Read the Stories Behind Our Favorite Celebrity Engagements

And see which famous couple Ina Garten's "proposal chicken" actually worked for.
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Entertainment & Celebrity Editor
  • Sarah is the Entertainment & Celebrity Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on pop culture and celebrity wedding news.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Sep 20, 2023

They said "I do," and we can't get enough. We'll never tire of reading about our favorite celebrity engagements—especially when they're accompanied by a swoon-worthy proposal story (and an equally jaw-dropping ring). Whether they're unexpected surprises or flashy spectacles, Hollywood's A-listers know a thing or two about planning an epic marriage proposal.

From Russell Wilson's lavish adventure for Ciara to George Clooney's romantic dinner for Amal Alamuddin, the stories behind these celebrity engagements will make your heart flutter (and you might feel a little jealous that you weren't there to witness the action). Below, we round up all of our favorites.

Elliot Grainge and Sofia Richie's Engagement

Before they hosted *the* wedding of 2023, music executive Elliot Grainge popped the question to Sofia Richie on a tropical vacation—and it's one of our favorite celebrity engagement stories ever. Sofia Richie's proposal took place on a Hawaiian island, and Grainge went to extreme lengths to make it a memorable event. He decorated the dreamy location with white flower petals and clusters of candles that lined a private walkway, while clusters of greenery hung from a pergola above an ice bucket waiting with a chilled bottle of champagne. Each thoughtful detail made the natural beauty of the destination shine even more.

While speaking to Vogue about her wedding, Richie opened up about what their engagement was like. "Elliot surprised me with a trip with all our best friends in April of 2022," she recalled. "He proposed at golden hour—it was magical." Grainge presented his bride-to-be with a timeless emerald-cut diamond engagement ring, which quickly became one of our favorite celebrity sparklers of all time.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Engagement

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after getting engaged
Photo: Chris Jackson | Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding in 2018 was a worldwide spectacle, but their engagement was a private moment. The couple first shared the details with BBC in 2017, calling the evening "just a standard, typical night for us." As they were roasting a chicken (yes, *the* engagement chicken Ina Garten swears will elicit a proposal), the royal popped the question to his girlfriend of over a year. "It was just—just an amazing surprise, it was so sweet and natural and very romantic," Markle revealed. "He got on one knee."

As it turns out, that recount only scratched the surface of what actually went down. In the couple's 2022 Netflix documentary Harry & Meghan, they revealed even more deets about the adorable moment—and, maybe unsurprisingly, Meghan had an inkling of what was coming. "I did pop a bottle of champagne while she was greasing a chicken," Harry said in the film. "And that slightly gave the game away. She was like, 'You don't drink champagne. What's the occasion?' I was like, 'I don't know, just had it laying around here, whatever.'"

As Meghan was cooking inside, Harry set up a romantic scene on the lawn of Kensington Palace. "In the north garden being overlooked by the staff flats, I got 15 of those electric candles," Harry recalled. "Of course, I got down on one knee. Of course, I did." Meghan added, "He's down on one knee and I was just like, 'Yes!' I was just so joyful and excited. I was like 'Ah, we're doing this.'"

Amal and George Clooney's Engagement

Amal Clooney and George Clooney showing off her engagement ring
Photo: Rachel Murray | Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night

On April 28, 2014, George Clooney asked his then-girlfriend, human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin, to be his wife—but the ordeal took longer than he expected. The proposal came during a night at home, complete with a pasta dinner prepared by Clooney. After lighting candles and toasting with champagne, the Oscar-winner got down on one knee and presented his love with a 7-carat emerald-cut ring.

"I had a playlist with my Rosemary [Clooney] songs on it and I was waiting for this song, 'Why Shouldn't I?'" Clooney recalled to The Hollywood Reporter. "It's a really good song about why can't I be in love? And it played, and she's like, 'Holy s—!' And she just kept staring at the ring, going, 'Oh, my God.' It was 20 minutes of me on my knee, waiting for her to say yes because she was so shocked."

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas' Engagement

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas
Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin | FilmMagic

Why celebrate one milestone when you could celebrate two? That was Nick Jonas' mantra when he popped the question to Priyanka Chopra on a Greece vacation back in July 2018 (just two months after they started dating). In a radio interview with Ryan Seacrest, the Jonas Brothers singer looked back on the meaningful timeline he planned for his then-girlfriend of a year. "I wanted to propose like, the day after her birthday—[her] birthday was on the 18th, I proposed on the 19th, but I just did it at basically, midnight to make it two separate days," he remembered, adding that he needed some liquid courage to calm his nerves in the moment.

"At that point, we'd had a had a bottle of wine, so I was a little loose and I was feeling—feeling good," he continued. Chopra happily accepted the proposal—which was accompanied by a Tiffany and Co. engagement ring—and they went on to get married in December of that year.

Prince William and Kate Middleton's Engagement

Prince William and Kate Middleton
Photo: Chris Jackson | Getty Images

Of all the celebrity engagements in the 2000s, Prince William and Kate Middleton's was one of the most anticipated. After dating for eight years, Prince William wanted to pop the question in a meaningful location, and their trip to Kenya in October 2010 proved to be the perfect backdrop. "I regularly daydream," he explained to CNN. "Africa is definitely one of the places I go to. It does completely settle me down. [Kate] understands what it means to me being in Africa, and my love of conservation."

What's more, the prince wanted to propose with a sentimental jewel—so he selected a sapphire from his late mother, Princess Diana's collection as a "way of making sure my mother didn't miss out on today and the excitement." After three weeks of carrying the ring around in his backpack, he proposed while they were on vacation. "I didn't really plan it that far in advance," he added. "I just knew I wanted it to feel comfortable where I did it."

Simone Biles and Jonathan Owens' Engagement

We give this celebrity engagement story 10s across the board. When NFL player Jonathan Owens proposed to Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, he went out of his way to make sure his fiancée-to-be was totally surprised. The athlete dropped to one knee at a gazebo in their hometown of Houston, Texas in February 2022. "Woke up this morning with a fiancée," the athlete shared on Instagram, adding, "Appreciate my dawg @don_julio314 for helping me set everything up, she really had no clue what was coming 😂 @zofrost you went crazy on this one bro really made the night special 🙌🏽"

In her own announcement post, the gold medalist wrote, "THE EASIEST YES. I can't wait to spend forever & ever with you, you're everything I dreamed of and more! let's get married FIANCÉ 💍🥺🥲🤎 @jowens_3."

Dylan Barbour and Hannah Godwin's Engagement

Fans of The Bachelor franchise watched favorites Dylan Barbour and Hannah Godwin get engaged on Bachelor in Paradise back in 2019. They enjoyed a lengthy four-year engagement, and just before they jetted off to Paris for their highly-anticipated destination wedding, Barbour had a surprise up his sleeve: he was planning to propose again!

"although our first engagement was and still is SO special to us, over the past 4 years we've talked about having a special little moment just for us in the real world, and @dylanbarbour surprised me and made it happen last week," Godwin wrote on Instagram. For the proposal, Barbour took Godwin to a gorgeous ocean-front alcove to pop the question a second time (with a brand new engagement ring, too). The bride-to-be continued, "now off to our wedding location today to tie the knot!!! ✈️🤍"

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union's Engagement

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union
Photo: Taylor Hill | FilmMagic

Dwyane Wade's proposal to Gabrielle Union was a family affair. Back in 2013, the NBA star asked the actress to marry him with the help of his two sons and his nephew. During an appearance on Live with Kelly and Michael, Union shared the details of the sweet engagement. "I was completely surprised. Him and the boys planned it completely, as a family," she explained. "We were just gonna spend the day together, having a little quality time, went to brunch, I'm clueless."

Once they arrived at their home, which was under construction, the kids asked to give a presentation, further proving this to be one of the best celebrity engagements ever. "Me and D turn around and they're like, 'OK, now!'" she continued. "And they're holding signs that say, '... Will you marry us?' But the thing is, they ask me all the time, so I was like, 'Oh, this is embarrassing! Now they've made signs!'" she said. "I turn to D like, 'Here we go!' and he's down on one knee."

Ben Platt and Noah Galvin's Engagement

It doesn't get more romantic than this. In what can only be described as a movie-worthy moment, actor and singer Ben Platt proposed to Noah Galvin on a Brooklyn restaurant rooftop covered in stunning floral arrangements in November 2022. Clusters of candles and suspended string lights added to the cozy ambiance.

In a conversation on PBS News Hour, Platt said, "I did pretty good, I think." Galvin agreed, saying the decor "looked like the set of The Bachelor." ("Well, it was with prettier colors," Platt clarified.) He continued, "We spent the night with our families having dinner, and some friends. It was great."

Miles and Keleigh Teller's Engagement

Miles and Keleigh Teller's engagement
Photo: @KeleighTeller | Instagram

When it comes to destination celebrity engagements, Miles and Keleigh Teller's story is hard to top. Four years into their relationship, the couple got engaged while on a safari in South Africa. Miles took extreme care in perfecting the proposal plan, going so far as to tie a rose around a tree attached to a note with a note that read "May 11th, 2013-August 20th, 2017." When he got down on one knee, he said, "This was the first day that I asked you to be my girlfriend, and today was the last day you woke up as my girlfriend."

Reflecting on the proposal, Keleight told People, "I'll never get the image out of my head of him down on one knee with a tear in his eye. He really thought about every detail and was so nervous!"

Ciara and Russell Wilson's Engagement

Ciara and Russell Wilson
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez | Getty Images

NFL quarterback Russell Wilson went all out for his proposal to singer Ciara. He planned a "travel roulette" for his future wife, giving her a list of 30 countries to guess where they were traveling in March 2016. They ended up at an exclusive resort in Seychelles, where he asked his love to marry him.

"She said Yes!!!" he captioned an Instagram video about the proposal. "Since Day 1 knew you were the one. No Greater feeling #TrueLove."

Idris Elba and Sabrina Dhwore's Engagement

Idris Elba and Sabrina Dhwore
Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett | Getty Images

A movie brought actors Idris Elba and Sabrina Dhwore together, and it also inspired their engagement. The duo first met while filming The Mountain Between Us in 2017. Then on February 12, 2018, Elba proposed to his girlfriend in front of a crowd at Rio Cinema in London just before the directorial debut of his film Yardie.

Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's Engagement

Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka
Photo: David Livingston | Getty Images

In an essay for Out Magazine, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka shared the story of their romance—including their proposals to each other. Burtka first proposed to Harris on the street corner where they first met. "We were on our way to an event at an Indian casino 45 minutes out of town in a limousine, and David wanted to stop for some reason that I didn't quite get," he wrote. "I thought he wanted to get some booze or something. And then he got on one knee and proposed, and I was so freaked out by it that I said, 'Yes,' but I didn't know what it meant. He continued, "Then I got the ring and loved it, and a year later on Valentine's Day, I proposed to him in Santa Monica."

The couple kept the news of their engagement under wraps until the Marriage Equality Act passed in New York in June 2011.

Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli's Engagement

Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli
Photo: Astrid Stawiarz | Getty Images for OUT100

Actress Samira Wiley and writer Lauren Morelli first met on the set of Orange is the New Black in 2012. Their friendship eventually blossomed into a relationship, and Morelli orchestrated a private surprise proposal for her girlfriend in 2016. "We'd planned this weekend in Palm Springs," Wiley explained to Out Magazine. "I'm pretty laid-back; if it's five in the afternoon and Lauren wants to beat the traffic, I'm just hanging around. That day, I wanted to be good and get my packing done. She got home and was just not ready to go, and I was confused."

Morelli asked to sit down on the couch, where she pulled out an engagement ring box. "Lauren has been married before, so I wanted her to tell me she was ready, [for] her to be the one to propose," Wiley added. "I didn't know she was as ready as she was. I was completely shocked. I was crying uncontrollably and kept backing away from her. I asked her after, 'Who knows about this?' And she said, 'Oh, everyone. Your parents know.' We didn't tell anyone else for a few days. That was really important to us–to have some time where it was just ours."

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend's Engagement

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend
Photo: ABC/Tyler Golden | Getty Images

Chrissy Teigen ironically first met John Legend on the set of his 2007 music video "Stereo," where she played his love interest. While they shared an immediate spark (she spent the night at his hotel room once filming wrapped), they didn't become an item until later in the year when they traveled to Lake Como, Italy. Then, after four years of dating, Legend proposed to Teigen on a trip to the Maldives in 2011—but a snafu in the airport almost foiled his plan.

"[The ring] was in my carry-on bag going through airport security, and security wanted to look through my bag and they wanted to look in that particular box," the Grammy-winner said during an appearance on Oprah's Next Chapter in 2013. "And Chrissy was standing right next to me and I was, like, 'Oh, my God. I've hid it so well this whole time. Now as we're just about to get to the Maldives she's going to find out I have a ring in this box and it's going to ruin the surprise and I'll have to get on my knees in the airport.'"

Luckily, all mishaps were avoided and this celebrity engagement continued without a hitch. "We get to the Maldives and he had planned this beautiful Christmas," Teigen explained on an episode of FABLife. "He knows how much I love Christmas… And this waiter comes out with a silver dome for dessert… So he opens up the dome and a ton of arugula falls out and then I kind of fish in it… And I see the little box and then you know, your heart stops and you get so excited." She added, "There was no big grand speech or anything. I think it was just very lovely and sweet."

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