Ask Someone to Marry You
It is very easy to ask someone to marry you. You just ask, “Will you marry me?”
Of course, you need to say lots of romantic things like …
I want to spend the rest of my life with you!
I never want to be apart from you!
You are the best thing that has ever happened to me!”
When you want to talk about the moment that you ask someone to marry you, there are different phrases you can use.
propose (to someone)
My sister is very excited! She thinks her boyfriend is going to propose to her tonight!
ask for someone’s hand in marriage formal, old-fashioned
It was such a romantic proposal. He got down on one knee and asked for my hand in marriage!
In English-speaking cultures, the traditional way for a man to ask a woman is for the man to bend down and put one knee on the ground. (Go to Google images and search for “on bended knee proposal” to see some photos.)
pop the question informal, slang
The question here is, of course, “Will you marry me?”
Those two have been dating forever! When is he finally going to pop the question???
“Will you marry me?” is a yes/no question. There are only two answers. The exciting answer is “yes.”
She said yes!
There is a period of time between the proposal (when someone asks you to marry him or her) and the wedding. During this time the couple is engaged. The couple is engaged to be married. During this period the man calls the woman his fiancée, and the woman called the man her fiancé.
Did you hear the news? They’re engaged! They got engaged last month.
He’s engaged to a woman he met online.
Have you met my fiancée?
You can use marry as a verb. Marry is not used with a preposition, but it is usually followed by a person.
I want to marry my boyfriend.
I want to marry with my boyfriend.
I am going to ask her to marry me.
We married young. We didn’t want to wait.
My parents want me to marry a lawyer or a doctor.
Learn more: English Listening: 53 Years Together | Episode 07
The verb phrase get married (to someone) is used to talk about both the day of the wedding and becoming married.
They’re getting married on June 16th.
I really want to get married and have a family.
We got married when we were very young.
We got married on May 5th.
say I do informal
During a traditional Christian wedding ceremony, the couple says their vows. These are the words when the couple makes promises to each other. You may have seen this part of a wedding in American TV shows and movies. As part of the vows in English, the bride and groom say “I do.”
So, when are you two saying ‘I do’?
(When are you getting married?)
walk down the aisle informal
In a traditional Christian wedding in a church, the bride (the woman) walks down the aisle of the church to meet her groom (the man), and the ceremony begins. After the ceremony, the married couple walks back down the aisle together.
Two days to go until they walk down the aisle together!
(Their wedding is in 2 days.)
tie the knot informal
After dating for several years, Ken and Erin have decided to tie the knot!
get hitched very informal, slang
Did you hear? Adam and Betty got hitched in Vegas last weekend!
leave (someone) at the altar
The altar is the area at the front of the church where the bride and groom stand during the ceremony. You leave someone at the altar if you decide not to marry someone at the last moment, or very close to or on the day of the wedding
He got cold feet and left his fiancée at the altar. She was so embarrassed!
(get cold feet = get nervous)
Learn more: English Vocabulary: Weddings
After the wedding, you are married (to someone). Use the preposition to, not with.
We were married on May 5th.
I am married.
She is married to Jim.
She is married with Jim.
I’ve been married 3 times.
Types of Marriages
an arranged marriage
A marriage where the parents (or other close family member) choose the person their son or daughter will marry.
a shotgun wedding
A wedding that happens quickly and suddenly because the woman is pregnant and the couple wants to get married before the baby is born.
an open marriage
A marriage in which the husband and wife are free to have sex with other people.
a marriage of convenience
When two people get married not because they love each other, but because they want something. This usually happens when when a non-citizen marries a Canadian so that they can stay and live in Canada.
More Marriage Idioms
married to your work
You spend more time at work than you do with your family!
His family rarely sees him. He spends all of his time at the office. He’s married to his work!
a match made in heaven
The man and woman are perfect for each other!
They are a match made in heaven!
Learn more: English Vocabulary: The end of a relationship
Thanks for the article! It is very informative!
I encountered the expression ‘destination wedding’. I am not sure, but I suppose that it means a wedding held outside the North America, in Europe, Asia or in some tropical islands. Could you please advise if this expression is used in Canada and what it exactly means?
You are absolutely correct! A destination wedding is a wedding that is held somewhere outside your own country. A destination wedding is when you and all your guests have to travel to a destination. Many destination weddings are held in popular tourist spot, like on a Caribbean beach, or at a church or on a farm in Tuscany, Italy. I have never been to a destination wedding!
What a good lessson. I love you more and more. Very useful expressions of marriage.
I will use “When are you getting married?” rather than use “When will you marry?” from now on.
Just a clarification: the ‘altar’ is not an area in a church, but the large table at the front, before which, by tradition, the clergyman (or, now, woman) blesses the union of the newlyweds. Because the altar (strictly, a Roman Catholic usage) or Holy Table (Anglican- other churches use altar less technically) is where Communion (RC: mass) is celebrated, that lends an aura of sanctity to the area around it, which is known as the sanctuary, and makes it the favoured place to receive or give the blessing.
Another point is that the couple marry each other. I sometimes joke that I’ve married dozens of women, but in reality I’ve only married one. What my role involves is ‘solemnising the marriage’, i.e. making sure it’s all done in the proper (and legal) form so that there can be no doubt the couple really is married. Thus “When will you marry?” is technically absolutely correct.