How I Proposed to My Future Wife

I wasn’t planning on writing about this since it has absolutely nothing to do with personal finance (maybe I’ll write about the ring-buying process, which definitely included some sweet in-person negotiations), but some twitter folks were asking about it and rather than retelling it, I’ll forever be able to direct people here.

Magic 8 Ball

A little over 2 1/2 years ago, I took Lauren to a little lake in Maryland, near our college campus, where I asked her to be my girlfriend.

Fast forward 30 months. I was trying to think of an appropriate way to propose, and of all locations, I kept coming back to the lake. It’s nice and secluded and it has that personal connection I was looking for. But how was I going to get her there without tipping her off that something big was going to happen?

So about a month before, I casually asked if she wanted to go to the lake on Sunday, even though I knew it was going to rain and we’d have to postpone. And it did, but at least it was in the back of her mind as a normal thing to do. We planned a picnic, but each week it just didn’t work out, either because we were traveling or there was some other event. So on the Sunday we went, we made pesto, boiled some pasta, and packed a bag for our lake adventure.

Next, I wanted to think of a fun way to actually propose. I didn’t want to just get down on one knee, although I’m sure she would have said yes anyway. But I only propose once, so I might as well do it awesomely. Lauren loves magic 8 balls (and I had already gotten her a few over time, including a magic 8 ball keychain), so when I found out that you can open one up and change the message, it was a no-brainer.

So I bought a magic 8 ball and started to follow the directions to modify it. Step 1: Use a fine knife to cut it open. I spent about an hour trying to cut this thing open, but I got nowhere. All I did was scratch it up without any indication that I was getting close. Now what? I put up an ad on craigslist asking for someone to do it for me, and on my 3rd post, I finally got someone. Within a week, I had them delivered to him from Amazon (yah free 2-day shipping!), he modified all the sides to say ‘will you marry me’, and them delivered them to my brother who lives between this guy and me. My brother had no idea what was being delivered, all he knew was that he was supposed to give some white haired bearded man $100 in exchange for a mysterious package. He was pleasantly surprised when he found out what the package was!

Since I like going overboard, I wanted to add one more element. Several months ago, I tried to get Lauren earrings. I bought them online, but was disappointed in how they looked. So I decided to get some CZ ones to see if she could tell the difference. Then I bought more. And more. So I ended up with 4 pairs, 3 fakes and 1 real. I laid them on the table, told her that 2 of them were real and 2 of them were fake and that she could have any of them she wanted. She knew the real ones were real (because they were unimpressive), but she also thought that one of the CZ ones were also real. It was a whole production and her family watched her guess and everyone had a lot of fun. In the end, she didn’t keep any of them (she doesn’t wear jewelry, which probably makes me the luckiest man ever), but we still had a fantastic memory.

Back to the lake, where after our picnic, I waited until a group of people passed our gazebo, and gave her what I told her was a gag gift I got her at CVS. It was another 8 ball, which made her laugh, but when she looked at the message then looked up to see me holding a box with a beautiful ring inside it, all she could say is “Is this serious?” I can never surprise Lauren, so the fact that I was able to keep this secret so well really threw her off, but after I assured her that I was completely serious, she said yes! But before I put the ring on her finger, I took out another package, a giant 5 ct plastic ring I got, and told her: “One of these is real and the other is fake. You can have whichever one you want.” After debating her choices, she finally went with the one that isn’t supposed to be a paperweight, and we hugged and kissed, and the rest is history.

Giant Ring

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know how you proposed or were proposed to!

23 Responses to How I Proposed to My Future Wife

  1. Awwww What a beautiful and memorable proposal story!!! Way to be creative! you both will remember it forever!

    • Daniel says:

      @Jen @ After The Alter, Thanks! We definitely will, even though the blue stuff inside the magic 8 ball tore off the message. Good thing we have pictures!

  2. I love how you said, “One of these is real and one of these is fake,” when giving her the engagement ring. What a great story!

    • Daniel says:

      @Red Stethoscope, she loved that, it was great to have her loosen up from the utter shock she was experiencing. I also let her know that there were no backsies.

  3. Evan says:

    Congrats! I sent The Wife the post she loved the story

  4. Lbergs says:

    BEST post EVER! :-) I love you!!!

  5. 2008 wasn’t the easiest year for Mrs. SPF and I. Mrs. SPF had finished her degree and wanted to get a job with my employer here in Peterborough. Thing is, people with Bachelors just don’t get jobs at main office w/o experience or a Masters degree (or more!). So Mrs. SPF applied for an internship – the caveat was that the job was in northern Ontario – in Cochrane: a 16 hour bus trip. Cochrane is the “end of the road” so to speak. To reach communities further north you have to travel by rail or air.

    We had been together for 3 and a half years. We knew we’d survive the 10 month separation as we loved each other dearly.

    Every summer I help run a folk festival about 2 hours from our house. Mrs. SPF took the night bus down to Ottawa and got a ride to the festival site so she could attend our annual music fest. Her parents attended the festival which was perfect as I had a chance to ask for their blessing in proposing to Mrs. SPF.

    It was at this festival after a nap in our tent while the sky opened and poured rain that I asked her to marry me under our blue tarp. It is still a bit of blur to me. We were wed in October 2009.

  6. Ashley says:


  7. Gianna says:

    That is so sweet and so very memorable!

  8. ira says:

    Really great story. But, for a numbers guy, your math is off. Since you first started going out 2 1/2 years ago, that can’t quite be 38 months, can it? :)

  9. Jennifer says:

    Love!!! You should give lessons!

  10. Stadders says:

    Nice story. The serious question is, how did you make pesto?

  11. Dr Dean says:

    Congrats again. Love the 8-ball story. Great memories made!

  12. Congratulations!!!! Fantastic post :) I got goosebumps :)

    What a sweet way to propose! The idea bout the magic 8 ball is brilliant.

    Thank you for sharing

    • Daniel says:

      @youngandthrifty, Thanks! All the encouragement I’ve gotten makes me so confident in my approach. I’m sure she’ll never forget it!

  13. Congratulations! That is a really cute story. I’m sure she’ll keep that 8-ball forever. It will also be a terrific conversation starter years from now. ;)

  14. Very good story – how did you figure out you can alter the message on the magic 8 ball? Also, smart of you to call “no backsies”
    Just kidding – congrats!

    • Daniel says:

      @Jeff @ sustainable Life blog, I read that it could be done on lifehacker a long time ago and and knew it was the perfect way to do it.

  15. Crystal says:

    So awesome! I can’t believe I missed this post! Congrats!!!

    Mr. BFS proposed to me at a stoplight about 10 minutes after he bought my ring “because he couldn’t keep it in”, hahahaha. I believe we were honked at to get a move on, lol. I loved it since it started our engaged life off exactly as we are – impatient and in love. :-)

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