Top 10 Proposal Myths
By Debi Wexler , Monday, September 12, 2011 3:06 AM
Like any moment in life with great emotional and social significance, the proposal been built up in our society with all kids of mythology and customs around it. We’ve all seen enough movies to know exactly what the mythical perfect proposal is supposed to look like—the soft music, flickering candlelight, bended knee, sparkling ring and shriek of surprise and happiness. Cue the applause. But if you’ve never seen a real-life proposal before, it can be difficult to figure out which parts of the proposal are tried-and-true tradition and which parts are as fantastical as the falling-in-love movie montage. In fact, there are ten myths that most guys believe when they first set out to plan their proposals.
1. You have to ask her father permission. On one hand, most modern women feel mature and independent enough to make this decision for themselves, without their fathers getting involved. On the other hand, there is something sweet and romantic about this ancient tradition. Before you nervously approach your future father-in-law, consider your girlfriend—is she a fiercely independent modern woman, or an old-fashioned romantic? If you think she might appreciate it, consider sitting down with her father (and mother) before the proposal to inform them of your plans and ask for their support.
2. You have to choose the engagement ring
in secret and surprise her with it. This is one of the most persistent proposal myths of all. In fact, the vast majority of brides would prefer to be involved in the engagement ring shopping in one way or another. In a poll on theknot.com, only 19% of brides said they were completely surprised by the ring. In most cases, the couple will either choose the ring together, or the bride will give a friend an idea about her preferences so she can pass them along to her groom.
3. When it comes to engagement rings, bigger is always better. When we see huge engagement rings on the ring fingers of every other celebrity in the pages of gossip magazines, it’s easy to think that the most important factor of an engagement ring is its size. But in fact, sometimes smaller rings are worth significantly more, due to their superior quality. You have to know your four c’s—cut, clarity, color and carat—before you make your choice. Keep in mind that most experts agree that cut is the number one factor in determining a diamond’s overall quality.
4. The proposal has to be a surprise. This one is not completely a myth. Many brides appreciate the effort that goes into planning a great proposal, and look forward to being surprised with something personal and creative. At the same time, many (68% in the survey on theknot.com) said that they knew their boyfriends were up to something, and suspected that a proposal might be in the works. Of course, if you are about to ask someone to marry you, you probably don’t want her to be completely shocked by the idea. Presumably, you’ve reached the point in your relationship that the idea of getting married has come up once or twice.
5. You have to propose in public. In movies, proposals always seem to happen in public—in crowded restaurants, sports stadiums, and even train terminals. But in real life, a proposal can be even more romantic and special if there are no strangers watching (and photographing) you. You can propose while on a secluded hike, sitting on the beach, or even in the comfort of your own home. Without the pressure of people watching you, you will both be able to act and react more naturally.
5. Your proposal has to be so cute and quirky it becomes a viral video. We’ve all seen the viral YouTube clips—the skydiving proposal, the graffiti proposal, the on-air weather channel proposal. Sure, these ideas are cute, but for your proposal to be special and memorable, it does not have to hit a million views on YouTube. A simple, personalized and creative proposal is often best.
7. You can find the perfect proposal in a book or website. Although there are many resources available to give you ideas, ultimately the perfect idea has to come from you. No generic magazine proposal is going to beat the one that you tailor-make for her, based on her personality and her interests. It’s all about the little details that show how carefully you’ve been listening to her and getting to know her all this time. And that’s not something you can find in any book.
8. If you get in the pose, the question has already been asked. Everyone knows what getting down on one knee and holding out a diamond ring means. But just because you’ve assumed the position doesn’t mean you don’t have to say those four little words (or your own creative variation on them.) Many women have been waiting their whole lives to hear that sentence uttered—don’t deny her the opportunity!
9. She has to say yes. This one is unfortunate, but it bears mentioning. Life is not a chick flick, and not every girl says yes to every proposal. But even if she turns you down or just stands there looking stunned, it does not mean the relationship is over. Turning someone down for marriage is not the same as dumping him. It could be that she was taken by surprise, or thinks that you haven’t dated for long enough to make such a commitment. If that kind of thing happens to you, take a deep breath and try to talk about it.
10. You have to announce your engagement right away. Between updating your relationship status and Tweeting a photo of the ring, it seems like the last thing the two of you are going to do after the proposal is spend time with each other. But it doesn’t have to be that way. After she says yes, take her hands (so she can’t reach for her phone) and ask her if you can spend the first few moments with your bride alone, without the intrusion of technology. There will be plenty of time to share the good news later.
For more specific questions ask our experts