There are a lot of column inches here and elsewhere in in the wedding press about the wedding, what to wear, what flowers to get, and whether it’s OK to sit Auntie Ethel opposite the cousin she hasn’t spoken to in 25 years. All of these things, though, are dependent (usually) on one great big moment – the proposal.
I’m not going to lecture any of you on what you’ve done (or are planning to do) wrong – I think my own choice of a frozen, windswept Brighton beach as a location to ask Mrs Vintage Veil “the question” puts and end to any lecturing. Rather, I’d like to set out what I think will set the scene for a great proposal no matter what the location, ring size or weather.
• First and foremost – know your proposee. Hopefully by the time you’ve gotten to the point that a wedding is on the cards, you know your significant other quite well. You’ll know if they like drama, or if they prefer a quiet romantic evening. Use this information to plan the moment. Plan something well in advance, using what your beloved likes as a template. There’s nothing wrong with doing something out of left field as long as it’s something they’ll like and appreciate. On the flip side, “romance” doesn’t have to mean “cliched” – be original!
• Think long and hard about the “dramatic proposal.” As nice as a surprise can be, you really want to make sure your soon-to-be wife or husband is expecting you to jump out of an airplane with the ring, or whether they’d prefer a quiet romantic meal. This isn’t a battle, and we’re not looking for “Shock and Awe.”
• Don’t, no matter how cool it might seem in your head, propose in a very public place. I’d personally avoid even a small group of friends or family. The presence of other people puts a lot of pressure on your beloved, and as seen in numerous YouTube videos, can go very, very wrong very quickly. I know people that have popped the question at family gatherings – again, if you know beyond a doubt your better half would like this and is sure to say yes, go for it, but if not, I’d really avoid putting them in the spotlight. There will be enough of that later!
• The Ring – do your homework! I was very lucky in that Mrs Vintage Veil is not backward in coming forward; I knew exactly what she did (and more importantly didn’t) want in an engagement ring. However, some people may be more coy, or if it’s a total surprise proposal, you may not hear it from the horse’s mouth. In that case, do some research. Find your future bride/groom’s best friend and ask them directly. There’s a decent chance they’ve discussed it, and if not, you can at least get a feel for the style of ring if not the exact make and model.
• Try not to panic too much. I flubbed my lines, but she still said yes and it’s something we joke about even over 2 years later. It’s scary, yes, but if you’re in love and in a committed relationship, there’s a good chance it’s something you both want. Go in feeling positive!
• Make it magical. This is the start of the rest of your lives together – make it memorable for being an amazing event, no matter what you do. Make it something your soon-to-be Mrs or Mr remembers forever.
It’s easy in hindsight to say how relatively painless popping the question was. With the right planning and good attitude, I think it doesn’t have to be nearly as scary as it’s made out to be.
A slightly warmer beach than where Mr Vintage Veil proposed! Image (c) Under the Vintage Veil