How They Proposed - The New York Times

How They Proposed – The New York Times


It was a year unlike any other, as the coronavirus brought most of the world to a standstill in 2020. While the wedding industry suffered immensely, life went on, and people still fell in love, proposed and got married no matter.

There was no shortage of creativity when it came to asking that age-old question, more often than not on bended knee. A New Jersey senator sang his proposal in India, a foreign affairs officer popped the question in Russia and there was a sob story in Central Park.

Here is a selection of a few of our favorite “Will you marry me?” moments we learned about from couples who married in 2020.

One day last month, Senator Bob Menendez made three separate calls to three friends, each of whom was celebrating a birthday.

“I sang “Happy Birthday” to all three of them,” said Mr. Menendez, 67, the former chairman and senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“When it comes to singing,” he said, “I like doing little things like that.”

In May 2019, Mr. Menendez began orchestrating a much bigger number for proposing marriage to his girlfriend, Nadine Arslanian, whom he met five months earlier at an IHOP in Union City, N.J., where Mr. Menendez grew up and was once mayor.

“Bob told me that I will know when I’m being proposed to because of a certain song he will sing when the time comes,” said Ms. Arslanian, 53, who was born in Lebanon of Armenian descent.

“When I tried asking more questions about the song, he started joking and said, ‘Well, if you don’t recognize the song when you hear it, then this wasn’t meant to be.’”

“I was very nervous because Bob is someone who sings all the time,” Ms. Arslanian said. “He sings every morning, every night, and in-between while he smokes his after-dinner cigar.”

She decided to play along, and when the tune was right, she would say yes to the man she had fallen head over flapjacks with in December 2018.

“We were introduced by the owner of the IHOP, and I didn’t know at that time that Bob was a senator,” Ms. Arslanian said. “He was very intelligent and had a great sense of humor, and he was very, very hot.”

Mr. Menendez said he thought she was “beautiful and bright and had such a great personality. There was just this aura about her.”

They were soon traveling the world together, eventually visiting four continents in five months.

Each time Mr. Menendez so much as cleared his throat, whether it be in Puerto Rico, Greece, Turks and Caicos or Colombia, the needle seemed to move that much closer to that special song.

On Oct. 3, 2019 while on a visit to India, Ms. Arslanian was sitting on the Princess Diana bench at the Taj Mahal, when suddenly Mr. Menendez, who had been standing behind her, began singing “Never Enough,“ from the movie “The Greatest Showman.” She began to cry.

“Will you marry me,” he asked.

Through her tears, Ms. Arslanian said yes, and Mr. Menendez promptly swooped in, ring in hand, and with a wide smile said to her, “if you keep crying, I’m not going to be able to put this on your finger.”

They engaged in a long kiss, as most of the people around them, perfect strangers bearing witness began to applaud.

They were married Oct. 3, 2020.


Robert Strain surprised Daniel Bering in March 2019 by proposing in front of a fireplace during a weekend escape to Point Reyes, Calif.

“We had such a great time,” said Mr. Strain. “But since it was my proposal, I think Dan felt like we were no longer on even-footing, like I suddenly had an edge in our relationship, and he had no say.”

Two weeks later, Mr. Bering had his say, proposing at Indian Springs, a hotel in Calistoga, Calif., and putting forth a counterproposal of sorts that put him back on equal footing with Mr. Strain.

“I was humbled and charmed when Rob proposed to me, but I felt that I had to do something to show how I equally respected and adored him,” said Mr. Bering, who sneakily slipped the ring box beneath Mr. Strain’s pillow before they turned in for the evening, only to have to awkwardly pull it out once he was certain that Mr. Strain could not feel it.

“Early in our relationship, we talked a lot about the proposal process,” Mr. Strain said. “We discussed how we could make it more of a shared, even-handed-event, so while I didn’t expect Dan’s proposal, I certainly understood where it was coming from.”

They were married April 4, 2020.


Michael Pizzato, 41, proposed to Heather Dickinson on a hilltop in Marin County, Calif., during a hike in November 2019. Their yellow lab, Henry, who would later serve as “Dog of Honor” at the couple’s wedding on May 17, 2020, wore the engagement ring on his collar.

Mr. Pizzato turned Henry’s collar around on top of the mountain and asked Ms. Dickinson to look down.

“I shrieked and then I ran away,” Ms. Dickinson, 50, said, laughing. “Michael took the ring off the dog’s collar and got down on one knee. I couldn’t believe what was happening.”

“Michael and I bond over so many things,” she added, “such as our love of cooking, politics, travel and the outdoors.”

And of course, Henry.

They were married May 17.


They were married Feb. 8.


Michael Seringhaus and Anna Kim were engaged in July 2019 at the Korean Friendship Bell, a location in San Pedro, Calif., from a favorite film (“The Usual Suspects”), after which they toured Los Angeles by helicopter — with Mr. Seringhaus, a licensed pilot, flying.

Mr. Seringhaus, 43, a partner in Latham&Watkins, hid the ring that day in a place that he said Ms. Kim would never have looked for it: her handbag.

“I’d been unknowingly walking around with it in there all day,” said Ms. Kim, 36, a San Francisco-based flight attendant for United Airlines.

“I thought we were just killing time at a pretty venue from a favorite film, so I was quite stunned when he got down on one knee.

“In that moment it was all white noise, I just grabbed the ring box right out of his hand and haven’t let go of it since.

They were married Nov. 10.


Both Rory Jelinski, 36, and Portia Carryer, 32, have a deep love of the ocean, and they spent their first vacation together at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif. It was especially romantic, then, when Ms. Jelinski arranged an early morning behind-the-scenes tour of the Aquarium for their two-year anniversary. It ended in a proposal under the sardine exhibit.





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Posted by Krin Rodriquez

Passionate for technology and social media, ex Silicon Valley insider.