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.

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Comments on What Gilmore Girls can teach us about proposals

  1. I enjoy all the grand gestures on TV and you tube, they are sweet and romantic but it’s not for everyone. I’ve been proposed to before in the past and when my partner found out she decided that if I ever wanted to get married I would have to ask her myself. It turned out to be a comedy of errors:
    I asked her on a trip out of town. We checked in to our hotel and got situated, went down to the restaurant to eat where we found an acoustic musician playing on the patio…romantic right? Well it was at first, then we ordered our appetizer which was so spicy it burned our mouths up, but that was alright…we moved on to the main course which for my partner meant steak. So, her steak arrived well done instead of medium rare. But it’s all good right? We’re on vacation after all. So I went up to the bar to let the waiter know that we were going to need a new steak and ran into a very drunk man who slurred his name at me and just about fell over me. So I headed into the bathroom to escape and while I was gone the drunk at the bar apparently took quite a fall. He took a couple bar stools with him and almost took a waiter down trying to get back up. Okay, back at the table now waiting for my partners new steak and she is telling me about the drunk. At this point it is getting late and the musician is getting a little silly…the result is Kermit the frog and Fraggle Rock, seriously. Somewhere in all of this the exhaust fan in the kitchen broke and the smoke alarms went of. About five minutes later the fire trucks showed up. By the time the alarms where shut off and the musician had left for the night I finally popped the question with a wooden ring for my wood worker and she said yes.
    There is one more twist though, somehow I found the one wood that she is allergic to and the ring started to turn her into an umpa lumpa…I have since gotten her a new ring 😉
    As far as any “perfect proposal” plan I might have ever had it was pretty disastrous. But it was also perfect and full of laughter, just the way that I hope that the rest of our lives together continue to be.

  2. I do tease my husband about it, but I loved his proposal. We were snuggling on the couch during one of my visits (when we were still living 3,711 miles apart) and he said, “can I run a thing by you?” He already had my grandmother’s engagement ring, so it was not really a surprise, but it was exactly right for us. The stone from my grandmother’s ring had to be reset too, so I didn’t have my engagement ring for another 3 months after that.

    I have to say, I kinda loved telling people my engagement story and seeing their reactions. And then their eyes darting to my naked ring finger and being further disappointed. Oh, people. Life is not a Disney movie. 😉

  3. I had a crystal-clear vision how my proposal to the Hairy Irish Manbeast would work out; February 29th, one of the pubs we used to frequent while I was at University, romantic dinner then BAM, break out the custom rings I’d ordered and surprise him.

    But we didn’t get the little corner table I wanted, and I felt way too exposed to make the gesture then and there. Okay, says I, let’s improvise. There’s a Roman ampitheatre maybe 5 mins from the pub, let’s go there “for old time’s sake”. We’re both Pagan, and he’s a bit of an Ancient History nut, it’ll be perfect. He wants an ice-cream first, so we spend maybe an hour wandering around town trying to find somewhere selling Cornettos in February, and eventually end up buying ridiculous dinky tubs from the tourist information centre.

    We finally reach the amphitheatre… closed for filming. Arse. Okay, not to worry. We can do this. There’s a Roman Barracks opposite, let’s go take a look at that.

    The Barracks is basically a series of about-knee-high ruined walls, so I’m trailing around after him hoping he’ll stop on one of them so I can get down on one knee already, but he’s insisting on reading every sign and keeps spotting things over the other end of the complex he hasn’t seen yet, and I’m getting more and more anxious. Eventually we stop outside an Ancient Roman Toilet, and the manbeast can’t control himself any longer, bursts into giggles and asks if I’ll just get the proposal over and done with already because of course he’s guessed what I’m up to.

    I feel entirely justified in dropping the Big Romantic Nerdy Speech I had planned and going with “You’re a cock. Marry me anyway?”

  4. These stories are brilliant!!!

    Ultimately what matters is that the romance meets the love story of the couple.

    I just want to throw another thought into the ring in the nature of balance.

    All the above stories are full of romance in their own way. Everyone is different. My friends sister was proposed to as she bent to open an oven, fully depressed to find her cookies had burnt again but turned to find her man on one knee. I think it’s a beautiful story, full of spontenaety and charm and love.

    I apprecitae the romance of making the dinner when you’re tired, or putting on the electric blanket before you climb into bed on a cold night, but I felt a moment that was life changing like an engagement should be full of whimsy and wonder, and I was thrilled with being asked in a way that was right for me which makes it no more or less lovely than anyone elses. For me HOW he asked was much more important than the ring, and hey – not many other massive moments in life are necessarily pretty and enjoyable, like say, childbirth- so I wanted my magical moment of loveliness.

    He took me to Budapest for my birthday as I love all things medieval, and after a day of horse and carriage rides, eating chocolates at the christmas markets and getting blessed at holy sites we got onto a medieval bridge in the middle of the night to look at the stars and gothic buildings and christmas lights reflected on the water. As I told him I’d had the most pefect day of my life he had got down on one knee in the snow behind me, piano playing in the background from an open window, so that when I turned I got the surprise of my life when he began his speech. It was perfect for both of us and was full of charm, romance and love.

    I don’t feel my story, or anyone with fireworks and a flashmob should make anyone else feel bad or less valid about their proposal. But also, if it was planned and full of details that does not make it less romantic or special than a spontaneous or humourous one. A couple is not more or less likely to stay together based on the grand gesture/ low key proposal – that’s no relationship thermonmeter except to those inside the relationship. The main thing is that the proposal reflects what the couple want it to be and their love story; that’s what makes a proposal truly wonderful.

  5. Firstly, I love Gilmore Girls. I was the same age as Rori so I sort of grew up with it. And I thought that proposal was amazing.

    I think that when the couple is right for each other, the engagement is always right no matter where it takes place.

    My own proposal was much simple, but still romantic. We were in the park after a nice day at the museum waiting for it to be time to catch the train home. His birthday was the next weekend and I asked him what he wanted to do. He said “I want you to agree to marry me”. It wasn’t a big surprise (we’d picked out the ring together a few weeks before) but it was very sweet and perfect to me because he was the perfect person for me.

  6. I so relate to this post! Even since high school I’ve always said my dream proposal would be at night while we were brushing our teeth. You’re the essence of “you” right before bed in your pjs with your hair down and your face washed. If someone wants to marry you at that moment, that to me is more special. Plus, you’re about to get into bed anyway with minty fresh breath, so the timing is perfect for some we’re engaged sex!

    Now that I’m actually in a long-term relationship in which we have discussed our future wedding at length, another plus of a quiet-engagement or no official proposal is you can plan your wedding in peace. My boyf suggested this as a way to dodge too much input from family. Like: by the way, we’re getting married, we’ve already booked the venue!

  7. Your sentiment really rings true for my experiences. I had a few serious relationships before dating the man I’m engaged to. Two of them in particular were big on the big gestures (expensive gifts, expensive dinners, etc), but it always felt like they were doing it because they felt like they were supposed to. There was something lacking. I wasn’t their #1 important person in their life and we didn’t have the kind of bond I wanted, but maybe if they felt they checked off that box I’d be happy. My fiancé doesn’t do the big giant romantic gestures all the time, but the dedication he has to me and the time he commits to me mean so much more.

    (Also our engagement was pretty romantic. my flight came in late and he took me to a snow covered park during a winter festival and he proposed in a tunnel made of Korean kites past midnight and it was awesome <3 )

  8. I looooove this post!
    My lovely asked me during a concert at a local venue. It was one of the first bands we listened to together in our relationship. Thing was – the day he was supposed to pick up my ring his work only deposited his bonus and not his entire check. so no ring. He was devastated and thought I would say no for sure. Instead I yelled yes right in his face super excited and he was like “Yeah?”, just completely stunned. It was during the breakdown of one of our favorite songs. It was absolutely magnificent. Ring or no ring, I was on cloud nine. The next day we went together to go pick my ring up which is basically unheard of around here, he asked me again in a field as a surprise down on one knee with a few simple words about how he wants to give me everything in the world, but he’ll start with his heart and a promise and I was a big baby over it. He’s not a sweeping grand gesture kind of guy, so the wonderful sweet words went a long long way. Then we went to target for baby food and things we needed for the house. After 9 years of friendship, one baby, and a bunch of craziness, I think the way we did things was absolutely stellar and I love our proposal story – my ring and those memories more than anything. And on top of it, he tweeted to the band about asking me there, they retweeted it and congratulated us. Now whenever I hear the songs from that night I get goosebumps, and recently the misters band played in the same venue – he gave me a shout out and actually announced to a packed house that he asked me to marry him right in the front row. I was SO red. It was awesome. 🙂

  9. My fiance and I knew we wanted to get married after we’d been dating for about two months. At that point, though, we were both only eighteen and in school, so we agreed to wait until after I finished my degree. Last December, I graduated, and in January he proposed. Our proposal was hardly the stuff of romantic comedies. We had a special night out the night before, and that was when he had planned to propose, but the ring wasn’t delivered until the next morning. We got back from the hotel and he proposed in his kitchen. He didn’t get down on one knee, I honestly don’t even remember if he said the actual words, “Will you marry me?” But we were officially engaged and I couldn’t be happier.

  10. We just now announced to our friends and families and it’s my first time feeling weird about our proposal being wrong. Everyone keeps asking and when they hear I proposed to him and that it was over text and followed by several days of discussion until we decided to do it, they look let down. They say things like, “Oh. Well. That’s different.” and “I guess this is the 2000’s, huh?” It’s made me feel sort of embarrassed, even though I still don’t really see the point of the ring, when I’m just gonna trade it for a permanent one at the wedding. We’re still engaged and planning our marriage, why does it matter so much what kicked it off?

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