Silver Screen Suggestions for Great Marriage Proposals


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One simple question has the potential to bring us infinite pleasure or pain. With Valentine’s Day approaching and wedding season soon to follow, we can look to the magic of motion pictures for romantic inspiration concerning the marriage proposal. Having trouble finding the exact words to pop the question? Need advice on creating the perfect romantic setting or finding an exotic location as a backdrop for your proposal? Unsure how to convince your lover to make a lifetime commitment? Screenwriters have already done the work for you, providing clever ideas of what to do (and what not to do) for every conceivable romantic scenario.

So for men who are diehard “Diehard” fans, and women who prefer to view “A Room With a View, ” remember that there’s value in compromise. Watch a date movie together and then adapt these silver screen suggestions for your own private use. Mix and match the best parts from the best movies for the best results. But keep in mind these two key ideas that will aid in the process: romanticize and customize.

What To Do:

  • Wait however long it takes until you realize that you want to spend the rest of your life with a particular person, and then don’t wait another minute to tell them (“When Harry Met Sally”).

  • Find an interesting way of presenting the engagement ring, such as wrapped in a series of boxes (“Serendipity”) or at her workplace (“While You Were Sleeping”).

  • Propose on the night of a special occasion, e. g. , a graduation or birthday, to make the day even more memorable (“Legally Blonde”).

  • Offer a special token as an engagement gift. The more emotionally charged, the better (“Runaway Bride”).

  • Offer your proposal with a song if you have a good singing voice (“The Wedding Singer”).

  • Repeat yourself if necessary. “I marry you. I marry you. I marry you. ” This worked fine for Jude Law (“Cold Mountain”).

    What Not To Do:

  • Don’t propose on a crowded, smelly subway train. Cruise ships and trains are far more romantic forms of transportation (“Coming to America”).

  • Don’t propose to your best friend on the day of his/her wedding to someone else. The timing is a little inconvenient and might upset the caterer (“My Best Friend’s Wedding”).

  • Don’t pack the engagement ring in your checked bag when flying to the place where you plan to propose. The airline might lose it – along with everything else you own (“Meet the Parents”).

  • Don’t propose onboard an enemy ship minutes before you’re both scheduled to be executed. There’s just not enough time for a honeymoon (“The African Queen”).

  • Don’t use profanity in the proposal unless, of course, it would make your intended more likely to say yes (“My, Myself & Irene”).

  • Don’t scratch body parts while proposing. “My scalp is not getting enough blood sometimes. Have some dessert. Will you marry me?” (“Moonstruck”).

    Although every marriage proposal should be special and unique, you can still take your inspiration from the movies. Maybe the potential groom isn’t quite as suave as Johnny Depp in “Don Juan DeMarco” and the bride-to-be can’t fit into Julia Roberts’s spandex skirt in “Pretty Woman. ” There’s no reason, however, why the two of you can’t get engaged like “America’s Sweethearts” and live happily “Ever After” in your own Cinderella Story.

    Copyright 2007 Leslie Halpern

    Central Florida entertainment writer Leslie Halpern wrote the popular gift book “Reel Romance. The Lovers’ Guide to the 100 Best Date Movies” (Taylor Trade Publishing), which reviews date movies and suggests romantic ideas inspired by these films. Visit her website at: She is also the author of “Dreams on Film: The Cinematic Struggle Between Art and Science” (McFarland & Company), an analysis of representations of sleeping and dreaming in more than 125 movies. Both books are available from her website or at and

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