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Perilous Marriage Proposal

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...In sickness and in health...
Will Turner: Elizabeth! Will you marry me?
(A Mook attacks them during the chaotic Final Battle.)
Elizabeth Swann: I don't think now is the best time!
Will Turner: Now might be the only time!

Wedding proposals are usually declarations of love and signs of a couple's mutual commitment to one another. As such, they should suggest stability, romance, and love. Expect fiction to exploit these associations — usually by making a proposal a dangerous, unpleasant, and/or troubled business. It doesn't always have to be successful and can overlap with Rejected Marriage Proposal.

The dangerous circumstances can be justified by urgency like Altar the Speed or Shotgun Wedding (which will often, but not always, follow).

Closely related to Wacky Marriage Proposal, but that trope is when the wedding proposal itself occurs in over-the-top, ridiculous circumstances, rather than specifically dangerous. A common form of So Happy Together.

If the proposal occurs because of perilous events, it will usually be the more formal overlap of Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex. Despite usually being a threat, And Now You Must Marry Me is not usually related, because that doesn't ask for consent to get married.

Wedding Smashers and Widowed at the Wedding are when the wedding itself, rather than the proposal, descends into chaos. See Retirony, when another similarly significant life event is treated as foreshadowing for a horrible fate. If the couple meets in perilous times, that will usually be a Rescue Romance.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • As seen above in Spy X Family, Loid Forger asks Yor Briar to be his wife (for the purposes of his current cover ID) in the middle of a street battle with some mooks, using the pin from the grenade he just threw in lieu of an engagement ring while they're taking cover behind a dumpster.

    Film — Animated 
  • Robin Hood (1973): Robin proposes to Maid Marian while fighting off Prince John's army after chaos breaks loose at the archery tournament. Doubles as Casual Danger Dialogue and Flirting Under Fire, plus Marian has a Laugh of Love throughout the whole thing. They even throw in some Babies Ever After.
    Robin: Marian, my love, will you marry me?
    Marian: Oh, Robin, I thought you'd never ask me! But you could have chosen a more romantic setting.
    Robin: And for our honeymoon, London...
    Marian: Yes!
    Robin: Normandy...
    Marian: Yes!
    Robin: Sunny Spain!
    Marian: Why not?
    Robin: We'll have six children!
    Marian: Six? Oh, a dozen at least.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Birth: "Sean" appears (or reappears) in Anna's life on the night that she gets engaged to Joseph, causing her to spiral.
  • Boiling Point (2021): One of the restaurant patrons is planning on proposing to his girlfriend and notifies the staff. When bringing out the food (where the ring is supposed to be hidden), a mistake in the kitchen means that there are nuts on the plate. She has a Plot Allergy and she's taken away in an ambulance, with the possibility that she might die, before he's even had a chance to propose properly.
  • Eden Lake: From beginning to end. Steve and Jenny are only in the country and down at the reservoir so Steve can propose to Jenny, which is how they cross paths with the chavs. Jenny then finds the ring and Steve gives her an Anguished Declaration of Love as he's bleeding from being brutally tortured. He's cut off by being set on fire and murdered, and Jenny is dead before the weekend is out.
  • Final Destination 3: Discussed. Kevin tells Wendy that he was going to propose to his girlfriend Carrie, but it was interrupted by her gruesome death on the rollercoaster. Wendy stays silent because Carrie told her she was planning on breaking up with him.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: During the Final Battle between the Black Pearl and Flying Dutchman, Will Turner decides to propose to Elizabeth Swann while they're both swordfighting with mooks. Elizabeth accepts, and they get Captain Barbossa (who is also fighting off mooks) to perform the rites of a marriage at sea on the spot.
    Elizabeth: Barbossa! Marry us!
    Barbossa: I'm a little busy at the moment!
  • The Strangers: Kristen has just rejected James's marriage proposal at their friend's wedding when they go to his vacation home. The home is then almost immediately broken into by masked strangers, and before the night ends, Kristen is badly injured and permanently traumatized and James is dead.
  • The Suicide Squad: Silvio Luna wants to marry Harley Quinn, but she's a dangerous woman who used to work for the Joker, so he has to kidnap her first. She actually says yes, and the resulting Destructo-Nookie trashes his office. After, she shoots him point-blank when he mentions killing children. Harley learned her lesson with the Joker.

  • In the Vorkosigan Saga novel Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Ivan proposes an on-the-spot Citizenship Marriage to Tej as the cops are breaking down the apartment door and Tej is about to commit suicide to avoid being arrested.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 9-1-1: A pilot fakes an engine failure as part of an elaborate proposal meant to invoke this trope. It works so well, she has an actual heart attack. Once the paramedics revived her she accepted, then immediately slapped him.
  • The Americans: Enforced when "Clark" proposes to Martha in "The Oath". He does so to keep her onside after she plants a bug in Gaad's office. Though they get married, it's this bug that gets Martha caught and causes Philip to extradite her to Russia in "Walter Taffet."
  • Arrow: In the mid-Season 4 cliffhanger, Oliver Queen proposes marriage to Felicity Smoak. Their limo is then ambushed by Ghosts sent by Damien Darhk and Felicity is paralyzed in the attack.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
    • Happens several different ways in "Full Boyle". Charles keeps trying to propose to Vivian, but because of his tendency to get too clingy, Jake keeps stopping him, which leads to a gradually-escalating series of potentially dangerous situations. Then Jake allows Charles to propose... because he's realized how concerned Vivian was when he and Charles got into a gunfight.
    • Parodied in "Halloween, Part III", when Jake gives an Anguished Declaration of Love to try and get her to tell him where the briefcase is. It gets a Call-Back when Jake actually proposes to Amy in "HalloVeen]", where Amy assumes his proposal is again perilous, but this time Jake assures her it's very real (and nobody wins the heist).
  • Dopesick: Paul proposes to Bridget just before she gets promoted. While this is technically good news, it puts her on the path to investigating the opioid epidemic, which destroys her marriage and home life.
  • Downton Abbey: William proposes to Daisy while on his deathbed from wounds sustained in an explosion in Amiens. It's left ambiguous if he wants to marry her (which they then do quickly) just to satisfy his crush on her, or because she would be eligible for widow benefits, or to die happy, or some combination of all three.
  • In the TV adaptation of Going Postal, Moist proposes to Adora while both of them are holding on to ropes for dear life and trying not to fall from a rather high tower. When Moist starts by lampshading that it's probably not the right time, Adora quips that she can hardly walk away.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: In the episode "Dominance", Charlie's first shown victims were all at an engagement party together, where he forced the guests to rape each other and then massacred them.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: Raelle proposes to Scylla right before they turn themselves over to the US Military, and Scylla naturally accepts.
  • Smallville: Clark finally reveals his secret and proposes to Lana in season five, which she happily accepts, right before knowledge of the secret leads to her being involved in a fatal car accident. Although it gets undone, it nevertheless causes their breakup.
  • The Sopranos: Christopher's proposal to Adriana already takes place in perilous circumstances; she's already broken up with him for his physical and emotional abuse. Her mother warns her that if she takes Christopher back, she won't be able to come back when it (inevitably) goes wrong again, but she says yes anyway. All of that happens, and then right after the proposal, Christopher gets betrayed and shot (though he does recover with Adriana caring for him). This also turns out to foreshadow exactly how bad her engagement to Christopher would be for Adriana, which ultimately led to her being recruited as an FBI informant because she was Christopher's fiancĂ©e, suffering years of mental anguish, being increasingly physically abused as he descended into drug addiction, and being betrayed by Christopher and murdered when he found out she was an informant, all the while holding onto her Tragic Dream that they would get married.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: In "Drive", Tom Paris proposes to B'Elanna Torres while they're in the Delta Flyer while it's in danger and can't move.
    COMPUTER: Warp core breach in twenty seconds.
    Paris: So, what's your answer?
    Torres: My answer?
    Paris: Will you marry me?
    COMPUTER: Warp core breach in fifteen seconds.
    Torres: You're proposing now?
    Paris: It's as good a time as any.
  • Succession: Desperate to gain Logan's approval, Tom has already been planning to propose. But, after a bad day where Logan tries to get Shiv on-side, has a stroke, and then appears to be at death's door, Tom gains his "approval" while he's unconscious in the hospital and then proposes to Shiv in a hospital corridor.
  • Supernatural: "In The Beginning" gives one to Mary Winchester. Despite objections from her family, John decides to propose to Mary. He takes her out in his new car and is just about to ask the question when her demon-possessed father kills him and then himself, after having killed her mother a few hours earlier. It gets rewound when she wishes for it, though.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Umineko: When They Cry: In every scenario, the murders begin the night George proposes to Shannon (although the scene itself is only shown in two arcs, it's implied or stated to have occurred in all the others as well).