For many of us, the day we get married is one of the most important days of our lives, with the day we get engaged not far behind. And while a proposal is pretty memorable wherever it happens, what better feeling than popping the question or being proposed to on the trip of a lifetime? From a hotel room in Dublin to a waterfall in Panama and a shark tank in Boston, 10 loved-up Lonely Planet staffers share their stories of putting a ring on it on the road.
It was Memorial Day Weekend in 2017. I organized a big group vacation of close friends to New Orleans since over the years it had become one of Liz’s favorite destinations. Upon arriving at our Airbnb we celebrated with a shrimp boil and a few bottles of wine for this “homecoming” of our scattered friend group. Late that next morning, we all set out for a picnic at Audubon Park right by the “Tree of Life”. It’s not a location you can reserve, so luck was on my side when no one was there. While taking a group photo, my best friend handed me the ring behind her back. Everyone left the frame so I could get a photo with Liz. After I heard the first click, I got on one knee and popped the question.
Dustin Johnson, Designer
It was February in Dublin, so it was raining. My now-husband (spoiler?) was determined to see out his romantic picnic plan, so we went on a mission to the amazing food hall at Fallon & Byrne to stock up on all things fancy. Back in our hotel room, we spread our feast out across the bed and munched away. It wasn’t beautiful St Stephen's Green as planned, but it was our own private bit of Dublin, and when he asked if I’d marry him, I knew saying yes meant a lifetime of making the most of every situation, rain or shine.
Ellie Simpson, Global Research Lead
My husband is a notorious planner and loves to pull off big surprises. He knew he wanted to propose in Hawaii because it’s where my parents met and were married. So for our two-year dating anniversary, we went to Maui, which seems obvious but that’s exactly why I didn’t expect it. The other reason? When we arrived he called to confirm our reservation at Mama’s Fish House but they didn’t have it – and he would never miss a detail like that! Since I didn’t expect a proposal, I challenged his plans which included getting to the restaurant two hours before the last-minute reservation he managed to secure. As he was hurriedly setting up his GoPro on the restaurant’s private beach, it started pouring. He nearly ditched his whole plan until a huge rainbow appeared and I convinced him we should take a photo – and that’s when he did it.
Nicole Williams, Senior Editor
Having marked 10 years together, my partner and I had received quite a lot of input from well-meaning relatives with all the reasons we should be getting married. We rebuffed those comments and went off to Florence to get our fix of bistecca alla Fiorentina and Renaissance architecture. So, as we were standing at the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte enjoying the stunner of a view towards the duomo, I was a little surprised when my partner asked me to marry him. We strolled back down the hill, stopped for a celebratory glass of Prosecco and then chose the ring at one of the jewellers on the Ponte Vecchio.
Claire Naylor, Digital Editor
We were travelling around the South Island in a campervan almost two weeks into our adventure, and as I found out later, my now-husband was waiting until he found the perfect place to propose. We were driving along the west coast looking for somewhere to stop for lunch and we saw a picnic sign. We followed it along a tree-lined road and emerged alongside gorgeous Lake Mahinapua, with its breathtaking mountain views. It felt like we were the only two people in the world. We ate, then decided to go for a swim. As we got out of the lake he dropped down on one knee, taking me completely by surprise. The boy did good.
Becky Henderson, International Licensing Manager
It was Shark Week 2016. Nothing says romance like Shark Week, so I took my then-girlfriend to the New England Aquarium. It has a central cylinder filled with sharks running the height of the building, punctuated with small alcoves. We found an empty alcove and sat watching the sharks swim by. I dropped down on one knee. She thought that I was falling, so she grabbed me by the arm and hovered me over the ground. I told her to put me down, and plopped down on to the floor on one knee and popped the question. Her response? “Are you trying to be romantic?” That’s when I learned that asking someone to marry you in front of a shark tank during Shark Week is NOT romantic. She said yes anyway.
Courey Elliott, Software Engineer
In Budapest for my birthday, my now-husband suggested I find somewhere fancy for dinner. He emailed the restaurant to tell them he’d be proposing and ask for their help. It was all planned out, but the restaurant failed to do any of the things they’d agreed. Thinking on his feet, he started teasing me about turning 30 and still being unmarried. I replied, “Whose fault is that then?” He pulled a ring from his pocket, saying “Well, you won’t make 31”. No “Will you marry me?”, or bended knees. Very him, and much better than his showy planned proposal.
Gwen Cotter, Book Designer
I had six weeks to propose to my partner in the wilds of Central America. But whenever I came close, a group of singing hikers showed up… or fruit-throwing howler monkeys suggested we move along. Then, enter the Pipeline Trail in Boquete: we crossed small bridges, ate caramelised peanuts under a 1000-year-old Mexican elm, and the venomous fer-de-lance snake on the trail waved us through with a nod – THE sign! When we reached the waterfall, there was nobody else around. So, I fashioned a ring from a vine and my question was received with laughter, tears and eventually, “Si por favor”.
Josh Crossett, Image Cataloguer
The Lake District, England
My then-girlfriend and I are very keen hill walkers and had spent Valentine's Day morning climbing Haystacks, a peak above Buttermere in the Lake District. After a pub lunch, I suggested another gentler walk at Tarn Hows, the renowned beauty spot in the southern lakes. Much grumbling from my wife-to-be as we set off on a circular walk around the more or less deserted tarn. At the far end were a trig point and bench from where I suggested we enjoy the spectacular view of the tarn as the sun began to set on the snow-capped hills around us. More grumbling about tired legs etc from my lovely lady as she struggled up the final slope. I went down on bended knee at the bench producing the ring, which elicited the memorable response: “Oh God, yes, now can we go and have a cup of tea?” That was 32 years ago.
Ian Spanton, Sales Manager
I always knew I was going to propose while on a holiday in Canada, but I wasn't fully prepared as I hadn't yet purchased an engagement ring. A number of times throughout our holiday I thought “This is the right time and place to propose” but, alas, the dramatic sites I'd chosen to pop the question, such as Niagara Falls, were far too crowded for such an important occasion. In the end, it was on a foray to the ski slopes of Grouse Mountain in Vancouver where the opportunity arose. After skiing for the day, we strolled to the deck of the mountain-top restaurant to watch the sun set over the city. As the last of the crowd left to head back to town, I popped the question, stuttering nervously that I hadn't had the confidence to choose a ring she'd like. Thankfully, Bec answered in the affirmative, though it wasn't until the following day that I made a phone call to Australia to seek approval from her father. It was then that we began the hunt for a ring.
Glenn van der Knijff, Production Controller