Will You Marry Me?

DV Cam: Butler, Rainswept

Edited by: Dan Winckler)

Still Cam: Todd, Demblowski

Featuring: DMartin, JMartin, Arnheiter, White, Rainswept, Todd, Sklaren, Butler, Flamm, Amigone, Demblowski

Using the same setup as Surprise!, IE Agents staged a marriage proposal on the subway during the afternoon of June 9, 2002. 11 agents met up at the Union Square Barnes & Noble (AKA the IE Command Center) and headed over to the 2 train. The group bypassed their usual underground stage, the 6 train, due to rumored massive Puerto Rican Day crowds. Real life husband and wife Agents DMartin and JMartin were set to play an unmarried couple who met each other on the 2 train two years ago.

Agent Butler films as Agent White decorates
The agents rode the 2 down to the Chambers stop, crossed the platform, and then boarded an uptown train. DMartin entered the last car with a handful of his close friends as JMartin entered an adjacent car with two friends of her own. The plan was to have JMartin exit her car and enter her “boyfriend’s” car at the 18th street stop. DMartin’s friends helped him decorate the train with white streamers while he announced his plans to the train, “I met my girlfriend here on this train two years ago, and this afternoon I’m going to ask her to marry me.” The strangers on the train erupted into applause.

Strangers pose with their signs.
Agent White passed out four signs (“WILL”, “YOU”, “MARRY”, and “ME”) to a group of four strangers. One of the strangers, pictured above in the Mets cap, was a bit reluctant to get involved at first, but eventually got excited about his role.

A woman readies to snap a photo of the proposal
The plan was set. After JMartin entered the train at 18th street, DMartin would give the four volunteers a hand signal to raise the signs up. DMartin’s friends completed their decorating and continued filling in new passengers as to what was about to occur.

JMartin sees the signs
At 18th street Agent JMartin entered the train with her two girlfriends, agents Sklaren and Amigone. DMartin gave the signal, the signs were raised by the volunteers, and JMartin screamed with joy! DMartin got down on one knee, produced a diamond ring, and proposed. She said yes. The train once again erupted into applause and cheers.

Jmartin and DMartin hug as the crowd cheers.
After the initial shock or the proposal subsided, the couple went around the train to thank everyone who had helped out, and to accept congratulations from friends and strangers.

JMartin gives thanks
JMartin recalls her encounter with the woman above, “She made me lean down and whispered to me that DMartin had been so nervous while decorating the car that his hands were shaking and he couldn’t even tape up the streamers, and isn’t that the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard that he was so nervous to ask me to marry him?”

JMartin accepts congratulations from a stranger

Strangers watching the newly engaged couple
Following the proposal, a brief reception was held with light refreshments. DMartin opened up a bag of Vienna Fingers cookies and grape juice for everyone to enjoy.

Amigone & Sklaren pass out refreshments

A stranger shows off her refreshments

More strangers at the reception
The agents cleaned up the train, said their good-byes to all of their new friends, and exited somewhere on the upper west side. They then headed to the downtown track, and repeated the mission, this time on the 1 train.

The proposal on the 1 train

Happy strangers talk with IE Agents

Agents JMartin and DMartin
Agent Recollections

DMartin: “On the second train there was the middle-aged couple, with the curmudgeon husband. He was skeptical and told me that he had been through marriage a few times already. ‘Good luck, you’re gonna need it.’ After JMartin accepted the proposal and they were leaving he said ‘congratulations’ he seemed to warm up a little bit.

Also on 2nd train, there were four older women who just had the best time. One of the ladies told me that she wanted to marry me, ‘can I have you?’ she asked. The others said I was so romantic for doing this, that we should contact the MTA and set-up events on the subway for people. ‘I wish my husband would do something like this for me,’ one of the ladies said.”

Stranger: “She certainly has a romantic boyfriend.”
Amigone: “He’s wonderful.”
Stranger: “I want to marry him.”

Butler: “A middle-aged woman turned to her husband and said, ‘Honey, you never did anything like this for me.'”

Sklaren: “There was a couple on the train, a German and a Texan, who had met on a bus in England and had been married for six months. A woman who had gotten married the previous day kept insisting that we call the MTA PR department…she insisted that our bride and groom could end up on the cover of the Daily News.”

Todd: “The noise we created was unbelievable. Agent White and I played uninvolved bystanders for the second proposal, so we were able to sit back and truly listen. It was so exciting to witness a train erupt into deafening cheers of joy.

On the first train, I was totally taken off-guard by JMartin’s reaction. Upon seeing the signs she screamed at the top of her lungs. It was so nice to have a real married couple for this mission; their reactions were just so real.”

JMartin: “Demblowski made his ‘best man’ toast, then afterward apologized, ‘sorry man that was all I could think of, I was so nervous man,’ and the women on the train were like ‘No no that was so SWEEEEEEEEEEET!’

Many people suggested that we also get married on the subway, and one woman suggested we also honeymoon on the subway.

It was also so sweet that many of our own IE party were getting teary eyed at all this too, even though they knew it was just staged.

Another excellent day of organized fun.

Mission Accomplished.


  1. Along with the surprise birthday party on the subway, this is one of the best. Especially a great idea is having “agents” pose as “strangers”. Getting these apparent “strangers” to join in the festivities is an excellent psychological trick to get other strangers to participate (like in your surprise birthday improv). Well done! The video is awesome.

  2. Who cares if it’s staged? The people on the train didn’t know that, and even if they did, it’s still a break from the normal. And that’s what IE is about anyways!

  3. It probably brightened the day for a lot of people, and, staged or not, isn’t that what really matters?

  4. "I met my wife here on this train two years ago"
    Hmm…but in the scenario, she’s not his wife yet…

  5. maybe im just evil, but, i would’ve had the "girl" in this drama turn out to be a transvestite, which she "reveals" to him (by whispering it in his ear) much to his shock and dismay. And then , maybe he overcomes his shock, and decides he wants to marry her anyway. of course the back story might have to be a bit different. maybe the best man hasn’t met "her" yet. And of course, someone might have to protect "her" from the angry passengers.

  6. This mission/video is my favorite! The others are all funny, but this one had me really involved in the plot. I found myself nervous that they wouldn’t decorate in time, or maybe she wouldn’t be there. I was crying by the end; it was so sweet!
    (great acting too)

  7. This’d be a great way for someone to do for real, but it could never work. Like, if they get on the station ten minutes early, they’re on a different train, or if they just walk into a different car.

  8. Hahah, this was my favorite mission. The others were all hilarious, but this one had me grinning ear-to-ear watching the strangers participate. Bravo!

  9. Awww, thats soo sweet! Like some of the other people said, others where funny but this one was great even though its wasnt exactly in the funny catagory. I’m glad you got maried people to play the parts, otherwise it would be realy awkward for to people who maybe didnt know eachother to pretend to be geting maried. ^.^

  10. I liked it, but I think you should redo it, except this time have the lady say no. Think about it the awkwardness after getting everyone so excited for this event, and the fact that they have to stay in the car of awkward until the next stop, it would be great!

  11. She has to say yes, the fun of the event is how happy it makes the bystanders. A no answer would bum everybody on the train out and real life does enough of that.

  12. I think it’s lovely. :-) Real or not, it gave the real bystanders a morale boost for the rest of the day, and a bit of joy to spread to others later on, when they tell a friend “You wouldn’t believe what happened earlier today!!!”

  13. Re: Um

    …I thought one of the purposes of IE was pretty obvious: to create unusual situations in the public sphere (and in the way of the normal hustle and bustle) or even typical situations that people just normally aren’t involved in, or only see on TV (such as this…there are entire shows dedicated to unusual or extreme proposals, but no one ever actually sees these sort of things in action). Can you really tell me you’ve never seen something so unusual or out of the ordinary that it lifts your mood, or you have to tell everyone you see? I know that if I witnessed anything IE did, I’d probably LJ/blog it the moment I was home.

    I’m glad there are so many positive missions.

  14. WOW! That was so sweet, I was grinning the entire time even though I knew it was fake.

    I swear, I wish I was there! I need to take the subway more…

    Great job, it was fantastic and really sweet!

  15. I’m a subway engineer for SEPTA. I engineer the Broad St Subway. Why don’t they come to Philly and do this on my train? I wouldn’t mind doing this, but I still haven’t found the right woman yet, which seems to be getting harder and harder each day. I had 300 matches on eharmony and not one has panned out yet. I’m beginning to think that I am not meant to get married again. Those eharmony commercials make it look so easy.Well it not easy for me.

  16. I did something very similar to this, but for real. October 16, 1998.

    I asked good friends to put together a squad of strangers to stop traffic in the intersection of Astor Place and LaGuardia, right across from the Cube. They had signs and balloons, and a crowd of about 150 people or so were gathered. As we came up behind the crowd, I pulled my girlfriend into the middle of the intersection and got down on one knee. She saw the sign on the pavement that said, “WILL YOU MARRY ME” but she didn’t see the last part, “REBECCA?” so at first she thought it was somebody else’s thing and I was making fun of them. When she saw her name she realized that it was for real and freaked out. I had to ask her about 5 times to give me an answer.

    She said yes.

    And then the friends of friends, (my Agents, I suppose), all scattered.

  17. ehh,i duno how i came across this but… wat is the point!
    how stupid and sad, ave they nofin better to do..
    if it was real, good.. but staged.. was i meant to laugh aftr it?

  18. I very much like the idea of turning a subway car into a mini-drama, but I think next time, more could be accomplished by having her say no, or better yet, that she’s met someone else.

    From there, the dialogue could go pretty much anywhere and really get the other passengers involved, with the men consoling the and the women giving advice to the girl on what to do next. You could even have the girl get off at the next stop and the guy stay in the subway car – what kind of reception from people would he get after THAT? The attempted sympathy and awkwardness would be spectacular, especially if he had a ‘friend’ filming the proposal all the while.

  19. Re: Brendy
    Did you look at the rest of the site? The point of this entire group is to create unusual events that brighten people’s day.

    I thought this was so sweet!

  20. Wow, some people are beyond dense. How is it not obvious what the purpose of the stunt and video is? Sheesh.

    Good work, IE :)

  21. Aww, these things really brighten my day. It’s these types of missions that i really like reading through. This and the “long lost brother” reunion. That was sweet.

    Well done again IE!

  22. I’m just seeing this for the first time and I thought it was so sweet! It would have been really cool if it went to a 3rd train, but this time JMartin doesn’t accept his proposal and storms off the train. DMartin wraps himself in streamers, sits on the floor in the middle of the train and just cries and carries on hysterically. Maybe my mind is just warped and twisted.

    Great job, IE! I have you bookmarked!

  23. Loved this mission :) Here’s another idea: Agent A sets up the car and prepares to propose to Agent B. But before Agent B arrives, Agents C and D enter the car. D assumes C is the one proposing, and accepts.

  24. I loved the idea you guys. Never would have thought of proposing on a subway. It seemed like you guys really made the passengers’ day too. Which is impressive because I know that when I road the subway in New York City no one would ever talk to anyone else. And I have always wanted to break the social norms and sit and talk to a complete stranger and start up a conversation with them and see what their reaction would be. Great idea!

    PS awesome date… June 9th is my birthday!

  25. Cute but not very creative. It did leave me wondering “could I work up that kind of enthusiasm if my husband asked me to marry him again?” and I happen to be very happily married. My hat off to some fine “acting” from Mrs. Martin.

  26. lol thats so hot XD What you guys do is amazing :P found your most recent vid(food court musical) on my friend’s blog and decided to chek out your site :P

  27. Excellent work. Just a suggestion, if you all ever do a ‘second take’, I think it would be a hilarious social experiment to have the girl say ‘no.’ Maybe have the guy get off the train, and see how the people he had already befriended now have to abide the girl who rejected ‘their boy’. Or contrarily, have her storm off the train and see how consoling the people would be…

    Either way, you guys did a great job. It’s refreshing to see how helpful and supportive strangers can be…even if it’s all a ruse.

  28. Guys, she couldn’t have said no. That would ruin the purpose of the mission. There is nothing funny about a group of people that goes around staging depressing scenes. Sure, it would be very funny to the people who knew it was fake, but the bystanders? They’d be bummed out for hours.

    Also, it has to be kept simple, or you lose the audience. If you make it too complicated you risk confusing people, or revealing that it is contrived.

    A masterpiece as always, IE.

  29. holy cow! these people saying she should say “no”!!! you’ll have to start screening prospective agents to keep out the rogue agents from popping up! such dark humor or is that just devoid of humor? you people scare me!

  30. Nice one! Would have been cool tho if you had found someone to do it for real :) Somehow this becomes kinda weird because it seems its more about cheating the ppl on the train than just the idea, with all that interviewing and stuff. Still genious and damn funny :D

  31. Wow.. That’s pretty depressing because I know nobody would ever ask me to marry them for real. :(

  32. Re: Um and brandy

    How can you be so cridical? I don’t see the point in cridics like you taking time writing about how stupid you think this is, or how the people involved are just “wasting their time”. Their doing alot more with their lives then you are bashing about them. These innovative people create scenes of amusement, only for the benifit of creating HAPPINESS for others.
    I thought that this was absolutely amazing and very heart-felt. Infact all of your missions are heart-warming and have me rolling on the floor laughing. I think we need more randomness in our lives:D I’m 15 years old and was bummed out today because of school starting again, but then by pure accident I found one of your videos (Slo-mo Home Depot) and after I finished watching it, I went searching for more of your videos…which led me to your site. Thankyou so much for doing these missions, they truly brighten my day and remind me to be unique, and live life to its’ fullest.

  33. You rock! That was really cool. They met each other on that train 2 years ago,right? Any way, I know that everybody says this, but that was so SWEET! later, Guys! :-D

  34. I can understand why everyone was getting teary eyed. I’m getting happy for them even though I know it was staged too.

  35. I LOVE how he says “You only get to do it once.”

    Made me snigger.

    Altogether very cute, and very well put together. (:

  36. I found myself smiling so wide, it just made me so happy to watch, even though I know it’s fake. That’s what’s awesome. :D

  37. It wouldn’t be believable if she said no, because the propose-er won’t ask if they don’t already know the answer, and the propose-ee would just say yes when in front of people but talk about it later.
    Have you seriously ever seen a public wedding proposal that is rejected? There is a reason.

  38. This was a funny mission. I would like to see the audience’s reaction if the mission was set up in a manner that the bridegroom to be tells the audience that he is proposing marriage, with all the placard bearers and all the set-up. The bridegroom to be signals the placard guys and show the “WILL YOU MARRY ME”. proposal.The one who accepts the proposal then yells “YES I WILL MARRY YOU” full volume. Only the person who accepts the marriage proposal is another MAN.

  39. That would have been ten times better if she said no and called him a crazy stalker or something

  40. Hi everyone!

    So, Im from Poland and lately i Have seen a wird thing. just next to my school some people got married in the middle of the park. everything was kunda fake but so awsome. I have jusy understood what it really was :)

    I got to say, it is so great and creative whatya doing…