Please will you marry me? Those five little words that those uttering hope will receive a positive response.
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, we have compiled a list of do’s and don’t’s, and ideas 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 arrange to have a bunch of flowers brought to your table at an agreed time (after the proposal).
- Try and choose a table with a view of the sea (or water of any kind) – or 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.
- 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!)
- Plan to drive hundreds of kilometers to her home town to surprise her with a marriage proposal – unless you are sure her work commitments will allow her to take time off to see you.
- Plan to propose to her on a helicopter trip over the Peninsula, unless you know she has the same feelings as you do about flying. 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 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.
FAVOURITE PROPOSAL SPOTS (AND OCCASIONS)
Table Mountain – a favourite with locals and foreigners alike
Every year I spend three days promoting South Africa at a Wedding Show in London and I am always amazed by the number of British men who stop at our stand to tell me that they had proposed to their future brides on top of our mountain. But let’s face it, it is hard to find a better spot for a proposal! Of course, timing is everything when planning a trip to the top, since if the famous Cape southeaster blows at gale force, you will have to put your proposal on hold for another day.
Boulders Beach, Simon’s Town
The penguins at Boulders have been witness to many a guy falling to his knees and proposing. Incidentally, when a penguin chooses a mate, he does so for life – now there’s something romantic to hang your proposal on!
At the end of a good rugby match
For a keen rugby supporter, the excitement of a good result could be just the catalyst needed! I loved the story of the proposal that took place at the end of a rugby match, when the Boks `annihilated’ the Kiwis. Thrilled at the outcome, the ardent Bok supporter looked at this girlfriend and asked her to be his wife. The bride-to-be confessed that she was thrilled with what – for her – was a perfect and romantic proposal.
A sunset cruise
Being on or near water is always romantic, and if the lady has good sea-legs, a sunset cruise in the bay could be just the occasion to pop the question.
Cities of romance
If money is no object, there are plenty of foreign cities that are ideal locations for proposals. One city that is renowned for romance is of course Venice – a hot favourite, with many proposals taking place in their canals whilst on gondola rides. One guy even timed his proposal to coincide with the exact moment that the gondola was outside Casanova’s house!
Whilst not exactly a quiet spot, (the last time I visited it we shared the occasion with a class of French pupils on a school outing!), the Eiffel Tower is still the place many guys choose to pop the question. Unfortunately, during the summer months the long queues can be a bit daunting, but when it is lit up at night it is such a beautiful sight that it certainly brings out the romance in everyone.
Grooms have also been known to propose during a solar eclipse of the sun in Turkey; at the Victoria Falls; in the snow at ski resorts; on a beach in the Bahamas; in the shark tank at the Aquarium – and even outside jewellery stores!
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!
Once you have popped the question and she has replied ‘YES’, the first people to be told should be your respective parents. This should be preferably be done in person or by phone. Once they have been told, you can then shout it to the world!
WHAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE?
What amount should be spent on an engagement ring?
A survey conducted on 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 or if this was merely a case of optimism and wishful thinking!