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Marriage proposal at restaurants... [moved from SF Bay]

Is this really cliche? I was thinking of getting reservations at Cyrus and proposing at the restaurant, but I wanted to get people's thoughts on that. Is this something that guys often do? Is it cheesy? Is Cyrus an ideal spot or should I be looking at places with a better atmosphere (we've been to the TFL and the Ritz Dining room already)?

I was hoping to do a nice weekend in wine country or SF, and looked at dinner at Cyrus with an overnight stay at the Farmhouse Inn. I also looked into Aqua and Gary Danko as potential restaurants and staying a night in the city.

Any thoughts or opinions are greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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  1. I don't know what guys usually do but I wouldn't want to propose in a restaurant or any other place where there were a bunch of other people around. What I think is somewhat cliche but appropriate is somewhere outdoors and somewhat private. I would much rather have some privacy and her undivided attention in a beautiful setting and take her out to a lovely dinner afterward.

    1. I am not sure if you are asking for specific restaurant recommendations, since general thoughts probably belong on the 'Not About Food' board...but as someone who got a proposal in a restaurant, take it from me: DON"T DO IT! Propose at the Farmhouse Inn or out in the country somewhere, perhaps over a glass of champagne, and THEN go to dinner later (perhaps much later, see reason #5 below...!


      1. As happened to me, the restaurant you propose at could go out of business (well, reports are that Cyrus is going great guns, but weirder things have happened). Aside from being sort of a strange omen (though I am happy to say the marriage has flourished anyway), it means you can never celebrate an anniversary there. Just feels odd. It isn't even another restaurant now, and everytime I walk by the business it has become, I feel a twinge of sadness...

      2. What if for some reason she doesn't like the restaurant? (In that regard, read reports on Aqua which have been mixed).

      3. Do you REALLY want neighboring tables to be overhearing your proposal and rooting for you? Will happen at Gary Danko almost for sure (where tables are mostly fairly close together). I HATED that when it happened to me.

      4. What if, heaven forbid, she says no, or even just, 'let me think about it'? A way to ruin a great meal.

      5. How in the heck can you celebrate with lots of heavy necking or whatever if you are in a restaurant.....I mean, think about how you'd like her to react and decide if it would be appropriate to get that reaction in public...I'm just saying....

      I could think of at least three or ten other reasons, but as you can tell I have strong opinions on this one..... :-)

      p.s. In case any of you are worrying that hubbys proposal in the wrong place may have had long term negative effects, not to worry. We had gone for a walk earlier, and I had gotten cold, and borrowed his sport coat, and found the ring in the pocket....managed to hide from him that I knew the ring was there, but it did mean that I was expecting the proposal at some point in the near future (besides, his nervousness was a sort of a giveway that something was up :-)) and thus was able to succesfully hide any disappointment I felt about the venue for it.....

      3 Replies
      1. re: susancinsf

        omg, you should have reacted then and there when you found the ring in the coat! So much more authentic and spontaneous. Why start an engagement off with white lies?

        1. re: PlatypusJ

          Ummm, because that would have been thwarting his plans and putting him on the spot...

          1. re: PlatypusJ

            I think "lies" is a pretty strong word to use in that situation.

        2. Cyrus is great, wonderful service and amazing food-my husband and I were there in October and loved it - also ate at Farmhouse, but Cyrus was far better, in my opinion. As for the proposal, my suggestion would be to take her tasting at a vineyard earlier in the day and pop the question over an intimate picnic for 2 on the grounds of the winery, and then take her out to dinner at Cyrus to celebrate her saying "yes". Less cliché, and very romantic.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mmt

            I agree with this. You will be in a heavenly beautiful area. The Russian River valley is lush green right now; the wild mustard is in bloom and phosphorescent yellow; the small winding, curving backroads (Westside Rd. in partic) are delightful and not much traveled. I like the small charming bridges over the river at various points. (You'll find one of them just north of the Farmhouse Inn on Wohler Rd.) You could go to one of those, pop the question, kiss wildly, remember it forever.

            The Farmhouse Inn is wonderful. I remember a very special, very romantic weekend there. Swanky, elegant bedrooms (hmmm...); lovely dining room, nice grounds but not expansive. Talk to them, perhaps beforehand, about a spot to pop the question. (The owners Catherine and Rod have a VERY romantic story.)

            You could also head straight west to the Ocean, 40 minutes away (incredible drive alongside the river and through towering redwoods), look out on the great expanse of the Pacific, hear the thunderous crash of the waves, and pop the question. That's at Goat Rock Beach, in Jenner, and you get there by driving due west on River Road (the same road as Farmhouse Inn). There's a beautiful spot where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean, where the two waters merge.

            Last, speaking of redwoods, you will be very close to a stunning redwoods grove -- Armstrong Redwoods State Park in Guerneville. The redwoods are tall, awe-inspiring and very beautiful. They have a special way of breaking up sunlight into very large shafts or rays, right out of a painting. It feels like magic; it even has a spiritual feel. That might be another spot. Here's a link:

            I think you will know when you happen upon the spot, and you feel a particular closeness with your love. Lots of stunning places to propose where you'll be. Nice if you had a chilled bottle of bubbly on hand, if that's your thing.

          2. Frankly I would only want to propose in a restaurant or similar public space if I (1) were assured of the answer beforehand and (2) had a decent amount of privacy. But even if you know she will say yes, I can think of very few restaurants in the city with enough table space to satisfy #2 -- the Ritz, Acquerello, others I am forgetting (Danko no, Aqua maybe, I haven't been there in a long time). I'd ask her before in the privacy of your own home and then have planned a really nice dinner afterward to CELEBRATE! That is what my husband did - planned it all on his own down to the celebration restaurant, La Folie. It was perfect.

            1. We've moved this thread over to Not About Food since the replies seem to be more about the wisdom of marriage proposals in restaurants in general than about specific SF Bay Area restaurants.

              1. I'm sure people will have different opinions but I have to say a strong no. Aside from being cliche, I feel it's a private moment. And sorry to sound like a pessimist, but what if she says no? Really uncomfortable for everybody involved, including the waitstaff.

                I recommend proposing before you eat. You could then have a celebratory dinner afterwards. DH actually proposed to me in our hotel room. We then went downstairs and celebrated at Michael Mina. You should do it where you feel is appropriate for the both of you.

                Whatever you decide to do, I wish the best of luck to you.

                P.S. I think Cyrus is an awesome spot to celebrate.

                1. I'm with everyone else who has checked in thus far. I feel like a marriage proposal is a very personal, incredibly intimate moment, and isn't really an occasion I'd like to share with 75 strangers. But celebrating *afterward* with a great dinner, decadent dessert, delicious champagne and lots of laughter and kisses...most definitely!

                  1. i think it would depend somewhat on your intended. alot of people aren't big on being the centre of attention, being put on the spot like that.......however there are also others who would thrive on the moment being held out there in public. I am not one of these people, and feel the same about proposals on tv, at a football game etc....these things only work in the movies. But as i've said, if your intended has expressed a love of such things, by all means. People have different ideas of what is romantic.

                    on a side note, should this be your plan....while you'd want it to be in a special restaurant (and again, a great place to celebrate !)....unless it's one she's really had a horrible experience in, should that really matter? I would imagine that even a really bad restaurant, would become a very special restaurant very quickly, if that's where you got proposed to by your fella.

                    on another side note....... I was once in a crowded bar when someone ot publicly proposed to, probably on Valentines day or something. There were ALOT of other squirming patrons that night, lol. You could kinda feel the tension amongst the remaining couples in the room (aka how come YOURE not that romantic...."is she expecting me to propose"?....."maybe we should talk about our relationship" ...kind of feel )

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: im_nomad

                      gonna chime in here as someone that was proposed to in a public space...it was something I always thought I wanted but when it happened....not so much! All the strangers being a part of your special moment kind of sucked...everyone grabbing my hand to check out the ring blah blah...I think a family function or friend's dinner party would be my ideal for romantic now.

                      1. re: bubbles4me

                        >>I think a family function...would be my ideal for romantic now.

                        bubbles4me, realllllllly?

                        mca311, if you decide to go ahead with the proposal in a restuarant, do NOT invite all your future in-laws. Picture it. The ring was in a glass of champagne, and all of hubby's family was present. He still hasn't lived it down, only now it's funny.

                        My advice: propose first privately, eat out afterwards with whomever you wish to share in your joy.

                        1. re: dolores

                          I concur. I think public proposals create an awkward situation for everyone involved, including the witnesses.

                      2. re: im_nomad

                        "There were ALOT of other squirming patrons that night, lol. You could kinda feel the tension amongst the remaining couples in the room "

                        LOL! I can only imagine! Yet another reason not to risk going out on Valentine's Day! You should really add this to the other thread too!

                        As someone who didn't have that romantic a proposal ("you think we should get married? yeah, probably a good idea") I have often thought about more romantic proposals. I would agree a private but beautiful setting is much more attractive, and you won't have garlic on your breath and vegetable stuck between your teeth! (just want to point out that I am married to the most wonderful person who has more than made up for the unromantic proposal, someone who makes every day a romantic dream, so I don't really sweat it that much :)

                      3. Although the thought is very romantic, I'd steer clear of a restaurant proposal. Do it at some place that is special to the two of you that is a private area so the girl will feel open to express her emotions, hopefully good ones! Hopefully thats a "yes" and showering you with hugs and kisses. Do dinner first though, and not too much wine. Get a glass, not a bottle, you don't want her drunk for the proposal, right? giggle...

                        1. Add jfood as another vote for no resto. a lot of good reasons posted here.

                          Why not cook her a romantic dinner, have a beautiful table set with flowers and candles, champagne cooling in the fridge, your favorite music in the background...get the picture, then after she says "absolutely" you have the brochures of the romantic hotel you are going to in Napa for a wonderful weekend.

                          Hopefully this is your one and only time. Think outside the box and good luck.

                          1. I seem to be a lone voice in the wilderness here, but I was proposed to in a restaurant (NOT on V-day) and we'll be celebrating our 17th anniversary next month. I loved the proposal, loved the whole scene, and wouldn't have had it any other way.

                            BF and I were novice foodies then. He got sent out to CA on business about every other week. I would make expense account restaurant recommendations from Gourmet. He took me out with him on one trip. On the first night we walked around the beach and went to dinner in Beverly Hill, at one of my Gourmet restaurants. He was just about to propose, holding hands, deep meaningful gazes, when the waiter (a wanna-be actor, it seems) came to take our order. He realized what was going on, overreacted loudly and comically (not intentionally), and the whole tiny dining room knew what was going on. A very kind fellow diner sent us a terribly expensive bottle of champagne, more expensive than we could have afforded.

                            I positively cherish the memory of the proposal. The only down side? I know the meal itself was very good but I can't remember a thing about the food.

                            1. I had a semi-public proposal at my sister’s wedding reception. She was in on it and while the actual moment of proposal was fairly private, we were happy to be able to share our excitement with close family and friends immediately. Her photographer also got some incredible shots of us all flushed and happy! But I will say that the excitement completely ruined my appetite for quite some time, so for that reason alone, I would recommend against this.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: meg944

                                Hmm. I was proposed to at a restaurant in NYC 13 years ago and it was wonderful. But you must have some heck of a sister to let you steal the thunder at her wedding reception!

                                1. re: southernitalian

                                  Well, it's not as though he got up and made a big announcement - but yes, she is a wonderful sister. She was the one who suggested it! She thought it would add to the romantic feel of the day, and she wanted him to be able to surprise me, as I was completely expecting a proposal (but not on that day.)

                              2. I don't think it's cliche or weird. some girls might like it some wont but you should probably know what your girlfriend would think about it.
                                try to do it in a clever way if you do. on that scott baio show he proposed using a magician that he pretended he didnt even want at the table.
                                (fast forward almost halfway
                                )lots of restaurants will help you with the plan. i also read a valentines story about Prego in LA:
                                so be creative, and make sure you think it's something your girlfriend (hopefully fiance soon!) will like

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: fetus124

                                  with all due respect, if OP is wondering enough to ask on this board whether others think it is cheesy, he is not in a position to accurately judge whether his girlfriend would like it or not. If he was sure she would like it, why would he ask? (and then there is the possibility that, for all the reasons many of these replies have indicated, she might not like it as much as he thinks she would...)

                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                    you're right. i was kinda skirting around that but he should know her well enough to know whether or not she'll like it.

                                2. as another side note to this discussion and my earlier posting (several others made this point), about whether SHE'LL like it.........I think..it is also important to remember, that this is also HIS moment too....

                                  1. I know I have strange sensibilities but I usually find that if you're doing something like that in public there is an intrinsic pressure on people not to say no... I mean, how would you look to the other tables if somebody just proposed and you say anything other than yes? It sure would be an awkward night for all involved.

                                    1. I was proposed to in a restaurant by my first husband and I always wished he didn't do it that way. Obviously, I said yes, but I would have much rather had him ask me in private. It is a special moment between two people and it just didn't feel right to have a bunch of gawking strangers bearing witness. Thank God my current husband had better sense...

                                      1. I know you probably don't mean to do this, but I find when people do this they are being self centered, egotistical as to say, hey look at me, not thinking about the person they are proposing to. It's saying, "I want a lot of attention because I am proposing, and look at this great ring I bought my fiancé, and give me give me give me a lot of attention right now, etc. etc. I would prefer something more romantic. Perhaps take a boat out onto a lake watch a sunset, a sunrise on an ocean beach, bring a bottle of special champagne, or something special you both enjoy. Put some type of element of surprise in if possible. Save the dinner for later after you have proposed. It can be part of a wonderful night too.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: michele cindy

                                          actually, I can't agree. I know that in my husband's case, the LAST thing he EVER wants is to get attention in public! I suspect he just thought that would be what I would want, since I love to go out to eat and consider dining with him to be romantic.....which is why I think we are encouraging OP to think it through since he seems somewhat uncertain about the whole thing (but I am sure his motive is to be sure it will be memorable and romantic). Calling it tacky is very harsh, but I agree that privacy would be a good thing.

                                          1. re: susancinsf

                                            I'm with susancinsf on this one, my husband was white as a sheet and hates being the center of attention...he really thought it was a romantic gesture...for me.

                                            1. re: bubbles4me

                                              I really think there is some psychological thing going on doing it in public like that. I've heard it is also very common to break up with someone in a restaurant. I'd be curious to hear from anyone who has proposed and thought about why a public proposal. I'm sure there are many who just do it because it seems romantic, like anything else I think there are others who do it for other reasons.

                                              1. re: michele cindy

                                                My husband proposed to me in a bar, in Niagara Falls, with a video camera in my face. Sounds very unromantic but it wasn't.

                                                We were enjoying our meal so much we got to the falls (where he had planned on proposing, in private) after the lights were turned off. He seemed very upset that we missed the lights, so off we headed to have a cocktail. Due to the timing error I have the most wonderful and very funny video of my proposal.

                                                My point is my husband could have proposed to me just about anywhere and I would have been (actually, was) ok with it. I loved him and him wanting to marry me was all that mattered. We also had an unconventional wedding.

                                                Do what feels right for you, as a couple but be prepared to think on you feet. ;)

                                                Congratulations on finding your special someone!

                                            2. re: susancinsf

                                              Same with us. No ring involved, either, as I didn't even get an engagement present until our 10th anniversary! No, BF just knew what was important to us, a great meal. And the pre-dinner walk along the beach really helped set the romantic mood.

                                              1. re: susancinsf

                                                I'm with Susan too. My husband thought I'd want a horse carriage ride thru Central Park and an on-his-knee proposal at this swank Upper east Side place we loved back then. I'd had a tough day and didn't even want to go out with him that night! I had no idea what was in store. I said no way to the carriage ride and we settled on a mediocre Mexican place. In the midst of me whining about me day, he quietly reached across the table and showed me the ring. There was no one in the restaurant but he still blushed like a beet and I felt so guilty for being cranky.

                                                1. re: southernitalian

                                                  Too funny! I'm still waiting for my husband to propose - restaurant or not.

                                            3. whenever you're dealing with lots of humans, there can be a lot of potential for unforseen human error/interaction/embarrassment. s*&t happens when people decide to propose in the restaurant.

                                              sometimes it goes off without a hitch! sometimes you fall over or your pants embarrassingly rip when you get down on one knee in front of everyone. when you cleverly place the ring beneath her linen napkin atop her plate, she may whisk it off too quickly and you end up crawling around with her, your server, the mod, and several well-wishers underneath everyone's tables for five minutes. your new fiancee might cry and wreck her carefully applied eye makeup and not be able to get away from the attentions of others, not even (especially not) in the ladies room, have an anxiety attack, & go to the hospital. you may wake up in detox with no way to contact your beloved and no clear recollection of whether or not she said yes, but since you're here, you're on suicide watch, and they ain't letting you out til' monday morning, you're guessing no.

                                              imo a private proposal-- with res for an amazing dinner & hotel/b&b/getaway afterwards would be much more romantic. and you'd enjoy the meal and each other's company much more. not that it should be foremost in your mind at all, but it's also much easier on the staff. me? i was proposed to in a tent, with the sound of rain all around. very private & intimate, both of us lying down.

                                              1. My husband proposed to me in a restaurant and I loved it. We went to Morimoto in philadelphia when it had been open only a couple of months. Chef Morimoto actually presented me with the ring and toasted us after i said yes. I can't think of a better way for Mr. Divamac to have proposed considering my love of food, Iron Chef and attention :) There was no spectacle involved (despite the Chef at our table), and we were not the center of attention. Mr. Divamac didn't get down on one knee or anything else. Afterwards, the entire restaurant toasted us. It was lovely and very memorable.

                                                I think you will know if your intended is going to like the public proposal versus the private and what you are most comfortable pulling off.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Divamac

                                                  And there may be ways to find out if your intended would like the attention. I know that if I got any attention from my BF at work, or any place other than home, I would panic. Singing telegram for Valentine's Day? Yuck! I would run and hide!

                                                  Maybe you could send your SO flowers at work, or something else, and watch for a reaction. Good? Negative? Just an idea.

                                                2. I would say that odds are that is better to propose privately and have the dinner reservation to follow to celebrate. I just think it's very bad form to propose in public - it puts the other person in a difficult spot and thus belies the love that being proposed. Some may not feel put in such a spot, but the point is it is not loving to assume the issue away (unless you've already heard from the beloved that he or she dreams of being proposed to in public). Unfortunately, many people get the image of what proposing should look like from films or TV - and this is a great time to *wean* oneself off of trying to imitate low art (so much of the marriage industry is built around imitating low art instead of real life).

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                    "Unfortunately, many people get the image of what proposing should look like from films or TV ."

                                                    He he. I used to go out with somebody who used to think that those "moviestar" kisses (you know, the kind where the man sweeps the woman off of her feet and kisses her) were romantic. I cringed every time he did it. It was so artificial and cheezy and corny. It was not romantic to me in the least.

                                                    However, people differ. While I agree with you that it's better to propose privately, I do know certain people who love the public proposal.

                                                  2. I say no for all the reasons others have already made; I firmly believe that it's bad decorum to steal others' special moments (as other patrons may very well be having) so that one can make a grand gesture. We all celebrate others' happiness, but as this is a special, private moment, I recommend keeping it that way.

                                                    1. I'm going to be another voice in the wilderness here and say "yes".

                                                      If, say, being Chowhounds together are what you do, it makes perfect sense to me to propose in a restaurant. Or if there are other reasons...

                                                      When I get choked up with emotion, it's not a pretty thing. I'm not an elegant guy. I always look stuffed into a suit. And when I choke up, my voice goes even hoarser than normal, my (much-hated) New Jersey accent returns much stronger than it ever was when I lived in New Jersey, and I fumble my words.

                                                      So when I proposed to Mrs. Ubergeek (on her birthday), I called the staff at JiRaffe and asked them to write my proposal, which I dictated, in chocolate ganache on the rim of the plate containing the birthday cake. We got the nicest table in the house, when the dessert came I got down on one knee, and when she read the proposal all I had to do was open the ring box and give her a smile. It was honestly the best possible scenario, because I mean it when I say people don't understand my talking when I'm all choked up.

                                                      Yes, the pressure is on to say "yes" but there are ways to get round it. The pressure is on to say yes whether you're alone or not.

                                                      The entire restaurant applauded, the table next to us (JiRaffe is "cozy") cried, and we were given champagne by the restaurant to toast with.

                                                      And coming up on six years later, we're still quite happily married.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                        I think your wonderful story sums it up for me. I guess it doesn't matter how the proposal goes, as long as it is loving and sincere. I still probably prefer a more private setting for a proposal, but if someone proposed like you did, it would be wonderful because it is obvious you cared and you put a lot of thought and love into it. Thanks for sharing a smile!

                                                      2. after reading the second part of your post and seeing the words "wine country" and "farmhouse inn," one particular word/vision sprang to mind...


                                                        1. mca311, fill us in!!! Did you propose? What did she say? How did it go?

                                                          Inquiring minds want to know! :-)

                                                          1. Why would you share a most important special moment with a bunch of strangers??? Doesn't make sense to me. But still, for you, do whatever makes the moment the most meaningful and memorable.

                                                            1. First, I am very happy for you and it sounds like whatever you end up doing will be great. I agree with the majority of the group, though, and would say that a restaurant is not the best place, but only because after you ask her she can't rush into your arms and kiss you passionately. You're blocked by a table and flowers (or candle).

                                                              My husband proposed at a restaurant, Il Sole in West Hollywood on Sunset, but denies it to this day. It was not planned by him at all. There was no ring -- that came a few months later. It was very memorable, and totally spontaneous and unexpected (we had not been dating very long).

                                                              Best of luck. Let us know what you do!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Bite Me

                                                                I used a semi circle booth just to make sure she didn't have to leap over the table after I popped the question. And I did it quietly, with no one else in the restaurant knowing what was going on. The only funny thing was that she said she knew something was up because I was acting so nervous. She did / does a lot of making shirts for me and said that she figured I had bought some really slippery material which was going to be hard to sew and was nervous about telling her. 20 + year later we are still going out to dinner and I definitely know not to buy "slippery" material.

                                                              2. I just recently got engaged to my fiance at a restaurant, The Blue Door in South beach, Miami.

                                                                It was very nice, the food was innovative and spectacular, the restaurant was really pretty, and my ring came out on my piece of cake at dessert, he didn't get on a knee he just very softly and nicely asked me to marry him, no big clapping, no one even seemed to notice, except our waiter who I think was a little nervous for my fiance because he had just recently gotten engaged. As I am a foodie I appreciated this venue.

                                                                It also means for anniversaries we can go back and eat there, and stay in the hotel which was great planning for him since we love that hotel.

                                                                He is a very shy guy so he didn't want to do it on some big family occassion he wanted it to be more him and I. It was very special, and not hokey at all he put a lot of thought into choosing a restaurant and place I would love and approve since I am pretty picky. I think it is a great idea and I wish you early congratulations and best of luck.

                                                                Like I said no one even noticed, no one said a word, we ate our desserts and went outside to the beach and had a nice kiss, there no PDAing in the restaurant, except for a nice handhold for a moment and conversation, and called people.

                                                                It was lovely, not public, and very special. Of course I knew it was coming, and he knew I would say yes. I think it should be about what you want to do. I didn't think it was unprivate at all. It didn't bother the waiter he was quite happy to help, no stress on the kitchen.

                                                                1. I was proposed to at Arzak in San Sebastain, Spain, and it is a wonderful memory. Having been to Cyrus just make sure they don't put you in those middle tables, I felt rushed through my meal sitting there with the waiter constantly trying to sell us on the truffles. You will be staying in a beautiful area so a non resturannt location is great also.

                                                                  1. About a year ago, my son proposed in a restuarant. He drove himself crazy trying to think of a novel and surprise way to propose. He said girls want a good story to tell their friends. Anyway he got the waitress to bring the written proposal (alot more than just a simple will you marry me) in the check folder thing. My son said at first she was a bit annoyed that the check was laid close to her after a romantic dinner, but when she opened it, she loved it. I think everyone around them did know what was going on, he got down on one knee and she was crying, etc. My son said people clapped. But since it was at the end of the meal, they could leave. And they are both people who enjoy attention.

                                                                    1. i think proposing marriage in a restaurant is a bad idea. no matter how sure you are you will get a "yes" the whole point is to ask a question. it is not a show for the public, and the proposee should have plenty of room to answer however they like without outside pressure. if it is from the heart, stop getting waiters to play games for you and say what you mean. it's worth it.

                                                                      plus, fancy meal, pop a ring.. booooring.

                                                                      that's just my two cents, and of course there are always excpetions.

                                                                      1. I'm in the no camp. But, that's just a personal preference. I think romantic gestures aren't based on cliches, but on personal things that show that your loved one is thinking of you.
                                                                        For example, my boyfriend bought me a mini pumpkin one time, as a little surprise. I adore pumpkins, so it was much more romantic than a random flower I couldn't care less about.
                                                                        So, unless the restaurant means a lot to both of you (maybe you met there, first date, etc.) I'd skip it and think of something relevant.

                                                                        1. I got engaged in 1998 at the Mansion on Turtle Creek (Dallas) and it was great. Now I am sure I would appreciate something more private, but at the time it was perfect. Hubby and I were only 23 and eating and staying the night at the Mansion was a BIG deal for us.
                                                                          One bad thing about it though...the food was practically wasted on us. Hubby was so nervous during the apps, salad and entree that he could hardly eat. He proposed right before dessert and, once it was served, I was so excited I could hardly take two bites of the wonderful chocolate-banana thing the kitchen made. See, I don't even remember exactly what it was!

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Honey Bee

                                                                            maybe the op should get engaged and then go to cyrus to celebrate. if you are going to make the effort it would be nice to actually enjoy the food.

                                                                          2. At one point in time, I would have said not a good idea, what if she says she needs to think about it, what about the restaurant going out of business, and pretty much everything else that has been said. BUT...over dinner at Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn in Wilmington, NC, while I was dripping guac and sour cream from my massive Fajitarito down my chin and creating a big green glob on my white t-shirt, my Organic Guy said "I can't imagine my life without you. Marry me." Yep, he proposed at a burrito joint, one that calls extra meat a "double wide," has tattoo tuesdays, where you can get a discount for showing off your body art, and their motto is "Flaming Amy's, Hot, Fast, Cheap and Easy". However, it was totally unplanned, completely spontaneous, and I think he was as surprised that he said it as I was. So, it can be done, and done in a way that is utterly romantic. But I think the key was that it was exactly what he was feeling in that time, at that moment. And it was perfect. And yes, I cried at Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn.

                                                                            Of course, he's a North Carolinian, and I'm a Nebraskan, so the wedding will be the first ever Polka Pig Pickin' in the world, but after the proposal, I suppose it fits!

                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                            1. re: OrganicGal

                                                                              I'm such a sucker! I had a moist feeling in my eyes as I read your story! Again, any real sincere moment is perfect, no matter where it is!

                                                                              The polka pig pickin' sounds absolutely divine. I greatly miss the fine pig pickins' in North Carolina, wonderful eats. And the polka will help everyone digest. I hope you have a wonderful wedding!

                                                                              1. re: OrganicGal

                                                                                Love that story!! What's a polka pig pickin??

                                                                                1. re: Bite Me

                                                                                  A pig pickin' is a variety of a North Carolina Barbecue...the hog is cooked low and slow over logs for many, many hours. Some folks periodically mop the meat with a vinegary, peppery thin sauce (NO tomato products, though, that's verboten!). When it's ready, folks come up to the smoker and peel off whatever they want to eat. Literally, pickin' the pig. VERY traditional North Carolina stuff.

                                                                                  Polka is a traditional eastern European style of music that has a fast, almost skipping dance with it. Look for a song with the lines "in Heaven, there is no beer, that's why we drink it here..." and you've got polka music. Tuba and accordian are important...some folks would simply call it oom-pah music. Many of the original settlers of Nebraska were Czech or Polish, and brought this music and dancing with them (along with names that don't have nearly enough vowels, like Tvrdy or Znemenecek or Brzinski). In Nebraska, you don't have a wedding reception if you don't have at least one or two polkas.

                                                                                  So, we're bringing these two traditions together! Eating wonderful food, and dancing the night to the lovely strains of "I don't want her, you can have her, she's to fat for me, HEY!" (and I now apologize to everyone who knows polka, and has one of these songs stuck in their head the rest of the day!)

                                                                                  1. re: OrganicGal

                                                                                    My Ex-h is from NC and his annual family reunion is always a pig-pickin' and that was something I missed greatly after our divorce (along with his aunt's coconut cake).

                                                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                      Just curious, do you have the recipe for the cake? If you do, can you post it on home cooking?

                                                                                      1. re: michele cindy

                                                                                        :::::sigh::::: Unfortunately I do not. And more unfortunately Aunt Selma died last year.

                                                                                      2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                        My family does the same thing. We have a pig pickin' every October - usually perfect weather for that kind of thing, and those who are so inclined can hit the State game while they're in town. Go Pack! :-)

                                                                                        (I'm cracking up thinking of a polka pig pickin', though. LOL!)

                                                                                      3. re: OrganicGal

                                                                                        OrganicGal, that is the most vivid and colorful explanations I could have ever hoped for! Thank you very much for a such a great treat -- I feel like i just came back from pig pickin' with polka music!

                                                                                    2. re: OrganicGal

                                                                                      i'm all for spontaneous proposals over messy food.

                                                                                      1. re: OrganicGal

                                                                                        That is a great story and really sums up the most important thing. It's about the intention more than anything else.

                                                                                      2. Man, take her to a bowling alley or pool hall, pop the question, if she says yes in that milieu, she really loves you and it will be a great story for the grandkids! And then go out to dinner!

                                                                                        1. Who cares if it's cliche or cheesy...the moment is all about you & the future Mrs mca311! =)

                                                                                          Mr OCAnn proposed to me in a casino restaurant in Lake Tahoe during a ski trip. It wasn't planned, so there was no ring (which was fine by me)...he said the moment felt right and he just HAD to ask. Fortunately, there were only a few other diners, so it was private. There aren't many casinos in Tahoe, but I still can't remember the hotel or the restaurant (I think it was a steakhouse).

                                                                                          Unfortunately, I told him that I'd have to make sure his kids approved before I answered. He pressed me for an answer ("yes"), but it was conditional (upon his kids consent).

                                                                                          I don't remember any of the meal...except for my first bananas foster dessert. For that matter, I really don't remember what was served @ the wedding!

                                                                                          In any case, go with whatever feels right/appropriate for you & future Mrs mca311. Good luck and report back!

                                                                                          1. It might be a tad cliche, but I was proposed to just this Monday evening in a restaurant and it was perfect. Technically he proposed to me 10 days ago in IN. He came up to meet my family, and just knew he wanted to ask when it all went so perfectly, but since it was spur of the moment he did not have a ring or any plan worked up. Certainly I did not mind in the least, I was just thrilled to be asked by a man I love, but his unexpected more formal proposal on Monday was welcome.
                                                                                            I just moved in with him in MS, but on Monday we spent the day in AL. It was a relaxing day. We did a little shopping and exploring and by the time we got back to MS it was nearly five. He casually suggested we head out for dinner around six rather than cooking since we'd been on our feet most of the day. I didn't give it much thought, got ready, and we headed out at six. The restaurant we went to wasn't super fancy, but in this area it is a favorite that does consistent business and has been good for the past 10 years. Neither of us had been, but we both love Mediterranean, Greek, and Lebanese food so we've been wanting to check it out. The restaurant itself is very charming. It is primarily candlelit, white table cloths, tasteful mirrors, and beautiful murals. I sort of knew something was up when we arrived. I thought we were acting on the fly, but when asked if we had a reservation, turns out, we did. We were seated at the gorgeous corner table that gives a perfect view of the entire restaurant while still feeling cozy and intimate. Clearly the prime table. The restaurant is BYO and my guy had also somehow managed to bring along a favorite bottle of wine he just brought over from Germany without me even noticing. He had clued the staff in in advance so the service wa superb, but they didn't try to engage with us any more than necessary to allow us to really focus on one another. The proposal itself came at the end of the meal. My guy put his hand on the table and I went to hold it as is habit post meal, but enclosed in his palm was the most gorgeous ring that I am fortunate to be wearing right now. It was not over the top, or intrusive to the other restaurant patrons. With the exception of the staff, i do not know that many other people even noticed. It felt very much like our moment, and I'd have it no other way. I really think the restaurant itself makes all the difference in these situations. Had we had an overbearing waiter, or all the servers rush over to gush immediately after the proposal, it may have burst the bubble a bit, but they were all perfect. We probably just sat there just glowing for 45 minutes before the owner came over to congratulate us and he seemed genuinely pleased and told us the corner table was ours whenever we wanted it.
                                                                                            I say, if it feels right to you, go for it. It worked out for my guy.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                                                              Congratulations to you and your fiance!! I wish you every happiness! My husband and I were engaged on top of the World Trade Center and it was very private also. Our plan was to go back every 5 years, but that was not meant to be.

                                                                                              1. I'm with the minority of folks who think it is okay to propose in a restaurant. My first husband proposed to me in a bar/restaurant, and it was very sweet. Noone was overhearing us, and it was really a private moment for us. I felt comfortable, as did he - it was a great moment that I remember fondly. It made the occasion more dressed-up than if he had just proposed to me at home. It doesn't bother me at all the bar/restaurant is defunct (it was Rosebud's in San Francisco). I do have a sentimental streak, but am also practical, and that is the way of the world - restaurants go out of business and marriages don't always work out! But you just focus on enjoying them while you can and hope for the best. Mazel tov to you, OP!

                                                                                                1. So, mca311, what did you do?

                                                                                                  I don't think it matters where or when you propose, as long as you are in love. My proposal, almost 32 years ago, was very unconventional. We were at his parents house trying to figure out what to do. My parents hated him so much that they had told me if I was going to continue to date him, I had to move out - the next week! Long story, mental illness, blah, blah, blah. But I knew in my heart that he was the love of my life and was not going to stop seeing him. I was 19, and his parents had offered to let me move into their home, or gave permission for me to move in with him (different times back then). So he excused us, took me out to the garage, and next to the cabinet with all the motor oils, etc, got on one knee and asked me to give him the honor of becoming my husband. I said yes, cried, and the next weekend we were married.

                                                                                                  Do I wish it had been fancier? No, not at all. It was perfect. And my wedding gown was my Easter dress from that year. And it's lasted almost 32 years.

                                                                                                  1. This may be after the fact, but here's my story and .02
                                                                                                    I proposed to my wife at her 30th birthday party, in front of about 50 of our closest friends. Not entirely public, but not entirely private either. While the party wasn't a surprise party, elements of it were. I got a bunch of old photos of her with her friends from high school (with whom she's still close) and had them blown up to poster size. And for her gift I had bought a painting that she had fallen in love with that a good friend of mine had made. And as I gave it to her in font of everybody, I said a few words about how glad I was that everyone showed up, etc, Then I got down on one knee and told her she'd make me the happiest guy around if she'd stay with me for the rest of our lives.
                                                                                                    Here's the trick: at no point was I in doubt of her answer. Thus, I could make it a semi-public/private affair.
                                                                                                    Think about how you're going to feel in the environment you'll be in when you ask. Yes, asking in restaurant can be a private event. Or public. It all rests on you. You know her better than anyone outside of her family (maybe even better than them!). And ultimately that's what matters. I asked my wife in front of our friends because I knew she'd like the attention, but only because it was our friends. If it were strangers it might have been different.

                                                                                                    1. As someone who once witnessed a restaurant proposal that did not get an automatic yes, I would caution anyone from any proposal in front other people.

                                                                                                      A friend also tells of the dreaded engagement ring wrapped up as a Christmas present. Her rather clueless brother did it and his girlfriend felt very obligated to put the ring on in front of everyone. Then later that day, she took her fella for a walk and gave him the real answer - not yet, its too soon. Made for some really tense moments over the next few days.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: pengcast

                                                                                                        >> I would caution anyone from any proposal in front other people.

                                                                                                        Yes. It bears repeating for anyone not 100% positive their S/O is going to be thrilled at the idea.

                                                                                                        It is so not a good idea. Especially in front of the future in-laws.

                                                                                                      2. Just wondering why the original poster mca311 never wrote back. Could be tons of reasons of course. This was the 1st and only post by this person. I'm wondering if they were just a writer looking for a story? The post is very detailed so I'm not sure, but it's just a feeling I've had about it.

                                                                                                        1. I was proposed to at a restaurant just under 3 weeks ago, and it was great! I always thought that I wouldn't want it to happen that way, but he did it very simply and straightforward, and it was wonderful. We weren't even in a booth. The fact that it was at Dahlia Lounge in Seattle on my birthday didn't hurt either.

                                                                                                          If she wants to marry you, it won't matter if you do it at the grocery store. She'll be happy no matter what.

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: lotuskitty

                                                                                                            Wow I had no idea this thread even existed--looks like lots of feedback on the idea. I'm planning to pop the ? at the house this weekend then go to Jardiniere (neither of us have been) to celebrate. I couldn't handle the pressure of doing it in a restaurant.

                                                                                                            A good friend of mine proposed at TFL in between courses, he said it was a great experience but if he had to do it over he would've done it somewhere in private. Basically he spent a lot of money on a meal and neither of them remember anything about the food....but I'm sure it will end up being a great anniversary place.

                                                                                                            Wish me luck!

                                                                                                            1. re: mofo313

                                                                                                              Yup...I don't remember the food @ my own proposal (Mr OCAnn proposed @ casino restaurant) or even at my wedding!

                                                                                                          2. Bad idea for several reasons:
                                                                                                            1. Cost--the more particular you get the more expensive it can become.
                                                                                                            2. Its public--which kills any intimacy.
                                                                                                            3. Its public--she may feel trapped into saying yes.
                                                                                                            4. Its public--she may say no.
                                                                                                            5. If there are problems with the dining experience, it could dampen the event.
                                                                                                            6. It never works the way you want it too because no one else is on the same script as you.