CreditFederica Del Proposto
Marriage proposal stories submitted to The New York Times’s Society News Desk in 2018 ranged from spontaneous to well-scripted, though the jumbled manner in which a man from Illinois went about asking the love of his life to be his wife was truly puzzling.
Proposal getaways were a popular theme this year, with three fevered pitches from the heart originating in New York and landing successfully in Jamaica, Paris and Utah, while another positively picturesque proposal was popped on location in Italy.
One prospective groom relied not on a best man but on 10 of man’s best friends to deliver the question on a different mode of transportation, asking his significant other, “will you marry me,” midway through a dog-sled ride along a snowy trail in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Not every proposal went according to plan, like the one in New Orleans tied to the start of the Second Avenue subway in New York, and another in the city that never sleeps, where a late-arriving ring-bearer burst into his bedroom only to find his future bride half-dressed and getting ready for bed.
Across our desk came a single report about a double-proposal in a snowstorm, and dozens upon dozens of other neat proposals, perhaps the neatest pulled off with a little help from Miss Piggy.
Without further “I-Do’s,” here are 10 of the most engaging wedding proposal stories The Times published or learned about this year.
He Finally Got a Clue
Paula Acuña, 28, and Aly Jiwani, 31, of Wilmette, Ill., have always enjoyed spending time together working on crossword puzzles and a variety of other anagram-related challenges, including one of their favorites, the Jumble, a game in which a series of words are unscrambled, and circled letters within those words are arranged to form a surprise answer to clues given in an accompanying cartoon.
In April, Mr. Jiwani reached out to The Chicago Tribune to say that he wanted to propose to Ms. Acuña in a Jumble he could call their very own.
Mr. Jiwani was put in touch with the Jumble’s puzzle creator, David Hoyt, and its cartoon creator, Jeff Knurek, and the three men came up with a Jumble that shows the couple on a sail boat — a theme inspired by their love of sailing on Lake Michigan — with Mr. Jiwani on bended knee, engagement ring in hand, asking “Paula, will you be my first mate for life,” to which Ms. Acuña, who is seated next to the couple’s dog, Benji, replies, “I like the sound of that.”
Beneath the cartoon is this clue: “She loved the wording of his wedding proposal and thought it … ”
In the opposite panel, beneath the now unscrambled words, is where Ms. Acuna filled in the six-word answer: “… had a nice ring to it.”
“I was shocked, and totally surprised by Aly’s creativity,” Ms. Acuña said. “That evening at a celebratory dinner, I got the whole story about all that went into the making of that day’s Jumble from the creators themselves. It was incredible.”
They were married Aug. 11.
10 Dogs and a Ring
In late November, Charlie Jayne, a 32-year old professional show jumper based in Wellington, Fla., and Elgin, Ill., took Nicole Bellissimo on an Iditarod sled dog tour in Jackson Hole to celebrate her 25th birthday.
They were riding along with a dog instructor in the first of two sleds that were pulled by 10 dogs, with two of Ms. Bellissimo’s friends in the sled behind them as they made their way along the Grand Teton trailhead in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
On a cue from Mr. Jayne, the dog instructor stopped the sled halfway through the tour. As the passengers stepped out, Mr. Jayne dropped to one knee in the sparkling snow, and with a bright sunshine bouncing off the Snake River and the Teton Mountains behind them, he presented Ms. Bellissimo with a ring and asked if she would marry him.
“I really didn’t see it coming,” Ms. Bellissimo said. “It was so special and unique, the kind of moment I’ll remember and cherish for the rest of my life.”
Their wedding date has been set for Nov. 7, 2020.
A Proposition by the Book
The couple were in a Manhattan bar when Andrew Isaacs suddenly departed. The bartender handed Alexis Versandi a coaster with instructions to visit a nearby book store, where she was to ask for Jonathan Cape, the original publisher of “Matilda,” her favorite book. She then had to choose between a copy of “Matilda,” or a copy of “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” one of the many James Bond thrillers written by Ian Fleming.
“Matilda,” was the “safe choice,” according to a note, while “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” was more of an “adventurous” selection.
She chose the later, and inside found further instructions to go to a waiting limousine, but not before being handed a third book, “All The Kremlin’s Men,” which she was reading when she first dated Mr. Isaacs. Between its pages were Ms. Versandi’s passport and a ticket to Fort Lauderdale, where, upon arrival, she was whisked by chauffeured car to a private airfield and a waiting jet, on which she enjoyed fish tacos and vodka martinis while being flown to Ian Fleming airport in Jamaica.
Taken to Mr. Fleming’s old residence, the “Golden Eye” resort, she found a Saks Fifth Avenue box along with a first edition of “Matilda,” with a note from Mr. Isaacs saying that with him, she would never have to choose between what is safe and what is an adventure, and that she could always have both. His note, which assumed the dress and shawl inside the box would fit, concluded with an invitation to dinner on the pier, under the stars, where he proposed.
“In true Andrew style, his proposal was elaborate, creative and so thoughtful,” said Ms. Versandi, who added that she is expecting a baby boy in May. “Married life is wonderful.”
They were married June 2.
Get Me to the Train on Time
Andrew Kennedy, a 33-year-old project engineer for an electrical contracting company in New York, proposed to Taylor Chapman, 34, in New Orleans during a four-day getaway in January 2017, but only after he was able to take a vacation after working seven days a week for many months leading up to the opening of the Second Avenue subway in December 2016.
Ms. Chapman said she had “no idea” that the presentation of her engagement ring in the Big Easy was tied to the maiden voyage of a train beneath a stretch of asphalt on Manhattan’s East Side.
“It was a wonderful trip,” she said, “a bit too short, but wonderful.”
When asked about their abbreviated stay, Ms. Chapman laughed and said that Mr. Kennedy had to make tracks back to Second Avenue, where “he is still working on the subway line there.”
They were married April 21.
A Rainbow Connection at Christmas
Nicholas Clark-Spear, left, and Mark Badum were engaged at Mr. Clark-Spear’s 37th annual family Christmas party. Mr. Clark-Spear got down on one knee and proposed with a Christmas ornament of the Muppets, Kermit and Miss Piggy, kissing under the mistletoe. “The Rainbow Connection” played in the background, and their friends and family showered the couple with golden glitter stars when Mr. Badum said yes.
They had a tradition of giving each other ornaments every year, and this one was especially meaningful, as Jim Henson was Mr. Badum’s biggest artistic inspiration.
They were married July 23.
Like a Scene From a Movie
Alyssa Cohen and Dr. Keith Giles decided to spend the three-year anniversary of the day they met in her favorite city, Paris.
On the morning of their departure from New York, he gave her a card, along with a photo of the Eiffel Tower and a message to meet him at 9:30 a.m. at the community garden at Riverside Park, the site of the end of one of her favorite films, “You’ve Got Mail.” Then he left their apartment and told her he had to stop in the office and would be back with plenty of time to get to the airport.
When Ms. Cohen arrived at the garden, Dr. Giles, now 43, was waiting. “When you meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with,” he said on bended knee, “you want the rest of your life to start right now.” He proposed and she accepted, and hand in hand they went to Cafe Lalo, another Upper West Side staple from “You’ve Got Mail,” where Ms. Cohen’s parents, who live in Dix Hills, N.Y., were waiting along with her sister, Lindsay Cohen. Dr. Giles’s family, who live in Perth, Australia, were waiting by virtually, via cellphone and FaceTime.
“I was completely shocked,” said Ms. Cohen, now 36. “As I walked down to the park, intermittently laughing and crying, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have found Keith.”
They were married Jan. 6.
Timing Is Not Everything
On Feb. 14, 2016, Sarah Cascone, now 32, gave Nathan Monroe-Yavneh, 31, a Valentine’s gift, and when he responded by saying her gift would come “later,” her proposal-antenna shot skyward.
Later at a Manhattan restaurant, Ms. Cascone was hoping to find at least 14 carats in her sushi dinner, but there were none.
“It was a lovely meal with lots of courses, and a 45-minute subway ride back home to Harlem,” she said. “At that point I was exhausted and assumed that my earlier suspicion was baseless. The only thing I could think of at that point in time was going straight to bed.”
Ms. Cascone was home, and undressing in their bedroom, when Mr. Monroe-Yavneh burst though the door, dropped to one knee and, without preamble, asked her to marry him.
“I’m not wearing any pants,” she said.
Undeterred, he asked, “So, what do you say?”
“Really?” said Ms. Cascone, who began laughing before saying “yes.”
“I actually took more flak for not making a speech beforehand than I did for proposing while she was in the middle of undressing,” Mr. Monroe-Yavneh said. “Who knew you were supposed to make a speech?”
They were married April 28.
A Boat, a Plane and Hiking Boots
Brendan Aranda proposed to Racini Andres in July 2016 on the lake in Central Park and surprised her with a flight, leaving two hours later, to Zion National Park in Utah, where they would hike through the Narrows and climb atop Angels Landing.
“When we docked the boat, that’s when I saw our friends, who had been hiding, and the emotions came rushing in,” said Ms. Andres, 33.
The couple rushed home to pack, and that’s when Ms. Andres learned that Mr. Aranda, also 33, had already purchased their hiking equipment, which was hidden under their bed.
“We rushed and made our flight,” she said. “Zion was beautiful and perfect.”
On the Fourth of July, they drove to Las Vegas where both of their immediate families were waiting to celebrate.
“It was the perfect ending to our engagement story,” Ms. Andres said.
They were married March 24.
Room With a View
In March 2017, Megan Byrne and Kevin Jason traveled to Italy to celebrate their fifth anniversary as a couple. They first visited Milan, and spent a night in Vernazza, a town on the rugged Ligurian coast with a postcard-like ocean view from the terrace of their rented home.
While Ms. Byrne, 30, was taking a short nap, Mr. Jason, 29, went out and purchased food and champagne. When she awoke, there were also candles and flowers atop the dinner table, but she assumed it was still a part of their anniversary celebration.
But as they watched the sun set and the first stars appear in the sky, music began playing from a speaker hidden on the terrace, and they danced to a playlist of their favorite love songs.
Mr. Jason then read a poem to Ms. Byrne professing his love for her, before dropping to one knee and asking for her hand in marriage.
“It was the perfect proposal,” she said.
They were married Aug. 18.
Two Planned Proposals and a Surprise
On Dec. 15, 2017, Taryn Miller-Stevens, left, and Sharon Callahan returned to the McKittrick Hotel in Manhattan, this time in a snowstorm, to celebrate their first date there one year before.
Ms. Miller Stevens, 34, arranged what she told Ms. Callahan, 56, was “an anniversary dinner and quiet exchange of engagement rings.”
But Ms. Miller-Stevens had secretly spent a month planning for their celebration to be attended by 75 of their closest family members and friends, which Ms. Callahan saw when she opened the restaurant door. The guests, some of whom made it, despite the snow, from as far as Connecticut, Virginia, Florida and Singapore, began singing Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” which is her favorite song.
“I was completely overwhelmed,” said Ms. Callahan, whose two sons, Ben, 17, and Henry, 22, were also a part of the festivities.
“Sharon cried the most beautiful ugly tears — the love and energy was palpable.” said Ms. Miller-Stevens, who proposed first, with Ms. Callahan responding with a ring and proposal of her own.
“It wasn’t a counter proposal, but a double proposal,” Ms. Callahan said, laughing. “There’s a big difference.”
They were married Oct. 6.