The five proposals listed here would generally be considered wonderfully romantic, creative ways to pop the question…if not for the fact that—because of nervousness, poor planning, and sheer bad luck—the ring went missing, and the couple spent the first hours of their engagement in a panic trying to find it. But, you ask, does that occur very often? It’s happened at least five times, as you will see in the very strange stories below:
1. The Sewer (2011)
Colorado resident John Iverson had just proposed to his girlfriend in on Valentine’s Day on the sidewalk. All very sweet, until the ring tumbled from his hand, rolled across the road, and landed in a nearby sewer, spoiling the romance just a tiny bit. Firefighters were called, and after 45 minutes combing through subterranean muck, the family heirloom was finally located. And so, the hopefully non-symbolic episode ended with Iverson belatedly bestowing the symbol of his affection—though he likely cleaned it first.
2. The Helium Balloon (2008)
Londoner Lefkos Hajji had clever idea for a proposal. He would place an engagement ring in a balloon, and his would-be wife would puncture it so she would “literally pop the question.” But in the end, only his hopes were burst. The wind blew the elaborate visual pun away, and though Hajji chased after it for an hour, his £6,000 ring was lost to the heavens. He later told The Sun: “I felt like such a plonker,” adding that his bride-to-be “is refusing to speak to me until I get a new ring.”
3. The Hot Air Balloon (2009)
If people learn anything from this list, it’s that diamonds and balloons don’t mix. Pastor James Ng, 26, of Burton, Ohio, planned to propose during a hot air balloon ride, and hid the 1 ct. diamond engagement ring he bought on top of his camera case. But once aloft, the case fell out of the 500-foot-high balloon and landed in a tree, causing all its contents to spill out. Still, with a little help from Google Maps, after a week trudging through nearby forests, Ng finally located the case, which miraculously held only one item—the ring. His second, non-airborne proposal went off without a hitch, and his intended commented that the ring fit perfectly.
4. The Sand (2012)
California doctor Steve Carr—who, as almost every headline writer pointed out, is a brain surgeon—had his own clever proposal idea (we’re sensing a pattern here): While on vacation to Naples, Fla., he would hide the ring in the sand on the beach and have his lady-love dig for it. Well, it would have been a clever idea, if he’d remembered where he had hidden it. But he didn’t, and he and his intended had to recruit a dozen volunteers—and eventually, a ring-finding service they found on the Internet—to unearth the missing sparkler. Which it did, after a few hours, leading his obviously very understanding fiancée to say: “It’s never leaving my finger again.”
5. The Brooklyn Bridge (2009)
When Don Walling set out to pop the question on the Brooklyn Bridge, he probably didn’t expect he would end up climbing down part of the famed landmark. Before he could ask his bride-to-be for her hand, the ring fell out of his—straight onto the road below. And so Walling scurried down the outside of the bridge, attracting the attention of a police Suicide Watch van, who thought he was surely about to jump. When he explained the situation, the cops held off, and the New York City schoolteacher managed to find the ring, which had originally belonged to his fiancée’s great-grandmother. In the video below, his impressed mother-in-law says of Walling: “He will obviously jump off bridges for [our daughter].” True—but is that really a good thing?