Say yes to the mess: marriage proposals gone wrong

LEANNE ITALIE
The Associated Press
Modified: February 1, 2013 at 6:20 pm •  Published: February 1, 2013
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photo - This Sept. 20, 2009 photo provided by Valerie Beerbower shows her and her husband Mike at Maumee Bay State Park in Oregon, Ohio. Beerbower was a hot, bothered mess the night her husband, Mike, proposed during what he envisioned as a special evening taking in the sights of Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Everlasting Images)
This Sept. 20, 2009 photo provided by Valerie Beerbower shows her and her husband Mike at Maumee Bay State Park in Oregon, Ohio. Beerbower was a hot, bothered mess the night her husband, Mike, proposed during what he envisioned as a special evening taking in the sights of Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Everlasting Images)

And there's 30-year-old Hans Krauch, an aviation technician from Victoria, British Columbia. The AP hunted him down online, along with Beerbower, Cosce and others who agreed to interviews.

"I was totally hammered when I did it. I needed the liquid courage. Her reply was, 'Yes, but when you sober up you better still feel the same,'" he recounted of his mumbly, bumbling question he loosely calls a proposal. They now have a 2-year-old daughter.

"The plan was just do it and get it over with, kind of close your eyes and just run in, guns blazing," said Krauch, who doesn't necessarily recommend his without-a-plan approach. "Taking the next step forward is always a challenge."

So how does his wife feel about it now?

"I think she's a little embarrassed because a lot of her friends are, you know, beautiful dinners, flowers, the whole thing, the traditional thing, and then this. I deliver this," he said sheepishly.

Preserving a proposal on camera is an important moment, Winikka said: "These days we're not shy to share. We're all exposed to one another's lives." And what better way than creating a public event or sweeping a beloved off to a romantic destination — two strong trends, she said.

Social scientists haven't spent much time studying marriage proposals, but Winikka said tradition still reigns amid the madness to go big and go public.

She said 71 percent of about 10,000 newly marrieds who used her site noted their betrothed asked a parent for permission before popping the question, and 77 percent of grooms went down on bended knee. More couples live together before they get hitched, she said, adding to the desire for meaningful proposals.

"Couples are looking to create something really special and create a moment," Winikka said.

Things didn't go quite as planned for Tarek Pertew, 30, in Brooklyn. He was married about four years ago with no fanfare and no engagement ring, so he decided he would officially ask his wife to "stay married" on Dec. 16, the fifth anniversary of the day they met.

A lover of graffiti and street culture, Pertew felt lucky when he discovered a slab of wet cement near their apartment. He carved the proposal there two weeks before the date, only to have it smoothed over, except for a bit of his foot print.

He soldiered on, despite a prescient dream his wife had that he would propose to her in a nearby park. Then came a New York moment.

"The evening before, I do a dry run and notice that a massive pile of dog poop was sitting right on top of the sidewalk square," said Pertew, who owns a media company. It was too late to change course, so he cleaned it up as best he could in a drizzle, leaving an unsightly smear.

She said yes, and Pertew hopes: "At least my footprint can symbolize my intent."

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