Is it Ever OK to Propose at Someone Else's Wedding?

Picture this: Your wedding day has finally arrived, and you're at the reception, thanking everyone for sharing this special moment with you. A guest proposes a toast, except instead of concluding with raising his glass, he somehow ends up down on one knee, producing a box from his pocket. Shrieks ensue when he pops it open, and guests realize what's going on. Be honest — how would you react?

The following photo posted on Reddit of a guest popping the question to his girlfriend at someone else's wedding has elicited a firestorm of wrath online. Judging by the comments section, this scenario happens more often than you'd believe.

propose someone elses wedding
Photo Credit: Reddit

Etiquette expert and editor-in-chief Diane Forden, shares three things anyone must do before they even think about putting a ring on it at someone else's party:

1. Clear it with the couple first and if they are in any way hesitant then reconsider (if they politely say, "Well, OK," then that's not a good sign). We bet that if you follow up a few days later with just the groom-to-be, then you'll find out how his bride-to-be really feels about it.

2. If the couple agrees and is excited about it, then it should be done at the very end of the wedding, perhaps after the bouquet toss or just before the last dance. That way, the proposal won't "steal the thunder" from the newlyweds.

3. Feel out what your intended's reaction might be. Solicit a little help from her friends and have them bring up this Reddit photo in conversation so that they can suss out how she responds to the idea. She might think it's fun and romantic. However, if she proclaims that it's awful, and she would prefer for her own proposal to be more intimate and not associated with anyone else's happy occasion, then scratch the idea entirely.

UPDATE: New York Daily News reports that the woman in the photo and the bride are sisters. It was the bride's idea for her future brother-in-law to propose in front of their entire family as opposed to asking for his girlfriend's hand in marriage at the beach (which is what he originally intended). “My fiancé told her he didn't want to ruin their day and she insisted it would only make it better!” Megan, the bride-to-be, says. She reveals that the negative reactions that the photo received online have put a damper on this happy time — "I just want everyone to know the story behind the picture."

Vote: Is it ever socially acceptable to propose at a party when you're not the guest of honor?

— Stefania Sainato


My sister who has been talking about having her wedding on March 17th for the last 3 years.. I recently got engaged and we decided on October 29 as the perfect date.. We announced to everyone when the date was and suddenly sister has changed her mind. She then decided on May then June and as of now she's planned her for the 16th of November. My question is, is that okay to do seeing that it is only 18 days after mine? We have already bought things for a fall wedding and have seriously started planning for October 29th.