Article by Pam Black, owner of Celebration House. First appeared in Die Beeld/Die Burger newspaper.
Valentine’s Day! The day universally recognised as the day of love. It is also regarded worldwide as one of the most popular dates on the calendar for proposals to take place.
Over the years, the manner in which marriage proposals are made has changed considerably. It used to be that all that was required was for the guy to go down on bended knee in the girl’s front parlour – these days, it’s most encouraging to see an increasing number of men putting a lot more thought and effort into their proposals!
For those of you who are ready to commit and take the plunge on Valentine’s Day, we have compiled a list of do’s and don’t’s, and important points to remember to get you on your way.
- Take time to consider the feelings of the person to whom you are planning to propose, and the kind of proposal you think she would like.
- Visit the restaurant where you are planning to propose in advance and choose a suitable table that will give you some privacy. Speak to the waiter and maybe arrange to have a bunch of flowers brought to your table at an agreed time (after the proposal). You could also maybe enlist their aid and ask them to write the words ‘Marry Me’ on the plate with her dessert.
- Try and choose a table with a view of the sea (or water of any kind) – or if in Cape Town of Table Mountain lit up – this always works well!
- Bear in mind that you don’t have to spend a fortune on your proposal; many girls would also find a simple picnic in a romantic setting (such as a wine farm, or on the rocks at sunset), just the ticket.
- Remember that even a simple proposal at home would work, but if you choose this route, surprise her with a house filled with flowers and candles, scatter some rose petals around and have a good bottle of bubbly chilled and ready.
- Try and broach the subject in some way before you propose, so you have a clear idea of her feelings for you. The last thing you want is to have her reject your proposal.
- Tell her dad of your intentions before popping the question. It may be old- fashioned, but he will love you for it and it could become a good bonding exercise!
- Put the ring inside a glass of champagne or any food – this trick is now old and hackneyed and you also run the risk that she might swallow, or even worse, choke on it!
- Propose to her in front of a 1000-strong live audience at a rock concert, especially if she has a shy and retiring personality. (I witnessed this once and the poor girl looked as though she would have given anything to be a thousand miles away!) I also watched (as did over 36,000 others) a You-Tube clip of a girl rejecting a proposal made to her in front of a packed stadium at a basketball game in the USA!
- Make sure in advance that she has no work commitments on the evening so you don’t waste your time planning a wonderful evening that’s a non-starter.
- Plan to propose to her on a helicopter or boat trip unless you know for certain that she has the same feelings as you do about flying or that she has good sea-legs. The last thing you want is to have someone on your hands turning green, while you are attempting to be your romantic best.
- Propose first thing in the morning on Valentine’s Day as she wakes up, or when she is looking her worst. Most women would love to be proposed to when they are looking and feeling at their best. (Although as one bride-to-be said: ‘If he proposed to me looking like that, he must really love me!’)
- Buy her a ring, unless you know exactly what she likes. Nearly all women would prefer to choose their own. Remember she is going to be the one wearing it for hopefully a very long time.
Other important points to remember
A marriage proposal is a very special moment between two people, and one that you will both remember for the rest of your lives. When asked, most women I have spoken to say they will never forget the words their future husband uttered when asking them to be their wife. You have been warned – be sincere and choose your words wisely!
What’s the bottom line?
What amount should be spent on an engagement ring?
A survey conducted by the Celebration House website revealed that 68% of those taking part thought that the groom should spend the equivalent of one month’s salary on the engagement ring; 20% thought 3 months’ salary was more appropriate, whilst the remaining 12% voted in favour of more than 5 months’ salary being spent – not sure if they were being entirely truthful of if this was merely a case of wishful thinking!
Once you have popped the question and she has replied ‘YES’, the first people to be told should be your respective parents. This should preferably be done in person or by phone and not by sms. Once they have been told, you can then shout it to the world on social media! Please don’t forget your grandparents – I know of a couple who forgot that granny didn’t have a cellphone so didn’t get an sms and she also wasn’t on Facebook and Twitter!
Celebration House has made it very easy for you to let everyone know that you have finally taken the plunge.
To have your engagement details posted on the Celebration House website simply fill out the form you’ll find on our website www.pamblackweddings.com under the heading ‘Engagement’ and we will then create a special page for you that you can share with your friends and family via Email, Facebook or Twitter. It’ll take us a day or two to create and we’ll email you with the link once it’s all done.