I’m not going to lie to you, I hate public proposals. To me, they seem like a weird form of emotional blackmail forcing your partner into saying yes lest you both make a public embarrassment of yourself. At least, that’s how I felt before Glenn Weiss proposed to his girlfriend Jan Svendsen while on stage at the Emmys after accepting an award for outstanding directing for a variety special.
What once seemed like the worst possible way to propose became the most sincere, adorable engagement I’ve ever seen, with Jan’s ecstatic reaction causing me to literally well up (and I didn’t even cry at To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, so you know I don't do that sort of thing). Starting his speech with a dedication to his recently-deceased mother, he went on to say ‘she adored my girlfriend Jan. Jan you are the sunshine in my life. And mom was right, don't ever let go of your sunshine.’
‘You wonder why I don't like to call you my girlfriend, because I want to call you my wife’ before inviting her onstage where he got down on one knee and put his mother’s wedding ring on her finger. At this point, we’re all crying.
Of course, if Jan hadn’t reacted as heartwarmingly delighted as she did, things could’ve been awkward. In fact, it probably would’ve gone down in history as the worst proposal of all time. Because, let’s face it, there’s a reason public proposals are like marmite, and for all those that hate them there are a million stories to back up why. So, in an effort to decide whether public proposals are cute or cringe, we asked for all of your public proposal stories. Here’s the good, the bad and the very very sad…
The ‘Least Romantic Proposal Ever’
‘My husband proposed to me in a pub while I was looking at the menu, the waitress had just come to take the order and I said “yes...and I'll have the chicken”. It was a bit awkward but quite funny looking back, my husband said he didn't know what I was happier about, the proposal or the food.’
‘Only the waitress actually witnessed it, who sort of kept her head down as she was giggling. Then the landlord, who we didn't know, joined our table and started talking about motorbikes for the next half hour. It was the least romantic proposal ever. I didn't mind, because we 'd already discussed getting married, but I guess he wanted to do it properly, hence the lovely pub lunch… it just didn't go quite to plan.’
The Military Operation
‘Me and my now-husband Marcus had arranged lunch at our favourite pizza place on Southbank on the Thursday before Easter weekend. Instead, he proposed to me by the river, and hired a professional photographer to capture the entire moment. He then took me to the OXO Tower restaurant where we had champagne and dinner waiting for us.
‘Then as we were walking back he asked if I wanted to go into a pub to process everything and I said yes. So, we went into the pub where two of our best friends were waiting with champagne. Whilst we were all celebrating, Marcus placed our passports on the table and then our friends whipped two bags from under the tables. They had been packing for us in our flat whilst Marcus was proposing. He then took me to Nice for the weekend, and had roses and champagne waiting for us in our Air BnB when we arrived. It was an amazing weekend!’
The Manipulative Ex
‘My ex-boyfriend proposed to me right after my university graduation, in front of all my friends, my mum, dad and brother. I loved him but he knew I didn’t want to get married, so this of all ways to do it felt really manipulative and weird. I said yes purely out of awkwardness, and then dumped him the next day. It felt like the last straw in a long line of manipulations’
Fancy snooping on all of your favourite celebrity's engagement rings? Click through...
The One That Didn’t Feel Right
‘When I was 20, I was obsessively in love with my boyfriend of only six months and we spoke about marriage all the time. We knew we we’re both probably too young for marriage, and our families definitely wouldn’t approve, but of course we didn’t care. He told me he was going to propose over the Summer while we we’re travelling Europe, and when we we’re in Paris I could feel it was coming. We were a very extreme couple and so we were either obsessed with each other or hated each other and unfortunately, for the entire time we travelled we seemed to hate each other.
‘He proposed on top of Tour Montparnasse, which has an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower, it was very romantic and I said yes but we both knew it wasn’t right, or the right time at least. Everyone was taking our picture and smiling at us and that almost made it worse. We called it off the next day but we stayed together for another two years after that. To be honest, it became a bit of a running joke, ‘remember when we almost got married? God we we’re stupid’ kind of thing.’
The Family Skiing Holiday
‘My husband proposed to me on a big family skiing holiday. We had been there for a few days when he decided we should go for dinner just me and him, which I thought was nice but strange since he’s such a social butterfly and loves a night out with everyone. He was so nervous he asked me before we’d even ordered our food, of course I said yes. Afterwards, we went to the bar next door where all our family we’re waiting to congratulate us.
I loved it, but now I think about it there was no way I could’ve said no. Can you imagine how awkward the rest of that holiday would’ve been? He told me later he was planning to do it on a chair lift but after he dropped his phone off one on the first day he decided against it, thank God.