Proposing marriage is supposed to be a special moment, one that you and your bride will remember for the rest of your lives. But this world is a confusing and sometimes terrible place, and the best-laid plans of prospective husbands can go hideously awry. Here are 9 proposals that started with the best of intentions and turned into absolute disasters.
Dollars Down the Drain, 2010
If there’s one lesson to learn from this feature, it’s that attaching the engagement ring to something almost always ends in tears. In the case of Dedham, Mass. native Matt Cawley, it was a sand dollar that ended up costing him $9,000. Cawley tied the ring to a huge sand dollar and left it on the jetty of Bass River Beach on Cape Cod. He then led prospective fiancee Stacey Scanlon there on a romantic walk. He pointed out the sand dollar and Scanlon picked it up, only to find the knot had come untied and the ring washed into the ocean. The couple and friends searched for more than four hours but never found the diamond.
Drink the Ring, 2009
Many proposals involve a ring hidden in a surprising location. Usually this gambit works, but sometimes it can backfire. When Reed Harris popped the question to his longtime girlfriend, Kaitlin Whipple, he did it at Wendy’s (classy) because of her love of the chain’s Frosty milkshake treats. Harris hid the engagement ring in the ice-cold dessert, but when he turned his back, one of Kaitlin’s friends challenged her to see who could drink their Frosty fastest. Needless to say, Whipple swallowed the ring whole. Reed drove her to the hospital for X-rays that revealed the ring chilling out in her guts. She passed it two days later and accepted the proposal.
Murdered Turtles, 2009
Beachfront proposals are popular, but sometimes there’s collateral damage. A South Carolina man set up a heart-shaped ring of luminaria candles on the beach on Hilton Head Island, and popped the question to his lady love one moonlit night. She accepted and the pair headed off to their hotel room for a night of making whoopee. Unfortunately, they didn’t extinguish the candles before they left. It was loggerhead turtle hatchling season, and when 60 of the endangered (and federally protected) baby turtles emerged from a nest that night, the light disoriented them and they failed to make it to the ocean, dying on the beach as a grim memorial to love.
Jumbotron Accident, 2012
I really don’t understand the desire to propose to a girl at a sporting event in front of a crowd of fans. That just doesn’t seem all that romantic. Dudes keep doing it, though, and they often try to use the Jumbotron as a medium. Sometimes it works and results in a standing ovation from the crowd. And sometimes it doesn’t work. When Greg Altringer took his girlfriend, Erica Kresge, to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, he set things up so that in the middle of the fifth inning, the scoreboard would display his proposal. But Kresge went to get beer at exactly the wrong time and missed the whole thing. Nice timing, lady.
Choke Out, 2008
We get married for all sorts of reasons, but one very mercenary reason is for U.S. citizenship. When Hungarian Nikoleta Karoly asked her American-born boyfriend to marry her a week before her immigration visa expired, he balked, mostly because of her hot temper. And then he got to feel the heat himself as she jumped on him and started trying to strangle him to death. She slapped him in the side of the head (so hard that doctors feared he might lose his hearing), and then threatened him with a kitchen knife. After he called the cops on her, Karoly claimed that his injuries were consensual as a result of rough sex.
Drive Angry, 2010
It's a sad situation when a proposal isn’t accepted. In 2010, Mario Francisco Hernandez drove to the Pico Rivera, Calif. restaurant where his girlfriend worked, with the words “Stacy will you marry me?” written in soap on the back window of his car. Unfortunately, Stacy wasn’t quite as wowed by this display as Hernandez had hoped, and she turned him down flat. Hernandez was so pissed off that he got back into his lovemobile and tried to run Stacy over, going up on the curb and smashing into a florist shop. He was caught by police and charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
Balloon Accident, 2012One of the most popular proposal gambits is to pop the question in a spectacular location. What’s more visually stunning than floating over the landscape in a hot-air balloon? In June of 2012, an unnamed man proposed to his lady in the skies over Sellersburg, Ind. She said “yes” as the balloon’s pilot went down for a landing. Unfortunately, he then steered the airship into some power lines, causing the basket to transmit an electrical shock that instantly knocked the pilot unconscious. As he fell, he hit the bride-to-be as well, giving her a dose of electricity. Thinking fast, the man gave the pilot CPR, saving his life, and he managed to land the balloon. The pilot and the woman were taken to the hospital with nasty burns, but they all survived.
Lightning Strikes Thrice, 2010
This might be the saddest story on this list, and that’s saying something. When Richard Butler took his girlfriend Bethany Lott for a romantic hike in the North Carolina mountains, he was planning to present her with a ring when they reached the summit of Max Patch Bald. Unfortunately, just seconds before he pulled the band from his pocket, three bolts of lightning rocketed down from the sky. The third one hit Butler and Lott, killing her instantly and giving him third-degree burns. The injured Butler tried to give his girl CPR for 15 minutes, but it was too late.
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Swept Away, 2008
The Oregon coast is one of the most romantic wedding spots in America, so it was only natural that Scott Napper would bring girlfriend Leafil Alforque there to pop the question. The smitten beau brought his lady love to Proposal Rock on Neskowin Beach, so called because it was a popular spot to ask for a lady’s hand. However, things went horribly wrong. A giant, unexpected wave suddenly crashed over the rock and swept Alforque out to sea. Napper pulled off his jacket to go after her but couldn’t save her. Her body was never found.