Modest Proposals?

Like a lot of people, I’ve spent an approximate total of thirteen months of my life daydreaming about that perfect marriage proposal. Sometimes the fantasy involves firelight and chocolate, while other scenarios feature a stage, hot spotlights, and the din of five hundred people chanting “Say yes, say yes!” Oh, and I’m not gonna lie – there’s been a flash mob or two in there. And maybe Mary Lambert.

However, rereading my novels, I realized my characters aren’t quite so creative when they broach the topic of nuptials. At the end of Hunted Past, my shero tells my hero it’s about time they got hitched. Hunted Dreams ends with my hero gently popping the question after stumbling upon a big ol’ secret. Sweet, but, you know, not that creative. I mean, where are the clowns, the fireworks, the dancing chickens? Where’s proof of all the brain power I devoted to this?

Apparently I lack the ability to spin my wild, wacky, and occasionally tacky plans into usable fictional situations. Sure, I know thirty make-believe people dancing to Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” while the novel’s hero brandishes a two-carat emerald is just the tiniest bit cheesy, but honestly, who hates a little bit of cheddar in their romance? Besides, if movies can do it, so can romance authors, amiright?

That said, I turn to you, my sister and brother writers. Can you think of any fabulous, romantic, creative proposal ideas? Was your own a living poem, a veritable Hallmark© moment, or like me, have you instead spent an indecent amount of time concocting silly, sigh-worthy, sugary scenarios?

Below I’ve listed a few ideas, but I’d love to hear some of yours, whether lived, written, or imagined.


1. The Classic: This involves all the usual suspects: Candlelight, music, flowers, and chocolate. Set the scene, complete with a trail of candles and/or rose petals that lead to a ring.

2. The Mile-High: Flying is super miserable. The only thing that can rescue a flight? Asking a flight attendant for permission, grabbing the mic, and popping the big question. Yeah, okay, I totally stole this from The Wedding Singer.

3. The Delicious: Create a fortune cookie that features The Question. Pop it on a plate after nomming some tasty wontons. That said, please never have your characters stick a ring in food. Am I the only one who finds that nauseating?

4. The Performance: Anywhere a microphone exists is an opportunity. Attending a local musical performance? Watching a play? At a rally? Ask someone beforehand if you can nab some stage time. I admit this comes directly from one of my fantasies. I publicly perform poetry, and it’s occurred to me that a super nifty proposal could involve a public performance of a romantic poem that ends with some magical words.

5. The High-Tech: I have a couple of ideas in mind. One involves making a website that details the couple’s love story and leads to a proposal. Yeah, all right, I researched and it’s been done, but that doesn’t diminish the awesome, geeky appeal. The other plot involves something like writing a short story that mirrors the couple’s, one that ends on a particular cliffhanger, uploading it to a Kindle, and then asking the other partner to take a gander at this awesome new story.


Kitschy, cheesy, and gimmicky? You betcha. Too much for fiction? What about real life? Your thoughts: Bring ‘em!

About Elle Hill

I'm a not-so-mild-mannered college instructor by day and writer by night. I'm an ex-animal rescuer and a forever animal lover. Finally, I'm a progressive, portly, political, powerful, pale-faced, passionate purveyor of poetry and prose.
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2 Responses to Modest Proposals?

  1. scmitchell says:

    To me I always love the spur-of-the-moment proposals, when the hero suddenly realizes he’d almost lost/thrown away/completely screwed up any chance with the heroine, and knows he can’t live without her. Completely unplanned, he plummets to his knee, begging her to marry him (even though he’d been a schmuck and doesn’t deserve her.)
    …and of course she says “Yes!”
    Ahhhhh ♫♪♥♥♥♪♫

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