The romantic wedding proposal in real life

A friend’s husband proposed via a full-page advertisement in Cleo magazine.  Another was surprised during a stroll along the banks of the Yarra when, amongst the buskers and street artists there was a painting with her name on it, and the words ‘will you marry me?’ 

This week in Sydney, a Qantas passenger gave sixty of his fellow passengers a single white rose to deliver to his girlfriend in the arrivals lounge, before he emerged with a red rose and a ring. 

And then there are the romantic flash-mobbers, sky-writers, crop-circlers, film-makers and Craig Jones – who deserves a category all to himself for spending $9000 on possibly the most elaborate wedding proposal ever, involving thousands of onlookers, choreographed dancers and a 140-piece high school marching band.

My husband proposed on the couch at home, when he could get a word in edgewise during my post-work monologue after a particularly stressful day.  I looked exactly the opposite of how a woman should look when she is proposed to: cartoon-print flannelette PJ bottoms, ugh boots, tailored work shirt and costume jewellery.  (You know how sometimes you slip into only half of something more comfortable?  I’d done that.)  

I’m not sure why the candlelit dinner that he’d slaved over or the glass of Moet in my hand hadn’t tipped me off that this was no ordinary evening.  Perhaps it’s because we’d been standing under the Eiffel Tower only a few weeks earlier, following a French friend’s wedding at a chateau in Normandy – and, even with a backdrop like that, the opportunity had passed him by… 

With us, it had not been a case of love at first sight.  The opposite, if anything – I thought he was an arrogant git.  He made the mistake of ordering me around in front of a table full of VIPs once and I was so annoyed that a response escaped my mouth before my Inner Professional could put a stop to it.


‘What’s the magic word?’ I’d said.  Loudly.  Apparently during the ensuing pin-dropping silence, he wondered who on earth I was.

A while later he began to seem less gittish and more normal – even nice-ish, then very nice and, damn it, really smart and funny and considerate.  Gawd – how I hate being wrong!  Eventually, there was nothing for it but to have an epiphany similar to those which sideswiped Bridget Jones and Elizabeth Bennett when they realised they’d been completely off base about Mr Darcy. 

I loved him.  No mistaking it.  Which is how I found myself plonked on his couch attired in the least attractive outfit imaginable, blathering about work with him on the floor at my feet and the aroma of his gourmet cooking swirling around the apartment. 

When I finally drew breath, he seized the microscopic lull in conversation to produce a gorgeous ring from his pocket and say the words ‘Marry me, Emma’.

Just like that.  No ‘will you?’  No question mark.  He was awfully sure of himself, as usual. 

Had I been standing up, I’d have been comprehensively swept off my feet, it was so thrilling.  Instead I smiled, threw my arms around his neck, kissed him and delivered the only logical response to a command like that. 

‘What’s the magic word?’ 

Emma Grey is the author of Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum (Lothian, 2005) and director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss. She writes on motherhood, work and relationships on her blog and her vampire-free teen fiction trilogy is currently with a publisher.

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