1. Morgane and Nicolas Lallevée, Viré, France
How they met: “Nicolas and I met a long time ago. We went to the same high school and he was actually my younger brother's classmate. But I wasn’t interested in him at the time. We didn’t start dating until a few years later when I bumped into him while visiting my school with a friend of mine.”
Why she proposed: “After six years of dating (of which three we lived together), we both had stable jobs. We knew we wanted to get married, so we got engaged with no formal proposal. Just like that — no need to ask, we knew we wanted exactly the same things in life. We started wedding planning and even filed our taxes together.
But I ended up a bit frustrated not to have had a nice proposal in a fancy restaurant so, I decided I was going to propose to him to make things right. One can't marry without a proposal, right?”
The proposal: “I actually dragged one of his brothers to a jewelry store to find a ring for Nicolas. I booked a table at the restaurant where we had celebrated our engagement and had the box with the ring in my bag. I was going to wait for dessert to pop the question but just before dessert, I saw him taking out from nowhere the exact same box I had in my bag. It turned out that his brother had told him about my intentions and they had both gone to the same jewelry store to pick a ring for me. When I saw the box, I realized what was going to happen but I had already made up my mind—I was there to propose and I wasn’t going to give up now. I fell on one knee (yes, I know, men usually do that... but, why not?) and asked him "Nicolas, veux-tu m'épouser?"* I think he mumbled the same thing to me.
So imagine us in that restaurant—I was on my knee, quite certainly red from head to toe, not hearing or understanding much (I was so nervous) holding his ring in my hand, and Nicolas sitting in his chair looking at me with my ring in his hand. We ended up saying 'oui' at the same time.
*Nicolas, will you marry me?
2. Marcie Bianco and Merryn Johns, New York City
How they met: “Merryn and I met in August, 2011, at the LGBT journalist convention in Philadelphia. We were on a panel together about Lesbian Media. After the panel, we chatted for a little while about academia—both our PhDs were about drama. That was the first and last time we spoke for about two years.
In 2013, she asked me to a show downtown. I remember leaving my apartment thinking, 'Something is going to happen with Merryn, tonight,' even though neither of us communicated the idea of our date actually being a date.
After the show, she took me out for oysters and champagne—très suggestive! As we clinked our flutes in cheers, I leaned over to give her a kiss on the cheek—I was just magnetically compelled toward her—and she grabbed my chin and said, 'No.' And then she planted one on me! It was such a hot moment. After the night was over, I knew she was the one.”
Why she proposed: “I decided to propose to Merryn because I knew I wanted to spend my life with her, and I knew that I wanted that shared life—emerging as a kind of double-helix of our independent lives—to be deep and substantial. I wanted us to be legally recognized as a married couple, being recognized by all institutions and all people, as married.
I've known many lesbian couples to do timed joint proposals, where one woman proposes at one time and the other proposes at a later time. For us, I think we both always knew that I would propose—maybe it's because I am a double-Leo Italian who makes grand romantic pronouncements!"
The proposal: “I wanted to propose to Merryn on our anniversary while we were having dinner at an Australian restaurant in downtown New York City (she's Australian.) But we were having such a lovely conversation, eating kangaroo, and drinking delicious red wine, so the proposal didn't happen that night. It happened the next day, when Merryn sensed I was anxious about something, so I told her to sit down, because I had something to tell her. Thankfully she said yes!”
3. Anne Thomas and Ian Parker, Brooklyn, NY
How they met: “We worked at the same company for about a month but didn’t get to know each other, and then he left. A few months later, he was back doing some freelance video work, and he interviewed me on camera for a recruiting video. That’s when I first remember really meeting him.”
Why she proposed: “His father was very ill for many months and he had been flying down to New Orleans a lot to spend time with him, so I wanted to take the burden off of him of proposing. I also had this thought that if we have children in the future, it would be cool to be able to tell them that I was the one who proposed and sort of set an example that you don’t have to do something a certain way just because that’s what everyone else does.”
The proposal: “We watched this video called “If Girls Proposed to Guys” on YouTube together about a year before I proposed. The video portrays an alternate universe where women propose to men and instead engagement rings they buy lunch boxes. I thought it was pretty clever and wanted to somehow turn it into reality.
I was looking on eBay for vintage lunch boxes, but then I came across this beautiful hand-crafted Japanese bento box. I’m from Japan and I liked the idea of incorporating something Japanese into the proposal.
The day I proposed, I stayed home from work and cooked all day. When he walked in the door, the bento box was waiting for him on the kitchen counter and I had Huey Lewis and the News’ ‘Power of Love’ blasting through the speakers (Back to the Future is one of his favorite movies).
He opened the bento box, which had two layers: the top layer had bites of lots of different things like karaage (Japanese fried chicken) and tamago yaki (a sort of Japanese omelette) and the bottom layer had rice with salmon roe laid out in the shape of a diamond. When he lifted the top layer and saw the salmon roe diamond. That's when I asked him if he wanted to do his taxes with me. He said yes and then we ate dinner and called our families to tell them the news.
I took this traditionally male act of proposing to your significant other, but did it through this traditionally female act of cooking for your significant other. That wasn't intentional — I just like food — but I like the irony of it.”