Love Stories. How Our Couples Put A Ring On It

Rachel Hirst

It’s not just the wedding season that’s hotting up at this time of year, as it’s also a prime period for proposals with many seizing the opportunity to pop the question while overseas on their summer holidays.

Setting and timing are key when it comes to the all-important engagement, and so a trip abroad means exceptional surroundings, the excuse to go out for a fancy meal or scenic walk and spirits are guaranteed to be high – there’s just the small hurdle of hiding the ring and dodging airport security.

But then an at-home proposal can be equally special, particularly for those who shy away from the spotlight and PDAs – it’s just a case of making it personal and poignant.

Ever fans of a good love story, we’re recounting some of our very favourite proposal stories on the blog today from our recently featured real wedding couples, occurring both on home soil and abroad.

From the carefully planned, Oscar-worthy proposals to the love-up, spontaneous down-on-one-knee surprises – let’s hear it for these epic put-a-ring-on-it efforts!

A summer wedding at Iscoyd Park – Hannah & Graeme

Hannah says: The proposal was a huge surprise whilst on holiday in our favourite city, Barcelona. Graeme was trying to find the perfect spot to propose when we were out exploring one day, and he suggested a trip to Park Guell on the way back to the hotel. After a wander around the park, Graeme found a quiet place away from the crowds with a beautiful view over the city to propose! I was overwhelmed and said yes immediately!

An elegant wedding at Grays Court, York – Joanna & Jesper

Joanna says: We got engaged in the same pub in London where we went on one of our first dates. Jesper actually only decided to propose on the day, when he realised we would be passing the pub that evening – he managed to sneak off and buy a ring whilst I was in the changing rooms of a shop, and then got me to the pub without me suspecting a thing.

A fairytale wedding at Swinton Park, Yorkshire – Charlotte & Marc

Charlotte says: Marc had always said he wouldn’t propose in the UK so when we booked our summer holiday to Dubai and the Maldives, I was secretly hoping he would pop the question. This was until I packed all of his luggage and there was no little jewellery box in sight! We spent four nights in Dubai and no proposal came so I stopped thinking about it, we had bought our first home six months before maybe this wasn’t the year.

On previous holidays we’ve always taken advantage of the private dining options in resorts so as soon as we checked into our villa in the Maldives (Coco Palm) we started planning a date in that we could do it. As we were walking to our private meal on the beach we were taking photos of the sunset. We arrived to the end to the island and Marc suggested taking a photo by the sea so I turned to pose for the picture and realised Marc was on one knee! Written in the sand were the words every girl dreams of “will you marry me” – the waiter managed to grab a snap of the special moment and rushed to us with seaweed in hand for me to write a very shaky “yes” in the sand! It was absolutely magical. Marc had been designing the ring with a local jeweller for months and he could not have gotten it more perfect. He’d been to ask my parents’ permission, which meant the world to me, we decided to keep it our little secret for a whole 24 hours!

A magical wedding at Rudding Park – Luke & Beth

Beth says: We got engaged while we were on holiday in Disney World Florida with my parents and sister. Whilst we were there, it was my 21st Birthday. Luke took me for an early morning birthday breakfast at Cinderella’s Castle claiming it was a birthday gift. Walking into the castle, we were placed on a table with a view across the whole of Magic Kingdom. After ordering and eating our breakfast, a waiter came across to the table and placed a silver plate covered with a cloche in front of me. He then lifted the cover to reveal Cinderella’s glass slipper and rose petals. When I looked up from the plate, Luke was down on one knee. Of course, I said yes and the whole restaurant erupted with applause. A photographer was there to capture the whole proposal!

A winter wedding at The West Mill – Stacey & Sarah

Sarah says: I proposed on Christmas Eve. I surprised Stacey at home by allowing her to open one of her Christmas presents. The present was a photo album full of pictures of our life together. On the last page was a picture of a bauble with a comment saying: “look on the tree”. On the tree was a bauble that Stacey had to find and inside was her engagement ring and a wooden heart which said, “will you marry me?”. She said yes!

A stylish wedding at The Alnwick Garden – Sergio & Natalie

Natalie says: We got engaged at Glencorse Reservoir in Penicuik. This began on a hike starting at the Balerno reservoir and over the Pentlands. Sergio, chose this location because this was a place I went when I was a small girl with my dad so it’s full of memories. It was wonderful and we loved the moment. Sergio made a comic book with both our caricatures explaining our six years together and in the last page Sergio’s caricature was on one knee with a ring box asking: “will you marry me?”. I loved it and we both started crying.

An elegant wedding at Iscoyd Park – Cara & Sean

Cara says: We got engaged in Mykonos. Sean hired a Catamaran and as the sun set our song came on over the speaker and he got down on one knee (not very easy in the waves) and gave the most beautiful proposal speech. After I said yes, he struggled for five minutes to get the ring out of tissue paper and I fell flat on my face trying to put it on because of the waves!

An autumnal wedding at The Star Inn – Zoe & Dave

Zoe says: We got engaged at an Elbow gig in Dalby Forest. About a year earlier we were discussing, with my brother and sister-in-law, what song we would all want as our first dance. I said One Day Like This by Elbow. Dave had remembered and waited for the song to come on. He asked if I would still have that as my first dance song and I said yes…he then said: “let’s do it then, will you marry me?”. We celebrated with red wine for me and Pringles for Dave, who was on antibiotics, so couldn’t drink!

An elegant wedding at Dalston Hall Hotel – Tyne & Tom

Tyne says: I took Tom on holiday for his birthday to Cape Verde, and had packed everything – right down to Tom’s own hand luggage. This, it turns out, made it a little more difficult for him to keep the proposal a secret. He had hidden the ring in the boot of the car by the spare wheel, somewhere I wasn’t going to look! On the way to the airport we stopped at the services and I went to get some food, which is when he swapped it into his hand luggage.

He proposed on the second night of the holiday. We had spent an hour talking about what we wanted in life and our future, as we had just got a house to start renovating. We then went for a walk along the beach and he got down on one knee. I was in complete shock, as I definitely wasn’t expecting it. He had chosen the perfect ring and everything. I just couldn’t believe he was able to keep it a secret from me the whole time!

A stylish wedding at Le Petit Chateau – Cat & Matt

Cat says: Matt and I got engaged in our favourite city in the world, New York, on New Year’s Eve. Matt had booked dinner for us at a fancy restaurant and we’d decided to spend midnight in Central Park to watch the fireworks. So, after dinner, we took in the buzz of the city walking up to Central Park. We found a little hill that was away from the majority of people and waited for midnight. Then as the ball dropped in Time’s Square and you could hear the whole island counting down 10,9,8,7… the park erupted with cheers, fireworks went off and Matt dropped down to one knee. I don’t think I’ve ever been as overwhelmed in my life. I burst into tears and of course said yes.

A romantic barn wedding at Owen House – Sarah & Shaun

Sarah says: Shaun took me on a weekend away to Budapest for my birthday. What I didn’t know is that Shaun had spent the previous three months arranging with a jeweller in America to get a beautiful custom engagement ring made and shipped across. On the first day we went wandering around the city and crossed the Elisabeth Bridge and climbed to a viewpoint of the city. I could tell Shaun was a bit on edge, but I didn’t make much of it. As we were leaning on a barrier looking out at the city, Shaun told me that he loved me and asked if I would marry him. It wasn’t over the top or with a big audience, so it was perfect for us. We spent the rest of the weekend celebrating with lots of prosecco!

A stylish wedding at King Street Townhouse, Manchester – Clare & George

Clare says: George and I had booked to go to Barcelona for my 30th birthday. I love meticulously planning any trip, so only had the day that we arrived without anything in place, to allow for any delays or issues when we got there. As we landed, George told me that he had booked a restaurant for lunch, which caused me major panic as I hadn’t had time to peruse the menu in detail beforehand! It was such a lovely setting, on Mount Tibidabo, overlooking the whole of the city. After we had eaten, George got down on one knee and popped the question! Of course, I said yes!

A destination wedding in Marbella – Emily & Luke

Emily says: We got engaged in Rome, Italy. Luke booked a trip away for the two of us and I was told to pack a suitcase and it was all a surprise. We were going to spend three days in Rome, which I thought was just a break as we had recently had a little boy. On the first night we went out for some food and a few drinks and then had a walk around. We ended up at the Spanish steps and after Luke had me walking up and down them at least five times, he asked a lady to take a photo of us and all of a sudden got down on one knee. It was such a shock but a lovely surprise!

A quaint summer wedding in the Yorkshire Dales – Imogen & John

Imogen says: We got engaged whilst travelling around Europe on John’s motorbike. We were at Lake Konigssee in Germany and had been rowing on the lake. We decided to walk up the hill as the sun was setting, and we took a break on a bench overlooking the lake. It was then that John got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! There was no one around and it was so beautiful and peaceful – it was just perfect!

A rustic wedding at Sandhole Oak Barn – Abbie & Matt

Abbie says: Matt proposed on the day that we got the keys to the first house we bought together. He was doing everything in his power to ensure that we got the keys to our new home before Christmas – at the time I had no idea of his master plan. We got the keys on the 21st and we arranged to meet after work at our new house. When I walked in Matt handed me the new keys and attached was a keyring saying: “Will you marry me?”. As it turned out, the solicitors were in on it too and helped ensure we got the house before Christmas so Matt could propose and it was a huge surprise to me, and an extremely happy one!

A stylish wedding at Middleton Lodge – Samantha & Charlie

Samantha says: We got in Italy. Charlie took me abroad for a surprise weekend to a city I had been desperate to visit, Florence. At the end of a perfect day of sightseeing, wonderful food and vino, he proposed on a secluded hotel roof terrace overlooking the whole of Florence at night with a beautiful ring.

A destination wedding in Slovenia – Emma & Matt

Emma says: Matt had been planning to propose but I did not have a clue. He had told me about his boss going to Croatia and had asked for advice (as we love Croatia and had been many of times before), so I had told Matt to tell him about our trips and that the sea organ is a must go and see landmark in Zadar. This went on for a few months, when all of a sudden, I received a phone call from Matt saying that his boss and wife could no longer go away, as his wife’s mum was very ill. He had offered Matt and I the trip and all we had to pay for was the name change (bonus!).

When we checked into the room we found a bottle of champagne on ice! I even said to Matt “your boss is very kind” with me still having no idea of what was about to happen. The next evening we headed out at sunset and walked to the sea organ, sitting there was so peaceful and relaxing and not many people were around. Me and Matt were chatting, and he started to say how much he loved me and I was just responding saying that I loved him too, this is when he got down on one knee and proposed. The sunset glistening on the sea and the sea organ playing was a perfect setting.

A seasonal wedding at Sandburn Hall – Emily & Tom

Emily says: We got engaged halfway through a trip to Australia and Fiji. It happened on our last night in Fiji, and Tom proposed on our hotel balcony whilst the sun was setting behind us. I was hungry and wanted to go out for dinner, but Tom was insistent we had to have another drink first. I soon realised why! After asking him why he was down on one knee (and telling him to get off the floor!) I said “yes”, and my appetite was replaced with excitement.

Funnily enough, before we arrived in Fiji, we had been through four lots of airport security checks – one of which saw Tom stopped for a random bomb check! I watched his bag being emptied from the side-line, not realising what Tom had been carrying around for the last two weeks.

A personal wedding at Matfen Hall – Laura & Dave

Laura says: Dave proposed on our two-year anniversary while we were in Dublin. He handed me a special key card for the hotel we were staying in which, when inserted into the elevator, took you straight up to the private sky bar. He had hired the full bar as a surprise! When the lift doors opened I was greeted with a red carpet entrance to the bar and our favourite Oasis song was playing.

Whilst I was admiring the view, Dave asked me to look at my mobile phone. He had sent me a picture of our two toy poodles Liam and Luna sat with a sign saying: “Will you marry our dad?”. Then Dave went down on one knee and proposed! We sat in the bar drinking bubbles, listening to Oasis and planning our wedding day that very evening!

A rustic wedding at Shotton Grange – Rebecca & Ryan

Rebecca says: We got engaged in York. My best friend Ebony told me she was visiting from Australia, so I tried to arrange a weekend away with the university girls in Leeds (as we all went to uni there). Most of the group were busy that weekend, which I was very annoyed about. After all, it’s not every week your friend visits from Australia. Ebony and her fiancé Tom wanted to meet at a café outside of York for lunch before heading into Leeds.

So, on the morning of Good Friday we headed down the road to York. The weather was terrible, and the rain was relentless until about a few miles from the café. I looked at Ryan and he had blotches all over his neck (he only gets this when he is stressed or nervous). He said it was because he was hot. Next thing, Ryan pulls the car over and says, “I have an Easter present for you”. It was shoe box sized and gift wrapped. I opened the box and inside was a collectable Charlie Bear (we have collected these since the first Valentine’s gift Ryan gave me). Around the bear’s neck was a tag, which I thought was the certificate of authenticity. As I opened it, I read what was on the plaque: “I love you for all that you are, all that you have been and all that you are yet to be; will you marry me”- Ryan was then down on one knee with a beautiful ring.

We continued up a county road and Ryan stopped the car, I was expecting a small café and Ebony standing with a balloon. To my surprise around 50 plus of my best friends (including the “busy” uni girls) and family lined a beautiful manor house. Most people stayed for a two-day celebration all organised by Ryan… amazing!

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