December 27, 2014

Proposals and Penguins

In last Sunday’s issue of The New York Times, I instinctively turned to Vows, a bride-to-be’s most coveted section. I admired the title of their latest category, “Proposals That Aren’t Prosaic.” In this section the writer prompted the reader with a progressive question: “Why do the on-bended-knee thing when you can personalize the big question?”

I half agree.

The proposal that excited me the most occurred between Whitney Fishman and Ron Zember, two strangers whom I met in the Sunday paper. Basically, Mr. Zember proposed on his birthday during a day trip to the Long Island Aquarium where he arranged a private viewing with penguins, his girlfriend’s favorite animal. During the tour a penguin waddled out with a sign it its mouth reading, “Whit, will you marry me?” Whitney cheerfully said “yes!”

Speaking of clever proposals, this past December 8th was the one-year anniversary of my engagement. I’ll submit my story to Posh Petal and Pearl readers:

We met on a brunch date during a weekend spent visiting my brother. I was in town at the University of Pennsylvania, where both my brother and future hubby attended dental school. JB decided to join on a last minute brunch at the historical Reading Terminal Market. We exchanged very few words over the course of the meal and I was actually courted by another man, Anthony Riley, a rising street performer who had come to the market to sing. The choice of song was “Stand By Me.”

Here’s a fun fact about me: I will never turn down an opportunity to dance, even in the middle of a crowded marketplace.

A little over one year later, on a snowy morning, JB asked me if we could meet some dear friends from the beach who were in town at Reading Terminal. I politely reminded him that we had not returned to this location since the day we met. “How very special” I thought, although JB seemed unmoved by the memory.

When I finally ordered my meal and sat down, JB was noticeably restless in his seat “looking for his friends.” Moments later, Anthony Riley set up stage close to our table and began to sing. In one of only a few blonde moments in my life, I looked up at JB and said, “Wow, he must be here every week! Maybe he remembers us.” The truth was, Anthony had been flown in by JB from Los Angeles to perform our song, which was playing on the day we met. When Anthony began to sing I had a feeling my transition from serious girlfriend to future wife was about to come to fruition. After a few moments of dancing together I saw JB pat down his pocket for what I knew was bling.


It’s hard to top this feeling in life.

Shortly after my engagement I started following a bridal account on instagram known as @HowHeAsked. This social media account features creative proposals captured during the moment and submitted with memorable captions. Although my engagement day has come and gone, it is a moment I will always be able to replay.


I am forever grateful for the friends who participated in the big surprise and I know “Stand By Me” will be our wedding song.

Now back to The New York Times. Clearly there are endless creative ways to propose and I look forward to reading many more in the Sunday paper. Regarding the writer’s question, I believe there is something traditionally charming about proposing on-bended-knee, even if you are in the presence of penguins.

Thoughts on bending the knee?


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