Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Q & A: Wedding Proposals

Reader's Question: From what I've read on your blog, I've never seen anything about you and your partner getting engaged. Did you have a traditional proposal? Or was it something you both decided on as a couple?

You know, I honestly can't pinpoint the first time either of us mentioned marriage. I don't think it was dramatic. I imagine it started in the subtle moments. It probably happened while we were at a store watching a toddler throw a tantrum because her parents wouldn't buy her bubblegum. One of us probably asked, "What would we do in that situation?"

Those "we" references probably started to appear more frequently in our conversations.

At some point, more formal conversations about our future together started. It's almost as if talking about it allowed us to try on the idea for size.

Then one Saturday night in December (a little over two years after we started dating), we were looking for something to do. The Russian Nutcracker had been rescheduled, and the ice-skating rink wasn't open. I said, "What if we go out for Mexican food and plan our wedding?"

And that was it. It wasn't spectacular. It wasn't even really story-worthy. It was just the final logistical piece. It was comfortable and casual.

At one point we had even planned on proposing to each other in really creative and special ways. We just never got around to it. Instead, we got wrapped up in planning our wedding and our life together.

Sorry to be so anti-climactic!

What about you, dear readers? Traditional proposals, something you decided together, or some other variation?

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Katie said...

I think your non-proposal proposal is neat! I actually never imagined a big surprise proposal with us either, but Kyle (my fiance) seriously blew me away. We were living in Minnesota, but moving to Chicago in the fall because he was starting law school, so I just figured we'd do the whole engagement thing way later, like, after he graduated. Anyway, that summer we decided to take a trip to Wall Drug in South Dakota because I had ALWAYS wanted to go there. Little did I know, Kyle had shipped a giant banner with "Will you marry me?" on it, and had it hung in the dining room of Wall Drug. Goofy, nerdy, and awesome, I really should have seen it coming, but I had no idea.

See picture here: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3058/2851277500_b7ef1141fb_m.jpg


Biz said...

I had been out of town, visiting a friend and came home Saturday night. We'd planned to have an all day study-date,(very typical for our lazy Sunday afternoons) so we did what we do best... hang out. After church we packed a picnic lunch, ate it in our favorite park, then went to my apt. We took a walk around my neighborhood, he went to the store to get groceries, we cooked fajitas together and then after dinner he told me he had a surprize... (I asked if it was ice cream. ha.) He said no, and pulled out some roses and a letter. The letter was a beautiful explanation of his feelings (so I started sobbing) then i looked up at my honey who was crying..and he asked me to spend my life with him. It was so perfect because it was just a normal, wonderful day we spent together that ended with a decision to spend our lives together.

Anonymous said...

We had a similar start as you and Matt did; we just got to this point where we knew we were going to get married, but we discussed how we each wanted the chance to propose to the other, and it would be really official once we'd both proposed. It was fun to get to pick out a ring for each other and plan an elaborate surprise. And we each chose something so great, I think. The way we chose to propose showed how much we are meant to be together.

CaitStClair said...

My honey and I have planned out the majority of our wedding and he's talked to my parents and sisters (a 'can I join your family', not a 'do I have your permission' kind of thing), but nothing's official. I know he'll propose in a fairly traditional way because he loves suprises and is much more romantic than I am.
Although, I do tease him that we'll have the entire thing planned before we're engaged. :-)

Anonymous said...

We had pretty much decided that we were getting married. And, in fact, when we were getting married.
But mr button is a bit traditional, so he did the whole proposal bit. Complete with tricking me, so that I didn't know it was coming, and a surprise weekend away.
It was the greatest weekend of my life. The story's on my blog, if you're interested...

Anonymous said...

Our situation sounds very similar to how yours came about! After we'd been together awhile it stopped becoming "me" and "I" and changed to "we" and "our". We would casually mention things we'd do together far in the future, or say things like, "our kids will definitely..." or "we should travel to ___ before we have kids". He is really traditional, though, so he wants to surprise me with a "real" proposal.

Becca said...

We currently refer to each other as "fusband and fwife" for future husband and future wife: finace doesn't work, because it's not official, but we know for certain that we're getting married. About 6 months ago it became obvious: we started saving money, I started researching ideas, and our families know. However, he's pretty traditional, so he wants the whole surprise/ring thing. I agreed to wear an e-ring if he agreed to wear one too, and if he promised to avoid diamonds and any major expense.

We figure it will happen officially next spring, before we move in together. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the ring shopping and non-pressured venue/cost research.

Yivinns said...

While I'm a huge fan of surprises, I think non-proposal proposals are healthy, stable, and incredibly happy ways to go about the start of a new life together!
While my wolf and I have discussed marriage together in great detail, he decided to spring it upon me, and my goodness, just recalling it gets my heart racing.
I just got home from work and was IMing him (our preferred method of communication when separated), still in my grungy work uniform, when he asked me, via AIM, to marry him. I was dumbstuck. For one, I was in shock that he'd ask over AIM instead of in person, and two, because the next moment, I felt someone behind me. There he was, sharply dressed, grinning like a little school girl. He gently pried me from my chair and asked again, shaking from having to hold me upright and his own excitement... He couldn't have surprised me more. Oops... sorry, I tend to rant.

Jess said...

I love your non-proposal proposal! I think the thing I love most about it is that you initiated it. I could never do that- I'd be too afraid of rejection!

His proposal was a complete surprise. The only one who knew was my mom because he'd asked her permission (dad isn't in the picture). He took me out for dinner on New Year's Eve in St. Louis and after midnight convinced me to walk down to the Arch for a carriage ride. Well, I went but I complained the whole way- it was 30 degrees and I was in a dress and heels. He dragged me to the top of the steps (there's a lot) under the arch and proceeded to pour out his heart to me. I was so shocked I just stood there. Finally I said yes and as we were hugging we saw this light coming towards us. It was a park ranger on a bicycle yelling at us to leave the park cause it was closed! Oh, and since he waited until after midnight to propose it ended up being on our one year anniversary. I love our story because he really put a lot of thought into it. And I think it's sweet he asked my mom's permission (she's my best friend).

Emilia Jane said...

Wow! I love that story. The captain and I have been talking about it subtle ways too. And I actually want to propose to him just because I know it takes him forever to make a decision. This kind of gives me a little more push to do it!

Anonymous said...

That sounds like me and my sweetie! We skipped the proposal and jumped right into planning our day as well! We are skipping the whole engagement ring thing as well and saving the $ for the wedding/life after the wedding. Your blog has inspired us in SO many ways! Our budget is about $2-3k - thanks for creating this blog! BTW Non-proposals are really awesome!

Tiffany @ bride-on-purpose said...

It is insane that this is your Q&A today! Last night I was talking to my boyfriend on the phone (I am away in Austria doing research, he is back home in Canada), and he was telling me how utterly disappointed he is that the romance and potential surprise of an engagement is ruined, because (a) we have been planning the wedding for a couple of months, and have the venue and photog both booked, and (b) I now know that he is buying me the ring I fell in love with, but refused to tell him about it. I was stubborn that way, and only told my sister, who I assumed would relay the info to him. Long story short, he was hoping that I wouldn't know my sister told him, and that it would be a surprise that he proposed with 'my' ring. It is frustrating because I just want him to revel in the romance of us deciding (together) to spend our lives together. To him, the proposal itself (whenever it comes) will be a let down now that I know it is coming... agghhh, why are women more sensible about this? It's true, the men are the traditional ones, and we just want to commit to the person we love!! thanks for the reminder that I am not the only one who doesn't need a huge surpise!!

Anonymous said...

I love when a couple just knows. My wonderful husband actually proposed to me in my hospital room the night we found out I had stage IV Lymphoma. We had only been together three months but in our hearts we already knew how special it was. When I told him what the diagnosis was I said he should run because he hadn't signed up for a cancer girlfriend. He said "When God gives you a gift, you don't give it back" and told me I was stuck with him and he wasn't going anywhere. Then he asked me to marry him. I was on a lot of drugs at the time, but he said he knew I was clear in my head about what had just happned when a nurse came in my room and I told her "we're getting married!" And so we did, just over a year later after chemo and baldness and sickness and a return to health through remission. On Wednesday we celebrated our two-month anniversary and next Friday I start another round of maintenance treatments to help me stay in remission as long as possible. Life is good.


Autumn said...

I love your story. Very organic, very you two. My FI actually said to me about two months after we had started dating (long distance, so this was really like date #3) "I'm going to marry you some day." This totally freaked me out. He was so certain and I was still getting to know him!

The tables turned after we had been dating about 8 months, I was sure he was the one for me, he moved to the city where I live, and promptly broke up with me because it wasn't what he expected. Then realized 2 weeks later that he had made a mistake. We spent the next 6 months really figuring out what we wanted out of life and whether each other were the one we wanted to pursue it with. And once we both came to the same place on that, we started getting excited about getting married, and it was just a matter of when the ring he had made with his grandmother's diamond would be ready.

The actual proposal was totally anticlimactic because we were both just so ready to move on to being engaged (the ring took much longer than expected). I had actually told him a few weeks before, "if the ring is finally ready and you're torn between just going ahead and proposing and planning something elaborate that will take awhile, I'd rather you just propose." The ring was finally ready, he bought some champagne and sushi and brought it home to me. No big plan, no big surprise, but it was private and wonderful. We traveled to a friend's wedding that weekend and went out dancing with some of our best friends later that night, a big celebration of love.

Unknown said...

My fiance and I had talked about wedding details, wedding party, kids all types of future plans, but I thought he would wait to propose until he finished grad school (another 2 years). He totally surprised me by asking New Year's eve while we were in Greece. Although, he had few obstacles. He was going to propose at midnight, but we were in a plaza where there was no clock tower so everybody was doing different countdowns. There were fireworks, but they were behind a building, and his parents, who did not know he was proposing, were standing there, so he decide to wait. Then later, right when he had the ring in his hand (I am told), I decided I needed to find a bathroom, which we couldn't find after walking all over Athens. Finally, we just went back to the hotel. We got into pajamas, made drinks,sat on the balcony, and then he proposed. It was wonderful...and very us too.

Marina said...

My engagement story's similar. :) We'd been talking about marriage in a general vague sort of sense for years, and after the first year we lived together it seemed pretty certain that we'd get married eventually. But both of us have always rolled our eyes at people who say they're engaged but don't know when they're getting married, so we didn't consider ourselves engaged.

But we were lazing around in bed one weekend morning, talking about how after we both graduated college we'd move back to Oregon, and work for a year or two and then maybe I'd start grad school, and we couldn't really get married right after graduating and moving, but the summer after would be perfect... and then we just kind of looked at each other and were like, "Did we just agree to get married summer 2009? Holy crap. We're engaged." And I think a couple weekends later we went to a outdoor craft fair downtown and bought matching $1 hematite rings.

It was really pretty awesome.

Anonymous said...

My fiance is a bit old fashioned in a really sweet way. We live in Sydney, Australia. We were in Melbourne for a weekend, and in the art gallery, he suddenly went down on one knee and pulled out a ring and asked. We ended up hugging and kissing kneeling on the ground! Apparently he had been trying to ask all weekend - on a cruise (which turned out to be a dud), in the Botanic Gardens, but it rained. I was completely taken by surprise, and it was the best surprise ever.

Anonymous said...

This sounds a lot like us! We also tried the idea on for size and then just started planning. I've definitely run into a lot of people who are convinced you can't be
"engaged" without being surprised with a huge rock, so it's nice to hear about other people who had non-proposals. I finally picked out a ring (NOT a huge rock, for the record!), and he wants to "propose" again (agree with not-yet-a-doctor that women can be more practical about these things!), but as far as we're concerned, that will be more a story for other people than the start of a new life stage for us.

Anonymous said...

so cute! my fiance started saying things like "if you just married me you wouldn't have to worry about (fill in the blank...money, insurance, school loans, other jerk guys,etc.)..." this was before he ever told me he loved me. so blah, blah, blah then his mom showed me her orignal wedding set and he went searching for the diamond. to my knowledge, he never found one he liked.

NOW LADIES, this is where it gets fun: Glamour had a recipe that was called Engagement Chicken. it said if you cooked it for your man he would propose. well, for his birthday, i was tapped out for things to cook and the recipe (which i had logged away years before) sounded good. so i made it. he seemed to be in a hurry to get done with dinner and out to the beach. well, he ended up proposing on the rock jetties at sunset that same night. he said he almost choked when i told him the name of the meal and he thought his friends gave him away!

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