I spent a good 10-15 hours surfing through 1000+ videotaped wedding proposals on youtube. Here are my favorites. I am not including professionally-shot wedding proposals or proposals that are fake or student films or things filmed at sports stadiums or Disneyland. Here’s just some charming or funny videos that made my day. I hope they make your day too.
- chicken dance proposal (my fave). Everything about it — the kids, the wacky camera angles, the surprised reaction — is just priceless. I could watch this video a zillion times.
- Proposing with an eggbeater . Stupid comic causes a real proposal surprise.
- Man tells girlfriend he’s away on a business trip, but then calls her at a restaurant and shows up by surprise. Good subtitles, and I like how her back is facing the man so the girl is completely surprised. I just love this video! Short, simple, entertaining as heck!
- Karaoke in the car surprise proposal. Apparently this boyfriend and girlfriend do karaoke videos on youtube, and so they are used to singing to well-known songs. (By the way, the songs are really entertaining!) The guy plans it pretty well, and it’s wacky and fun, and then there’s an incredible twist in the middle! I mean, I’ve seen everything, but this one floored me. Warning: this is a 9 minute video, but it’s so entertaining that it’s worth savoring every second of.
- Bananagrams Proposal. A bunch of people are playing a game (sort of like Scrabble, where you place letters to make words). The man is sitting next to his girlfriend and makes the phrase “Will you marry me?” while the girlfriend is obliviously trying to make her own words. This was a great proposal and video (and I like that it captures the party atmosphere and this unusual game). On the other hand, it must have been extremely nerve-wracking to form the words and wait for the girlfriend to notice them.
- Love at the icerink . Short and unscripted, and the people are very shy, but I found this genuine and lovely.
- Man proposes at the top of a mountain. The girl seems out of breath; is she overcome with emotion, or could just be the thin air? This is one of the more eloquent speeches by the proposers I’ve ever seen, and a touching video; this one is a good model to follow.
- New Year’s Day Freeze. A small group of friends have a New Year’s Eve party and everybody but two people freeze when the clock strikes midnight. Simple, stylish, comic, all the hallmarks of a great memorable video. (It helped to have more than 1 camera!)
- sometimes you just make mistakes . One of my favorite videos. The mom is holding the video camera! (Unavailable? A man brings his girlfriend to a country western bar/cafe with his family. He proposes awkwardly and diffidently to the girl while other family members are chatting away and children are running around. Then it becomes clear to everyone that the man is in the middle of proposing, so everyone turns their attention to the couple, both surprised and overjoyed. But a hitch; the man has somehow misplaced the ring. The person holding the camera — who turns out to be the man’s mother — starts laughing and making comments, then the man realizes that he must have switched boxes, and the “real” box was still in his Mom’s purse. So the mother — while laughing and holding the camera, dumps out the purse’s contents, and both she and her son try to locate the “right” box. Luckily the “right” box is found, and so everybody is happy. I realize that this whole set up sounds staged, but believe it, it just happened as I described it. The mom who was shooting the footage was quiet until the son looked at the camera and said, “Mom, did you put the ring in another box?”)
- Trumpeter for college marching band takes a break from trumpeting to propose to his girl. I love how the boyfriend uses a marching routine through the auditorium to accost his girlfriend. Btw, great camerawork…probably the best I’ve seen.
- Film Student prepares proposal as a student film, and then invites girlfriend to a theatre to watch it. I normally balk at videos which are so elaborate and polished, but this video was impeccably choreographed and presented so naturally in real time (with split screen no less!) that I fell for it completely. Good job! And great camerawork in the darkened theatre. Guess that Advanced Lighting class paid off.
- Yet another film student prepares proposal as a wacky trailer in a movie theatre. (This was put on Youtube AFTER the preceding one, but has already received 25 million). I love this trailer — truly I do, but imagine the unsuspecting audience member who actually paid to see the movie getting riled once more people start this same stunt. “OH, not another godamn fake trailer– proposal. I long for the days where all I had to sit through were sappy commercials to buy more popcorn?”
- Boyfriend hides in an refrigerator box to propose at her mom’s birthday. “This better not be an appliance,” the mom says.
- College proposals can be extremely fun, because you have a lot of potential social events, friends who will be loud and supportive, and nothing seems too risque or strange on a college campus. Here’s a drawing for a prize at a BYU cafeteria which ends up leading to a proposal. Here’s an comedy improv group who selects volunteers to play a silly game. The great thing about this game is that it involves blindfolds.
- guy proposes to a girl by cell phone! The nerve of him! (Seriously, those people are totally in love with one another!) UNAVAILABLE! A girl is talking to her boyfriend whom she thinks is out of town. She goes to her friend’s house, but is shocked to find her boyfriend there with a ring.
- Proposal on a bus Definitely one of the most charming.
- proposal after a bungee jump . Me Tarzan, you Jane.UNAVAILABLE!
- talkative girl gets confused. Oh, son of a bitch! What a clever and romantic proposal.
- Santa proposes. Actually the woman looks like she would be a good elf. UNAVAILABLE! This proposal was very clever. A girl’s friend bought her to Santa’s booth without knowing that the man dressed in Santa’s costume was her boyfriend. They were joking and playfully flirting with him, and she even made a joke about wanting to get married. Then Santa took out the ring and gave the proposal. Wow!
- proposal at a military ball You’re an ass! Get a room, people!
- love at the airport A classy romantic method
- Magician asks girlfriend to hold the camera while he performs a magic trick, but proposes to her instead. A low key and intimate proposal. What I love about this one is that other cameras were hidden and the plausible misdirection involved. I appreciate the video production because it does not try to be grand or spectacular but just a private event between two special people.
- Another magician asks a woman to help perform a magic trick, has her pull out her own ring out of a bag. Another clever stunt, but I wish the boyfriend could have been actually involved more.
- Family Reunion…God, I hate when old people get in the way!
- Love at the Hockey game. I love her lack of hesitation in saying yes.
- Must love dogs . Love the girl’s reaction and the guy’s shyness.
- New Year’s Day proposal What? No!
- Man stages fake arrest by police to propose to his woman. Well, at least she wasn’t expecting it!UNAVAILABLE!
- Love and a saxophone. boyfriend flies to Brazil to surprise girlfriend. UNAVAILABLE. See the important note at bottom of this list.
- Bugs Bunny Proposes. Tip: the best way to catch a girl by surprise is to rent a furry animal costume.
- Price is Right marriage proposal. This is their lucky day!
- Chemist does a comic scientific demonstration involving batteries to stage a proposal. The first 7 minute of this video was plain science, but when the moment came, I was genuinely worried that it wouldn’t work out as it was supposed to. But the man is a much more competent than he appears!
- This marriage proposal was broadcast live on NBC’s Today Show. Well, it was a surprise all right!
- Man blindfolds girl, brings her to a favorite place surrounded by family and friends and pops the question. The girl was hysterically happy — apparently he was teasing her all day with fake proposals. Seriously, this is a classy proposal.
- Man proposes to cheerleader while she is hoisted in midair. I’ve watched way too many cheerleader/basketball/hockey stadium proposals, but out of them all, this girl had to be in the most uncomfortable position. Let that gal down!
- Actor proposes to his actress girlfriend while filming a fencing duel scene. Great reaction, but are you sure you want to immortalize your proposal as beginning with a fight-to-the-death?
- Man arranges to have a surprise birthday party thrown for him which he uses as a pretext for proposing to his girlfriend. The girlfriend is supposed to escort him to his party, but the man drops down on one knee and gives an even bigger surprise. A brilliant and clever idea (though a ridiculously long intro). I have to wonder how he persuaded his girlfriend to plan his own party! UNAVAILABLE! Oh, no, this was a very clever idea.
- Man proposes to his bank teller girlfriend … by going through the drivethrough and sending an “extra special check” through the pneumatic tub. This doesn’t really work as a video, but the concept and reaction shot is priceless.UNAVAILABLE!
- Guy proposes to a girl in a pet shop. He slips the message on the collar of a very cute puppy. The girl is totally shocked, and so are we!
- UNAVAILABLE! Here are two proposals that happen so quickly that you barely know what hit you. Under the guise of receiving an award, an army soldier proposes to his girl. I like how she responded immediately by nodding her head. (Most girls take forever!) Navy sailor proposes to his girlfriend, while she is walking to pick up her diploma. Well, that’s a fun graduation present!
- Man proposes to girl at the prayer for Thanksgiving Family. Dude, if you’re invited to the family Thanksgiving, it’s pretty much guaranteed she’s going to say yes. UNAVAILABLE!
- A guy’s friend brings a girl to a park to watch her boyfriend’s music video on the big screen; turns out the music video is a marriage proposal, and at the end it switches to “live” video. This also is an elaborately planned video, but I like how it’s an original (and lowkey) song, how we can always hear the girl, and how the “real” boyfriend surprises her at the end. Also, I like how it ends with just ordinary moments of the couple talking (“Oh, so you WEREN’T at work today but were planning this proposal video”).
- Boy proposes to girl at a college graduation karaoke party. Nifty concept, but 3 issues: 1)the guy should have taken out the ring while the girl was singing rather than break the rhythm. 2)don’t film it near a perpetual screamer and 3)while it’s good to have your college buddies cheering you on, make sure they’re not drunk! This is another example of the do-it-when-she-least-expects-it genre.
- Man plans to propose in front of a handmade sand-castle at a beach. Despite the elaborate preparations, all does not go as planned. The woman’s small child is acting a little strange, but the man takes it in stride, and the happiness and the laughter is just so spontaneous that I can’t help but be moved. I normally dislike videos which look too polished and professional — and by the way the two people involved seem to have some romance/relationship coaching business, but nothing is fake here. I especially enjoyed the postscript where they reflect on the day and the planning involved. BTW, the man wrote a blogpost about how he planned it all.
- Man asks girlfriend to go together to audition for a fake eharmony commercial, but after the camera crew tells them they wanted a married couple, the man decides to pop the question. The woman’s reaction is priceless. Update: I have seen several variations of this idea already
Note: **Love and the Saxophone” was a great proposal, but the man writes on the youtube comment section: “don’t mean to bust everyone’s bubble here, but the marriage never happened. I found out she was cheating on me. However, I’m very proud of the proposal as being the most romantic proposal ever. And I believe I’m going to outdo this proposal when I meet the one…”
Now that we have gay marriages, it suddenly becomes a LOT more interesting and challenging to watch these proposal videos because conceivably the proposer or the proposed could be either sex!
Finally, if a male friend of yours asks you to videotape the marriage proposal, I have two pieces of advice:
- Resist the temptation to add sappy romantic music to the video later. They almost never add anything to the video. Seriously, I’ve watched 100s of these videos, and the music is just a distraction.
- keep quiet! Let future generations hear the couple’s reactions, not your own. (For an example of what I mean, see the video I talked about in my post about how not to make a marriage proposal video).
Dec 29 Update. Ringonherfinger is keeping track of some of the best proposals (I’ve stolen a few for my own list).
I’ve decided to start compiling a list of wedding proposals which are not necessarily great videos, but fascinating concepts for marriage proposals.
- Woman videotapes her boyfriend proposing to her in Times Square. he videotapes her, then they switch, and he gets out the ring while she is holding the camera. Amazing! Unfortunately the man is very nervous, so it takes 8 minutes to get the proposal out (points off for that), but still that’s a remarkable feat.
- Man videotapes himself proposing to girlfriend at Lincoln Park. I smell a trend here. But wait. It’s also a very talky/rambling thing (points off again), but still heartfelt and beautiful. It’s hard imagining a couple putting this kind of video on youtube (especially how formless and unscripted these things are). Would you really want to watch a private proposal years or decades later? Some things are sacred, and don’t really deserve to be an object of ridicule years later.
- Man arranges for a nearby skyscraper to flash lights arranged in a pattern to pop the question. Did I mention that he was videotaping his girl at night when this was happening? Well, not everyone has a good friend who can do light shows, but this was a flawlessly executed video. Brief, well-planned and captured the private moment well. UNAVAILABLE!
- Man stages an elaborate dance routine with 50+ close friends for his girl on the street while lip-syncing the song “I think I want to marry you.” My problem is not with the choreography or production (which is perfect) but that the proposal looks like a promotional video for the song. Call me skeptical, but I’m not convinced this staging is for an actual marriage proposal. From a performance point of view, I’m impressed how the whole thing was done in a single shot and how people made cameo appearances via laptops. Update: The other vids uploaded by Isaac Lamb seem music and performance-oriented, so I guess it makes sense to have such an elaborately produced video. Once again, it raises the question of whether going to all that trouble to make an outstanding proposal video actually portends a happy and successful marriage.
I’m making a new rule. I no longer will feature proposals that require a lot of money to pull off. Folks, we are living in a recession; there’s no reason to spend on lavish things for a proposal to succeed. The simpler, the better. You can still be ostentatious without depleting the bank account. The more your proposal video looks like a music video, the less authentic it appears to someone like me.
Now I’m making another rule. Ok, the bringing-the-girl-to-the-movie-theatre-to-show-her-a-proposal-video is cool and clever, but I long for the days that you didn’t need to take a damn cinematography class and buy a non-linear video editor and rent the entire theatre and place hidden cameras everywhere just to pull it off.
Finally, a personal confession. This page is just one of those random web pages I started by chance on my blog — and it’s been fun to maintain. But alas, I am single, and I have only proposed to one person in my lifetime. And that occasion went horribly wrong — not only did she say no, but the circumstances of her saying no made it a nightmare. (No video, thank goodness!) I toyed with the notion of describing that bad experience on this blog, but these are secrets which don’t need to be made public (not at this time anyway). Besides, I’ve already talked about it too many times to family and friends. That experience wounded me terribly, but that is my past, and I am over it — to the point where I can even laugh about it (kind of). I mention this only to show that proposals don’t always work out as intended. I certainly don’t begrudge the happy couples in these videos, but I guess I scoff at all the efforts to package these proposals so that they appear to be some idyllic fairy tale memory. The event of proposing is always a risky emotional thing; it requires faith and trust and hope. Nothing really matters about the event except if the girl says yes (and if her heart is in the right place to say yes).
If given a choice, I’m sure all people would rather have a crappy proposal video and a great marriage than a great video and a crappy marriage.
Postscript. I have noticed that some of the proposal videos have started to come down. (The video which was the subject for my How not to make a marriage proposal blog post came down long ago). Sadly, this probably indicates that the couple has divorced or separated. Ironically, this blog post may end up outlasting quite a number of these marriages.
Postscript 2. Here’s a list of proposals which are interesting and amazing but concern me for one reason or another.
- Man arranges for girl to walk alone in Central Park, then surprises her under a bridge while a nearby band is playing her favorite song. A really sweet idea and well-put together. But a)the first part of the video seems too much like a creepy spy thriller video, b)the guy was sitting 20 feet below her at the crucial moment — I was seriously afraid that the girl was going to jump down! c)the guy actually threw the ring up to her on the bridge. She caught it, but what if she didn’t!?
- Youtube prankster shoots a messy practical joke on girlfriend, and then follows up with an actual proposal. UNAVAILABLE! This seems too much like a reality show, but on the other hand, both people are used to play-acting during their reality show stunts on youtube, so it makes perfect sense to make their proposal a youtube moment. “If this a prank, this is real frickin’ mean,” says the girl. There is a happy ending here, but it still is unsettling that the girl doesn’t really know for sure it’s real or fake.
- Man proposes at a party on a roof of a building, then stages a fall off the building to the girl’s dismay. UNAVAILABLE! Genuine fear is never sexy or romantic; maybe if the man’s gesture indicated that he was merely pretending to fall, I could appreciate that, but no one should have to witness a potentially horrifying moment — all for the sake of a visual gag. This is a very cute proposal otherwise.
- Man proposes to woman at a SXSW geek conference. I won’t spoil the surprise here (it’s fantastic), but this great moment is spoiled because the idiot holding the cameraphone didn’t hold the phone sideways. at a talk by the man who created the Post Secrets website, people were encouraged to send secret/anonymous messages which would be read aloud in front of a crowd of 200 people. Some were strange/humorous, but one was a marriage proposal. It was very awkward. The man held the microphone but the girl was in the back of the audience — and it took a minute or two for her to come up to give her answer (she said yes, so all was well). I was in the audience of that proposal!
Postscript #3 April 2018. As luck would have it, yesterday my sister was proposed to by her boyfriend (now fiance). He did it on a famous bridge in Australia. It was short, scenic and well photographed too.
- This compilation of best proposals contain some good ones. The first is excellent. A girl parachutes down only to see her boyfriend waiting with a ring. The next one at 1:18 stars a surprise appearance of a saxophonist boyfriend at a girl’s concert. They are both charming! At 5:50 there is a bizarre video of a helicopter pilot and his girlfriend in midair. The boyfriend pretends that there’s a technical problem, so they need to do an emergency landing. The girl kind of freaks out and is asked to read an emergency procedure card. She reads all the steps, and the last one is a romantic one. The reason why this sucks is that the girl shouldn’t be forced to recite any words of a proposal. It’s a man’s job. At 13:13 a guy goes into a court where the girl works as legal clerk. The judge reads out some silly accusations about being love-smitten with the girl, and then the judge asks, how do you plead? Do you wish to speak directly to the witness? This was an interesting idea, but ultimately you should not be asking anyone to do the narrator set up for a proposal. Your words — not the judge’s are what matters. At 15:00 there is a long dance routine involving flags. 2 minutes later, one of the male dancers pops the question to another male (the first gay proposal I’ve seen). The last one (originally here) shows two dancers doing a sexy dance video in front of a dance class. Two dozen kids are sitting down to watch and they go crazy when she says yes. The lesson here is that it’s always great to have kids in the audience of your proposal.