Paris may be the City of Love, but when it comes to the City of Unique, Extravagant and Slightly Ridiculous Marriage Proposals, London owns it. Scarlett Russell looks at the rise of the OTT ‘Will you…?’, and picks her five eccentric London favourites.
Thinking of popping the question to your loved one in your favourite restaurant or that funny little bar you met in? You may want to reconsider.
Over the last year and a half, Londoners’ proposals have been getting more and more elaborate. Youtube is awash with romantic flashmobs. The London Eye has recently seen its 5,000th proposal. And now there’s even a London-based proposal-planning company, The Proposers, who equip wannabe spouses with marching bands and help arrange unusual venues ranging from beach huts to art galleries. They cater for ‘every sort of budget, from £500 to £10,000’ and soon have a TV show, following their day to day work, coming to Lifetime. But here’s some inspiration for those of you without that sort of money to burn. We give you London’s most imaginative recent proposals.
The stage announcement
Camden Town may not exactly scream romance. Nor, indeed, does the brainjuddering sonic assault of a gig by heavy metal dubsteppers Enter Shikari. But contemporary courtship takes many forms, and the band’s Roundhouse gig in December 2012 saw roadcrew member Edd Slaney take to the stage and ask his girlfriend, Demelza Parker, to join him as he had a ‘very important question’ to ask her. Guess what it was…
The all-singing commuter flashmob
There’s nothing like the smell of BO and the crush of the evening commute to set the heart aflutter. So Lucy Rogers was probably already a little overwrought when she began her London Overground journey from Euston to Watford Junction in November 2011. Then a seemingly ordinary passenger started singing Bill Withers’s ‘Lovely Day’, only to be joined by more and more of the folk in the carriage (you know, the way flashmobs tend to work). Lucy was humming along until her boyfriend, Adam King, appeared and went down on one knee. Cue tears and a viral video.
The tourist photo-opp
Catherine Tan was less than amused when her boyfriend abandoned her in a café in that subterranean bit of Covent Garden Piazza in June, complaining of a stomach ache. In fact, Lawrence Kok had made his excuses and dashed away to grab a suit and various props from his mates who were standing by, and reappeared a few minutes later complete with a band, a banner, a gold crown (don’t ask) and a gaggle of cameraphone-toting onlookers. Fortunately, Catherine said ‘yes’, and agreed to make a Kok of herself.
Ah, Google. Their offices are so hip and cool that even the canteen is the site of flashmobs. On April 22 this year, Shaun Aukland enlisted 100 fellow employees in the company’s Victoria premises to sing Bruno Mars’s ‘Marry You’, while clapping along. They then gathered around Shaun and his (rather embarrassed-looking, to be honest) boyfriend Michael, while history was made with Google’s first gay marriage proposal. That’s a search result and a half!
The giant bit of romantic street art: Our fave!
East Londoners will probably be familar with the 60ft Shoreditch Art Wall (SAW) on Great Eastern Street. It’s usually commercially hired out to advertisers who commission SAW artists to paint billboards for brands such as Becks and Adidas. But in February this year, street art fanatic and all-round Shoreditch type Philip Burton commissioned artists Animaux Circus to use the huge space to propose. His art was obviously in the right place: his girlfriend Angela said yes. See, it pays to advertise.
Check out Time Out’s guide to Weddings in London.