HOWTO Ask your SO for marriage?
November 19, 2006 7:44 PM   Subscribe

What did you say to your significant other when you asked for their hand in marriage? Or, on the flip side, what was said to you?

I know it's a pretty specific question (in that it varies from person to person), but what did you say to your SO when you asked them to marry you?

I am asking fairly soon and have the situation planned out, but don't know what I'm going to say. Can the hive mind give me some ideas to start from?
posted by yellowbkpk to Human Relations (49 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I got down on both knees (subtle, for the surprise effect), then I got out the ring and said, "Librarina, will you marry me?" To this she responded, "Are you fucking kidding?" It was very romantic.
posted by stet at 7:49 PM on November 19, 2006 [2 favorites]

I kept it simple:

Will you be my wife? I want to spend the rest of my life with you.
posted by Bradley at 7:50 PM on November 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

"So does that mean the test is positive or negative?"
posted by TedW at 7:56 PM on November 19, 2006

"Hey, can I continue hittin' that?"

No, seriously, what's the situation you have planned out? That might help with what you want to say.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:57 PM on November 19, 2006

My husband said, "Hot Soup Girl, will you marry me?" It was over the phone, 'cause we were on different continents - different hemispheres, in fact - at the time. I giggled (which I suspect he found a little disconcerting), and then said "It would be my honour, Mr Sasquatch". Except substitute "Hot Soup Girl" for my real name, and "Sasquatch" for his. Pretty traditional, really, except for the whole being-on-other-sides-of-the-planet thing.
posted by hot soup girl at 8:00 PM on November 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

here are
some other answers
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:03 PM on November 19, 2006

Response by poster: I hope she's not reading this... but she hasn't visited MeFi in a long time:

So far I've got a 7:00pm horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown Milwaukee booked. I was planning on asking while on that ride. I'm looking at doing dinner beforehand (but I'm supposed to make an appearance at a Thanksgiving family thing at 5, so it might be pushing it...) but it's not booked yet.

Now don't everyone go and tell her please.
posted by yellowbkpk at 8:09 PM on November 19, 2006

Played a song I had written for her by a pond at night at the college where we met. Walked to the church on the campus and on the sidewalk in front of the church on the campus, and I got on one knee and asked her.

I had convinced her that we were going ring shopping the next week, so when I proposed, all she could say was, "NOW? NOW?"
posted by 4ster at 8:14 PM on November 19, 2006

It was pretty simple. We were both sick at the time, so it was more, "Mediebal Maben, bwill youb marrwyb me?" but fairly standard. I laughed because we both felt so crappy, and that made my eyes water profusely, and then I said yes.

Needless to say there aren't photos, as other than being newly engaged, we could have also been newly admitted to the morgue, but it makes a good story now.

Horse-drawn carriage is double-plus-good in my book.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:14 PM on November 19, 2006

We were riding the el and we'd been talking about it. He said "I do want to marry you." So I said "Ask me right, then." He did and the rest is history. :D
posted by sugarfish at 8:17 PM on November 19, 2006 [2 favorites]

I don't remember my words, but it was night and we were in a tent I held her and told her how much better my life was for being with her, and slipped a ring on her finger and asked her to marry me. She said yes, then got out a flashlight to look at the ring. Or was it the other way around?
posted by LarryC at 8:17 PM on November 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

As far as I remember, Mr. Lucinda never actually *asked* me.
It was kinda obvious (I had just unwrapped a small present that contained a diamond ring, he'd gotten down on knee while I unwrapped said small present).
posted by Lucinda at 8:19 PM on November 19, 2006

I've never proposed or had anyone propose to me, but I've always tired to think up amusing ways (perhaps in a sadistic sort of way) to ask the question. For instance, drop a lot of hints that you intend to propose. Then invite the significant other to dinner at a fancy restaurant (or a carriage ride) and mention that you'll have something important to discuss at this dinner/ride. On the day of this event, while the significant other is getting dressed, casually say: "Hey, I just got the craziest idea. How about we go to a movie after the dinner/ride... and then get married?"
posted by epimorph at 8:23 PM on November 19, 2006

I'm sure I've mentioned this somewhere before, but I've pretty much committed the text of the email to memory. It was not a normal proposal, nor was it a normal marriage.

"Have you found someone to drive cross country with? Could it be me? If I get my dick pierced in San Francisco will you marry me in Las Vegas?"

And yes gentle reader, I married him.
posted by jessamyn at 8:33 PM on November 19, 2006 [9 favorites]

Response by poster: Wow, these answers all make me realize how weird this group of people is! That's quite awesome.

Needless to say, thanks for all of your continued input! This will be fun...
posted by yellowbkpk at 8:40 PM on November 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

We were walking hand-in-hand on the beach at night. I turned to her and started to say something, but couldn't quite get the words out. We kept walking a little ways. I turned to her again, and said "I was wondering..."

"What?" she asked.

"I was wondering..." I repeated, taking the ring out of my pocket, "...if you would marry me."

She burst out laughing (out of surprise, she said later). I said "That's not exactly the response I was hoping for."

"Ohmigod, YES!" she said.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:44 PM on November 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

The exact words were:

Him: Hey cutie, will you marry me?
Me: Are you SERIOUS?
posted by pril at 8:55 PM on November 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

He sang me a song (Handel's aria Where'er You Walk), then got down on one knee and, with an endearing catch in his voice, said stuff like "I never imagined anybody like you existed," "Before I met you, I'd resigned myself to either being single for the rest of my life, or settling for someone who wasn't quite right," "You make me reconsider everything I thought I knew," "You showed me how to laugh at myself," and "You've taught me what real love is," leading up to "Cybercoitus Interruptus, will you marry me?" I was breathless after all that, so I kissed him for "yes".

Hmm. Time to go to bed and cuddle up to him!
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 9:20 PM on November 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

stet got down on both knees in the living room and ... oh wait.

Actually, he did it on my birthday, which worked out well for him. I wasn't expecting it for several months, as we'd talked about it and decided to wait until we both finished grad school, got jobs, etc. Then he decided to go for it anyway, apparently. I knew something was up -- lots of phone calls that he would leave the room for, etc. -- but because it was my birthday, I thought it was just going to be some particularly involved birthday present. Which it was, I guess.

And as far as I recall, though I was admittedly somewhat distracted , I did not actually say "are you fucking kidding?!," but rather just plain "are you kidding?!"
posted by librarina at 9:27 PM on November 19, 2006

We'd been together about 8 years. I was 5 months pregnant and had had non-stop nausea and vomiting for 4 1/2 of those months (seriously, didn't eat an actual meal for something like 13 weeks). In my fourth month, my o.b. put me on a fabulous anti-nausea medication that really helped, but it was so expensive that in just 5 weeks it used up my entire prescription drug benefit for the year.

So I was off it again because we didn't have $50/day lying around, and the nausea came back, and one morning I was trying to get downstairs and got about halfway down the steps and had to sit down. I hollered for my beloved to bring me something bland and palatable STAT before I started dry-heaving and hawking up bile; he did, and as he sat next to me on the step spooning applesauce into my mouth, he said, "Well, I think it's time for that shotgun wedding we've been planning."

We were married at the courthouse three days later, which made me eligible for his insurance. Our honeymoon was a trip to the pharmacy to refill my meds.

Your plan sounds better. Though the 8-year trial period made me feel very confident about our future together.
posted by not that girl at 9:55 PM on November 19, 2006

I had just returned from lands far away to see my brother graduate. I was gone for about five days, but that's as long a time as we'd been apart in a good year & a half (come to think of it, that's still the longest amount of time we've been apart & we're in our 11th year of marriage & Thanksgiving is 13 years since we've been "together"). I was sitting on his lap and I don't really remember the details because they've gone all fuzzy with age & watery eyes at the time. I think there was some hmming & haaing. He said he quit the job he'd been working at (same place as I'd been fired from because the new manager was a freak-in-a-bad-way) and he had accepted a job (coincidentally at the place I had just gotten a job), and continuing on in this long run on sentence he said something along the lines of "I love you and don't want you to ever leave me for that long again -- will you marry me?"

I laughed & then sat for a moment in shock. And he said, "Um, so..." And then I said yes & kissed him. And then we went down to the Pike Place Market & spent $16 on two silver engagement rings (and the seller gave us a deal on them -- they were engagement rings after all & we were dirt poor so the gesture was appreciated).

Two & a half months later we were married. Figured once you've made the decision, may as well get your ducks in a row and git 'er done, 'cuz that's how we roll.
posted by susanbeeswax at 10:02 PM on November 19, 2006

She said no.

No matter how sure you are, be prepared for that possibility.
posted by dg at 10:42 PM on November 19, 2006 [2 favorites]

Ultimately, I don't think it matters what you say. Just so long as you manage to get something out.

We were in a park near our house, where all our friends and relatives had gathered for a "housewarming" party, but which 75% knew would not actually be a housewarming party. The whole day went off without a hitch, except for the actual delivery of the lines.

I had orchestrated a fight with my dad which justified taking a walk during the height of party set-up. We arrived at the park, where I was pretending to be distraught by the fight. I got off the park bench and very clumsily got onto one knee. A little teary eyed, I just couldn't get the words out. All I managed was, "will you?" and shoved the ring in her face. She looked really confused, because she thought I had fallen off the bench and hurt myself (hence the tears). After a few seconds she sorta got the drift of what was happening, but all she managed was, "are you kidding?"

Thus began the marriage of saladpants and mrs saladpants.
posted by saladpants at 11:05 PM on November 19, 2006

I'm not (nor have been) engaged or married, but one of my good friends proposed to his girlfriend this summer. As the story was related to me, the proposal began with the words "If you're not busy for the rest of forever..." It worked for him - she said yes.
posted by Aster at 11:23 PM on November 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

Friend of mine wants to hire singers to infiltrate a restaurant, take the girl there, and then have everybody suddenly burst forth into song, Broadway-musical-style, with him of course singing the terribly romantic lead part.

Only hitch is he hasn't really found a girl to do this to. I predict that, once he does, her response will be, 'Wow. What did you put in my drink? 'Cause I just had the weirdest experience in my head.'
posted by eritain at 12:59 AM on November 20, 2006 [2 favorites]

Original poser: something like this might be good: just tell her how she's changed your life and what she means to you and then ask her.

Also, and you've probably already thought of this: but it's gonna be cold, so don't let her freeze!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:05 AM on November 20, 2006

My husband brought home flowers. He didn't go on a knee. However, I really don't remember exactly what he said! Probably something simple, like "Will you marry me." But evidently I was overwhelmed with emotion because I remember the "visuals" of the event-- what he was wearing, where we were-- but not really any of the words. Weird. I never realized that before!

posted by miss tea at 4:14 AM on November 20, 2006

Best to stick with something simple and memorable. You'll be nervous, and if you have something complicated in your head, you may start babbling and have a hard time getting around to the question. Looks like all the above answers are short and sweet. Good luck!
posted by rikschell at 4:32 AM on November 20, 2006

It had been a hot, sticky New York summer and we had spent it talking about getting married. It was serious enough that we had picked out a ring together -- rose quartz in a silver band -- but it had to be custom-made and it wouldn't be ready until September. I'd flown back from Berkeley the pervious night. While I was there, I had bought a ring pop (strawberry and cream flavored) thinking that it might come in handy. We were walking to get a bagel, which we usually did on Thursday mornings, when she asked me "When the hell are going to propose anyway?" I said, “How about now?” and presented her with the candy ring. She said yes, and we both ate the candy, which was delicious. She still has the wrapper.
posted by myeviltwin at 5:22 AM on November 20, 2006

I was doing 90 on 80 heading east from Cleveland to Boston. We passed a sign that indicated we were at the highest elevation on this road east of the Mississippi. She asked me if I'd marry her, I swerved, said "What the fuck, I'm driving!" and then got control of the car and myself and said yes.

Moral of the story: Wait for a rest area.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 5:27 AM on November 20, 2006 [4 favorites]

My husband wrote it down. He gave me a long letter - the letter did not say will you marry me, it said a lot of other things about how much he loved me and how our time together had been great, and how love explains infinity and vice versa. I cherish the letter a lot. When I got to the end of the letter he said: "There's one more thing I wanted to say in the letter... will you marry me?" And he gave me the ring. I was already crying from the letter, so I'm pretty sure I just kissed him. My favorite thing about it (besides getting to marry him, and the letter) is that he did it in my hometown and we spent the whole night driving around telling all my family.
posted by dpx.mfx at 5:30 AM on November 20, 2006

Listen to the clip from NPR.
posted by plinth at 7:25 AM on November 20, 2006

We knew we were getting married but the "big proposal" hadn't occurred (with ring etc.). We had spent months saying "Marry me?" to each other and it almost became an amped up "I love you."

We were at First Night in Boston waiting for the fireworks at 7pm, and he said, "Let's go for a walk in the Public Garden while we wait." Even though there were thousands of people on the street and Common, the Public Garden was relatively empty. He told me that he loved me, that I made him happy, and that he wanted to be with me forever, and asked me to marry him.

Then the fireworks started. When I called my Dad to tell him he couldn't hear what I was saying and hung up on me. I had to call him back later.
posted by nekton at 8:05 AM on November 20, 2006

After being 'together' for a decade, one day my wife looked at me and said "What do you think, you want to get married?"
And I was like "Sure, might as well."

Oh so romantic.
posted by ducktape at 8:58 AM on November 20, 2006

To be honest, I have no idea what actual words my husband used. I just remember turning around to find him on one knee, and seeing a little box with a ring, and exclaiming "Oh! Oh!" before managing to get out "Yes!"

Then again, he did this about a week before my Master's thesis was due, and I was pretty much brain-fried at that point. He dragged me away from the computer by saying that I really needed a break, which I readily agreed to for it's own sake, having no idea what was actually coming. In retrospect, I kind of wish I'd had some clue so that I could have, oh, *showered* and dressed up a little.
posted by timepiece at 9:04 AM on November 20, 2006

Mine was pretty much totally unplanned, but that is firmly in line with my personality -- I didn't even have a ring yet. I knew she was The One, and we had been getting some preemptive counseling from a counselor we both liked and trusted. This was 5 days before we graduated from college.

We left the session that day and found that it was practically monsooning outside. We were planning on separating (her driving home, and me to my apartment (which was nearby), however, the roads were flooding and we couldn't see crap out of the windows. So I called her and said lets go back to my place until the rain passes, as it wasn't really safe for her to drive. We got back to my place, and we got literally completely SOAKED running to my front door. I gave her an old Weezer tour tshirt -- she looked beautiful, all damp in my too big for her tshirt, sitting on my busted ass gross college futon.

I hadn't planned to ask her, and I had not said "I love you" to her yet. So I just blurted out -- "You know what? I love you." And she looked SO surprised. And she said "I love you too!" -- so I said "Do I need a ring to ask you to marry me?"... She looked at me for a second, and then said "Uhhhhh no?" so I said "Do you want to get married?" She started projectile crying, big hot crocodile tears, and said "YES!". Right up there as one of the best days of my life. We'll have been married 3 years in January.

Best wishes, and I truly hope and pray you will be as happy as we are!!!!
posted by wonderwisdom at 10:09 AM on November 20, 2006 [3 favorites]

I just got engaged two weeks ago, so here goes...

We had walked down to the Arkansas River, and were standing on a piece of concrete right in front of it.

He said, "Here's the fun part."
I said, "What do you mean?"
He said, "....Oh, fuck it."
He dropped to one knee, and said, "Will you marry me?"
I said, "Yes!"
And he said, "Then this is yours," and showed me the ring. I took the box, dropped down to my knees and hugged him. He told me not to cry because goddammit, he was NOT going to cry. Then he said we should put the ring on my finger, and I looked at the ring box, which was now empty. After realising that I had dropped the damn ring, we searched for it, found it, and put it on.

So, yeah, long story short, he said, "Fuck it."
posted by starbaby at 10:29 AM on November 20, 2006

I bought a ring (apparently a wedding band) for christinetheslp at Target. Then I spent the next 24 hours nervous. We were heading to an antique show, and on the way I told her I needed to run an errand. Then I stopped at a park (the one just off North Ave. by Brewer's Hill), but since there was a downpour, I proposed in the car.
posted by drezdn at 10:40 AM on November 20, 2006

Mr. sheep and I were on a backpacking trip in Glacier National Park. Toward the end of our backcountry loop we were scruffy, sniffy and extremely happy. I had been pretty sure it would be the trip of a lifetime, so I'd prepared by smuggling along a sort of proposal flip-booklet that I'd worked up with a graphic designer friend, plus a ring. (A ring for ME, actually, so as not to tip him off -- also, that way if he said no, well, hey...still got a neat ring.)

Anyway, we were standing on the shore of Upper Two Medicine Lake near our campsite and I pulled out the booklet and gave it to him. As he went through it I pulled out the ring and just stood there with it sitting on the palm of my hand. I'm never at a loss for words, but right then turned out to be a bit of an exception, because he looked up, and then commandeered MY proposal by saying into the silence, "Will you marry me?" Mutual yeses and some sniffling on my part ensued.

...The punchline is that he was planning to propose too, and had also packed a ring (and a miniature bottle of champagne). However, he had the good grace to wait to bring that up until the next morning's warmup hike to a nearby waterfall. I will have to go check my trip journal to find his exact proposal wording, but I believe it was the traditional "will you," but starting along the lines of "Well, I think I may already know the answer to this one..."
posted by clever sheep at 11:42 AM on November 20, 2006

I was basting the turkey for Easter dinner. I closed the oven. He opened up a bottle of very nice wine, handed me a glass and asked me if we should make it official. I made a happy squee noise and kissed him.

We started shopping for engagement pinball machines that night. (I had made my diamond dislike clear early on.)

He did the "down on one knee" thing and asked formally if I would be his wife when my antique wedding ring came in and he wanted me to try it on. My daughter immediately squealed, "We're getting married!" at that.

I talk a lot, so it's funny that I remember being speechless in both instances.
posted by Gucky at 11:43 AM on November 20, 2006

I held up a sign at an airport that read "Will you marry me?" and when she got close enough to hear me I said "please?" Thank goodness she said yes.
posted by terrapin at 12:08 PM on November 20, 2006

Setting: San Francisco, the first day of our first long-distance trip together - we'd been together for just over seven years at this point.

Him: Do you love me?

Me: What do you want?

Him: Do you love me?

Me: I'm not going to the gawd damn aquarium (this had been a major bone of contention throughout the entire preparation for the trip as I am terrified of large sea creatures)

Him: pulls out a ring, asks "will you marry me"

Me: ...

Me: starts talking about nothing - very embarrassed about my reaction

Him: "so are you going to answer me or not?"

Me: "Oh, yes, of course - I figured that was obvious!"
posted by melissa at 12:31 PM on November 20, 2006

The first proposal was by instant messenger. As promised in the chat, he later called and asked by phone (we were 4000 miles apart at the time).

And in true geek form, he proposed 6 months later in person while we were watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail in my living room by just simply asking "will you marry me?"
posted by chickygrrl at 5:14 PM on November 20, 2006

We had been together for over 5 years. He woke me up in the middle of the night (2 or 3am) and said something like, "hey, we should get married." I think is said, "Now?". I took off work at the end of the week and we went to the JP. Before we got married we went and picked out a ring. I dislike diamonds. I really loved this white gold and garnet ring but we couldn't afford it. We bought a silver and amber ring that liked quite a bit. He suprised me with the ring I really wanted when we exchanged vows and I was shocked. I didn't say a word. He thought I hated it. I LOVE it.
posted by nimsey lou at 6:02 PM on November 20, 2006

About two years beforehand, me: "It seems like a weird sexist cultural artifact that men are always expected to propose to their girlfriends. Did you know that lots of men are threatened by the idea of a woman proposing, and lots of women would rather tell their boyfriends they have to propose than ask outright?"

Him: "Yeah, that's really messed up. It's a lot of unfair pressure on guys. But guys have unfair pressure about all kinds of things. They pretty much have to initiate the relationship, maintain interest. It's society, I guess."

** time passed **

We were lying in bed, and I said, "What would you think of marrying me some time?"

He said, "I'd be OK with that."

** pause **

"I mean it," I said. "I'd really like to get married. Maybe some time in the next year or so."

A few days later: "You didn't have to say 'OK' if you didn't want to. This is a big deal."

Him: "No, it's OK. I want to. It's a good idea."
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:25 PM on November 20, 2006

He said: "How many weddings do we have to go to next year?"

and I answered, "two, that I know of"

and a little while later, he said, "how 'bout one more?" and pulled the ring out. But since a few minutes had passed I had no clue what he was talking about. I figured it out later.

(and I just said "are you sure? are you sure? are you sure? oh my god", etc, etc.)
posted by pyjammy at 7:40 AM on November 21, 2006

The first time my husband proposed was 48 hours after we met. We were in bed getting to know each other and he just rolled over, propped up on an elbow, looked down at me and said, "I'm going to marry you. I can just tell." I said, "Okay."

A similar exchange was repeated on a weekly or monthly basis, at least, for the next two years.

Finally, one day, he gave me a ring. We just kind of looked at each other in silence for a while.

Me: "I think you still have to say it."
Him: "Oh. Um, will you marry me?"

If it's longer than about 6 words, you'll probably blank. Keep it simple.
posted by miagaille at 9:46 AM on November 21, 2006 [2 favorites]

I know you say you've planned out the circs, but all plans are subject to change, no?

I mention it becase we saw a proposal at the skating rink at Rockefeller Center the other week. One knee, ring- couldn't hear him myself. Probably didn't have to say anything really- but everybody watching clapped.

A real Manhattan moment, for them and for the rest of us.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:08 PM on December 28, 2006

One I witnessed:
Dinner and improv group.. Improv group was alerted ahead of time man wanted to propse to woman. They called on said gentleman and started in on him and asked questions about how long been going out with girl etc. Song ensued abut when was he going to make an honest woman of her .. he got on one knee with ring- she knew what he meant and so did everyone else and everyone was thrilled. The End.
Words arent too much the thing. A ring and a knee is often all that needs to happen.
But a romantic story is kinda fun too. I would tell her why she is the most incredible thing and why you really can't spend your life with out her.
I have been propsed to and I dont even remember what they said. I remember how sweet it was. A ring in the bottom of a champagne glass, a teeny ring when it was all they could afford, finding out he went out with my dad for ice cream to ask him if it was ok, etc.

Yikes! Congratulations and I hope you are very happy!!!
posted by beccaj at 7:52 PM on December 28, 2006

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