What Gilmore Girls can teach us about proposals

Guest post by PopFunk
This is what a Gilmore Girls proposal with a thousand yellow daisies looks like. (Photo courtesy of GilmoreMemories.com)
This is what a Gilmore Girls proposal with a thousand yellow daisies looks like. (Photo courtesy of GilmoreMemories.com)

I recently watched the Gilmore Girls episodes where Lorelai is proposed to by Max, twice. Once is half-jokingly, to which she responds that a proposal should be romantic with horses and daisies. The second is when Max has exactly 1,000 yellow daisies sent to her. For those who don't know, it never worked out for those two. She just didn't know him and they weren't right for each other.

It made me realize that, over the years, I've had quite a jaded understanding of proposals. First of all, too many movies and shows have proven that grand gestures are accepted, and proposals in pajamas (as ours was) really aren't done.

I was engaged at 21 to someone I met online and dated for six months. Our proposal story was something to tell. He chose eight special places to visit (all “milestones” of our relationship), concluding with a moonlit mountain-top proposal. It was an awesome story to tell people, but as our engagement commenced, it became blindingly obvious that he and I were just not meant to be. We were both more in love with the idea of each other than who we actually were.

Years later, when my now-husband proposed to me in the lounge room of my government-issued-teaching-housing home, of course I said yes.

Was it romantic? Of course it was. Okay, so he didn't go to huge lengths, make me some impressive piece of art, or ask me on top of a mountain. And recently someone told me that she would have said “no” if she was proposed to the same way I was.

But what was more romantic?

Months before he proposed, after a dinner with my family, I made some excuse to walk my fiance to his car and he said “I want to marry you.”

“Is this a proposal?” I asked.

“No, not yet. I just know I want to marry you.”

Before we were engaged we talked at length about marriage, living arrangements, and how we wanted our actual wedding day to look and be. I read books about marriage (and not just wedding magazines either) and surfed online for things to do before you were engaged. Then came the day he asked for my heirloom ring (which my mum gave to me after my first failed engagement), so it could be repaired. There were no surprises, and in my opinion, that's probably the way it should be.

But, of course, that is just me.

When I started reading Offbeat Bride, I was surprised at how many brides-to-be didn't have their “bling,” but they were actively planning their wedding. I was relieved. I knew I had found the place I wanted to be.

Comments on What Gilmore Girls can teach us about proposals

  1. I hear ya, girl. My husband never really proposed. It was just something we understood pretty much from the get-go that this was “the one.” But I wouldn’t change it. It wasn’t dramatic, but neither are our lives.

  2. grand gestures are great if you’re that sort of person, but there are plenty of us who aren’t.

    the taller half proposed on Halloween, in our home, while wearing a rainbow clown wig and a pith helmet. no fancy gestures, no public proposal. it was memorable (seriously, PITH HELMET) and perfectly us.

  3. We have been together for 9 years. By the time he proposed, we had been living together for a bit more than a year. There were many perfect moments in bed, in the couch or during a hug in the kitchen when I thought that he could propose, but he chose a terrible weekend for him. 3 months ago he was mad at his boss for treating him terribly, thinking about all the economic implications of quitting his job and understanding that he had to stay there because of important plans that started a week before that sunday. He was between angry and depressed, in bed almost all weekend, when he asked me to go for a walk with him.

    We live by the forest so we walked to our “special talk spot” to what I thought would be a very depressing talk about how he hates his job and cant quit it (we both kinda hate it). And then he started rambling about the future. When we are at the forest he usually tells me he has a gift for me and then gives me some rotting mushroom or anything on the forest ground near to his hands starting a throwing battle, and we both laugh and play like kids… when he told me he had a gift, I was ready to pick the first bunch of pine needles to throw at him (playing, of course) but he showed me a sparkling acorn. I looked again and saw the ring embedded on a huge acorn (with no acorn trees near).

    He said nothing he just gave it to me… and after I put it on he said “lets pretend I asked you and you answered yes” with a huge smile on his face “no, you must ask!” and he said “you want a doughnut?”…. we hugged, cried and kissed…. and he still owes me that doughnut.

    His proposal was great, because it was very genuine, spontaneus and honest. Three things I love about him.

  4. My now husband proposed to me on New Years Eve in front of our Christmas Tree, I was 8 months pregnant. No fan fare just I want you to be my forever. And it was absoulutely perfect. I honestly thought he was giving me a small box of chocolates and was stunned when it was a ring. Lol

  5. Thank you for this post! When my dude proposed it wasn’t grand & fancy either, it was simple yet still very romantic and held meaning to us & our relationship. Though I loved it and obviously would’ve had said yes whatever he did, it was tough when people ask you how it happened and they’re expecting some awesome romantic movie-like epic story, so they just kindof have a look like, “that’s it?” Not to mention all the viral YouTube vids popping up lately with flash mobs and whatnot. Some of us are perfectly happy with sweet & simple 🙂

    • Oh yeah, gotta love the “That’s it?” looks. And by “love” I mean “want to slap it off their face.”

  6. This is an awesome post. And it’s part of why I keep coming back to OBB again and again. OBB is stripped of the pretense and about being true to yourself, whatever that may be. If it encompasses grand romantic gestures and engagements, so be it. If it means a pj proposal, so be it. I just love it.

    My husband proposed to me while we were cuddled in bed. It started as a rehash of a conversation we’d had at the start of that week, which was all about how well our integration into moving in together was going. And then he asked me to marry him, genuinely and at the exact moment that he knew beyond a doubt that he wanted to marry me. It was so us and I wouldn’t trade that moment for all the grand gestures in the world.

  7. I told my husband “GET UP!” the 1st time he got on one knee. We were in Italy, totally drunk on gin and wine. He got down and knelt in the stairs leading into the canal in Venice. I knew he was drunk and didnt have a ring, so I told him to get up! LOL. It’s funny now. BUt I didnt want a drunk proposal that he hadn’t thought through, because I wanted him to be sure he wanted to do it! He bought me a ring on the Ponte Vechio in Florence 2 days later and did it for real!

  8. I think a lot of it has to do with the person. Keep in mind though that there are movies and such that show the more casual proposal. I just re-watched “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and Ian proposed post coitus while they are in PJs. My own proposal was by some standards a mixed bag. My fiancé isn’t the super public displays of affection but knows that I really appreciate the grand gesture on occasion. But he was all sneaky about taking us to our favorite restaurant that we had a fond memory of and even while we had discussed the idea of marriage previously, decided to have the mariachi band play “Amazed” as he slipped out of his seat and got down on one knee in front of a large crowd of people. Was it some grand thing. For him it was, and for me, it was because he was willing to do that for me because it meant that I was more important than his comfort. It was simple. And perfect.

  9. I think it is how you define “meaningful” for you. My first marriage was at 24. He proposed to me on a couch. I can tell you that I was disappointed. I wanted the 1000 daisies or something “memorable”. As I look back, I realize it is not the “memorable” proposal that was lacking. It was a healthy relationship that was missing. Our marriage ended in divorce after 5 years and countless marriage counseling sessions. A decade later, I find that I am in a relationship with my partner for life. I do not worry about if I will have 1000 daisies or be on a couch when we take the step towards marriage. What I do know is that it will be emotionally beautiful.

  10. Over the weekend, my fiancee and I saw a young man propose to his girlfriend via karaoke with all his friends as back up singers. There was lots of screaming from the bar as everyone realized what was going on, but my fiancee sat quietly (as usual). Then she said, “Do you wish I did something like that? I didn’t even get on one knee.” I reminded her that we were already sitting on a blanket and that she had tried to get up to get on one knee, but saw my face and thought better of it. And that she’s too shy to be silly in front of all those people.

    We had already bought the ring together, already told everyone we knew, and already booked our venue by the time she’d asked me to marry her. And I think she felt worried that, despite being offbeat, we weren’t doing it “right” even for us. But honestly, my fiancee would NEVER do karaoke — she leaves that to me. And if she shocked me in public (no less) like that young man did to his girlfriend (seriously, she seemed stunned), I wouldn’t have been happy at all.

    We are the people who ask each other the entire plots of movies (with endings) before we’ll agree to watch them. We are not people who like to be surprised or do spontanous things. Call us boring, but it’s just not really us. We are planners. And we planned. And even though she somehow thought I didn’t know her plan, I did and I even sort of helped her to switch to a more amenable day.

    I feel like we did our proposal together and I really like that. So I told her that there was no way in hell I’d prefer that and we went back to waiting for my song to be called and eating spinach-artichoke dip.

    • Totally with you on the movie thing. I want to know the story before I start watching.

      • I thought I was the only one who did this. My husband and all our friends think I’m so strange for looking up the endings of movies before watching them.

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