Girlfriend Discussion of the Week: Proposals

by Rachel on September 1, 2011

As I said a few weeks ago, I have so many interesting conversations with my girlfriends about different aspects of relationships and I wanted to share the topics here because I’d love for you all to join in the discussion. The response to my conversation with Leah about adoration was great, so I’ve been excited to do this again!

Today’s topic is the topic of proposals. I feel like at least once a week, I’m talking to one of my friends about rings. It seems like a lot of modern girls have picked out the perfect ring (or at least a few styles they like) and have given their boyfriends detailed instructions about how he should propose. But as many girls start the “waiting for him to put a ring on it” game, I kind of wonder…is there even a point to proposals anymore? Once you’ve picked out a ring, it seems like a bit of a formality!

I turned to two of my girlfriends, Julia and Beth — neither of them are engaged, but each has done the “looking at rings” thing with her “pre-ancé“– to get their thoughts.

What is the point of a traditional, down-on-one-knee surprise proposal?

Julia: First of all, I gag at the thought of a down-on-one-knee proposal. It’s just not for me! But I do think a proposal can be a great opportunity for you to say something really meaningful about your relationship: how happy you are, how you are looking forward to your life together, etc. I’ll sometimes ask my (man of few words) boyfriend why he loves me just to hear his response; I know quite well he loves and adores me, but I want to hear him say it and say why. I think the traditional surprise proposal gives the guy the opportunity to wow his gal, put it all out on the table, and go out with a bang because he has nothing to lose at that point!

Rachel: Honestly, I think at this point, the proposal is less about “Will she say yes or no?” and more about “What can I do to make all her friends and family think I’m the best guy ever?” To me, it’s just the way guys are expected to “prove” their love in the year 2011. He has to do some showstopping event, but I think it’s more for the “audience” than for the couple. I do think that most girls are really excited by the idea that a guy put time/thought/energy into planning a surprise for them, because it makes them feel special and loved. But something simple and very “us” that he put a little thought into planning would make me more excited than an elaborate kidnapping heist involving helicopters, baby seals, and a video directed by James Cameron. I kinda feel like that’s the shit guys have to do these days to impress a girl (and her friends).

Beth: I don’t have any demands for the way my man will propose, and if he didn’t want to get down on one knee, that’s fine, I want him to be comfortable… but I must confess that I DO find something thrilling over the idea that we could be going along, doing something that makes us happy (a walk in Grant Park, a glass of wine at our favorite wine bar, listening to our favorites jazz artists at his apartment on a lazy Sunday) and then, BAM, when I least expect it, there he is, down on one knee, so quickly it takes my breath away and Aha! There’s that gorgeous ring I picked out! And NOW Omg what is he going to say!? I’m a fool for love, but it’s exciting to me, and I want to be that grandmother who looks back on that moment and feels young all over again.

Do you think proposals are at all overrated?

Julia: The more I think about it, the harder this simple question is! I’m going to say no, they aren’t overrated or obsolete. They still serve a purpose, even if the nature and delivery of proposals has changed. Can you imagine if everyone just had a casual conversation about getting engaged, like it was on the same level with deciding what to make for dinner or discussing your next vacation? I think proposals in any form, casual or formal, can at least elevate the conversation to a little higher level and distinguish it from other events in your life.

Rachel: To me, the proposal seems kind of silly and unnecessary. I know it’s not “romantic” to say that but at this point, most people know what the ring looks like, know he is going to “ask,” and know she is going to say yes…so what’s the big f-ing deal??? So yes, I think that proposals are kinda overrated. I like the idea, and I do think there should be something to make this a formal thing, but I don’t know that a proposal — or at least what a proposal has become in the last few years — is the right thing.

Beth: Proposals are NOT overrated! They lay the foundation for a rite of passage that is very layered and loaded with tradition. If proposals are obsolete, let’s do away with wedding cakes, maids of honor, and the first dance then too. They don’t need to involve an airplane etching the words, “Will you marry me?” in the sky while the couple stands below in a cornfield, gazing above in awe and tears, but there is a definite respect needs to be paid to this very romantic tradition. It is an unforgettable opening moment for the couple as they embark on a new journey together that just so happens to be a lifelong (hopefully!) commitment. And it provides the one proposing with an opportunity to express his or her undying love very simply and truly. In an age where society is either too far removed from romantic ideals or too uptight to embrace the beauty these once-in-a-lifetime moments offer, doing away with the proposal is a hindrance to the unity marriage and civil unions provide.

Rachel: Beth, that’s true that people don’t always embrace the once-in-a-lifetime moments anymore…probably because they aren’t always once-in-a-lifetime events. I think people have gotten cynical as over-the-top proposals or weddings continue to end in divorce. I agree that it’s tradition, and I’m not against tradition in general, but I do think that doing things just for the sake of tradition (including wedding cakes, maids of honor, etc.) is only cool if it makes sense for the couple. Sometimes a wedding doesn’t make sense to them. And maybe for some people, a proposal doesn’t either. I think as a culture we could be more open to alternatives and put less focus on the proposal — and probably the wedding — in general.

What are your thoughts on picking out your own ring? Why not let the guy choose?

Julia: If he/we are going to be spending so much money on one purchase, probably the biggest purchase we’ve ever made, then I better be involved in picking it out! Of course, a ring is a symbol of love and commitment and all that good stuff, but it is also a big-ass investment. And I’m planning to wear it for forever so it should reflect both of our tastes, not just his or not just mine. Ideally, I’d like to pinpoint some specific features that I like, try some rings on for size, and maybe not see the final product until it is completely done so it still has a small surprise element.

Beth: If mama’s going to wear that ring for the rest of her life, I better know damn well what it’s going to look like. I love my man very dearly, but the truth is, fashion just isn’t important to him the way it is to me. It’s not that he doesn’t have class and style on his own, and I’m sure he’d pick out something lovely, but to leave it up to him is not a risk I want to take. There’s no way to know that you’re going to be completely happy with this piece of jewelry — and heirloom, hopefully — unless you’re in on the deal. The real surprise is in how he’s going to give it to me; the real surprise is the proposal.

Rachel: Beth, I see what you’re saying, and that would make sense then that proposals matter to you. Um, well, given the fact that my boyfriend begs me to give him specific lists before any holidays/birthdays because he’d rather get it right than mess it up, and the fact that style and jewelry matter to me, I’d say yes, I’m fine with picking something out. But like Beth, I’d like the finished product to be a surprise. Also, this is not really related, but I’ve decided that instead of a wedding ring, I’d like to wear a Cartier love bracelet instead.

Are trips to jewelers and conversations about the logistics of engagement (like roughly when it will happen) killing romance?

Rachel: Well, they aren’t killing romance. There are plenty of opportunities for romance throughout your life…but maybe a traditional romantic moment isn’t going to be the most romantic one, nor should we expect them to be. But frankly, I think people don’t have enough conversations about logistics because they are too worried it’s not romantic. But I always consider that for most of history, marriages were arranged and had nothing to do with love (sorry, but it’s true!), so pre-engagement conversations were all about the logistics. It didn’t matter how someone proposed; it mattered if the woman had a dowry or was a hard worker or if it benefited their families for them to marry. So now that we do have love marriages, I think we need to be OK with a very small aspect of marriage that a little “unromantic.”  But to avoid conversations about the rest of your life because they aren’t romantic seems shallow.

Julia: I don’t think they have to kill romance! We have incorporated trips to the jeweler into a day of spending time together and I think that can be romantic. And my boyfriend has expressed interest in helping to plan the wedding, which I would love to do with him. Also, I would SO stressed if we hadn’t discussed the logistics of an engagement. I worry about everything and I’m the person in the relationship that plans and thinks ahead. Not to say he never does any of the planning, but if I weren’t to be involved in the process, the resulting stress would be what kills the romance!

Rachel: I agree. And I think that it’s a really good idea to talk about when it will happen so you don’t find out that you two are on totally different pages about what you want it to happen. Maybe not down to the date and time if you want it to be a surprise, but a range of a few months is smart. I think that makes it more equal and not this “girl waiting” scenario we see again and again. It’s also more fair to the guy…so he doesn’t have a “girl saying no” scenario. We live in a modern world where people have career goals, personal goals, timelines…so both people’s feelings need to be taken into account. You might find your timelines don’t mesh too well, because maybe you made them before you actually met someone, and so you need to re-think things.

Beth: They are a perfect opportunity for the two of you to become closer on a new, invigorating level.

Rachel: Yeah, that’s true! I think that when we’re young, we think that relationships and marriage will be one thing…and as we get older, we learn it’s real. It’s not a fairy tale. So getting to experience these new real aspects of life with someone is surprisingly romantic and exciting.

So isn’t “picking out rings” kind of the new proposal?

Rachel: I think so! And I’m totally cool with that. I think there is still room for some tradition/ritual when it comes to involving your friends and family and telling the world about it, but I don’t think the proposal should be the moment you decide you’re going to marry someone.

Beth: It’s the nuevo approach to engagements; in this economy, with these divorce rates, let’s have a legitimate conversation followed up with proof we’re both serious and let us pick out a ring so we’re really and truly on the same page.

Do you have a dream proposal in mind? Would you be upset if it didn’t work out that way?

Rachel: Um, in 8th grade, Beth and I wrote a list in her diary of like twenty ways we’d like to be proposed to. Every one of them involved people watching and clapping. Beth, remember that? Can we please find it? I’d like to share those with your man with some notes/comments added in.

Beth: LOL Rachel, I know for certain that one of those proposals involved the red carpet at the Oscars, and another one involved his proposal as part of his Oscar speech, and another involved his interrupting our Oscar speeches to get down on one knee on national television. Talk about dramatic! As far as the question is concerned, the only thing that would make me cringe is if he DIDN’T propose, or if he proposed in front of my family…how embarrassing! I don’t need my mother brimming with pride and taking pictures during our special moment. All I ask is that it’s at a moment when we are connected, present with one another, and aware of how very special this is. And if he stumbles over his words or I notice the sweat beads on his forehead, or a homeless man interrupts us to ask us for change, so be it! This is true love, after all, and like Julia said, it’s our unique story.

Julia: For as much as I love looking at wedding stuff, I don’t really have a dream proposal in mind! More so, I know what I don’t want: no sports venues or jumbotrons, restaurants, huge crowds of people, flash mobs, etc. I don’t think I would be upset either way though. I’ve learned not everything goes perfectly according to plan in relationships and that’s OK — it is what it is and you go with it! Besides, the imperfections add to your own little unique story.

Rachel: I think the “don’t” list is pretty common for most of us! But I’m really more comfortable with the idea that him asking if I want to go to the jeweler and designing a ring is sort of “our” moment, and how we decide to later share that with friends and family once the ring is done and we’re ready to change our Facebook statuses and planning a wedding, is just something different. And neither look like a traditional proposal to me. But that’s my vision, and a proposal isn’t just about me, so I’m not going to be married (no pun intended) to things I must have. Julia has always been my “run any big ideas for surprises by her first” friend, and she and I have talked about what I want (and don’t want!) so she’s totally ready to share if asked.

Beth: Just don’t do it while we’re having sex. How could I possibly answer people when they asked how he proposed?

What does your boyfriend think of  all this stuff?

Julia: I don’t know!

Beth: Y’know, I’m not sure what he thinks he of proposals and now I’m determined to begin the conversation since evidently, I have some strong beliefs!

Rachel: OK, sometime soon we need to get the men’s thoughts on this to share!

Beth: I do know that he thinks that rings are meant to be heirlooms, and should be classic in style — and, because he’s Mr. Finance and Investment, he thinks anything other than a round cut is an unwise investment because if the going gets rough one day and we have to sell it to buy a loaf of bread, the round cut will ultimately carry the most value. I almost slugged him when he said that, but I knew he was kidding….kind of…

Last question: is your man asking your dad if it’s cool?

Rachel: My mom would say what she said when I said I was moving to Texas — “If he can stand you, he can have you.” But I think it’s good to let both your families know it’s coming soon. I’d want them to know. Not to say yes or no, but just because it’s a big deal and I’d feel weird cutting them out of it.

Julia: LOL, um, no. Or at least I would prefer if he didn’t. I’m in staunch opposition to traditional gender roles, I’m very independent, and I’ve never had that close of a relationship with my dad. I’m also not a fan of the history behind asking for permission to propose or “giving the bride away” — passing the daughter (the property of the father) over to the husband. I think having a group conversation with me, my SO, and parents about our intentions and our plans would be more my preference.

Beth: I am with you, Julia!! I love my dad, but we’re just not the touchy-feely kind of family and I think everyone would feel really awkward and I’d like to avoid that as much as poss…

All right, lots to think about/talk about from that one! Jump in in the comments with your feelings on this! I’m sure you have many!

{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alex September 1, 2011 at 9:40 am

Since neither of them have actually experienced proposals, doesn’t that make their opinions kind of moot?

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2 Emma September 2, 2011 at 7:22 pm

I think I’m going to go with the “I’ve never been to the Middle East, but I can still have feelings on the subject” line. I think most ladies our age who aren’t engaged still have feelings about the proposal.

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3 ohmagada September 1, 2011 at 10:03 am

The topic of shopping for rings came up rather suddenly for the live in boyfriend and I, as we both have jury duty on the same day. He mentioned several times that while we’re down there, we should just get married. So I said I would if I had a ring. The next day we were ring shopping! We are not getting married at jury duty, but the way it all played out was so us. Spare of the moment and perfect. It felt almost like an engagement, knowing that he was committed enough to go ring shopping. So in that respect I agree with y’all that ring shopping is the new engagement. The Proposal: After a day of shopping, I told him I didn’t want to be involved. He knew the types of rings I liked, and it was up to him to decide when and how he did it. My requests were that he ask my dad out of respect to my family and to make sure I didn’t just break *that* nail. I can’t stand a beautiful ring on an unmanicured finger. :)

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4 Paul McConaughy (@minutrition) September 1, 2011 at 10:08 am

I’ll throw in one man’s comments… although from another generation. I know you wonder what the heck I’m doing reading Rachel’s blog anyway. Well… we i-met when she was still a Michigan girl… she went to college in Lansing, where I live, and I found her fascinating for her “say it like it is” approach (which I never would have seen when I was younger.). Every time I read her I either laugh, or cry, or learn something, or wish I’d said that, or…. She’s good, and I appreciate good.

So, why do I get a say on this topic? 43 years of being married gives me some props.

1. One of the cool things about being married is having shared stories. I think today’s high drama proposals may arise from memories of parents stories… they were great stories. I doubt if any of them involved names on the scoreboard at Yankee Stadium, or skywriting, or trips to New York for rides through Central Park in horse drawn carriages… but they had stories. Some of the stories were better than others, but telling the story was a great way to introduce a new spouse to friends and family. Isn’t that what you’re trying to create today?

The other thing that I had to do that may not be part of traditions today is ask her father. Now that required lots of planning and rehearsal and it still all came out wrong. But, what the heck, it was something to include in the story.

2. The size of the ring has no relation to the strength of the marriage. I picked out my wife’s (then girlfriend’s) ring. I think that was common then. The proposal may not have been a surprise but the ring was. I definitely know general information on the kind of ring she would like but it was mine to get right or wrong. I also didn’t have much money so it wasn’t that big of a diamond. Later in life when we were doing better I offered to get her a bigger diamond. She’s no dummy… she took the diamond – for another finger. She wouldn’t take that little proposal diamond off for anything. It’s part of our shared story and she loves what it means.

3. It’s important to talk together about the likes of proposals and weddings BUT don’t let that dominate the conversation. Don’t end up married and realize that, while you talked about proposals and weddings, you never talked about kids, where you would live, who’s job gets Providence, do you each keep your own earnings or put them together, how much can you spend without asking your partner, etc.

There’s one old man’s opinion. Hope it adds.

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5 Phoebe September 1, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Your comment about asking her father reminded me, I have a friend who got married last year and they have a very cute story about him asking her father. They were trying to do it over Christmas and went through some funny machinations with her trying to get her stepmother out of the room so he could ask her father alone. There are lots of nice traditions associated with proposals!

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6 Michelle September 4, 2011 at 10:44 am

It definitely adds – you need to comment more! Kudos for bringing perspective. Thanks.

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7 Melissa September 1, 2011 at 10:15 am

When I was in college, a good mentor/friend of mine told me about how she and her husband got engaged? He just said one day that they should get married and they went out and bought each other jewelry. It struck me at the time that it made the proposal and marriage more about them than her. I told my husband (then boyfriend) I thought we should both get rings too when it was time. I wanted the entire process to be about us as a couple and not just me as the bride (this is basically impossible – I didn’t know that then).

One day he came in and said we were going to look at rings the next weekend. We both picked out rings for each other together that day. After we got the rings he took me to a place on campus we went to to talk and have quiet and he told me loved me and asked me to marry him.

Our story is very “us” and we both have sapphire engagement rings that were relatively cheap. We both wear them on the right hand (we got confused about which hand at the time and it just stuck) and our wedding bands on our left. My husband still (8 years later) gets compliments on his engagement ring.

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8 Rachel September 1, 2011 at 10:17 am

I just got teary! That’s so romantic, unique. special, and about BOTH of you, which is so great. I love how you wear them on the “wrong” hands.

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9 Ariel September 1, 2011 at 3:01 pm

My husband and I have sapphire engagement/wedding rings, too! We call his a “man-gagement” ring.

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10 Emma September 3, 2011 at 9:44 am

I love this idea! I’ve always joked with Adam that it’s not fair that during the engagement period, the woman is clearly taken, but the man still looks like a free agent!

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11 Caity September 1, 2011 at 10:22 am

Love Paul’s comments! Good perspective.

I got proposed to in front of tons of people in a (I gag a little writing this) mall, and let me just say, having an audience is WAY overrated. I said yes, but there was no “I do.”

I think that the proposal should be specific to the couple, whether he gets down on one knee in a restaurant or hands you a box on the street a la Aiden & Carrie, its about your style, your history together. I think women tend to get really excited about this topic and perhaps overthink it a tad, while most guys I know are pretty mellow on the subject. I just think that it’s incredibly important to remember that the ring, the proposal, even the wedding are just window dressing, embarking on a life together is the good stuff! :)

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12 Josh September 1, 2011 at 10:25 am

Having proposed recently, I have strong feelings about everything in this article. First & foremost, I completely disagree with the girl picking out her ring. If you trust your man at all, let him pick it out for you. If he asks for your help, then that’s fine. But I strongly feel that a girl demanding to pick out her ring, or turning down a ring because she doesn’t like it, is incredibly cruel.

My fiance and I love traveling, and generally take 2-3 vacations a year (not lavish, mostly in the US). We also tend to be fairly spontaneous when it comes to vacations as well. Shortly after we returned from a trip, I got an e-mail alert about great flights to London. I called her up, and asked if we should book the trip? We ended up booking, and would be heading to London in 4 months. I decided then that would be the best time to propose.

I spent the next few months researching, and talking with jewelers to design a ring. The outcome, is was a ring that she absolutely loves and would not trade for the world. If you truly love your fiance, I don’t think any girl would hate their ring.

As far as the proposal goes, we were walking through kinsington gardens with some star bucks in hand. Nothing lavish, it just seemed to be the right time. And no, I did not get down on one knee.

-My two cents

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13 Melissa September 1, 2011 at 11:11 am

I think it’s important to get the woman’s input on the ring. I recently lost an heirloom ring that belonged to my grandmother, and I’m absolutely positive that I want the closest replication I can manage for an engagement ring some day. And my future fiance won’t know what that looks like without my help. Also, the woman has to wear it, so I’m sure anyone will appreciate the sentiment but if it’s not their style, it can be uncomfortable. I’m not saying they won’t love anything you give them but still … I’d want to at least know I’m getting a style I appreciate.

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14 Josh September 1, 2011 at 11:35 am

I can completely understand that. I just know my fiance and her style very well, so this was never a problem. I just think maybe some ladies should give their guys a bit more credit, you might be surprised at what we can do! :-D

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15 Rachel September 1, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Yeah, Josh, I think you’re a rare find! Some guys know what she’d love (and care!) and others are terrified and want her help. I think this is why it’s even more important that it’s a mutual process, not all his vision or hers, and that you talk about it! I used to work with fine jewelry so I saw AMAZING vintage pieces and learned a lot about jewelry. But then again, I found out my boyfriend hates yellow diamonds — so what I thought I wanted isn’t a good fit for US!

If you feel like sharing, why, if you knew what the answer was, did you wait to propose on your trip? And keep the ring a surprise? I’m just curious because it sounds like some people question the whole “him asking” thing and I’d like to get your perspective!

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16 Carrie @ No More Tomorrows September 1, 2011 at 10:28 am

Warning: Unpopular opinion to follow…

I’m frustrated with the amount of time and money that’s spent on one day when ultimately, 50% of those days will be signing a marriage license then and divorce papers in the future. I’ve never understood how it’s possible, let alone why anybody would want to spend so much money on it. But then again, I’m the girl who didn’t want to get married until about 6 months ago. I’m 28.

I am in love with the greatest man I’ve ever known. I have no greater wish than to spend the rest of my life with him and make beautiful babies together. As far as the ring, he knows where to find ethical jewelry which is of absolute importance to both of us. As long as it’s silver and the stone is small (yes I said small) I don’t really have any care in the details, other than I really hope he wouldn’t spend a lot of money on it. I don’t like tradition, I don’t find any meaning in it. But I would like a moment where he gives me the ring, but I won’t care about the details.

Both of us question pretty much everything about traditions, and we’re not religious, and we’re pretty against the grain. I’ve even questioned the traditional wedding and marriage ideals. I do want to spend the rest of my life with him, and I want a moment where we pledge that and it marks our commitment of forever, but I’m not too worried about how it happens or when. We’re already building a life. We’re doing the things in life that matter. And I’m not looking elsewhere and know he’s not either. I’m okay to let life run it’s course. I know he believes in committing to someone and having a family. If I’m the one he wants that with, I know he’ll make it happen, just as I’m making it happen by showing him the life we’d have together. The details don’t matter to me. All that matters is that he loves me.

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17 Rachel September 1, 2011 at 10:35 am

I don’t think your opinion is unpopular or, honestly, that uncommon!

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18 Carrie @ No More Tomorrows September 1, 2011 at 11:10 am

I think it would depend on which circles I was expressing this opinion in. I sat in training for a past job and the instructor was talking about a loan or something and mentioned a wedding. He asked us how much a wedding cost, and jokingly said a thousand dollars. The girls went CRAZY!! I told them I had three different close friends set their budget at a thousand and they all curled their noses up like that was way beneath them.

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19 Rachel September 1, 2011 at 11:11 am

Aww…well I hope this isn’t one of those circles! I think you and I are more on the same page than not actually.

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20 betsy September 1, 2011 at 11:11 am

I agree Rachel, I have the same feels as Carrie.

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21 Phoebe September 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm

I think you raise some great points Carrie. This is really an age of excess and it’s easy to feel jaded when something that has traditionally been meaningful and personal, weddings and marriage, is largely associated with expenditure. I recently read the excellent book “One Perfect Day” by Rebecca Mead (New Yorker writer) about the American wedding industry and highly recommend for those interested in this subject.

My parents got married pretty late in life, and just had a judge at some friends of theirs’ house with the friends as witnesses, no fancy dress or whatever. This kind of simple affair really appeals to me too. I’ve always wanted to be married, but not have a wedding: it’s the marriage that’s the important part. But on the other hand, I struggle with this because there are a lot of people in my life who would love to come to such a happy occasion, whom it would be really meaningful for me to have present, and frankly, whom it would be fun to have a celebratory party with! I think there IS something to be said for cultural ritual; wedding ceremonies exist in almost every culture. (I have book recommending disease, “Committed” by Elizabeth Gilbert is really interesting on this subject too!) But it can be hard to navigate between these conflicting principles and a materialistic cultural surrounding.

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22 Carrie @ No More Tomorrows September 2, 2011 at 12:06 pm

This post actually got me to thinking a lot. If we aren’t religious, and don’t believe in taking oaths and making vows, then what kind of wedding would fit that? And would anything fit it? I think if the time comes that we’re ready for “til death do us part” then we’ll figure out the details. But I did google a whole bunch of stuff yesterday. LOTS.

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23 Rachel September 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I think there are so many ways you can do a non-religious wedding! It can be based in other traditions too. To me it starts with, “Why are you getting married?” It’s a question that isn’t as simple to answer as it seems (and it sounds like you’ve thought long and hard about that). I think the WHY should inspire the HOW, but how that will end up looking, I have no idea.

Would love to hear more of your conclusions after all your Googling and such!

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24 Rachel September 2, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Phoebe — I completely agree with this: “there are a lot of people in my life who would love to come to such a happy occasion, whom it would be really meaningful for me to have present, and frankly, whom it would be fun to have a celebratory party with!” It’s tough to find the right balance here.

I love “One Perfect Day” — you should also check out “Marriage, a History.” It gave me a lot more perspective on the topic!

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25 [SMASH] at Sweat. Style. Swoon. September 1, 2011 at 10:32 am

My parents [both previously divorced] got engaged with a plastic Ronald McDonald ring. Neither had much money and my mom was raising her 3 girls [my 3 older half-sisters] but they were over-the-moon in love regardless of not having funds for a ring. My mom STILL has this ring [which will later get passed along to me since I’m their first daughter together!] and I love her for that. [And her wedding band had to be cut off years later after an allergic reaction and she now wears a $50 gold band from Wal-Mart. For them it’s all about what the symbol means, not about what it costs.]

I feel like my boyfriend and I march to the beat of our own drum and will do what’s right for us. We’re not generally fancy people and I’d be so embarrassed if he did a dramatic, extravagent proposal [though I’d still appreciate it]. I want the proposal to feel like “us”. Drop to his knee during a soccer game we’re watching. Surprise me at home after I’ve cooked us dinner. I just want it to feel “normal for us”. We’re pretty low-key.

For the ring, I’d definitely want to pick it out but I’d be okay with picking out the rings [engagement ring AND wedding bands] all at once and us paying them off together. Plus because it’s such a big, significant piece of jewelry I’d wear every single day, I’d want to ensure it’s something I like. Part of me would even be okay with accepting a proposal without a ring, then doing the ring-picking after. [I read an article on Yahoo about peoples’ thoughts on getting engaged with and without rings. Interesting read and interesting comments.]

This was a great write-up and I really enjoyed seeing what you and your girlfriend [and the commenters!] said.

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26 Rachel September 1, 2011 at 10:38 am

Oooh do you have that article? I’d like to read it.

Since I feel like the conversation about getting married or going ring shopping is sort of the proposal, I guess in that sense I would be OK with a proposal without a ring!

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27 [SMASH] at Sweat. Style. Swoon. September 1, 2011 at 10:42 am
28 [SMASH] at Sweat. Style. Swoon. September 1, 2011 at 10:43 am

[I never realized the article was so short! The 242 comments are interesting!

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29 Tracy September 1, 2011 at 10:36 am

As far as picking out the ring is concerned I don’t want to be involved in it. I have given my best friends and my sister very clear directions of what I like and what I don’t and whoever I think I may marry will be given directions to take one of my best friends or my sister with him. (The other complication is that my family has jeweler, and I’d want my ring from him because I trust him, and my future husband will have to ask my friends or sister for that information anyway so that’ll be taken care of.) And I think that that is ok. I have gone with 3 of my friends husbands to buy their rings because she and I have had lots of discussions about it and I know what she wants, so it’s still a surprise to her but she is happy with her ring. I think it’s the perfect compromise.

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30 Jennifer September 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm

I agree with you! I really don’t want to shop for a ring with my BF if we go down that road (which I hope we will!), but I’d love it if he consults my sister or friends before the purchase. They would know my taste. For me it’s not about the size or how he proposes, it’s about us committing to spending our lives together. The proposal, to me, is the easy part. It’s the whole wedding planning thing that I’m seriously dreading!!

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31 Anne Weber-Falk September 1, 2011 at 10:39 am

A million years ago my husband and I were still dating and living together for two years. We were watching Thirtysomething on the t.v. when he blurted out “Do you think WE should get married?” I asked him if he was sure about this and then said sure. No special proposal necessary. We had an established home with each other. People referred to us and AnneandJohn. We had been called the perfect couple for most of our time together. Getting married felt like a natural next thing to do. No engagement ring. They cost too much for us at that time and we really didn’t think it was necessary. We enjoyed picking out our bands though. This was very special and intimate for us.
It’s fun to hear about how people propose. We’ve seen our fair share of Funniest Home Video proposals. We laugh, sometimes get teary, and say wow. I like how it worked for us though. It was nice and it felt very comfortable and natural for us.

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32 Eunice September 1, 2011 at 11:02 am

I don’t think proposals are overrated and since my boyfriend is a man of very few words I always imagine him using this opportunity to say a few nice things about me. :) I’m not looking for a big production but I do want a little romance.

As far as picking out rings, I am absolutely against it. Some things should remain a mystery, in my opinion. I may give him a few ideas (and I have) but I want him to pick the ring. And I’m sure he would want that too since he doesn’t even like for me to tell him what I want for holidays/birthdays.

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33 betsy September 1, 2011 at 11:17 am

I recently told my friends that I did not want an engagement ring, now they all think I’m batshitcrazy. We’ve been together 9 years (!!) and living together almost 5. Finances together, own a car together, buying a home, etc. We talk openly about marriage and kids and the future. We even talked about planning a wedding, but decided on a vacation together instead. It will happen, when we are both ready, or when it’s convenient.

I think the most important thing for couples is for them to TALK about marriage. It shouldn’t be a surprise, in my opinion, and shouldn’t be something that one person is waiting for (I have friends who think a ring is coming every.single.time. they go out to eat or away for the weekend with their boyfriend, talk about now living in the moment..they are always disappointed despite the great meal or fun trip. so sad). It should be something you plan together – and however you do it – picking out rings, girl propose to boy, down on one knee, never have a formal ‘proposal’ – is awesome. Make it your own. Own it, right Rachel?

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34 Erin September 1, 2011 at 11:19 am

What still bothers me about proposals is that it is expected that the man will actually decide when to “put a ring on it.” I know couples almost always discuss plans to get married many times before the proposal, but it still leaves the man deciding when to ask and the woman waiting around to say yes. I just don’t think something like that should be a one-sided affair!
But for me, I don’t think proposals have a place in my life. I see marriage as a contract-important, but not really romantic. There’s a disconnect for me between the marriage and the actual decision you make to want to be with someone indefinitely.

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35 Rachel September 1, 2011 at 11:26 am

I actually just tweeted to someone about this, but because I think that the proposal is really what happens when people have a serious conversation about getting married, I think in a lot of cases, women sort of do propose. Which makes the whole “waiting for him to put a ring on it” thing so weird. I definitely agree that it shouldn’t be a one-sided affair and I’m kind of obsessed with Melissa’s comment above about how she and her husband did things. That seems really mutual, practical, and wonderful.

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36 Erin September 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I just read it and I agree! When I have thought about it, I really like the idea of a very spontaneous and real world moment. And I do think the real proposal comes when you decide to get married together, as you have said. I guess that just makes me find the whole waiting around thing a bit more baffling!

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37 Lauren @ Keep It Sweet September 1, 2011 at 11:19 am

Great discussion, Rachel!

Even though I knew we were going to get engaged in the general time frame and he knew I was going to say yes, there was something so special about the moment we got engaged. It really was a moment just about the two of us and a day to celebrate “us”. And that day it was obvious that it would happen, but I didn’t know exactly when. It just made the whole day so exciting.

On the ring, my husband and I went to look at rings a couple of months before we got engaged. We both knew ahead of time that we wanted to get married but he surprised me to go ring shopping. Also, I didn’t pick out a specific ring but just the styles and shapes I liked. It is a piece of jewelry you will likely wear forever and so much of an investment, that I don’t think it is worth it for the guy to “guess” (unless of course he does good research via your siblings, friends, etc.).

In general, I think the whole process should be about the couple and whatever makes the two of them happy. After all, it is committing to spend your lives together.

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38 Lisa September 1, 2011 at 11:23 am

Interesting topic! I agree that it’s less about “will she say yes or no”. My boyfriend and I have been together for over 3 years and we’ve lived together for 2. Um, duh, I’m gonna say yes. We live together. We talk about marriage and how we want our wedding to be. At least once a week we discuss our future children. No brainer!

I want a traditional proposal. He doesn’t have to spend a lot of money on a ring or the proposal, I haven’t picked out a ring (other than mentioning I don’t like yellow gold) and I have no expectations. I know when he does it, he’ll make it special for US.

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39 deva September 1, 2011 at 11:34 am

I have been with my Boy for five years, and we’re not engaged. The most common question we get asked when we are out and about together is “when are you getting engaged?” We always answer the same way: “eventually.”

I think in terms of ring shopping, he knows what I like and I trust him to choose a ring that I would like, but if he were to come to me and ask to shop together, I would go. I don’t want or need a lavish proposal, I just want it to be a moment that is about us as a couple – getting engaged is a big decision, in my opinion, and I would want it to be about us more than anything – not all about me or him, but about us as a couple – where we’ve come from and where we are going.

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40 Samantha M. September 1, 2011 at 11:46 am

My now-husband and I went ring-shopping once it was clear he planned to ask me to marry him “one day”. He made it clear that he wanted to know what ring I’d like, BUT I wouldn’t know when it was happening. Truth be told, it was probably about 6 months before the actual proposal.

My husband is a traditional sort of guy, so even if I hadn’t wanted a “traditional” proposal, he would’ve done it anyway, haha. I didn’t need an audience for a proposal, but I do agree with the idea that it’s a chance for a man to be creative and wow you. Romance is kind of dead at this point, so something that fits the couple and makes a great story for THEM is entirely appropriate, however that should happen.

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41 Cyndie September 1, 2011 at 11:47 am

I have a lot to say, but I’ll just say this: I know that my proposal was SUPER important to my husband. I had picked out the ring a couple months prior, but other than that I had no idea when he was going to propose. It was KILLING me that I didn’t know when he was going to do it, but he would get really mad at me for asking him about anything concerning the proposal. He said it was really important to him to surprise me.

So yeah, maybe you SHOULD get into your man’s head. He may really want to do it the traditional way, even if you don’t care if he pops the question when you’re chillin’ at home.

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42 Mel September 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I agree with the commenter above me; I never want to be sitting around wondering “will it be today?” because the ring is already picked out. I’m a bit of a classic romantic and if my sig other and I have had the important conversations and real talks about our expectations for life and how we feel about each other, then I trust he will make moves when he’s ready and can tell I’m ready.

The decision to *be married* to someone vs dating seriously, is a big one that is worthy of a romantic gesture in my opinion. My dream proposal only ever included a simple confession of love- I want to hear how great I am, damnit. Also I absolutely would want to be surprised by the ring and I know THE guy would know my friends are the go-to on this topic. Maybe though, this is coming from a woman whose previous lovers have always “just decided” one day they wanted to date, so I just imagine they would have the same, sudden feeling about being ready to wed. Haha

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43 Mel September 1, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Oops well it was a different comment above before but still fitting.

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44 Allie September 1, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I knew my husband had a ring and a proposal was coming, but he picked a day I was late for work and popped the question as I rushed in to kiss him goodbye (he was still in bed). I said a quick yes, grabbed the custom ring, and headed to work to admire it all day long. I HATE telling people he didn’t even get out of bed. His reasoning was that he wanted to do it whenever he felt comfortable, and he had been carrying the ring around for a couple weeks. I’m like, really? He couldn’t have met me at the door as I was rushing off to work or waited till we were having a quiet dinner at home that night? He’s an awesome husband, so I forgive him. I’m going to tease him about it forever though!

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45 Rachel September 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I love a good story and I’m a sucker for romance. I want someone who will make it special for me because if a guy cant put some effort into asking to spend the rest of his life with me, chances are he’s not going to learn that skill later on…Ask my mother, she can vouch for this.

And, for me, picking out the ring together is kind of awkward which is why I have sent an exact link and specifications to my best friend for safe keeping…oh and i dont have a boyfriend, i am just a planner and also an insane person.

For a cute engagement story, I had my friend write up a recap of hers from last week. http://www.guidetomenhattan.com/2011/08/wednesdays-edition-of-living.html

There is a 95% chance if I were in her situation, I would have thrown a tantrum about going on the boat and ruined the whole thing.

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46 Rachel September 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Read your post — I was actually really surprised by how you said you kept asking your friend all the time if he had asked yet and then she kept nagging him too. I guess that’s what bothers me about the whole “surprise proposal after we talk engagement/rings” thing…it seems like a lot of girls get stuck in that spot — waiting and waiting, even though they know it’s coming — and it sounds really frustrating for all parties involved.

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47 Emma September 3, 2011 at 9:49 am

It is! Including the best friend of the girl. I love her to death, but when she was complaining that she was irritated and mad at her man for not proposing yet, I was like, “Seriously? Seriously. DBR!” Besides being kind of silly and frustrating, I think it really put too much focus on the ring itself, and not nearly enough on what the ring symbolizes.

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48 Phoebe September 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm

As someone said above, I’d definitely rather be proposed to, OR make a mutual decision to get engaged, in some sort of quiet moment that was more “us” rather than some dramatic occasion. That would be a really special story. The funny thing is that when I was a little kid and thought abstractly about getting married I always imagined that I would do the proposing. I actually grew up in a dorm at an all-women’s college so maybe the feminist environment rubbed off on me in that way.

The ring thing is something I think about a bit because my boyfriend knows how picky I am and is quite clueless about style and design and stuff like that. I have almost no jewelry and would really value a nice ring – so I guess I feel like I would have to help pick it out! However, I DON’T think that a proposal, or a decision to get married, needs to come with the ring already present. I think that you can make the decision, then get the ring. That seems like the best idea to/for me personally.

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49 Julia September 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I wanted a traditional proposal. I wanted it to be a surprise. My fiance had bought me jewlery several times before he proposed and I liked it all so I trusted him. Sometimes if I was reading a magazine and saw a ring ad or if a friend got engaged I would tell him whether or not I liked the ring in that picture or on that person, but that was all the direction he got. I was delighted when he took me on a little getaway and proposed with a ring that I love. I was surprised, too! I do NOT think the traditional proposal is dead. I think that maybe we as women just need to put less pressure on the men in our lives to do it on our time table and let it happen more organically.

Also, the ring discussion is a bit ridiculous to me. Is some that you know well enough to marry really going to pick out something you don’t like?

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50 Rachel September 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I feel like you gave your boyfriend a good amount of direction by showing him pics of rings and commenting on what you liked and didn’t like! That’s enough to keep someone from picking out something you don’t like, I think. Maybe if you hadn’t helped, it wouldn’t have been as easy for him.

All I know is my mom knows me. My best friends know me. And I don’t know if I’d trust any of them to buy me jewelry without ANY input from me. I don’t know that it’s that different with a boyfriend, but giving a guy direction seems like a really negative thing to a lot of people.

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51 Julia September 1, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I didn’t mean to stay totally silent about what you want. Obviously, I made sure he knew what I liked and didn’t like in a ring. My point was that with just a general idea of my preferences he was able to pick out something gorgeous that was white gold, as I prefer, and princess cut, my favorite, but that I hadn’t seen before that moment. Every other detail of the proposal such as the when and where was up to him and that worked for us. I just didn’t feel like I needed to be in control of any of it, but I realize that some women feel that they do and that is also a valid approach. My point was that the “old fashioned way” isn’t completely obsolete.

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52 Ariel September 1, 2011 at 3:12 pm

When my husband and I got engaged, there was no proposal moment. It was something we had been talking about for a while, and then it was something we decided to cement. Like Melissa, we decided that we would both get rings. I wanted to put a ring on it, too! After looking at some rings, we decided to have them custom made – they are very complimentary. We call his a “man-gagement” ring, although we ended up using them as wedding bands, too, because they are fairly simple.
Getting married is a big decision, and it is a decision that I definitely wanted a bigger say in than simply saying yes once he was down on his knee. I love my husband very much, and I’m so glad that getting married was a decision that we made together.

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53 Jordan September 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Ah! I had so many thoughts, some spilled over into my own blog! But I’m glad you’re talking about this!

I think my opinions come from a weird place, and here’s why: I worked for a year in an independent jewelry store in Durham, right next to Duke — THAT means, there were constantly doctors coming in, dropping tens of thousands of dollars on engagement rings. To say that it nearly made me crazy is an understatement. It warped my ideas of what “normal” engagements, proposals, and mostly RINGS looked like, and I drove my boyfriend crazy. I’m trying to back off from the idea that my engagement ring needs to cost $20k — especially if I want to get in the next, say, ten years… it takes a LONG damn time to accrue twenty thou to spend on one effing ring.

So while I’m calming down a bit about the ring aspect, my boyfriend and I do still talk about getting engaged. He really wants to take me ring shopping now so that we can pick a style I like and then I can have a couple of years to “forget about it” before he proposes. I saw a lot of couples pick out rings together (so nobody is disappointed!) but I really do want mine to be a surprise.

Mostly, I just think people need to have a conversation (or frequent ones, which we have) about getting engaged/married. Once, a guy came into the jewelry store to get an engagement ring and actually asked my boss the jeweler what happens if she says no. I really don’t think a proposal should EVER happen if there’s doubt the other person will say no.

Okay, I’ll shut up now. But seriously, I want to steal the word “pre-ance.” Seriously.

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54 Rachel September 1, 2011 at 3:45 pm

“If proposals are obsolete, let’s do away with wedding cakes, maids of honor, and the first dance then too” …Yes, please! None of that at my wedding, thank you very much. It’s nice that in today’s world people do all kinds of things for their proposals/engagements/weddings…if the cake and dance thing is you, great! If an outdoor sunrise ceremony in front of family followed by a potluck supper for friends is your thing (like me!), great! My fiance and I are both wearing engagement rings (wooden, found on etsy) which we decided on after he came up with 4 or 5 favorite options and showed them to me.

We got engaged while lying in bed listening to the 4th of July fireworks (I won’t say if we had clothes on…) because we were having a really special conversation and the time just felt right to him so he decided to ask me. The rings? Still in the shipping box under our bed. Was that how I’d pictured a proposal? No. Did it matter? Nope! The moment he said those words I felt like the world stood still…it was incredible.

And let’s face it…if he’d made me a special dinner then took me to the location of our first date then wanted to go for a hike to see the sunset….I would have known what was up. Surprise and spontaneity won by far.

PS- Thanks for the great discussion and varied viewpoints!

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55 Ericka Andersen September 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm

I just love my favorite new term in this post — “pre-ance!” That’s totally what I have going on. Good topic!

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56 Joey September 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I love that you are so common-sensical about not needing traditions if they don’t fit for the couple. I wish that I had thought through those types of things before I got married. Instead, my wedding was a lot of what other people said it should be versus a true expression of us as a couple or even as individuals. It was extremely traditional while I loved most of it, if I had to do it over again, I definitely would do things definitely.

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57 MelissaNibbles September 2, 2011 at 7:06 am

From reading the post and these comments, I think it’s fair to say that a proposal means different things to everyone. For some, it’s one of the best moments in their life and for others, it’s not important. Every couple is different and so is every guy. I think most guys are bright enough to know what their girlfriend expects in this situation because hopefully they’ve talked about it. If you haven’t at least talked about marriage, you aren’t ready to get engaged.

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58 Ellen September 2, 2011 at 8:24 am

So this is a sore subject for me. See, I was in a relationship, for 4 years was taken engagement ring shopping and then cheated on and DUMPED. I was left COMPLETELY blind-sided and to say that it has made me a neurotic freak in relationships is an understatement. Not to freak anyone out, but until you are married, nothing is final and even then you could still get divorced.

After going through though whole process, as much as I HATE surprises, next time around, I want a surprise. I think walking on to the engagement floor of tiffany’s again would kill me. As my therapist says, you “know” when its coming you’ve talked about it etc. its a step between two people joining there lives together.

My current boyfriend and I fall on the same page about this, no ring shopping with each other. We talk about it etc. but you couldn’t drag me on the engagement floor again.

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59 Rachel September 2, 2011 at 8:45 am

Ellen, I’m so sorry that happened to you! I don’t blame you for staying away from ring shopping at all. Thanks for sharing your story — it’s great to get different perspectives, even if (especially if?) they aren’t all fairy tales.

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60 Jessica September 2, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Day late and a buck short. But Rachel, who HAVE to watch this completely outrageous proposal.
http://www.washingtonian.com/blogarticles/weddings/bridalparty/20767.html

It’s seriously, out of control. (But I definately teared up.HA)

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61 Elina (Healthy and Sane) September 2, 2011 at 2:46 pm

LOVE this topic and obviously so does everyone else given the number of comments :)
My (now) husband and I talked about marriage for a long time before he proposed. It was sort of obvious we were going to be together, seriously together (aka marriage) very early on in our romantic relationship (we were friends for 5 years before that) so the conversation of marriage totally did come up after talking about our day at work, plans for the weekend, etc. BUT, I did think it was super special when he was ready to start looking at rings. We both wanted that, just like all of you girls above. It was a little stressful because while I wanted to do it every day until we got it right, he was a lot more chill about it (weeks would go by before we’d go back for a follow on appt) which drove me crazy. At the end, we decided generally on the stone (I sort of set a minimum size… yes I did ;) ) and my setting, and then I had no idea when he’d propose (an no, the jeweler never asked us about the date – I think that would be super weird). I knew it was going to come but I can tell you for a fact that I was completely COMPLETELY shocked when he finally did propose. Not because it happend but just that exact moment I wasn’t expecting it. And it was totally romantic and amazing and I instantly forgot all the hours I spent being mad at him for “not proposing yet.” I think your minds may change on some of this stuff when it actually happens because if your guy knows you (he should if he’s proposing to spend the rest of your life with you!) then he will know whether he needs to find a way to walk that red carpet with you, or just do it when you get home from work because he just picked up the ring today and could not wait another hour for a more “exciting” moment. This is what my husband did and it wasn’t flashy but it was so incredible!! Ok, I’m done. Sapppyyyyyyyyyy ;)

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62 Danielle September 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Interesting!

I think women don’t know what they want most of the time, and a lot of the comments reinforce my belief in that (speaking for myself, too!). We want men to be romantic and spontaneous, but we don’t want them to do it wrong. We want jewelry, but we want it to be both meaningful (“he put so much effort into it!”) and also look good (“I told him I only like this style of ring”). We want men to propose (unless I missed something, I don’t see any comments here that say how the WOMEN would propose, or how THEY would show their men they love them…), but we want to be modern and independent too. We want a surprise – as long as we’re not too surprised.

I also think there’s a lot of effort put into “proving” that you (not YOU…hah) aren’t traditional, or whatever. So many women do these crazy new “traditions”…giving the man a ring, having both parents walk you down the aisle, wearing your ring on a necklace, blah blah blah. I totally understand and appreciate personal touches, but I think a lot of verges onto “trying too hard” territory, and looking down on women who choose to do everything “by the book”, so to speak. Just because you wear a white dress and walk down the aisle with your father doesn’t mean you’re a virgin who is being given to a man…so why try SO hard to be untraditional? Same with the proposal – nothing wrong with wanting your man to do it in a traditional manner.

I think that’s why a lot of men struggle, b/c women are so intent on proving themselves as modern, independent woman who get their panties in a bunch about silly things, and they can no longer count on it being enough to just buy a pretty ring, get down on one knee, and do it.

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63 Emma September 3, 2011 at 9:43 am

When my best friend, whom I love dearly, got engaged, the event felt anti-climatic. She had picked out the ring six months prior, and spent the next several months getting increasingly annoyed/antsy/impatient for him to propose. By the time he asked her, they had already booked the place for the wedding!

To me, there’s a line, and as much as I love my friend, she crossed it – by the time she “got the ring,” the romance of the event was all gone. It was almost like a formality that needed to be wrapped up, so she could continue with the business of planning the wedding without the awkwardness of not actually having a ring yet. And I imagine the same would be true if any girl had too much say over exactly when/where/how the proposal was going to go down. She hasn’t admitted it, but I imagine that she regrets her role in creating that proposal: it really became more about her getting the ring than it was about them or their future.

My other good friend, however, gave her boyfriend an idea of what she wanted, but had no idea when he would put that knowledge to use – it was a complete surprise to her, and made for a great story in its simplicity. It’s exactly what she wanted: spontaneous and romantic.

As for your questions – I couldn’t agree with Rachel more on the first two. I hate that engagements have turned into this competition – who has the most elaborately planned proposal? Who has the biggest rock? I couldn’t agree more with Paul’s comment “The size of the ring has no relation to the strength of the marriage” – as it shouldn’t! My dad and mom were both in graduate school when they got engaged, so he just picked out a really cool sterling silver ring, no diamond, for, like, $50. He ended up buying her a diamond several years later, but she still prefers the original engagement ring – and it’s the one that I am most excited to inherit!

For me, I don’t think we’ll ever do the big proposal thing. For one, we already share our money, so a decision to buy an expensive piece of jewelry would need to be a joint one. And two, I’m just not sure that’s our style. Of course, we haven’t yet figured out what our style *is* for things like engagements and proposals…which is why we’ve been living together for 3.5 years without getting married. I like Rachel’s comment of needing to answer the “Why are we getting married?” question, which will lead to answering the How.

While the down-on-one-knee, killer-romance style of getting engaged isn’t for me, I do enjoy those traditional stories, where the girl is completely caught off-guard as they’re strolling through the park together, and he gets down on one knee to tell her that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. If I was going to go traditional, I’d want it to be a surprise (with a few helpful tips from me about the ring – I don’t like yellow gold, though, Adam obviously knows that). Just so long as you’re not getting *mad* at him for not proposing quickly enough or in the right way – which is breaking the #1 Rule: DBR! – it’ll always make for a good story.

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