12 Completely Swoon-Worthy Stories Behind Stars' Proposals
From John Stamos to Joe Manganiello, these celebs popped the question in perfect ways
There’s always pressure to organize a flawless proposal, but these stars managed to crush expectations when it came time to put a ring on it, whether they were bringing fairy tales to life or personalizing the moment in deeply meaningful ways.
See how these lovers truly earned their “Yeses” and kicked off their marriages with epic engagement tales.
“[Disney CEO Bob Iger] happened to email me a month or so ago, and it was like, the funniest email early in the morning. It was like, ‘Hey! I follow you and Caitlin on Instagram. She’s really a Disney geek, isn’t she?'” the actor shared with PEOPLE shortly after his engagement news broke.
“He helped me cut together a little movie of all the most romantic moments of the Disney and Pixar Animation. It was pretty special,” Stamos continued, adding that friend and Disney animator Paul Briggs also lent a hand in preparing the clips.
The short film was revealed to McHugh at Disneyland (obviously) and ended with a Little Mermaid display urging Stamos to “just ask the girl.”
“I kissed the boy and said…yes! That’s what you do when the sweetest, most romantic Prince Charming treats you like a princess and asks you to be his [wife],” McHugh wrote about the surprise on Instagram.
Emmy Rossum & Sam Esmail
Of course the Mr. Robot creator wasn’t going to take the conventional route when it came time to propose to his now-wife.
Rossum gave all the details of the bathroom proposal (yes, really!) during a chat with Vogue. “We have a tradition of reading the ‘Modern Love’ section of The New York Times every Sunday,” she explained.
“Then one weekend we didn’t read it — I don’t remember why exactly — and the following Friday he reminded me that we hadn’t. I was actually in kind of a bad mood that day, so I said, ‘Oh, well I’ll read it eventually.’ And he said, ‘No, no, no, I think you should read it.’ And I said, ‘I’m having a back spasm. I’m actually going to take a bath and have a glass of wine, but if you really want to hear it I’ll read it to you from the bathtub. So I got in the bathtub with the ‘Modern Love’ section as he’s posted up on the sink. I didn’t notice any kind of ring in his pocket, and I began to read the article, and the story is about a director who falls in love with an actress, and I started to think: Huh, that’s strange. And then I realized that it was our love story.”
Esmail had enlisted the help of friends at the newspaper to print a a special mock version of “Modern Love” with the story of their relationship. “And then by the time I finished the story he was down on a knee in the bathroom, with me in the tub,” Rossum said.
Ryan Lochte & Kayla Rae Reid
Over the weekend, the swimmer orchestrated an ultra-romantic proposal for his future bride. His rep shared details of the ask with PEOPLE, revealing that Lochte surprised Reid with a private helicopter tour of Los Angeles that ended with a sunset proposal overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The Playboy model’s new custom platinum Radiant cut diamond ring has since been bringing bling to the pair’s Instagram accounts.
Kim Kardashian West & Kanye West
West rented out all of San Francisco’s AT&T Park to make sure his love’s 33rd birthday in 2013 was extra special. When the couple arrived at the stadium, they were greeted by a full orchestra and pyrotechnic display as the words “PLEEEASE MARRY ME!!!” lit up the Jumbotron.
After the engagement was sealed with a kiss, the reality star’s family came out from hiding in the dugouts to join in on the celebration.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy & Peta Murgatroyd
Chmerkovskiy’s proposal was literally show-stopping. The Dancing With The Stars pro got down on one knee during a December 2015 Miami performance of the couple’s show Sway, telling his then-girlfriend, “I’m in love with you, and I will be in love with you for the rest of my life.”
“Mak’s romantic proposal is something I will cherish for the rest of my life,” Murgatroyd later told PEOPLE.
Joe Manganiello & Sofia Vergara
Manganiello diligently practiced his Spanish so he could propose in Vergara’s native language during their January 2015 Hawaiian getaway. “I had a big speech in Spanish, and that’s what I was nervous about,” he admitted on Live! with Kelly and Michael. “The last thing you want to do is like mess up the Spanish on the proposal to the Colombian woman.”
“You only get one chance to do it, and if you’re gonna do it, you gotta do it right, so there’s a lot of planning that goes into it,” the actor added.
Corbin Bleu & Sasha Clements
The real life Prince Charming went all in on the fairy tale theme for his 2014 proposal. During a trip to Walt Disney World, the former High School Musical star stopped Clements in front of Cinderella’s Castle, where he presented her with a glass slipper that held an engagement ring.
Ciara & Russell Wilson
The NFL star kicked off his grand engagement with a surprise vacation in March 2016. Instead of telling Ciara where she was headed, Wilson gave her a “travel roulette” game with 30 possible destinations to guess from.
After arriving in the Seychelles, Wilson gave the singer the biggest shock of them all by proposing on the private “Honeymoon Beach.”
Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka
Harris shared the spouses’ two romantic engagement stories with Out magazine in 2012. “David first proposed to me five years ago on the actual street corner where we met,” he revealed. “We were on our way to an event at an Indian casino 45 minutes out of town in a limousine, and David wanted to stop for some reason that I didn’t quite get. I thought he wanted to get some booze or something. And then he got on one knee and proposed, and I was so freaked out by it that I said, ‘Yes,’ but I didn’t know what it meant. Then I got the ring and loved it, and a year later, on Valentine’s Day, I proposed to him in Santa Monica.”
Tara Lipinski & Todd Kapostasy
The Olympic skater dished on her fiancé’s ultra creative proposal on Instagram. “Todd knows I love holiday window displays so after a beautiful dinner and on our way for a drink @theplazahotel he said there was window there he thought I’d like to see …He somehow convinced the hotel to let him take one of their displays over and this painting of him proposing to me in front of my home in California was inside,” she wrote in 2015. “By the time I turned to him he was on one knee … this is one surprise and Christmas that I will never forget.”
Dwayne Wade & Gabrielle Union
Wade recruited sons Zaire, now 14, and Zion, now 9, and his nephew to be part of his too-sweet 2013 proposal. “They wanted to catch me off guard,” Union recounted on Good Morning America. “We were just spending what I thought to be a fun day with the kids, having a little quality time. We went to brunch, and we went to tour our house, which is being constructed.”
“They were like, ‘We wanna do a presentation for you.’ They like to do skits and songs and stuff, so we turn around, and they’re like, ‘Okay, we’re ready!’ and I turn back around and all the boys were holding up signs that said, ‘Will you marry us?'”
“They’ve been asking us to get married for two years and they talk about it all the time, so I’m thinking they’ve just made signs,” the actress admitted. “I was like, ‘Well, this is awkward.’ I turn to look at D like, ‘Ugh, they just made some signs,’ and he’s down on one knee with a ring and said, ‘Will you marry us?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, this is serious! This is a thing! Yes! Of course, yes!'”
Nick & Vanessa Lachey
Back in November of 2010, the pair decided to splurge on an intimate evening full of vino and good eats at the stunning Montage beach-side hotel in Laguna Beach. “We did a tasting menu the night he proposed to me,” Vanessa explained to PEOPLE, “we had a wine pairing as well — which we rarely do—and I was like…’This seems like a lot!’ Not only financially, but we had the wine and then the champagne and he was like, ‘Let’s treat ourselves; it’s our birthday.’ Because it was right before my 30th birthday and his 37th birthday.”
The delicious proposal was memorable to say the least. “It was such a beautiful dinner, the wine pairing is so key to your palate of tasting everything to the fullest! Afterwards he proposed. I always think of that night every time I see a tasting menu,”she added.