But What if You’re Disappointed with the Proposal?

but what if youre disappointed with your proposal (5)

There is a lot of pressure surrounding weddings. Pressure to have the most gorgeous celebration, to spend the most (or least!) money, to DIY up a storm and for everything to be utterly picture perfect. So it doesn’t come as a shock to me that proposal expectations can also be sky-high for the soon to be betrothed.

With viral proposal videos hitting the headlines on an almost daily basis, this is hardly surprising. It can be hard, if not impossible, for us normal folk to feel like we’ll ever measure up!

Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing the stories of the flash mobs, the sky-writing and the treasure hunts. I’m an old romantic after all. But the fact of the matter is that a proposal doesn’t have to go viral for it to be utterly incredible.

but what if youre disappointed with your proposal (3)

I loved the way Gareth asked me to marry him. It wasn’t big or extravagant and that suited us down to the ground. We’re quite an understated couple as it is, and neither of us feel particularly comfortable with the idea of grand public gestures. We went for a BBQ by the river on our five year anniversary. It was freezing cold, the food was crappy and it was so dark by the time he finally mustered the courage that I didn’t even notice he’d got down on one knee and I couldn’t see the ring! But it was a perfect, heart-stopping and magical moment because it was just for the two of us. Nobody else.

I actually started mulling over the idea for this post as yet another “I proposed to my girlfriend and the video is going viral, check it out!” flooded into my inbox. While I’m all for big romantic gestures (done by other people!) I can’t help but feel a little bit sad when I see videos like these being pushed around like viral fodder. It all feels a bit like a show, and as if the hope of some fleeting internet fame is the real goal.

In most cases I’m sure this couldn’t be further from the truth. My real problem with these YouTube sensations is that seeing them can make other couples feel bad about their own experience.

but what if youre disappointed with your proposal (6)

However your other half (or you!) proposed, I hope you never forget that the ‘why’ is a million times more important than the ‘how’. Whether you were dancing around your living room in your underwear, or standing atop the Eiffel Tower at sunset, that magical moment is YOURS. It doesn’t have to be shared with, or validated by the rest of the world to matter.



  1. Holly

    Oh I 100% agree. We’re all different and no two relationships are like – therefore, no two proposals should be alike either. I’ve yet to meet anyone who was disappointed with their proposal, because let’s be honest… it’s not really about how it’s done, but WHY it’s done. A proposal is all about the sentiment.

    My proposal happened in our bedroom. On Boxing Day. My fiancé pulled a surprise present out from under the bed whilst down on one knee. I opened a tuperware box to find 100 little origami stars surrounding a ring box. All he said was “You’re my very best friend, will you marry me?” and I nodded and cried! It was a magical moment that I will always remember. It wasn’t grand, it wasn’t big but it was us. I wouldn’t change it for all the world.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. My husband proposed the morning after both our Christmas parties, I got up to go for a pee with a banging headache then walked back into our bedroom and he was stood with a ring and asked me to marry him. Absolutely no frills. It was perfect.

  3. Jemma Clarke

    i always dreamt that my proposal would be atop the Eiffel Tower, in reality it was after my first nap since giving birth to my son. My OH had taken him for a walk and returned with a photobook of our relationship so far, the final page was a picture of him holding a “will you marry me?” Sign. I cried, he creid, the baby cried…it was pretty magical.

  4. Sadie

    I got engaged in November and it was not romantic but it was perfect!! We’ve never been romantics we are goofy and a bit awkward! We hadn’t been able to afford to be engaged so when we finally had the money I sent my man a text and said lets get engaged and he said ok!! We went and picked out a ring together and had been discussing marriage engagement kids money life goals and all that months before we got engaged I’m one of those people who questions everything so for it to be a mutually decision to get engaged was perfect! We picked a ring and had dinner at our favorite restaurant and shared the news with our family on thanksgiving without the ring. I didn’t want it to be all about the ring I wanted it to be about us deciding to get married and that’s exactly how it went down:)

  5. My proposal was a big proposal, but it was at my favourite place (the eden project, Cornwall), at my favourite time of year (Christmas) and involved my Son, Best friend, Father Christmas and some elves! It was beyond anything I could ever have imagined and I will always feel so special that my financee put so much time and effort in to it. I would have said yes had he asked me in the living room at home or where he did but for a lot of very personal reasons the effort he made made it amazing for all of us. I think there is a danger of becoming a reverse snob about these kind of things too, different things match to different people for a whole load of different reasons that people have no idea about.

    I’ve felt touched by every story above.

    And yeah, my best friend filmed it and put it on you tube. It’s not had that many hits and it’s certainly not viral but whats special to me is I can remember every word he said to me as we stood there and the excitement of my son in the moment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9AqpTA7_QU

  6. Leigh Thorpe

    I’ve known friends to have proposals done via their babies (written on a onesie), on their dogs collar and in a romantic cave in Greece. They’re all amazing but mine was just perfect. Christmas morning (our first in our new home) and he forgot a prezzie upstairs. So up he went and I’m sat there, eyes closed, thinking he’s going to come down in nothing but a spinning bow tie. When I opened my eyes there wasn’t a bow tie in sight, just him on one knee with a gorgeous ring. Luckily he took me crying and waving my hand at him as yes. Loved the moment and how perfect it was for us!

  7. Couldn’t agree more. My husband proposed at my house, nothing fancy. He was almost too nervous to get the words out! My sister and best friend got to witness it. It wasn’t public, or super planned or something worthy of youtube, but it was perfect because it was him. He could have done ANYTHING and as long as he was there with a ring and a smile, I would have been just as happy. 🙂

  8. Louisa Sellens

    I agree, engagements are personal and the how doesn’t really matter.

    We got engaged in my favourite shop in Brighton in their little analogue photobooth.

    We’re doing a secret dash on our wedding day back to the booth so we can continue the photo collection and grab 5 minutes on our own.

    It was awkward, a bit cramped and we got asked of we could change a fiver when we came out of the booth. But I loved it

  9. It’s funny when I tell our story because I almost have this trepidation like,e “People are going to think it’s so lame.” There was no photographer, there were no flowers, or anything huge like people expected. We’d been together for 6 years, and even though this wasn’t the way I was hoping he would propose, I was still super excited when it happened.

    If anyone wants to read the story, it’s here!

  10. Amy

    I love hearing all the different proposal stories, OTT & private,intimate ones. My fiance had been working on making a campervan for us for almost a year,and last May 2014 on our maiden voyage we went down south (Ireland) for a long weekend. On the Sunday morning we drove into the Wicklow mountains in the Vale of Avoca,parked up at a magical place called the meeting of the waters. We read a poem which Thomad Moore had wrote about the place,then at the point where two rivers meet into one,he said how one rive was me,the other him,and where they meet was our future……he then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him!! Overwhelmed is an understatement! No one else was around,it was just magic,unexpected (i was wearing leggings & an acdc vest & hadnt even brushed my hair) & perfect. We are getting married on 21st May,4 days short of a year since he proposed. Fookin awesome!

  11. holly

    My proposal was perfect. It was halloween and we were having a house party with all our closest family and friends. The tikki bar in our garden was full of lovely drinks and the garden was lit with tikki torches. My H2B played was thanking everyone got coming and thanking me for organising the food and the party. He talked about how his life had changed when he met me and how I made so many things possible. Then our song came on (planned with his cousin) and he got down on one knee and proposed. I cried and said yes. He kissed me the whispered “which finger does the ring go on”. Oh and did I mention we were dressed as harley quinn and the joker. A very strange mix of geek and traditional but 100% us. Perfect

  12. Kathy

    My husband and I were sitting on the couch after my parents had been visiting – he turned to me and said “your dad reckons we should get married. How about it”. I replied “yeah, seems like a good thing”. And that was that. No ring, no special dinner, no fuss. We hit 13 years married this October.

  13. Ashley Pepper Springall

    I was really anxious about the long wait because we started looking at rings in February and he didn’t propose til September – mostly because of the pressure he put on himself for it to be perfect. Every time we went out for dinner or anything special happened I thought “this is it” but it wasn’t. The proposal I ended up with was amazing and worth the wait (it involved graffiti and the classic down on one knee) but all I really wanted was to be engaged and then married. My advice would be just do it if you’re ready! And if you’re waiting, try and enjoy the wait.

  14. sophie

    Wow thats crazy, i know the girl who’s in those pictures.. she’s an amazing hairdresser in Charlotte, NC. Just scrolled through the blog and thought ‘hey, wait a minute… she looks familiar!!’ hahah

  15. Marie

    If my other half had proposed in our living room I probably one have said no! It’s a big moment and an important question so put some effort into it guys. Having said that I wouldn’t have wanted a big public proposal either.

  16. Ray TMT

    Loving reading all your proposal stories. I’ve nothing against the big fandango ones if that’s what makes you both happy, but 100% agree that it’s really all about what’s right for you. The quieter ones up here have made me cry! Mine was at the end of an epic holiday, long after I’d given up any hope that it might happen! We were on the balcony of a hut on stilts overlooking some oh-so-romantic oil rigs in the Gulf of Malacca…. oh, but but’s more romantic than you might think… it was a gorgeous sunset, and a few many years ago let slip that he nearly proposed with the same view (but the north sea!) when we’d only been together for 6 month! There was down on one knee, a lovely speech, lots of tears and the biggest grin ever. And he’d brought his Gran’s ring halfway round the world with us, looking for the right moment. We ended up randomly celebrating with Malay karaoke, a fabulous gay couple and less-than-great champagne… strange, spontaneous, perfect for us 🙂

  17. Bianca

    My partner proposed to me when he was dressed nicely and I was in my PJ pants on the couch after a wonderful dinner with my family. Whilst I sometimes thought why couldn’t you have done it before I got changed into my ‘oh so beautiful’ PJ pants or when we were all at dinner I let go of that thinking as he got the important parts right = he asked me, when we were just being ourselves and he got the ring right (as a gemmo and jewellery designer this part was important, he pinched a designed from my folder that I was going to buy myself for my birthday so it was beyond perfect).
    Now I wouldn’t be surprised if we get married in PJ Pants, although I might buy new ones or at least wear a pair that don’t have a hole in them 🙂

  18. steph

    No two people are alike ao why make the same proposal? My husband to be proposal to me was probably the worst way for some but the best fkr me! He proposed on my birthday, I thought he had forgot so I slammed around moaning before going to the kitchen and there leaning against my cup was a wrapped present with a note saying “your the craziest woman I have ever met, you’re a complete and utter idiot and I can’t spend my life without you” he had followed me into the kitchen and said marry me and that was that! No romance no flowers no meal nothing and it was perfect!

  19. Claire

    When me and my H2B first for together I told him how much I hate romantic cliches (flowers, chocolates, fancy restaurants, down on one knees etc.) I feel like they are very impersonal and I love to make people feel special by doing things that I know only they will love. It’s not about how many red roses you can buy or how expensive the ring is, it’s about how much you love each other and what is special to you. In fact, I even said I would say no if the proposal was one big cliche.

    So, 7 years later on our anniversary (7 is our lucky number having got together on 07/07/07) he took me to a place that I used to spend my summers, down by the river that I used to swim in and have the most magical adventures. I had written him a book of our 7 year love story (I am a total book nerd) and he pulled out his present (in a padded envelope! Lol) and said ‘I know I’m rubbish but I err was hoping err that maybe if you want sometime, some day that you would err like to get married.’ He pulled out a beautiful silver bracelet (rings are another thing that make me cringe) that he had had engraved with some lines from a love poem that my favourite poet, Sylvia Plath, wrote.

    Of course I said yes, we ate our picnic and drank the wine we had brought with us from the bottle because we forgot the glasses! It was the best day of my life and I don’t think that anyone else could have appreciated the time, the place, the thought and the how as much as I did.

    Best of all there was no ring, no down on one knee, no flowers (other than the ones growing by the river), no fancy restaurant and no chocolates!

  20. Emma

    I completely agree! My fiance and I had the strangest proposal but it fit us perfectly. A simple conversation with a ring over a meal ( between two oung girls and a couple having an argument) but he had arranged a huge surprise party when we got home! that’s what made it so special that we could celebrate it with our nearest and dearest.

  21. We were on a long-awaited holiday in New York, it was our second day there (11/09/14) and we’d had a wonderful day exploring Brooklyn, settling in Williamsburg for the Brooklyn Brewery tour. We went for a pizza afterwards (it was massive) and went on to a local dive bar. He nagged me to go for one more and I agreed. We went to the Wythe Hotel which we had been told has an amazing rooftop bar. I felt so underdressed and pretty jet lagged, and he seemed a tad grumpy in all honesty, but we managed to blag it past the bouncer on the door, then the lady at the desk THEN we were ushered to the elevator to the roof. We ordered drinks ($26 Hendricks and tonic, anyone?) and went outside. The view was breathtaking. You could see the whole Manhattan skyline across the river and the moon was behind us, huge and low in the sky, glowing amber. The rememberance beams were shooting up into the sky at the site of the Twin Towers (it was 9/11). We were stood in a quiet corner, fully in awe. The next thing I know, he’s saying some beautiful things about me, our relationship, how happy he is… I’m there thinking, “ah what a cute ️drunk he is!” Then he pulls out a ring! On closer look, an Edwardian 18k gold band with a fiery opal and a diamond on either side. I did the standard hands flapping/crying thing, told him he had to get down on one knee (he was shaking like a leaf and had forgotten) and then I dived on him. We hugged and kissed and he reminded me I hadnt actually said yes. I said yes (duh) and we celebrated some more. He’d been carrying the ring in his bag for 2 months waiting for the right time and had also asked my parents. It explained the ‘grumpiness’ that day. The rest of our stay in NYC was magical.

  22. You know what? For a while I was disappointed about my proposal. My hubby is an understated kind of guy, not one for big showy displays of emotion (which I put down to his Northern roots). For the longest time, I thought he didn’t even want to get married and I’d kind of resigned myself to the fact that it was never going to happen. But, after being together for nearly 8 years, he surprised me on my birthday by asking me if I’d like a ring for my present. In the middle of a busy shopping centre. No one knee business. No grand gestures or words of love or even the words “Will you marry me?” My reaction was to ask him what he was on about!! After he explained that he was talking about an engagement ring and I said “Oh!” and “No way!” an awful lot, followed by “I thought you didn’t even want to get married!” he explained to me that he’d said that all those months before because he was trying to put me off the scent. Turns out he’d gone to my Dad and done the whole asking him for permission thing, which I now realise is the grand gesture he made rather than getting down on one knee in the middle of Lakeside. And then I had the most awesome birthday finding an engagement ring!

    So yeah, no chance that awkward, clumsy proposal will ever go viral, but you know what? That’s ok. It’s MY awkward, clumsy proposal. And I love telling people the story when they ask… and taking the piss out of him about it!

  23. Annaliese Budimir

    My self and my OH and I have been together for 11 years and knew that we would get married one day. We went shopping for a ring beforehand in July as we have different tastes when it comes to jewellery and I wanted a ring be both liked. He then said that he would buy it at some point but wasn’t in any rush. He had actually bought it and hid it under our bed. We went on holiday to Greece in September and he asked me on the way back to our hotel from dinner, looking out to sea on a jetty – so simple and so perfect! I told him beforehand not to get down on one knee as I didn’t want to make a scene and he did it so discreetly that only we knew that he had proposed. We then spent the rest of the week on holiday together to enjoy our engagement. We also decided not to have an engagement party when we got home as we didn’t want a lot of fuss but had a mojito each in the hotel bar while in Greece! My idea of heaven!

  24. Adam and I got engaged in October and it was perfect. Low key on the first night of our glamping trip. In the bedroom, no ring and we celebrated with fruit juice and 1000 quacking ducks outside. We kept it to ourselves for a while just be able to enjoy our special moment alone. I’ve had friends get engaged in luxurious settings abroad and post on social media immediately. That’s fine but for me, it was all about the 2 of us. You can more on my webpage if you like. Lisa x

    http://www.thirtysomethingbelle.com and pop ‘I Said Yes’ in the search bar 🙂

  25. Martyna

    When my husband proposed to me (or failed to propose to me) at the Cliffs of Moher, he realised he forgot the ring so all he said was: I really wanted to give you something special but I left it at home. I knew immediately that he meant the ring. Which was not diamond by the way. I said: “I know” – which was my ‘yes’. 😉

  26. Sarah

    My h2b asked me on the 31st Oct we were both dressed as zombies with blood stained clothes and face paint on. He did it in front of my family as we were dividing out our trick or treat stash. He got down on one knee and was shaking and very sweaty and asked “will you marry me” I said yes. It was perfect. We aren’t the normal couple and to have my engagement photos of me and him and our son dressed as two zombies and a skeleton was more then perfect.

  27. Carlie

    Yea what if he proposed while in a friends car… He was in the back seat I was in the front and there was some kind of rap music degrading women playing…. It was my birthday. It was so awful I wanted to say no and cry. It was so embarrassing. Especially when my friend of 15 years (who was driving) said he would tell the story at my wedding…

  28. Khai

    I’m reading some disappointing proposal stories and most of them is way better than what I went through. My FH and I have been engaged for exactly 1 year now. Ours is a long distance relationship (worlds apart) and when he came out to see me on our 11th month anniversary, he popped the question on our very first night “together”. We were both butt naked in a motel room about to have sex; he said he wanted to give me something. I thought it was just some souvenir he bought from his travels but nope! It was a silver ring lined with tiny diamonds (It is lovely). He got down on one knee, said my full name and asked “will you marry me?”. I made a questioned look and said “you’re still married” (although him and his then wife have been separated years before i came along, they haven’t gotten around processing their divorce until weeks after he proposed). He replied with “i haven’t been married for a long time blah blah blah”. He had tears in his eyes, waiting for my answer… this was the man I am so madly in love with and the man of my dreams (although his proposal was not so dreamy) I said “yes”. Now, I wish I had said “no” until he got divorced and have him at least gave his proposal some thought and made it a little special for me. I don’t want some stinking flash mob. I was expecting him to propose when he’d pick me up at the airport when I’d fly out to move in with him (post divorce) or maybe on the drive home to our new apartment or the first time I’d meet his daughter. I confronted him about it the day after he proposed and we both cried. To this day, seeing sweet, simple and meaningful proposals makes me cry my eyes out. Now he’s hinting at making a do-over but really what for? It’s been a year, we’re getting married in a few weeks and wedding preparations have been underway since we got engaged. What would a do-over do? Get us those lovely Instagram worthy engagement pictures? A nice story for our friends and family apart from the constant lie we tell everyone that he just proposed in the room while unpacking his bag because he bought me a ring? Will a do-over make either of us feel better? He did his unromantic, unspecial & unthoughtful proposal and if he wants to do a do-over, he’s going to have a hard time making me say “yes” again because if it’s still the same unspecial & thoughtless proposal (even though he is already divorced and i love him to bits), i will surely say “No. let’s just stick with my answer the first time you asked and not mention you doing a do-over and just get on with the wedding”. :p

  29. Marianna

    Ah. Engagement stories. I loved reading about all of the posts here. So much wisdom! One day, I may get it right😊 For someone who didn’t fancy getting married at all (or at least until my 30’s), I’ve done it 3 times! Each proposal and wedding was full of not trusting my gut moments. Funny stories now but not then. While my friends were free spirited and had many relationships without marriage, nerdy me was very serious about mine to the point of marriage. First proposal, he had partied too hard. I said no.If he couldn’t be sober, forget about it. Next day, I said yes. Wedding was a disaster. Should have had a clue it wasn’t destined to last. Second time, we just decided together it was time. Wedding was a disaster. Again, should have known. Third one…a charm, right? We had a romantic dinner on the beach. Just as he asked me, fireworks were blasting off in the distance for no apparent reason. No special holiday or planning on his part. Magical! Wedding, just us at the same spot on the beach. Then big party a few weeks later. Marriage didn’t last. I was shocked. Everything seemed to be so “right”…propsal and wedding. So, yes. Each proposal is as individual as the couple, perfect right where they are at the time. What I learned is elaborate proposals or no, the main thing is to be as well prepared as possible to be married for the long haul. To truly love someone is to love them as they feel loved, not how we want to be loved, warts and all. Working on that many, many, many years later with my current luv.😉


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