew I was going to. So I had to change my whole plan. What I told Kait, since she's a blogger, was that I found a photographer would like to meet us and do a few test shoots of us that she could use for her blog. Her blog is "Blonde Expeditions" after all, and Maui is a pretty big expedition. So a shoot of mostly her, and a few of me in the mix would add some expedition-ness to her blog. She bought it. What I told Ajja was that Kait thinks it's a blog shoot, but that I was going to propose during the shoot and catch her off guard and surprise her. We did a few blog shoots of her, and the both of us, before I gave Ajja my cue. A few hours earlier I made up something along the lines of my stomach was hurting because Kait thought I looked nervous. So I went along with it. I bent down "in pain" and when I got up I had the ring ready. Cheesy, but it I didn't improvise she would have caught on. It worked perfectly. So even thought she knew I was going to propose during the trip, I made sure she didn't know exactly when, and it worked. Ajja was able to capture the exact, real moment, which is just beautiful. Words to live by – if you make her cry out of joy, you did a good job!
4. How I felt? Nerves the entire day. Not because I was going to ask her to marry me – that was the easy part. Nervous because I wanted everything to go perfectly and not ruin the surprise. Good thing I thought of stomach pain to mask the nervousness. I even said "maybe we should reschedule" to make it more real, but she asked me to "suck it up." — Armaan