Put A Ring On It: Proposal Stories From Our Real Couples

Julia Braime

The recent lockdown is sure to have scuppered some couples’ engagement plans though we have noted – and been impressed by – some rather inventive and thoughtful at-home proposals during this time, with the situation challenging those wanting to pop the question to think outside the box.

And now, as the restrictions begin to ease, we’re expecting the floodgates of engagements to open up… because, let’s face it, if you can survive 24/7 with your other half for weeks on end and still love each dearly, then surely you’re made for each other.

So, to celebrate and welcome those upcoming ‘will you marry me’ moments, we’re recounting some of our very favourite proposal stories from our recently featured real wedding couples on the blog.

Occurring both on UK turf and overseas, these fabulous love stories range from bold, heart-on-sleeve proposals to spontaneous down-on-one-knee surprises, plus those private, at-home engagements – let’s hear it for these uber romantic put-a-ring-on-it efforts!

A quintessentially English wedding at The Crab & Lobster – Rebecca & Joe

Rebecca says: We got engaged in February 2017, at The Top of The Rock in New York! Joe had planned to propose the night we arrived in New York, but it started thundering and raining heavily. Instead, Joe woke me at 5am local time (time difference played a part!), to insist we started our ‘sightseeing’. An hour or so later, we headed out and had breakfast and a Bloody Mary (I now know this was to calm his nerves!) and by 8am we were at the Rockefeller Centre.

Joe had to tell security staff he was carrying a ring as we had to pass through a metal detector, but he’d told me he was checking if there were any VIP tours! All the signs were there, in hindsight, but I was clueless at the time. Once at the very top, Joe got down on one knee, teary eyed, and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes! Two days later we continued our holiday with a seven-night cruise around the Caribbean. The perfect way to celebrate our engagement!

Bellami for a classic wedding at Coniston Hotel – Lauren & Dominic

Lauren says: We got engaged on 1st May 2017, in Las Vegas. Dominic wanted a blowout party to celebrate entering his thirties and figured that I would be least suspecting if he did it during a party meant for him. He also didn’t want a very public proposal so thought it would be nice to celebrate (hopefully) afterwards with close friends.

I met Dominic during our first year of university in 2005, so I had to wait a while for the proposal! Dom proposed in our hotel room in Las Vegas, which was a massive surprise! Some people thought it should have made a big public display of affection in front of the Bellagio fountains, but he knows me so well – I hate being centre of attention so a romantic, private proposal was perfect for me. It was so lovely having our friends on the trip with us – we went to Mandalay Bay Hotel for sunset drinks overlooking the strip. We managed to squeeze in Facetiming our very excited parents between the partying and a visit to the Grand Canyon. Then it was home to start all the wedding planning!

A bespoke dress for a December wedding at Le Petit Chateau – Iraa & Adam

Iraa says: We got engaged at about 2am on December 1st 2015. We have a little tradition that the Christmas decorations go up as soon as it hits the first day of December, while watching Home Alone. Adam surprised me with an early Christmas present – he proposed by the tree once all the decorations were up.

Pronovias for a fairylight-filled wedding at Holmes Mill – Ashleigh & Chris

Ashleigh says: On Christmas Day 2017, Chris surprised me with a trip to Budapest for the following February. On our second night in Budapest, we went to a lovely steak house, which was at the bottom of the hill that leads to Buda Castle and The Fisherman’s Bastion fortress. Chris had planned that following the meal, we would walk up to the Bastion as it overlooked the River Danube and you could see all of Budapest lit up.

When we got to the top, it was snowing quite heavily. We were on the balcony overlooking the river when Chris got down on one knee and proposed!

Rosa Clara for a three-day wedding party at Silverholme Manor – Jayne & Anthony

Jayne says: We got engaged in Ibiza in August 2018. We had just checked in at the hotel and the receptionist had told us we had been given a ‘free upgrade’ to the penthouse suite – but I think that Anthony had pre-booked it as part of the surprise!

We got up to the room and went out onto the terrace, which had beautiful views out to sea and across the hotel’s pool. I was completely distracted by the hot tub and fancy outdoor shower that it took Anthony a little while to get me to pay attention. He then got down on one knee and proposed! It was such an incredible setting and we had a wonderful few days in Ibiza afterwards.

Jesus Piero for an autumnal wedding at Middleton Lodge – Emma-Kate & Lee

Emma-Kate says: We got engaged on 13th August 2018. We were away for a few days in Paris and on the way down from the top of the Sacre Coeur, while no-one else was around, Lee called me back. I turned and he was down on one knee!

He’s pulled this trick before, so I laughed at first thinking it was a joke…but then I saw the ring box. He’d bought a decoy, so we then spent the day walking the entirety of Paris searching for an engagement ring together.

Essense of Australia for a September wedding at Middleton Lodge – Sarah & Mike

Sarah says: We had been away travelling and working in Australia for two years. We had lived with Mike’s aunt and uncle in Perth for a short period but then travelled the East Coast and both found work in Melbourne. We were due to leave Australia in December 2016, to go and travel across New Zealand and America, with plans to return to the UK in March 2017.

In October 2016, when we were living in Melbourne, Mike’s job took him back to Perth for a few weeks without me. While there, he secretly bought an engagement ring. We returned to Perth for Christmas together and Mike’s aunty gave me a birthday present in a large gift bag to open in March whilst we were in America. We carried this bag from Perth to Christchurch, Christchurch to Auckland (camping near mountains and living in camper vans!) – then Auckland to LA, LA to Chicago and, finally, Chicago to New York.

All through the travels, this ‘birthday gift’ was in checked luggage! We were in New York on my birthday (9th March) and as I opened birthday cards in our hotel room, Mike suggested I opened his aunty’s present. I was reluctant to open it so early in the day knowing this was my only birthday gift. The bag had a large box in it which then had a smaller box and as I opened it Mike got down on one knee and proposed. The biggest surprise ever and the birthday gift was in fact my secret engagement ring!

We spent the day in Times Square, walked the Brooklyn Bridge and ate at my favourite pizza place followed by drinks at Grand Central Station, watching the world go by. It was an amazing day and I kept having flashbacks to all the times I had thrown this ‘birthday gift’ around precariously for months – and how thankful I was it made it safely to the proposal!

Jesus Piero for a spring celebration at Owen House Wedding Barn – Emma & Michael

Emma says: We’ve never been particularly into PDAs or having the spotlight on us so Mike knew that when he proposed, it would be just the two of us and take place somewhere that was special to us.

Mike works shifts as a fireman so he planned it for a Sunday morning when he came home from work and knew I would still be asleep. He made out that he was bringing me breakfast in bed, so he came upstairs with the breakfast tray in-hand with a single metal cloche on it. Underneath was the ring – I still joke with him that I never actually got my breakfast!

It was so spontaneous and personal! After a lot of tears and wondering whether I was actually still dreaming I obviously said yes. He told me he had been planning it for months but had been searching high and low for the perfect ring that would incorporate my love of Art Deco design! After months of scouring the country, he finally found ‘the one’ in a lovely jewellers in Knutsford. It’s a vintage 1920s ring and as soon as the jeweller showed it to him, he knew it was the one!

I honestly couldn’t believe it was mine when he gave it to me. I would never have found something so perfect myself! The Art Deco theme continued as Mike told me he had booked us into The Midland Hotel in Manchester that night, which was somewhere I had always wanted to go to. We had spa treatments, afternoon tea and the most beautiful dinner at San Carlo, which is where we had previously celebrated our first anniversary. The whole day felt absolutely surreal and as cliched as it may sound, it was like being in a dream.

Savin London for a summer wedding at Cannon Hall – Chloe & Wayne

Chloe says: We got engaged on Boxing Day 2017. Every Boxing Day, my family’s tradition is to go to West Bretton (which is right next to Yorkshire Sculpture Park). It’s a really special place as it was a big part of my dad and grandparents’ lives and childhood.

Wayne and I were feeling pretty worse for wear (due to having one too many Snowballs on Christmas Day!) but we still stuck to the tradition and we all went as a family. As we got to the place where we always stop and take in the scenery, Wayne told me to look towards my family who had walked off ahead – each person was holding a sign. It didn’t click with me at first what they were holding but altogether it read: “Will you marry me?”

When I turned back around, Wayne was on one knee (probably kneeling in a cow pat!) – and then he proposed! He said he knew how close I was to my grandparents and as they weren’t with us anymore, he wanted it to feel like they were there.

Blush by Hayley Paige for a white wedding at Rise Hall – Amelia & Nathan

Amelia says: We got engaged on 16th December 2017. We had gone away for the weekend for a little break before Christmas; we’d booked a beautiful cottage in the Lake District.

We had taken our Lhasa Apso, Teddy, with us and had been out for some beautiful walks amongst the snow-capped hills. One evening, we’d returned to the cottage from a frosty walk and Nathan had told me to go and run myself a bath and get warmed up while he put tea in the oven for us.

Whilst I was in the bath, a playlist was on that featured all our favourite songs. I got out the bath and put on my PJs, and we sat down and had our tea. We were talking about the songs that had been playing on this playlist and all the memories associated with them – travelling to Australia, trips to Scotland, friends’ wedding and so on, though the Jason Derulo song Will You Marry Me? didn’t ring any bells for me. Nathan then got down on one knee at the dinner table and asked me to marry him. My reply was 100% followed with ‘have you asked my mum and dad?’

It was honestly the most thoughtful way for him to propose – just the two of us and Teddy. Nathan had created this playlist especially for this moment (I had just thought we had been lucky with the playlist and the songs that had been playing!). Now when I listen to the playlist, it brings me so many fantastic memories.

Allure Bridals for an autumn wedding at Mitton Hall – Alex & Ryan

Alex says: It was Valentine’s Day 2017 and we were on holiday: a skiing trip in Tremblant, Canada, with my parents. One day, Ryan suggested using an Early Tracks pass so we could be amongst the first up on the mountain and go on a run we’d done earlier in the week.

It was a lovely sunny day and when Ryan said I should take my helmet off for a photograph, I did as I was told – and when I turned around, he was down on one knee and holding a ring!

Vintage Glamour for a pink and pearl wedding at Tickton Grange – Abi & Tom

Abi says: We got engaged on 19th May 2018. We went for breakfast at the Star Inn The City in York, and had a walk through the museum gardens before Tom surprised me by getting down on one knee!

I practically ran home to call our families and tell them the good news – and walked straight into a surprise engagement party in our flat! I nearly jumped out of my skin, but it was a brilliant moment.

Grace Loves Lace for a rustic wedding at Calke Abbey – Becca & Ted

Becca says: We got engaged in Alghero, Sardinia. Ted had ordered a ring to be made and it was ready earlier that he expected, just before he went away on a work trip to Italy. I was due to head out to meet him there to spend my birthday weekend with him so he thought that would be a good time to ask. The only problem was, he hadn’t intended to propose on this trip and had no plan at all! Luckily for him, he has some amazing colleagues who helped him plan the proposal.

On the day, we went to the town square for an Aperitivo, before we were going to a ‘birthday surprise’ for me. We were picked up from the square by a classic car and driven to a secluded beach where there was a table and chairs waiting for us on the beach, surrounded by rose petals and our names written in the sand in rose petals. As the sun set, Ted proposed and I said “of course!” We then drank champagne on the beach before being driven to a nearby seafood restaurant for dinner. It was the most incredible and surreal experience and I feel very lucky to be married to such a romantic (with great work colleagues!)

Leigh Hetherington for a winter wedding at As You Like It – Elizabeth & Mark

Elizabeth says: We had discussed getting married for years beforehand, however with two children and a new house, it had always been demoted further down life’s list! I had always told Mark, my ideal proposal would be something simple and meaningful, and it was just that. A rare lie-in at home was interrupted by our nine-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, with Mark following, through the bedroom door. He got down on one knee and asked the question. There lying amongst my Eggs Benedict, Champagne, and fresh coffee, was a beautiful vintage engagement ring! Beautiful! The eggs were not too bad either!

Anna Sorrano for a pre-lockdown wedding at Hallgarth Manor – Alex & John

Alex says: We got engaged in Reykjavik, Iceland in December 2017. John had taken me to the top of a beautiful church called Hallgrímskirkja, but decided that it was far too busy to propose there. After we descended, we walked around 100 yards from the church to a more peaceful spot, under the disguise of ‘getting a nice photograph’. It was here, John unexpectedly got down on one knee; halfway between one of the most beautiful churches in the world and a mobile waffle wagon (a great metaphor for our relationship!).

Senidey for a fin & floral wedding at The Priest’s House – Naomi & Ben

Naomi says: Ben proposed at the top of Middleham Castle! We had booked a night in Middleham for our ten year anniversary and it was a beautiful, sunny day. He got down on one knee in a little turret of the castle and we celebrated with a walk to our favourite pub’s beer garden, at the Coverbridge Inn, with a pint and some pork scratchings.

Whistles for a colourful handmade wedding at Wildwood & Eden – Charlotte & Ryan

Charlotte says: We got engaged in March 2018. Ryan had put so much thought into it all – it felt so special and surreal!

He first asked me to be his girlfriend 12 years ago, at Scarborough Lighthouse. On this windy Saturday in March 2018, Ryan had led me to believe he was in Leeds. I went for a walk with my family around the harbour and to the lighthouse. Much to my surprise, as I walked around the edge of the lighthouse, Ryan was standing there with his family. That’s when he proposed!

It was all very emotional. We then walked around the Marine Drive, to where he had hired a beach chalet and decorated it with photos of us, as well as stocking it with gin and cake. We celebrated with our families for the rest of the day, eating fish and chips and drinking lots of gin.

Made With Love for a winter wedding at Healey Barn – Sara & James

Sara says: We got engaged on the morning of New Year’s Eve 2018. James and I were up at my dad’s house on the Northumberland coast (Newton by the Sea) one of my favourite places in the world. When we first met, I always said there was one view that I loved so much up there. So, on the morning we took our dog out for his walk and he got down on one knee in the mud right at the best viewpoint of Dunstanburgh Castle. I couldn’t believe it when I turned around and he was down on one knee. Obviously, I said yes and grabbed the ring and put it on my finger – I didn’t realise he was supposed to do that part.

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