It may not be the first romantic city to pop into anyone’s head, but Washington, D.C., is actually a great place for marriage proposals. In fact, some of the most endearing proposals have taken place with a backdrop of the city’s stately monuments and buildings.
Although few people want to go on the record in talking about the special moment, we’ve collected a list of some of the sites that might even rival Paris.
• If you truly love your job and your beau, why not bring the two together? The tradition of several Congressional staffers and family members has been to get engaged at the top of the Capitol Dome. In addition, the Capitol Police said they get requests on a regular basis from couples looking to take engagement and wedding photos by the fountain on the Senate side.
But if you’re a Member, you also have one option that would make your engagement unique: the chamber.
Setting the precedent is former Rep. Bill Paxon (R-N.Y.). In between votes in August 1993, Paxon dropped to one knee at the back of the House floor and proposed to then-Rep. Susan Molinari (R-N.Y.).
“We both love our jobs, we love our constituents, and we love each other,” Molinari told Roll Call at the time.
• Also near the Capitol and great for those who want to get that historical and architectural touch without resorting to a national monument, Union Station’s Great Hall is a stately choice. The Great Hall was originally constructed in the early 20th century, with the Baths of Caracalla and Diocletian and the Arch of Rome serving as the models. After falling into disrepair in the late 1960s, the Great Hall regained its beauty with redevelopment that began in 1981.
• The wedding planning website the Knot names the Jefferson Memorial as one of its top nine places in the world to pop the question (other places include Wailua Falls in Kauai, Hawaii, and Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy).
According to the Knot, “Who better to inspire your declaration of love than the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson?” The site suggests going when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
The National Park Service said a number of folks have proposed at the Lincoln Memorial, including one Interior Department staffer last year. Another person planted someone at the bottom of the Washington Monument with a “Will you marry me?” sign before taking his girlfriend to the top and proposing.
Some people might like the idea of taking a loved one to the state columns at the World War II Memorial, as a way to tie your proposal to the place you’re from.
• Mitchell Park, otherwise known as the local Spanish Steps, at S and 22nd streets near Dupont Circle, offers a view of the northwest part of the city from its steps. It takes its name and its structure from the Spanish Steps in Rome, but its tucked-away location might provide a bit more privacy than the Italian landmark would.
• Lovers’ Lane Pool at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown is another spot famed for marriage proposals. The pool and its surrounding amphitheater are modeled after the theater at the Accademia degli Arcadi Bosco Parrasio in Rome.
When you enter Dumbarton Oaks from the 31st and R streets entrance, go to your right and follow a path that will lead you straight to the pool after a five-minute walk. The gardens are free during the winter (entrance fee is $8 starting March 15), but make sure they aren’t closed because of bad weather before your trip.
• While the idea of proposing in front of the White House may sound grand, make sure you take into account that there will be interruptions — namely, tourists.
That’s what happened to Don Seymour, deputy communication director for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Seymour convinced his then-girlfriend to walk past the White House by saying it would be easier to walk to a nearby bar than to take a cab.
“In fairness, she was highly skeptical and simply humoring me,” he said.
While standing outside the fence of the South Lawn, he waited for the right moment, but tourists kept walking by. In particular, one group argued whether the building in front of them was the White House or the Capitol. His girlfriend offered some help — the Capitol is the one with the dome.
After the group left, there was a brief pause before Seymour said “something forgettable and cheesy, kneeled down in a puddle and asked her to marry me.”
“Thankfully, for yours truly, she said ‘yes,’” he said.