By VINCENT M. MALLOZZI
“Will you marry me?”
Hundreds of thousands of potential grooms (and perhaps even a few potential brides) pop that question every year, and yet the logistics of delivering that momentous phrase — where to do it, when to do it and how much of a surprise should it be — remains among the most important decisions anyone planning on getting married has to make.
Some of the couples whose wedding announcements were featured in the pages of The New York Times this past year, or whose weddings The Times learned about, got engaged in unusual spots — from a Manhattan rooftop to a subway construction site below the city’s streets — and one proposal even involved seeking advice from President Obama. And, of course, at least several can now be found on YouTube.
Here are 10 of our most engaging stories of the year.
Mr. Litman, who first began dating Ms. Michelis in the eighth grade at the Horace Mann School in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, proposed in November 2015 in Montauk, N.Y., the entire scene captured by a drone hovering above on an unusually warm 64-degree day at the beach.
With waves rushing the shore and the Montauk Point Lighthouse in the distance, Ms. Michelis can be seen from a windblown aerial view playfully running beneath the drone before turning back to Mr. Litman. As she runs closer, he drops to his knee, engagement ring in hand. Momentarily shocked at the sight, she drops her purse as he asks her to marry him, and the two then fall into each other’s arms.
“The first thing that came to my mind was, I can’t wait to show it to our kids,” Ms. Michelis said.
They were married Oct. 8.
The couple first met in fall 2011 while working on the digital team for Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign.
After the president’s victory, Mr. Fallsgraff became the digital director of Organizing for Action, the nonprofit organization that manages the social media and digital accounts for Mr. Obama. In 2015, Mr. Fallsgraff and his team were filming a video with Mr. Obama at a hotel in Washington during the Organizing for Action Spring Organizing Summit. Knowing he was planning to leave in June, Mr. Fallsgraff took the opportunity to talk with the president, and told him that he was bent on proposing (which he would do three months later).
“You got a rock picked out and all that?” he recalled Mr. Obama asking.
Mr. Fallsgraff told him he had yet to get the ring and asked if the president had any advice.
Mr. Obama suggested that Mr. Fallsgraff get help from someone Ms. Wilson trusted and who understood her taste. When Mr. Fallsgraff suggested that he was thinking of asking Ms. Wilson’s best friend, the president responded, “I think that’s the right strategy, but you’ve got to swear her to secrecy.”
The next time Mr. Fallsgraff saw Ms. Wilson’s best friend, he pulled her aside. “I told her I had a mission for her from the president of the United States,” he said.
Mission accomplished. Mr. Fallsgraff and Ms. Wilson were married July 3.
The couple, who met in June 2015 through a dating app called the League, went to Paris six months later for a New Year’s celebration. While at a restaurant there, Mr. Purcell ordered a bottle of Champagne for what he thought was 110 euros, the equivalent of about $119. But when the bill arrived after dinner, he realized he had mistakenly ordered a bottle of vintage Champagne — the 2003 Dom Pérignon Rosé — at a cost of 1,100 euros, a total at the time of roughly $1,195.
In May, Mr. Purcell invited Ms. Bui to the rooftop of his apartment building in San Francisco to enjoy the unobstructed 360-degree view that included the Golden Gate Bridge.
As they took in the view, Mr. Purcell surprised Ms. Bui by breaking out an expensive bottle of the same vintage Champagne he had mistakenly bought in Paris. It was all a part of a special occasion, he told her, and then he surprised her again, this time with an engagement ring.
They were married Nov. 26.
The couple, who met in 2007 while they were working for the New York City Department of City Planning, became engaged in May 2014, when Mr. Meagher proposed while they were on a tour of the construction site of the 86th Street station, part of the Second Avenue subway. The tour, conducted below street level, included residents who live near the new subway line as well as officials with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
“We’re both passionate about cities and infrastructure,” Mr. Meagher said.
And about each other, as the group learned when Mr. Meagher, wearing a hard hat and an orange safety vest, got down on one knee and asked Ms. Grossman, who was wearing the same gear, to marry him. Gasps, then applause, broke out among the tour group, as well as from the bride’s parents, who had also shown up for the occasion.
They were married Jan. 9.
The couple met in August 2014 during a performance of the Broadway musical “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” Mr. Fogelman, who was there alone, tried to move to an empty seat next to Ms. Phillips to get a better view of the stage. “Not in the middle of a song,” said Ms. Phillips, who was there with a friend.
Mr. Fogelman waited until after the song to switch seats, and at intermission, he apologized profusely to her for his poor theater etiquette. She forgave him, he sat down next to her, and they began talking.
They were soon dating, and in August 2015, while sitting in those same seats, Mr. Fogelman turned to Ms. Phillips at intermission and proposed.
“It turned out to be a wonderful re-enactment at the theater,” Ms. Phillips said, “one that I will never forget.”
They were married Sept. 4.
Mr. Whelden, a plumber in Boston who sings with two professional Boston-based touring a cappella groups (Five O’Clock Shadow and Overboard), proposed during his performance at a New Year’s Eve concert in Rockport, Mass. The crowd roared when he sang “Fall in Love,” a song he wrote for his future bride that included the words “will you marry me.”
“It was the most amazing, romantic proposal I could’ve ever imagined,” Ms. Delaney said.
They were married May 7.
The couple, who were both living in Park Slope, Brooklyn, met through OkCupid in early 2011. They immediately became a couple.
In July 2015, they moved into a co-op together in Bay Ridge. On their first day in the new place, Ms. Roth put in motion her proposal while Ms. Marini was at work.
She was hiding when Ms. Marini returned, and watched her follow a path of lighted candles to a makeshift bed where Chinese food boxes had been placed across the floor, leading to a smaller box.
(“Melina had always idealized the movie trope of people moving into a new apartment that’s not yet furnished, and having to eat Chinese food on the floor, ” Ms. Roth explained.)
When Ms. Marini opened the smaller box, which contained an engagement ring, she started sobbing. Along with the ring was a note that said: “Will you marry me? Check yes or no.”
Ms. Marini checked “yes,” and she and Ms. Roth, who came out of hiding, cried in each other’s arms.
“I’m not the type of person who wants to see ‘Will you marry me?’ splashed across a Jumbotron,” Ms. Marini said. “This was much more intimate to me, and much more meaningful.”
They were married Aug. 6.
The couple met on March 11, 2005, while shooting pool in what Ms. Powell described as a dim, smoky bar on Avenue B in Manhattan.
They shared several beers, then a single kiss outside the bar. Mr. Albertson, 23 at the time, was beyond taken with her, but Ms. Powell, then 20, was not quite ready for a serious relationship. They settled on becoming friends.
Ms. Powell eventually married another man, and fell out of touch with Mr. Albertson.
By May 2014, however, Ms. Powell was divorced and dating Mr. Albertson, often telling him that the word “marriage” now frightened her.
On March 11, 2015, 10 years to the day they met, they were back on Avenue B and heading into that same dim, smoky bar when Ms. Powell looked down and saw a huge chalk mark indicating the spot where she had first kissed him. She turned to find him down on one knee, holding her engagement ring.
“I was freaking out,” she said. “I just started crying and hugging him.”
He proposed but managed to avoid scaring her by leaving out the word “marriage.”
“I was wondering,” he said, “if you wanted to hang out with me forever.”
They were married March 11.
Mr. Turke, who proposed in February, chose to give his future bride a full day of engagement-related bliss, rather than a single moment of happiness.
An hour after he sneaked out of their apartment at 6 a.m., he called her with instructions to go into their kitchen, where she found a huge bouquet of white lilies with several notes that he had left for her, including one that read, “Today is the day that we get engaged,” and another that read, “Enjoy the moments ahead of you, have fun and say ‘yes.’”
What ensued was a dizzying series of events that first took Ms. Helmling to the NoMad Hotel in Manhattan, where she found her three best friends waiting at a breakfast table. A waiter then gave them a note with instructions to walk across the street to a spa, where they each enjoyed Champagne and a massage before being whisked away for manicures and pedicures.
Later in the day, Ms. Helmling was chauffeured over the George Washington Bridge to a small park in New Jersey overlooking the Hudson River — the spot where Mr. Turke had first asked her out in September 2013.
“When she arrived, we hugged and cried and she told me all about her day,” said Mr. Turke, who also presented a slide show that included every photo that had both of them in it, arranged in chronological order as a way of telling their story.
Then he proposed, and Ms. Helmling cried some more.
They were married Nov. 13.
The couple met online in 2008. At the time, Mr. Stucky was living in Somerville, Mass., and going through a divorce. They were soon dating, but their relationship began to sputter. In the space of three years, each of them proposed to the other, and each was soundly rejected.
In June 2014, Ms. Mathiowetz was partying with friends in New York when she consumed too many psychedelic mushrooms. The episode left her paralyzed for nearly six hours — and longing again for Mr. Stucky, whom she was no longer seeing.
“I can’t believe I haven’t been telling you every day that I love you,” she called to tell him the moment she got back on her feet.
Mr. Stucky was feeling much the same way, as he too had had a life-altering experience, he said, a nightmare in which he was on his knees and looking up at a stranger who was telling him he had only 24 hours to live.
Completely shaken, he awoke and began taking into account all the things in life that mattered most to him, and quickly realized that Ms. Mathiowetz was at the top of that list.
Those shared experiences brought them back together, and in January 2015, Mr. Stucky proposed to Ms. Mathiowetz, for a second time, during a weekend trip at a bed-and-breakfast in Portsmouth, N.H. This time, she accepted.
They were married June 11.