Post # 1
Lately I’ve been thinking about the emphasis and importance that so many people attach to having a proposal be a surprise. And it’s something that has always puzzled me.
I can understand historically and culturally how it might have been quite a surprise for a girl to be told “you’re marrying this guy”, particularly among royalty, aristocracy, etc. But that was less above love and more about property and alliances.
My parents got married in 1963, and it was a joint decision to get engaged. Mom picked her own ring, too – Dad had pre-arranged iwth a jeweler to only show her rings in his budget, and they went ring shopping together. Getting engaged wasn’t a surprise for my maternal grandparents either. They had a conversation about the possibility and went to buy a ring a few days later. (I don’t know about my paternal grandparents, I never thought to ask while they were still alive.)
But in the modern era, where does this emphasis come from? Have we seen too many movies with big magical proposal moments? Do you know if the proposal was a surprise for your mom and for your grandmothers?
Post # 2
I could not agree more. I think a woman should not let a man decide when SHE is going to get married. Its not his life. I think the two people should decide together when to take such a huge step in life. It sounds crazy that one should let someone else decide for them when an engagment will take place.
Post # 3
I too have wondered this as you see post after post of waiting Bees where their guys get upset about them ruining the surprise of the proposal.
My DH was really big on the surprise too. Before we were dating, I asked some of my guy friends (of whom he was one) why the big deal with the surprise? Their responses surprised me a bit. One of my friends said there is a lot of pressure on guys to propose and to come up with a Pinterest worthy proposal, so the fact that there is a surprise already makes it sound grander than it would have been otherwise. If you hear two proposal stories – the first where the couple discuss getting married and go to the store and buy a ring together, the second where the guy gets down on one knee and completely surprises the girl…which story is going to get more ooohs and ahhhs?
Another guy friend gave a different perspective and I think he was a bit more honest. He said many guys feel very overwhelmed with planning a wedding and all the hooplah that goes with it. And many times the guy’s desires or wants can be overlooked because it seems to be all about the bride. A surprise proposal gives the guy a bit of that control back. The proposal can be seen at the guy’s thing while the wedding is the girl’s. That’s obviously generalizing it, but in my friend’s case, he did surprise his girlfriend with WHEN he proposed, not the fact that he was going to propose. I don’t know too many couples where the girl had no idea at all that their boyfriend was going to propose.
I don’t know about my grandparents but my dad did surprise my mom. She kind of knew it was coming but still was surprised.
Post # 4
The thing is most people don’t even really expect the proposal to be a surprise, they talk about getting married, s lot of times they even pick the ring and then the guy has to tip toe around trying to ‘surprise’ her with it.
It makes no sense to me. In fact, I can’t think of anything less romantic than a man ambushing me out of nowhere and surprising me with plans for the rest of MY life.
Post # 5
I don’t get it either. I think maybe people want a cool story to tell? My partner and I, together, decided to get engaged & pick rings together. There was no formal proposal. In fact he’s expressed relief from having to deal with that stress and I’m so happy I got to pick my own diamond ring!
Post # 6
We’re kind of toeing the line, because having some element of surprise was important to my SO. We talked about getting engaged, what the logistics of that would be, and made the decision to start this process together. Then he set a budget for the ring, we talked about both of our preferences a little, and I showed him 5-6 that I liked within those perameters. He is picking the ring from my list and I do not know exactly when or how he’s going to propose!
But I would not want to get engaged without having a conversation about the future first, so I’ve never understood that either.
Post # 7
Well how many people are actually completely surprised by their own engagement? Everybody discusses the possibility of marriage beforehand right? A bunch of us even pick out our own rings. We even dress up on the day we suspect to be “the one.” And yet when we tell the story, we pretend like it was so surprising and that he did such a good job with everything. I’ll admit, I played into that because it was expected of me. People love hearing a romance. And this whole expectation of romance is probably why men try so hard to give us the fairy tale proposal.
I’m not old enough to so say for sure but I suspect the rise of these elaborate “surprise” proposals coincides with the rise of social media. Before then, I think there may have this ideal of the surprise proposal thanks to movies but I don’t think the pressure was ever so bad.
My family is from Asia, and there doesn’t seem to be the surprise engagement ideal. My parents dated, my dad asked if my mom wanted to get married, she said ok, he asked her family, they said ok, he got her a ring.
My American in laws didn’t have a surprise engagement either. She told him that she wanted to get married. He told her that he wanted to buy a boat. They both got shiny new toys.
Post # 8
Add me to the club of don’t get it at all. I want to be an active participant in my life, we’ve actively discussed marriage, and our future plans. We’ve set a date and I sketched out a basic idea of what I want for a ring. He’s designing it with a friend who’s a jeweler. He wants to “surprise” me with a proposal. I don’t care, I just want him for the rest of my life and his ring on my hand.
My grandparents had a surprise proposal. They’re Iranian and have the first love marriage in the family. They met when his brother married her sister. They weren’t allowed to see and communicate with each other publicly. He proposed to her in writing in the front of a book of poetry he gave her. My grandma had no idea he felt that way about her, but when she read his proposal she felt that he was a man she could grow to love, he already loved her. They’ve been happily married for 58 years. I’ve always thought of it as one of the sweetest proposals I’ve ever heard about.
Post # 9
I think it’s funny – I just got engaged this weekend. It wasn’t a surprise. There’s even a thread about how I was 99% sure I was getting engaged this weekend, but was worried because I was sick. If it wasn’t this weekend, it would have been like next week.
Question like #2 I keep getting (after “when is the wedding?” – which is ridiculous to me) is “omg was it a surprise?”. The first few people I told the truth to, but since everyone seemed so weirdly dissapointed, when my coworkers asked me today I just told a white lie and said “Yes”. Seems to appease people.
We’re good friends with a couple who also just got engaged. The guy is so damn proud of his surprise proposal, he totally got her! The thing is, part of the way he “pulled it off” was by telling her he never wanted to get married. Everytime he tells the story about how she had “noooooo idea”, I just think of how many tears and stress he caused her.
Post # 10
I 100% agree. I feel like this is something that has been pushed by marketing and adverts.
DH and I decided together it was time to get married. I picked out my ring. When we picked it up, he slipped it on my finger. Done. Yes, we got so many questions and looks when I told them that “WE” decided to get engaged.
I feel like it’s a huge decision that needs to be made together, but often the display of romance and drama wins out.
Post # 11
Wow, doing what he did is just mean. What would he have done if she walked? Because I know plenty of women who would have walked if they found out what they both wanted was so different.
Post # 12
Another Bee who doesn’t get it at all. This is an important life decision between two equal adults.
How many Bees post about how unhappy they are with their proposals (because even though they described exactly what they wanted it didn’t happen that way) or their ring (because they didn’t have any input in choosing)? So much of this could be alleviated by removing this “surprise” requirement and just talking about these things.
Pinterest and social media have contributed to such ridiculous expectations–a proposal used to be a simple, private moment between two adults who wanted to spend their lives together.
Post # 13
See this is what I want ring arrives in mail, put it on my hand on the sofa while we watch netflix.
Post # 14
Agree 100%. The big surprise for Fiance and I is that we are getting married, period. Both of us are divorced and on our first date, we both made it clear to each other that neither one of us ever wanted to get married again. But, here we are, planning our wedding
I don’t have my ring yet so I don’t know that we are considered “officially” engaged since I have nothing to show off. But after on and off discussions, Fiance asked me if I would marry him on a specific date, and I said yes. He’s going to give me the ring right before the wedding, but has insisted that he will be getting down on one knee and “getting it just right.” I don’t need a surprise, but he and I are both romantics, so he wants to do something special and sweet.