A future for Derek and Meredith looked iffy when his ex-wife Addison joined the staff at Seattle Grace and a reconciliation was imminent. But Meredith fought for her man with one of the most memorable—and quotable—moments of the show. “OK, here it is,” she said. “Your choice, it’s simple: her or me. And I’m sure she’ s really great. But, Derek, I love you, in a really, really big, ‘pretend to like your taste in music, let you eat the last piece of cheesecake, hold a radio over my head outside your window,’ unfortunate way that makes me ‘hate you-love you.’ So pick me. Choose me. Love me.”
With all the drama and uncertainty of relationships, the love and support of your girlfriends is everything. And so the first time Cristina told Meredith, “You’re my person,” it had the exact same effect as hearing a romantic couple say “I love you.”
Izzie and Denny met in season two, setting the bar for the wreck-you-to-the-core romances Grey’s Anatomy is now famous for. We gasped as Izzie put her career on the line and cut Denny’s LVAD wire to move him up on the heart transplant list, and we soared when he proposed just before the surgery. Tragically, he died after the operation, and there was Izzie in her prom dress, sobbing on Denny’s shoulder until Alex has no choice but to carry her out of the room. It’s an image we’ll never get out of our heads (or hearts).
Meredith had an epiphany in therapy while coping with the loss of her mom: Her mother wanted her to be extraordinary in her personal relationships, not her career (although, we say be great at both). And so, Meredith knew it was time to get back together with Derek and build the house he had planned out for them. Using candles, she re-created the floor plan on a field and told him in an impassioned plea they could be “extraordinary together” rather than “ordinary apart.”
Elevators are the hub of Seattle Grace’s makeups and breakups, so where else would Derek finally propose to Meredith? Of course, McDreamy took it up a notch: He wallpapered the elevator with the CT scans from every surgery the couple worked on together to show the evolution of their relationship. And breaking tradition in the best possible way, Derek didn’t get down on one knee or even ask, “Will you marry me?” Instead, he told Meredith what she needed to hear to make it official—”I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” All the feels.
On what should have been Meredith and Derek’s long-awaited wedding day, the couple nobly decided to give it all—the dress, the church, even the guest list—to Izzie and Alex so that they could wed before Izzie’s cancer progressed. Former bad boy Alex spoke beautiful vows about becoming a man and even kissed his new wife before the ceremony was officially over.
After Derek and Meredith gave their wedding away to Izzie and Alex, they didn’t end up getting married—not technically anyway. But they did exchange vows by writing them down on a Post-it note and signing it as a sort of DIY marriage contract. They promised to love each other even when they hated each other, and also take care of each other when they’re ”old and smelly and senile.” Sigh. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
Callie unknowingly threw Arizona a surprise birthday party at the worst time ever—just minutes after she lost a young patient. So who could blame Arizona for turning around and running out? But when Arizona returned to see her girlfriend passed out on the couch in sexy lingerie and a party hat, she knew she’d found The One. Before Callie could babble on anymore about what she perceived to have gone wrong that night, Arizona interrupted to say the couple’s very first “I love you.”
Closed off and unemotional are some of the softer words to describe tough-as-nails Cristina. But that just made it all the more memorable when she let down her guard and told Owen that she was in love with him. Cristina blamed her revelation on the fact that he was “dashing” and “heroic” and, best of all, said she “can’t breathe” without him. We were left gasping for air too, from happy-crying so hard.
For a while, it seemed like Callie and Arizona would never make it down the aisle. Even Callie’s own mother admitted that she didn’t see her as a real bride. So, with her mom not attending the wedding, Callie told her father not to bother showing up either. But love trumps all, and not only did Callie and Arizona have a beautiful wedding day—officiated by Bailey, no less—Callie’s father even showed up to dance with his newly married daughter.
In one of the most tragic events on the show ever, a plane carrying Meredith, Derek, Mark, Lexie, Cristina, and Arizona (basically every major player) crashed in the woods. Trapped by debris, the group tried desperately to save Lexie but failed. Mark was helpless, knowing his love was going to die in front of him. So he took advantage of their last moments together, telling her, “I have always been in love with you. I will always be in love with you. We’re going to be so happy. So you can’t die, OK? You can’t die. Because we’re supposed to end up together. We’re meant to be.” She died with a smile on her face, and a piece of our souls went right along with her.
We were so sad to see Richard and Adele’s relationship struggles despite 25 years of marriage. But they never stopped loving each other, making it all the more soul-crushing when Adele was diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s. We held our breath when she asked Richard to stay by her bedside after emergency surgery. Sadly, Adele died soon after, and a grieving Richard flashed back to their wedding day when they danced to “My Funny Valentine.” It was a poignant lesson on what it really means to always have someone in your heart.
Miranda Bailey found so many excuses to call off her wedding to Ben—she even performed a last-minute surgery that delayed the ceremony. But when you’re with the right person and all your friends are willing to wait for you to finish up a flipping surgery so they can witness your vows, you know you’re making a smart decision.
After already getting stood up at the altar by ex-boyfriend Burke, everyone rooted for Cristina to find the love and happiness she deserved with Owen. And she did, on her terms, complete with a tiny living-room wedding where they finally said “I do.” Best of all? The bride wore burgundy instead of white!
You can’t stop true love. Just as April was about to marry Matthew, the priest asked if anyone objected. Usually, no one would dare say a word, but Jackson couldn’t bear watching his love slip away. After almost losing his nerve, he shouted out the most perfect ‘don’t do it’ ever: “I love you, April. I always have. I love everything about you. Even the things I don’t like. I love you, and I think you love me too.” How could April object to that? She couldn’t!