Recently, we asked the BuzzFeed Community about the worst public proposals they've witnessed — here's what they had to say.
Along with some responses from this Reddit thread.
1."So I had gone to a Dallas Mavericks game in March with my dad, and during halftime, they had this couple come down and play a game. The girl was very clearly not into basketball at all, and her partner very clearly was. In the game, the cheerleaders held chests with letters in them (they were supposed to be prizes). Eventually she opened all of them, and it spelled 'Mavs' and 'Will you marry me.' When they closed the chests, she turned around, he was on his knee…and she just kinda stared at him, not smiling, and picked him up off the ground and whispered in his ear. They left with her walking in front trying to keep it together while he nodded uncomfortably…most awkward experience ever."
2."I was at Fenway Park in 2017, and for some reason, the Red Sox had recently decided to make a nightly Jumbotron proposal a thing. With most, if not all, of the ones I’d seen, the woman clearly had the heads-up and went along with it. This one, the couple came on the screen and they were both waving at the camera, and the guy did his thing. She looked very surprised and angry and very clearly yelled, 'What the fuck?!' and turned her back to the camera, and they started arguing."
"The camera cut away without a definitive yes. The crowd kind of laughed and groaned, and a 'She said no!' chant started up. I never found a video afterward of the actual proposal, but there is one of the aftermath. The two of them were arguing under a giant Budweiser sign while the camera operator and a security guy or park escort stood awkwardly off to the side waiting it out. The next game I went to didn’t have the proposal feature, and I assume (hope) this incident put an end to it."
3."During college (and for several years afterward), I rowed gondolas for extra cash on the side. I had seen about 500 proposals during that time. The only 'no' I've ever had came from a guy who pulled out all the stops. Dinner, Venetian gondola, roses...even a customized message in a bottle to be 'found' during the Venetian gondola ride. So when the time came, he knelt down and popped the question. After what felt like a full minute of stunned silence, she took that moment to inform him that she was already married."
4."My friend worked at a Coldstone Creamery, and some guy came in during the day and said, 'I'm gonna come in later today and put 20 bucks in the tip jar. When I do, I want you guys to sing "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath, and then I'm gonna propose to my girlfriend.' My friend and her coworkers found it strange but agreed. Later that night, the man reappeared with the girlfriend at the Coldstone. Awkward eye contact between the man and the coworkers ensued while the pair waited in the long-ass line. He finally got up to the front and put the 20 bucks in the tip jar. No one sang right away, so my friend went for it solo: 'DUH, DUH, DUHDUHDUH, DEDEDEDEDEDEDE, DUH, DUH, DUH.'"
"The guy went down on his knee, pulled out the ring, and said, 'Will you marry me?' There was a long, silent pause as the workers and all the people at the Coldstone waited. She pulled him off to the side of the store and they had a quick word while everyone watched. They then went out to his car in the parking lot and sat there. For hours. My friend was still working for about four more hours that night, and the guy was still sitting out there with her when he was done.
"My friend assumes that she did not say yes. I concur."
5."I saw a proposal fail once at a baseball game. I was sitting, I think, about two rows behind them, and the guy gets down on one knee and says his spiel....the girl gets up and throws beer in his face, screaming, 'YOU DUMB FUCK, I KNOW YOU SLEPT WITH ANNA LAST WEEK!'"
"I haven't laughed that hard since."
6."I didn't witness it; I was the one who turned down a public proposal. It was entirely unexpected, since I had met the guy six days before. We were at Bible camp the summer after senior year of high school, and he immediately gravitated to me. I was a shy, bookish girl without many friends and was pretty but not in a flashy way, which was the style at the time. So I was flattered. I thought we might end up dating. On the last day, in front of the larger group (a few hundred teens), he dropped to one knee and proposed. I thought it was a joke and pulled his hands to have him stand back up, but he was totally serious."
"He had misled the camp leaders into believing that he and I were serious and this was a love match so that they would agree to the public proposal between two teenagers, but that was not the case. Once I realized he was serious, I walked away shell-shocked while he stood there crying. It turns out he was leaving for the Army the next month and wanted a wife before then."
7."I was at Taco Bell with a few friends of mine, including a guy and a girl who had been dating for a few weeks. A few of us got tacos, but the girl only got a diet soda. So her boyfriend asked her, 'Do you want hot sauce?' She said, 'Uh...no. I just got a diet soda; what the hell would I want hot sauce for?' He said, 'I dunno. But I just think it would be really good if you had some hot sauce.'"
"They argued about whether or not she needed hot sauce for a while until finally she just said, 'Okay, whatever.'
"He went over and got some. Came back with a packet, got on one knee, handed her the package that says 'Will you marry me?' on it, and pulled out a cheap-looking engagement ring out of his pocket.
"Keep in mind they'd been dating about three weeks at this point, and we were in the middle of Taco Bell.
"She got this look of absolute shock on her face. And then said yes. They got married a few months later. They got divorced a few months later. And that was the most humiliating trip to Taco Bell of my life."
8."I watched a man propose to his girlfriend at the top of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago. He got out in one of the glass boxes that allow you to look straight down, got down on one knee, and proposed. She wouldn't go out on the glass. She got on the floor, scooted out over the glass on her ass, and wept the entire time (not out of happiness). It was the most awkward thing I expect I will ever witness."
9."Pilot here. Guy asked me to fly him and his S.O. over a field, where 150 people had formed a heart and two rings. Huge show; I was really impressed. When she saw it, her response was, 'Look at all those idiots! How ridiculous is that??' He did not ask his question that day."
10."A friend of mine had been dating this girl in my art program for four years, and they had been talking about getting married for a while but didn't know when they would tie the knot. The summer of his graduation, our program was going to London, and they decided that they would stay there for two weeks. The time came, and he boarded a plane to meet her on the last day of our trip. She met him at the airport, and they were both excited to see each other. They went in a taxi to her hotel room and decided to get dressed to go around town. They did, and I joined them with one of her guy friends. In the elevator, my friend got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. She turned him down and said that she had found a boyfriend in London and was not planning on coming back to the US."
"The dinner was awkward, and he ended up staying in London by himself for two weeks."
11."Saw a couple in a jewelry store when my wife and I were looking. Guy asked to see a ring, knelt, and asked, 'Will you marry me?' She flipped: 'Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Yes, yes, yes!!' He said, 'Great!' then handed the ring back to the employee and tried to leave the store. He'd proposed with a borrowed ring. Tried to explain to the girl that he couldn't afford the ring but wanted to propose correctly. She slapped him so hard, MY face hurt (she put her whole body into the slap), and started screaming about how her mother was right, etc., etc."
"No clue if they ever got together, but it was hard to watch."
12."This happened three years ago. Some friends and I decided to road-trip down to Orlando and go to the amusement parks like a couple of 21-year-old children. Well, we were in one of the Disney parks (Magic Kingdom, perhaps?), and I saw one of the wildest redneck things ever. We were looking at a map, figuring out the plan of action, and all of a sudden we heard, 'Boy, what the hell do you think you're doing?' Some guy, like 5 feet away, was on his knee with a ring out in front of a girl, and an older guy was next to him yelling. This is where it got weird. The guy said, 'That's your damn cousin, you fuckin' idiot. Get off your goddamn knees before I beat the piss out of you.' This obviously got our attention."
"The guy doing the proposing (who I will call George Michael from now on) started crying and said, 'But I love her and I want her to be my wife, and you and no one else can stop this from happening. Mary, will you be my wife?' The girl (Mary, I guess) looked at him and said, 'Why are you doing this? Don't you ever talk to me again! I hate you for this!' And she ran off. Then George Michael ran in the other direction. The older dude was pissed off beyond belief, and so was the rest of the family. I wanted to clap, but I felt like I would've been killed."
13."I was on vacation with some family members about five years ago. While on vacation, we ended up going to 'Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede,' which is a dinner-and-show-type establishment, and not particularly my cup of tea, but my family wanted to go and I didn't want to be 'that guy.' I'm glad I went, for what I saw was well worth the price of the ticket. Before the show started, the announcer listed a bunch of happy birthdays and the like, and then said something along the lines of, 'And now a special announcement from blah-blah.'"
"This guy was on the screen, a prerecording, and asked his girlfriend to marry him, and then the screen showed the guy kneeling down with a ring in the show audience, asking his girl. His girlfriend was visibly horrified and just shook her head. You could almost hear the guy's heartbreak.
"It was on that day that I learned not to do things like that unless a) you're absolutely sure she'll say yes, or b) you ask her in advance and just want to make a good story."
14."I saw a guy propose to his girlfriend in a Subway restaurant at around 9 at night. It was so unbelievably awkward because it was just the three of us in the shop. She said no, the guy cried, and I still had to order my sub while they sat there."
15."I was in Paris for business and decided to walk by the Eiffel Tower. As I was walking, I noticed a girl was holding a lot of balloons, so many that I was surprised she didn’t up and fly away. In front of her, a guy was kneeling down on one knee, holding one of her hands. He was saying how much he loved her and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. She looked completely shocked and surprisingly uncomfortable. As he finished with, ‘Will you marry me?’ she shook her head no, apologized, and walked away, still carrying the balloons."
"The guy stood up, took out a cigarette, lit up, and then proceeded to sit down at a nearby café looking as if he didn't have a care in the world. He ordered an espresso and read a newspaper as if nothing ever happened. It was the strangest thing."
16."I was once at the gig of a friend who plays pretty wild, distorted rock with a shitload of synthesizers and stuff. It was really quite low key, with only about 20 to 30 people there, and this drunk guy got up onstage halfway through my friend's solo and grabbed him to whisper something in his ear. My friend looked super confused but kind of nodded and continued playing. Then, after the song, he said, 'Hey, so this guy here wants to say something,' and let the guy jump on the mic. The guy, slurring every word, then asked his lady to come up onstage. She came up (appearing nowhere near as drunk as he was), and as she was looking worried and confused, he got down on one knee, grabbed her hand, and muttered somewhat of a proposal to her."
"She let go of his hand, he stood up, she slapped him across the face — echoing through the tiny hall — and he stood bewildered as she stormed off the stage. My friend then helped him off the stage and said to the crowd, 'Ah...so. Let's go!' and continued a raging set."
17."I was at a demolition derby in Winchester, Ontario (small town of maybe 5,000). One of the drivers was from my town (Maxville, population: 900). He proposed to his girlfriend before the race by getting on top of the car, and the announcer called the girlfriend as if there was a problem. The guy got a microphone and asked her. He put the microphone up to her face, but she clearly didn't want the mic near her. All we really heard was, 'I can't do this,' and she walked off. The guy had to perform in a demolition derby after that...I have to imagine it wasn't his best night."
18."I attend Brigham Young University, which has possibly the most marriage-focused group of college students anywhere. One day while sitting in the student center eating lunch, I saw a guy with a camera filming a couple at a table. Turns out the guy was going to propose to his girlfriend of three weeks and wanted it filmed so that their future children could witness the wonderful moment. He got down on one knee with the remnants of his Beefy 5-Layer from Taco Bell smeared all over his face and popped the question."
"She started crying and shaking her head no. He kept explaining how much he loved her and how he had a dream from God that they were supposed to get married, and she finally got up and ran out of the student center. The sad thing is that stuff like that isn't uncommon at all at BYU."
19."I was at university in a big lecture hall (room for 500 people). In the middle of a lecture, this guy and his friends came in throwing confetti and stuff. This guy knelt down in front of his girlfriend and proposed to her. She was shocked and said 'NO!' The guy and his friends left, broken."
20."I was at the zoo by the penguin exhibit. A man and a woman were looking at the penguins when the man proposed. She just stared at him for a solid minute as if he was out of his mind. I worried if they even knew each other. Then the woman just said, 'Josh…no.'"
21."So my late-twentysomething sister was semiserious with a (slightly younger) family friend for a couple of years. He did landscaping and she worked in the film industry. He lived in a cabin in the mountains and she lived in the city. He owned cats and she was kind of allergic. She loved to travel and he wanted to stay where he grew up. He wanted lots of kids and she wanted her career. She loved him and adored his family, but she wasn’t 'in love' with him. From the beginning, he was talking about marriage and kids and what their life would look like together. She kept telling him that she had been really hurt before and wasn’t sure what she wanted long term. He decided to stay with her. One Christmas season, he was seriously pushing what their wedding would be like (his mom organized weddings/parties as a second job) and how many kids they would have, and so forth."
"My sister really had to sit him down and explain again that she didn't think she was ready for marriage and might never be, and asked to please not push her into something he knew from the start she might not want. Cut to the Christmas Eve party with both families (because we are all friends), and he busted out a ring and got on one knee in front of EVERYONE. She leaned over and whispered in his ear, and he got up and followed her outside. They spent the rest of the night talking on the back deck while everyone ate, drank, danced, and exchanged gifts without them. They broke up a month later. They are both MUCH happier now!"
And finally, we'll end on a few that ended with marriage but are still definitely proposal fails in my mind:
22."I knew a guy who was at McDonald's with his girlfriend one time, and as a joke, he wrapped a fry around her finger and said, 'Will you McMarry me?' She started crying and called her mom and, like, started planning the wedding the next day. He hadn't meant to propose, but he didn't have the heart to tell her, so he just married her. We've lost touch since then, but I would be very surprised if they're still married today."
23."This might be a common one with a bit of a spin. I was with a few friends at Burger King at around 3 in the morning (yes, Burger King, of all places), and the only other people who were eating there were a middle-aged couple. The woman got up to go to the bathroom, and the husband slipped something out of a ring box into the woman's burger. When she came back, she ate the burger without noticing anything. The man went wide-eyed and told her she'd just swallowed the ring, and then asked her to marry him. She said yes, and my friends and I burst out laughing."
24."I was at the beach one day, and this plane started writing a proposal in the sky. The beach was crowded, and everyone was watching. Sadly, the pilot managed to fuck shit up by writing 'Marry me Sally.' The plane actually went back to squeeze in an 'e,' but by that time, the rest of the letters were pretty much gone. It was so painful."
25."My dad peed in the snow, 'Marry me!' when they were in Austria. He thought it was genius and he had planned it well, finding the perfect spot in the snow. Unfortunately, my dad didn't aim very well, so my mom just couldn't read what it said. They stood there in the freezing cold, with my mom trying to guess it and my dad giving her little hints. In the end, my father just yelled, 'Will you fucking marry me, woman?!' She said yes."
26."In Southeast Michigan, we have the Wayne County Lightfest during Christmastime. You drive through Hines Park along Hines Drive, which is all set up with lights and Christmas decorations. It's very cool. At the end of the route, you can stop and see Santa if you have kids with you. My wife loves it. When I was planning to propose, I asked if she wanted to stop and take some photos in front of the decorations she liked the most. While she was messing with the camera, I got down on one knee and proposed. We had our moment going, and then a bunch of cops pulled up and asked us why we had stopped. They insisted that we were doing drugs off in the woods next to the road. They kept screaming at us, and I was finally able to get a word in that I had proposed. They stared at us for a few seconds and then said, 'Well, congratulations. Get in your fucking car and keep moving.'"
What's the worst proposal story you know — or that you lived? Let us know in the comments!
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.