Wedding stories from around the world continued to fill the Weddings pages of DailyExpertNews into 2021, demonstrating that no force of nature, not even a pandemic, could overwhelm the force of love.
But before those marriages came the proposals. In South Africa, a man had a lion cub deliver her ring to his fiancé. On a rooftop in Phuket, Thailand, a missed sunset sparked an even more special moment for a couple on vacation. The shortest proposal on this list took place on a plane high over the Atlantic Ocean, and the longest unfolded when one non-year-old tried to get another to say yes for over a year.
Here, those and six more of our favorite ways couples getting married in 2021 said, “Will you marry me?”
Look what the cat took in
Matthew Steuer, 56, and Constance Collins, 32, met in August 2016 at the American School of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he was an early childhood specialist and she was a high school social science teacher.
As of September 2020, the two were still living and teaching in Africa and had been in a relationship for almost two years.
On September 6, 2020, Mr Steuer and Mrs Collins visited a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa where lion cubs roamed free. As they sat together on the grass admiring the cubs, one of the young lions suddenly began to approach them, and Mr. Steuer pointed out that their visitor had neatly tied Mrs. Collins’ engagement ring around his neck.
“When I saw the ring glistening from the lion cub’s neck, my heart almost skipped a beat,” said Ms. Collins. “It was such an unexpected moment, filled with equal parts tenderness and euphoria.”
They married on July 22, 2021.
The ring was her reward
When Abigail George and Agney Deshpande, both 27, walked into a gym in Chicago on March 14, 2019, Ms. George said she knew right away that it wouldn’t be an ordinary workout. “There was a photographer there, which was a signal to me that something was up,” she said.
Alongside a photographer, the pair arrived to find an obstacle course that Mr. Deshpande had secretly worked with the gym operator to come up with the challenges featured in two of Mrs. George’s favorite TV shows, “Survivor” and “American Ninja Fighter.”
“Before the proposal, I wanted to do something fun and unique,” said Mr. Deshpande.
The last part of the obstacle course was a puzzle, of which Mr. Deshpande made two. One, with the “Survivor” logo on it, was made as bait. The other, who was waiting for Mrs. George when she finished the course, revealed the message, “I love you Abby, will you marry me?” when she completed it.
“It took a lot of work and it was so sweet,” said Ms. George, “especially considering that he knows that ‘Survivor’ is a show that I like and enjoy.”
They married in front of the bride’s family on December 24, 2020 and held a second ceremony with the groom’s family on January 1, 2021.
He got her again (this time, for good)
During their relationship, Caroline Gholson and Andrew Fallon looked for ways to surprise each other with “gotcha” moments. But no one could match the prank he played on her on August 30, 2020.
Mrs. Gholson had often told Mr. Fallon that she wanted him to propose to him over coffee in bed, and that the concept of a public proposal “kills me.” That August day, as the couple took a walk in a park near their Houston home, Mrs. Gholson, 37, noticed an unusual sight: On the grass lay an air mattress covered with sheets and placed next to a bedside table with two cups of coffee, one with an “A” and the other with a “C”.
When Mrs. Gholson saw Mr. Fallon, 36, reaching for the cups, she screamed, “It’s just a coincidence, don’t touch that person’s coffee!” Then he took her hands before telling her that the bedroom in the park was not an aberration nor did it belong to anyone else.
“You’ve always said you wanted this to happen, to be introduced over coffee in bed,” Mr. Fallon said. “But I wanted to give you a big gesture, so I split the difference and brought our bedroom here to Memorial Park.”
They wed on March 6, 2021.
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She didn’t even put her book down
By the time Meredith Woo, 63, and Dr. Neal Kassell, 75, who officially became a couple in 2018, had been friends for a decade — long enough, Ms Woo said, for her to feel comfortable with “all its eccentricities”, including regular trips to Venice, where Dr. Kassell traveled more than 50 times.
In the months leading up to a trip to Venice in September 2021, the two, who were each separated when they started dating, were ambivalent about marriage.
But on September 9, as they sat side by side in relative silence on a plane bound for Italy, Dr. Kassell leaned over to say something to Mrs. Woo while she was reading a book.
“Hey, should we get married,” he said to her somewhere over the Atlantic.
Mrs. Woo looked up from her book and said, “Oh, sure,” before continuing to read.
And with those eight words, they became engaged.
Less than two months later, they married on November 4, 2021.
After countless no’s, finally a yes
Neither Joy Morrow-Nulton nor John Shults Jr., both 95, remembered the exact date they got engaged in February 2020. By this time, Mr. Shults had suggested a set routine, after Mrs. Morrow-Nulton rejected his first attempt. more than a year earlier.
He tried it a second time a week after his first proposal, and again a week after that, and kept doing it daily until Mrs. Morrow-Nulton finally said to herself, “You’d better say yes.”
About her decision to finally accept his proposal, Ms Morrow-Nulton said: ‘We have a good time together. He’s not like anyone else I’ve met in my entire life.”
When asked about his refusal to take no for an answer, Mr. Shults said, ‘I kept asking Joy to marry me because I fell in love with her! She had a great laugh, had a good sense of humor and we loved being together. I wouldn’t give up until she said yes because she was worth it.”
The couple married on May 22, 2021.
First in Spain, then in France
Stephen Klein, 74, first became engaged to Anne Santos, 59, in Marbella, Spain, in 2014. Plans for a wedding didn’t follow immediately, however, as both had been divorced before and wanted some time to pass.
Four years later, the couple was ready to try married life, but Mr. Klein said “too much time had passed” to pick up where they left off after his initial proposal.
So he decided to propose to Mrs. Santos again, this time in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in France’s Provence, her native country.
The second proposal came with a different ring in addition to a different setting. “It was time for a new ring,” said Mr. Small. (Mrs. Santos kept the first one she received, but said she doesn’t wear it.)
The couple also ended up planning two weddings: their first, to be held in Bormes-les-Mimosas in June 2020, was canceled due to the pandemic. Instead, they married on June 26, 2021 in Tarrytown, NY.
These were no ordinary souvenirs
Jackie Chang, 35, and Rosanna Fugate’s two-year relationship had largely been long-distance by the time they vacationed together in Honolulu in 2018.
At the time, the couple had no plans for a wedding or a proposal. But that didn’t stop them from buying their engagement and wedding rings during the trip.
For Ms. Fugate, who wanted something non-traditional, Ms. Chang bought a ring from Tiffany & Company that served as a double wedding and engagement ring. For Mrs. Chang, Mrs. Fugate bought two rings from Cartier.
“We knew we wanted to be together, but we didn’t have a solid plan beyond 2018,” said Ms. Fugate, 34. “However, we knew we wanted to get married, and it was just a matter of getting all the details together. .”
Three years later, in March 2021, they became engaged. “It was a very touching moment,” Ms Fugate said of the fact that they could finally give each other her engagement ring.
A wedding followed almost immediately, on March 13, 2021.
He was (almost) speechless
Nina Umont and Ondrej Antos got engaged on March 28, 2020 on Mount Diablo, in the Bay Area.
“When we reached the top at about 1200 feet, Ondrej took a bottle of champagne and two glasses from his backpack and asked me to propose, although not very well,” said Ms. Umont.
Although Mr Antos, 32, had rehearsed his proposal several times in his own mind, he said he couldn’t get any words out of his mouth, with the exception of “you’re so smart”, which he repeated three times in a row while hunched over. knee on the muddy mountain top.
Mrs. Umont, 30, said: “I was delighted; I didn’t know what he was doing. He remained very traditional and got down on one knee despite the fact that we were on a dirt road.”
Despite some initial confusion, Ms. Umont said yes, and the two were married on March 27, 2021.
Surrounded by sculpture and string music
During their holiday in Spain in July 2019, Chris Baker and John Federspiel, both 33, decided to spend the last day of their trip at El Retiro Park in Madrid. They rented rowboats, drank a bottle of wine and ate ice cream cones.
Later they found a secluded sculpture garden, where a string quartet played “Spring” from Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”.
The piece was known to Mr. Baker, who had played it on the cello when he was younger. When they listened to it, the couple, who started dating in 2013, became overcome with emotion and began to cry in each other’s arms.
As they looked into each other’s eyes, they blurted out at the same time, “Will you marry me?” in an unplanned double proposal.
They wed on September 25, 2021.
Being paid late
Gavin Hall, 31, was traveling in Southeast Asia during a long winter break during graduate school when, in December 2018, he decided to board a plane to Phuket, Thailand, where Raquel Smith, 29, was on vacation.
By this time, the two had been dating seriously for years and knew each other even longer: they first met and started developing feelings for each other, in high school.
After meeting in Phuket, Mr. Hall said the couple had made a reservation at a rooftop restaurant “with an amazing view of the sunset, a truly romantic moment.” But, he added, “we were late and missed the sunset.”
But as the evening wore on, the rest of the patrons left, leaving the two alone on the roof, making for an even more special moment. Mr. Hall grabbed it and suggested then and there.
“Looking back on that time, it was a pivotal and momentous occasion in our story,” said Mr. Hall. “From there, our relationship was able to blossom.”
The couple married on May 16, 2021.