What exactly is a double proposal?

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 | Photography by Tara Arseven Photography

Have you heard of a double proposal? It's a trend that's been sweeping engagement season over the recent years and we can't wait to see more of them. Before we get into “What is a double proposal?” and “Can both partners propose to each other?,” we want to share a real double proposal that took the fiancé and the photographer by surprise.

Shelby initially reached out to Offbeat Wed vendor Tara Arseven Photography to see if she could her photograph a surprise proposal for Cindy. Shelby made it seem like she and Cindy were just going to have a fun photoshoot together all around Dallas, ending the day on a gorgeous rooftop. After Shelby popped the question in the sweetest way, Cindy surprised Shelby and Tara with her OWN proposal! That's right folks, it was a double proposal!

Here's Shelby proposing, totally unaware of the double proposal about to happen.

Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography10 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Here's how Tara described what happened after Shelby popped the question:

Just as I was washing my hands, I heard Shelby’s “WHAAATT!? FOR REAL!?!?!” behind my back and I barely grabbed my camera laying on the countertop, my hands half damp. Without knowing what was going on, Cindy brought the ring she had picked for Shelby and planned on proposing! Just shows how amazing these two lovebirds are and how they without knowing aimed for the same day. Even though they both hid their rings FOR MONTHS at their home, neither knew it was coming haha!

Tara Arseven Photography

And here's the double proposal surprise from Cindy!

Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography15 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

What is a double proposal?

Double proposals initially started in the LGBTQ community and were seen most publicly among people in a same-sex relationship. They're also known as partnership proposals, double engagements, or mutual proposals. It's considered a symbolic way to show equality in a relationship.

Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography8 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
The photos leading up to the rooftop double proposal…Isn't it sweet how neither of them know what's about to happen?!

Why do people propose twice?

With a one-sided proposal, only one partner gets to experience the joy of being proposed to. Having a double proposal means that each partner gets to give and receive a memorable proposal experience. We're also HUGE fans of how double proposals challenge heteronormative standards that stick people in archaic gender roles. One proposal is exciting, but TWO proposals is doubly worth celebrating!

Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography6 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Whaaat? So can both partners propose to each other? Like, can a girlfriend propose to her boyfriend?

Hell yeah! In fact, it would be dope if it became normalized to do a double proposal regardless of identity. Not only does it help combat gender stereotypes, it removes the pressure of ONE person having to do all the leg work. Plus, if more heterosexual couples do a double proposal, it helps normalize seeing healthy relationships based on equality. We love seeing straight relationships that embody more egalitarian values. We're always like, c'mon heterosexuals… you can do it! We believe in you!

Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography4 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

How does a double proposal work?

When you search “What is a double proposal?,” you often see cute videos of couples who both just happened to bring rings with them on the same day. As adorable as that sounds, 9/10 it's probably just a happy coincidence (like Shelby and Cindy's shoot!). If you and your partner are interested in a double proposal, then it's helpful to discuss expectations with each other first before you plan the surprise element.

Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography12 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Here's how my husband and I planned a surprise double proposal.

When my husband and I started discussing our expectations around marriage, we communicated that we wanted a mutual engagement. Since we both wanted to be surprised, we decided to have separate marriage proposals. We knew a proposal was going to happen, but just not WHEN or WHERE. I caught him off-guard by planning an elaborate proposal at our alma mater. A few months later, he took me on an impromptu trip to the Florida Keys and got down on one knee on a dock at sunset! It was an amazing experiencing to have been in both roles as the proposer and the proposee.

Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography11 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Can a girl propose to a guy with a ring?

Although we're suckers for a sparkly engagement ring, we love the idea of folks proposing with any token that's meaningful! It could be a ring, a watch, a necklace, whatever pieces of jewelry they're into. Or you could skip the jewelry altogether and propose to them with a gemstone-encrusted dagger! It doesn't matter what object you use to propose as long as it's a reminder of your lifelong commitment to each other.

The wedding industry puts a lot of emphasis on proposals being a one and done thing. That's sooooo much pressure on one person!

We love the idea of changing up the solo proposal ritual and doubling up the fun with a double proposal. Whether you're queer, straight, or elsewhere on the gender spectrum, double proposals are a beautiful way to give each partner their own experience of feeling euphoria and joy from getting down on one knee.

Ready to do a double proposal? Find a proposal idea in our engagement archive!

Shelby and Cindy's Surprise Double Proposal Engagement Gallery

  • Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography1 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
  • Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography2 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
  • Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography3 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
  • Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography4 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
  • Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography5 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
  • Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography6 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
  • Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography7 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
  • Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography8 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
  • Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography9 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
  • Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography10 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
  • Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography11 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
  • Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography12 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
  • Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography13 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
  • Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography14 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
  • Surprise Rooftop Proposal Photos by Tara Arseven Photography15 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

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