Marriage stories from around the world continued to fill the Weddings pages of The New York Times in 2021, proving that no force of nature, not even a pandemic, could overwhelm the power of love.
But before these marriages came the proposals. In South Africa, a man asked a lion cub to deliver his ring to his fiance. On a rooftop in Phuket, Thailand, a missed sunset led to an even more special moment for a vacationing couple. The shortest proposal on this list took place on a plane over the Atlantic Ocean, and the longest came as a nonagenarian tried to get another to say yes for more than a week. year.
Here, those and six more of our favorite ways couples who got married in 2021 said, âWill you marry me?
Look what the cat was hanging out
Matthew Steuer, 56, and Constance Collins, 32, met in August 2016 at the American School of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he was an early childhood specialist and she was a college social science teacher.
As of September 2020, the two were still living and teaching in Africa and had also been dating for almost two years.
On September 6, 2020, Mr Steuer and Ms Collins visited a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa where lion cubs roam free. As they sat on the grass together admiring the cubs, one of the young lions suddenly started walking towards them, and Mr Steuer pointed out that their visitor had carefully tied Ms Collins’ engagement ring around from his neck.
âWhen I saw the ring twinkling on the lion cub’s neck, my heart almost skipped a beat,â Ms. Collins said. “It was such an unexpected moment, filled with equal parts tenderness and euphoria.”
They got married on July 22, 2021.
The ring was his 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 it wouldn’t be for regular workout. âThere was a photographer there, which alerted me that something was going on,â she said.
In addition to a photographer, the couple arrived to find an obstacle course that Mr. Deshpande had secretly worked with the gym operator to concoct in the style of the challenges featured in two of Ms. George’s favorite TV shows, “Survivor” and “American Ninja Warrior.”
âFor the proposal, I wanted to do something fun, and something unique,â ââMr. Deshpande said.
The last part of the obstacle course was a puzzle, of which Mr. Deshpande created two. One, with the “Survivor” logo on it, was designed as a decoy. The other, who was waiting for Mrs. George as she finished class, revealed the message “I love you Abby, will you marry me?” when she finished it.
âIt took a lot of work and it was so enjoyable,â Ms. George said, âespecially given the fact that he knows ‘Survivor’ is a show that I love and enjoy.â
They got married before the bride’s family on December 24, 2020 and held a second ceremony with the groom’s family on January 1, 2021.
He got it again (this time for good)
Throughout their relationship, Caroline Gholson and Andrew Fallon have looked for ways to surprise each other with ‘catch’ moments. But none could compare to the prank he played on her on August 30, 2020.
Ms. Gholson had often told Mr. Fallon that she wanted him to make his request over coffee in bed, and that the concept of a public proposal “mortify me”. That August day, as the couple were walking in a park near their home in Houston, Ms Gholson, 37, noticed an unusual sight: On the grass was an air mattress covered with sheets and placed next to it. a nightstand with two cups. of coffee, one labeled with an “A” and the other with a “C”.
When Ms Gholson saw Mr Fallon, 36, picking up the cups, she shouted, “It’s just a coincidence, don’t touch this person’s coffee!” He then took her hands before telling her that the room in the park was not an aberration and that it did not belong to anyone else.
âYou always said you wanted that to happen, that you were offered coffee in bed,â Mr. Fallon said. “But I wanted to give you a big gesture, so I split the difference and brought our room here at Memorial Park.”
They got married on March 6, 2021.
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She didn’t even put down her book
By the time Meredith Woo, 63, and Dr Neal Kassell, 75, officially became a couple in 2018, they had been friends for a decade – long enough, Ms Woo said, to make her feel at home. comfortable with “all his eccentricities”, which include regular trips to Venice, where Dr Kassell has traveled more than 50 times.
In the months leading up to a trip to Venice in September 2021, the two, each of whom was divorced when they started dating, had been ambivalent about the marriage.
But on September 9, sitting next to each other in relative silence on a plane to Italy, Dr Kassell leaned over to say something to Ms Woo as she read a book. .
âHey, should we get married,â he told her somewhere across the Atlantic.
Ms. Woo looked up from her book and said, “Oh yeah sure” before continuing to read.
And with those eight words, they got engaged.
Less than two months later, they tied the knot 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 that time, Mr. Shults had offered a regular routine, after Ms. Morrow-Nulton strongly rejected her first attempt. over a year ago.
He tried a second time a week after his first proposal, and then again a week after, continuing daily until Mrs. Morrow-Nulton finally said to herself, “You better say yes.” “
Commenting on her decision to finally accept her proposal, Ms Morrow-Nulton said, âWe are having a great time together. He is unlike anyone else I have met in my entire life.
Asked about his refusal to take no for an answer, Mr Shults said, âI kept asking Joy to marry me because I fell in love with her! She smiled wonderfully, had a good sense of humor, and we loved being together. I wasn’t going to give up until she said yes because she was worth it.
The couple got 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. However, plans for a wedding did not follow immediately as the two had previously divorced. and wanted a little time.
Four years later, the couple were ready to give married life a try, but Mr Klein said “too much time has passed” to pick up where they left off after his first proposal.
He therefore decided to propose Ms. Santos again, this time in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in Provence, his native country.
In addition to a different setting, the second proposal also came with a different ring. âIt was time for a new ring,â Mr. Klein said. (Ms. Santos kept the first one she received, but said she wasn’t wearing it.)
The couple also ended up planning two weddings: their first, which was due to take place in June 2020 in Bormes-les-Mimosas, was canceled due to the pandemic. Instead, they tied the knot in Tarrytown, NY on June 26, 2021.
They weren’t ordinary memories
The two-year relationship between Jackie Chang, 35, and Rosanna Fugate was mostly long-distance when they vacationed together in Honolulu in 2018.
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 Ms. Chang, Ms. 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. âWe knew, however, that we wanted to get married, and it was just a matter of working out all the details.
Three years later, in March 2021, they got engaged. âIt was a very emotional moment,â Ms. Fugate said of each finally being able to give the other their engagement ring.
A wedding followed almost immediately, on March 13, 2021.
He was (almost) speechless
Nina Umont and Ondrej Antos got engaged on Mount Diablo in the Bay Area on March 28, 2020.
âWhen we reached the summit at about 1,200 feet, Ondrej took out a bottle of champagne and two glasses from his backpack, and he offered to me, but not very well,â Ms. Umont said.
Although Mr Antos, 32, repeated his proposition several times in his mind, he said he couldn’t get a word out of his mouth except “you are so smart”, which he said. repeated three times in a row while kneeling on the muddy top of the mountain.
Ms Umont, 30, said: âI was thrilled; I didn’t know what he was doing. He remained very traditional and knelt down despite the fact that we were on a dirt road.
Despite any initial confusion, Ms Umont said yes, and the two tied the knot on March 27, 2021.
Surrounded by sculptures and string music
While on vacation 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 was playing “Spring” from Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”.
The piece was familiar to Mr. Baker, who had played it on cello when he was younger. Listening to her, the couple, who started dating in 2013, were overcome with emotion and began to cry in each other’s arms.
As each looked into each other’s eyes, the two simultaneously called out, “Will you marry me?” âIn an unforeseen double proposition.
They got married on September 25, 2021.
Get paid late
Gavin Hall, 31, was traveling to Southeast Asia during the extended winter break while in 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 had known each other even longer: They met for the first time and began to develop feelings for each other in high school.
After meeting in Phuket, Mr Hall said the couple made a reservation at a rooftop restaurant “which offered a wonderful view of the sunset, a real romantic moment”. But, he added, “we were late and missed the sunset.”
As the evening continued, however, the rest of the patrons left, leaving the two alone on the roof, allowing for an even more special moment. Grabbing it, Mr. Hall proposed then and there.
âLooking back on that time, it was a pivotal and momentous occasion in our history,â said Mr. Hall. âFrom there, our relationship was able to flourish.
The couple got married on May 16, 2021.