According to my biological clock, it’s time to get married, so I’ve been spending a little extra time on my wedding planning recently. It is June, afterall. I’ve had most of the details worked out for years, so it was time to get cracking and figure out how I’d like my man to pop the question. Oh, that’s his job, you say? Fuck you. Anyway, I spent a decent part of my morning scouring the internet watching marriage proposals for ideas. I was told by a coworker that this was the female equivalent of watching porn and that it was poison for my brain. If he meant that it was highly addictive and I got a little too into it, then I’d agree. If he meant that it was giving me unrealistic expectations for my own future engagement, then he couldn’t be more wrong, because I have some solid ideas, and I’m not disappointed by any of them.
Lots of guys say stupid things like “How you propose doesn’t matter.” Bull shit. Occasionally, I think I’d like to be totally caught off guard — we’d be in the grocery store and then when I turn around to ask “Peas or corn tonight?” he’s down on one knee. Then I remember, I don’t. There’s nothing special about that. It’s certainly not romantic. I’ll probably be wearing jean shorts and a t-shirt for Christ’s sake. The classic photo where he’s down on one knee and I’m standing really straight and awkwardly looking down at him with both of my hands covering my mouth will look ridiculous. I won’t want to show that to people. In fact, it seems unlikely that that photo could even be arranged in the cereal aisle. No, no. Proposals are technically about committing to spend your life together, but they’re mostly about the how of it all. It’s a big step and it deserves a big gesture. Of all the things in his life a guy has done for the story, this should be the biggest and best of them all.
The perfect proposal has four basic elements:
1. Surprise: The bride to be should never see it coming. It’s hard to pull off a secret of this magnitude, but it will make the moment that much better.
2. Personal Touch: It should be something special to the couple. A plain, old restaurant proposal or Valentine’s Day proposal is just like everyone else’s. If it’s on a date that’s important to you or in a place that’s important to you as a couple, it’s way better.
3. Production: Preferably something pretty elaborate, but I realize this is to taste. The groom-to-be should just be doing something that shows he put a lot of time and thought into it.
4. Digital Recording: In this age of technology, having your special moment recorded via video, or at least photographed is almost imperative.
I’ve fondly remembered a few guys who got it right.
Flash Mob Proposals
And so the lip-dub proposal was born. Following the initial flash mob proposal on Mobbed (which started with the guy pretending to have cheated on his now-wife, and ended with an impromptu on-the-spot wedding — horrible), Isaac’s infamous proposal to his girlfriend was the first one I’d seen of its type. She had no idea it was coming (surprise), it included her friends and family (personal), it was original and INSANE (production), and it was obviously recorded. This was the beginning of a flash mob proposal craze. Though less original, they are all probably pretty great when done right. Many have continued what Isaac started, but only one (that I’ve come across) has come close:
The interviews of her friends and family talking about how wonderful she is were a nice touch, and the beach at sunset? Cliche, but beautifully romantic nonetheless. Well done.
Movie Trailer Proposals
Simply perfect. Obviously Ginny recognized the voice of her boyfriend and her father, but it was just so unlikely that they’d be on the big screen that she wasn’t convinced (surprise). Including the scene where Matt asked for his love’s hand in marriage was a beautiful touch (personal), and convincing a theatre to allow his shenanigans was obviously a production. Since this totally precious and creative proposal, many have tried, but this is still my favorite. It wasn’t cheesy, he added humor, and subtracted that cringe-worthy feeling you get when you watch your boyfriend engage in bad acting. Kudos, Matt. I’m impressed.
Sporting Event Proposals
The final and best very public, very recorded type of proposal is the one done at a sporting event. It’s a tale as old as time. The two of you bonded over your love of drinking beer and watching giant men throw around balls while you’re over-crowded by tons of strangers, possibly wearing a t-shirt. Then the most romantic message you’ll ever receive appears via scoreboard, for you, the New York Yankees, and thousands of drunk fans to see: “Melissa. Love u! Marry Me! -Steve.”
Just kidding. This is what happens if you propose at a sporting event.
May you all have your picture-perfect big moment some day. It might not be true that if the proposal sucks, so will the marriage, but why risk it?