Alternative V-Day proposals
It's clichéd yes, but Valentines' Day is a popular day to propose. And if it's been a long time coming, that special person in your life may just be holding thumbs that you do. But this doesn't mean that the proposal itself needs to be traditional. Here are 10 alternative proposal ideas to consider.
1. New-age romance
If you met online or are just an IT geek, then why not propose online? Create a website asking your loved one to marry you. Make sure that you're there when they're viewing it though, and then get down on one knee when they're done.
2. For the high-flyers
Looking for something adventurous? Try proposing on a helicopter ride. Just be sure that your loved one is not petrified of flying — but you should know that already.
3. For the music lover
Take your loved one to see their favourite band and get the band to sing their favourite song. As the song ends ask those four little words. This obviously works best with local bands, but if you can get a big-time band to do it, you get even more points.
4. An intimate affair
Turn your house into the most romantic place in the world — spread lighted candles all over the house, prepare a bottle of good wine and spell out 'Will you marry me?' in roses. When she walks into the house she'll be blown away!
5. Play hide and seek
Make a game out of it. Text your loved one messages, email or even call her and give her hints about where to meet you. When she finally figures it out, you will be there waiting with a sign saying: 'Will you marry me?' Your beloved is bound to be surprised.
6. Living on the edge
If you are both fond of an extreme sport you can propose marriage while you are, say, scuba diving, for example. You can hold out a sign prepared in advance or just simply ask the question. But be warned not many women want to be sweaty when you pop the question — in the case of mountain biking or active sports enthusiasts…
7. Wear your heart on your shirt
Why not print 'Will you marry me?' and her name on a T-shirt and then wear it when you want to propose? You won't have to say a word, just smile…
8. For the bookworm
Buy your partner a book, preferably by their favourite author. Sticky-tape the ring to the front page of the book with the words, 'Will you marry me?' next to it. This isn't the most romantic idea, but it's something your beloved will appreciate and cherish — if you get the right book of course!
9. For the sentimental
Fill a box with memories and photos of your time together. Once you have filled the box, take her somewhere special and ask her to go down memory lane with you. At the bottom of the box will be the ring, and the rest is history...
10. For the foodie
Arrange to have dinner together at your favourite Chinese restaurant. Have the waiter give her a special fortune cookie with 'Will you marry me?' in it. Simple and easy.
Pam Black's list of favourite proposal spots:
This is popular with locals and foreigners alike. For the past seven years I have promoted South Africa as an ideal wedding destination at a bridal show in London, and I am constantly amazed by the number of British men who stop at our stand and tell me that they proposed to their future brides on top of 'our' mountain.
But let's face it; it's 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 and the cable car is not operating, 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 their opponents.
Elated at the outcome, the ardent Bok supporter looked at his 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 could provide the ideal occasion for popping the question.
Cities of romance
If money is no object, there are plenty of foreign cities that are ideal locations for proposals. One that is synonymous with romance is of course Venice, with many proposals taking place on gondola rides in the canals. One guy even timed his to coincide with the exact moment when 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 a popular location for proposals.
Unfortunately, during the summer months the long queues can be a bit daunting, but when illuminated at night the tower is such a beautiful sight that it certainly brings out the romance in everyone.
New York is one of my favourite cities — especially at Christmas time — with the city lit up and all the trees decked out in lights.
Proposing during a ride around Central Park (while warmly snuggled together under a blanket in a beautifully decorated horse and carriage), has long been a favourite choice of romantics.
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 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 husbands uttered when they proposed. You have been warned — be sincere and choose your words wisely!
Once you have asked 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. Once they have been informed, you can shout it to the world.
What's the bottom line?
How much should you spend on an engagement ring?
A survey conducted on the Celebration House website revealed that 68 percent of those taking part thought that the groom should spend the equivalent of one month's salary on the engagement ring; 20 percent thought three months' salary was more appropriate, whilst the remaining 12 percent voted in favour of more than five months' salary. This may be more a case of optimism and wishful thinking than the truth though!