Marry Me! A Guide to Getting Engaged
Turn Your Girlfriend Into a Bride!
So you're thinking about popping the question. The question is, how, when, and where should you do it? Getting engaged is a big step in any relationship. The actual marriage proposal is a big deal, too, for single ladies from Eve in the garden to Beyonce today.
It's a moment she will remember, for better or worse, 'til death do you part.
This hub is Part I of a series on planning the perfect wedding. Today we will address the issue of approach, date, place and timing of the marriage proposal.
Planning for Spontaneity
If you and your lady friend have been together for awhile, she's more than likely expecting you to propose. Note: If you're dating a woman who does not believe in the institution of marriage, or if you, yourself, do not believe in marriage, this does not apply. You really don't need to be reading this hub. But then again, it might come in handy someday if you change your mind or meet someone else!
Proposal 101: The Desired Outcome
The challenge for you, Mr. Proposer, is to plan the actual marriage proposal so that when you actually say the words, "_____(insert her name here), will you marry me?" she's either
a) Taken completely by surprise, or
b) Gratified that her suspicions were correct
c) Says "Yes!" and not "Hell no!"
Only you know which approach will work best with your fiancee-to-be.
Traditional, Novel, or Outrageous
The next decision is a big one, not be taken lightly. Should you go with a traditionally romantic opportunity, or dream up a proposal that's uniquely yours?
Let's start with the Traditional Marriage Proposal
Many engagement occur on Valentine's Day. That only makes sense, as it's the one day of the year 100% devoted to love and romance. Hard to go wrong with Valentine's Day. A dozen roses, a bottle of bubbly, and Cupid's arrow will shoot right through her heart!
Other popular holidays are Christmas and Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. In fact, more people get engaged in December than any other month.
Personally, I think Thanksgiving is way underrated in this regard. What could possibly be more romantic than saying, "Honey, I'm so thankful you're in my life that I want to make it permanent. " Okay. Maybe it needs a little something extra. Pumpkin pie -- with a diamond hidden in the whipped cream, perhaps? Or how about the Fourth of July? The perfect way to convince your little firecracker life together will always be full of fireworks. It's possible!
Another popular choice is the proposee's birthday. It has its merits, definitely. But don't think you're gonna get away with "only " a 2-carat ring. I don't care if it is from Jarod, you'll still need to recognize the birthday separately!!
Real Life Example of a Novel Proposal
This proposal happens to be my own story. I was not expecting it -- which made it all the better for me. Even though it occurred on my birthday weekend, I was not suspicious when my then boyfriend invited me away to the Timber Cove Lodge on the Sonoma Coast. We'd been there before and always had a fun time.
We arrived and went rock climbing, but my boyfriend was acting really weird. He didn't want to rock climb for more than about 10 minutes. He suggested we go to the bar. I really wanted to keep rock climbing, but whatever.
We had a couple of drinks (liquid courage, I later found out). Then he suggested we go back to the room. The Timber Cove rooms feature full-sized hot tubs (not just spa tubs) in the rooms.
This is all in the middle of the day, mind you.
We floated around in the bubbles for a bit, and he still seemed oddly nervous. Still, I was clueless as to what was about to go down.
His actual proposal was, "I don't know how to say this, so I'm just going to say it. Will you be my wife?"
He gave me a beautiful Celtic knot ring (more on the issue of diamond engagement rings in the next installment). And then confessed that he'd called my dad the week before to ask his permission (nice old fashioned touch).
For me, it couldn't have been more perfect.
See how easy it is???
The Novel Marriage Proposal
The Novel Marriage proposal takes elements of the Traditional Marriage Proposal but personalizes them in some way.
For example, let her think you're going to propose on New Year's Eve, but then surprise her and get engaged on Boxing Day (that's December 26th). I'm not suggesting you fake her out or anything. Just add an element of surprise and individuality.
A quick caveat on anticipated dates vs. actual dates. Surprising your honey by proposing earlier than expected is good. Surprising your honey by not proposing when she's expecting it is not good. Trust me on this one -- I've lived it!
Novel Marriage Proposal approaches can include, but are in no way limited to:
Place. Take her away on a romantic vacation. Or on a carriage ride around Central Park. Or a picnic in the mountains. Or to your favorite corner bistro. Or back to the place you met, had your first kiss, etc.
Date and Time. When you're in love, every day's a good day to get engaged! Take your pick -- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Seven choices just waiting to be made the most memorable in your lives together (thusfar, of course).
If you're going for theelement of surprise, a weekday is probably less obvious than Friday or Saturday night. If you're spiritually inclined, how about aligning your engagement with the sabbath or holy day associated with your faith?
As for time of day, sunset is traditional. Sunrise is novel. Over dinner is traditional. Over popcorn at the movies or sno cones at the park is novel.
You get the idea.
- Sonoma Coast CA Hotel: Welcome to Timber Cove Inn on the Sonoma Coast
Escape to a Northern California oasis at Timber Cove Inn on the Sonoma Coast, a charming Northern California Coast hotel with spacious accommodations, romantic dining and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.
The Outrageous Marriage Proposal
What separates the truly Outrageous Marriage Proposal from the Novel Marriage Proposal? Degree of audacity, that's what!
The Outrageous Marriage Proposal goes way above and/or way beyond the simple "Here-I-am-down-on-one-knee-giving-you-this-diamond-ring-will-you-marry-me-please?"
I divided this category into two sub-categories: Private and Public.
Private Outrageous Marriage Proposals involve only the boyfriend and girlfriend (or could certainly be boyfriend and boyfriend or girlfriend and girlfriend -- don't mean to exclude anyone). The actual engagement occurs during a shared but extreme activity. This is often a sport of some sort. Examples include:
Skiing or Snowboarding
Hot air ballooning
Summiting the peak of Mt. McKinley
At the shooting range
On the 18th hole
Climbing a ropes course
Running a marathon
At someone else's wedding
At a funeral
While your girlfriend is in labor
The Public Outrageous Marriage Proposal
In my opinion -- and I admit, it's just that, my opinion -- any public proposal is by definition outrageous. Yes, I'll probably get some flak for that statement. So be it.
I find public proposals bizarre (to say the least). Now that I think about it, I shouldn't, really. I mean heck, being engaged is something to be proud of. What's the first thing couples do after getting engaged? They tell everyone they know!
But the actual moment of commitment carries an element of risk. Why would any self-respecting proposer risk being rejected in front of hundreds or thousands or even millions of people?
And yet, public proposals persist. And in many different forms. Here are a few:
The plane pulling a banner -- or skywriting the proposal
The scoreboard at the big game (bonus when the camera finds the happy couple and zooms in on them kissing)
On television as the "awwww" moment designed to leave not a dry eye in the house. I recently saw a show on fire department recruits and what they go through to become firefighters. The graduation ceremony culminated in a public proposal. Thankfully, the woman said "yes."
On billboards (If that were my fiancé I'd rather he put the cash into a bigger diamond ring:-)
In this day of impersonal communication, I've no doubt proposals via email, text, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter have already occurred. Skype I can see -- for example, if one party is deployed overseas. But "wl u mry me?" on your smart phone? Doesn't exactly make one feel special, does it?
She's gonna be the happiest girlfriend on earth
This poor guy... not so much!
You and Engagement
Have you ever proposed to someone?
Have you ever been proposed to?
If yes, was your proposal
Stay Tuned for Diamonds Are Forever
In our next hub we will discuss engagement rings. Hope you'll join me!
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