Public Proposals – Yay or Nay?

Here is my radio interview with Susan Knight of Calgary’s up!97.7 FM yesterday:

My sister got engaged last week, and I am thrilled. She called me from Hawaii, where they were vacationing, and squealed the news over the phone. She has dated some duds in her life, and this guy seems to really love, appreciate and value her. I couldn’t be happier.

The interesting part of their engagement was that, despite the popularity of flash mob, Jumbotron and YouTube proposals, Meredyth’s finance popped the question on a quiet beach with an elegant picnic, against the beautiful backdrop of the ocean. It was just the two of them – their own private moment.

This stands in stark contrast to the way that Eric proposed to me. It took 12 hours, 900 miles and 40 people before he popped the question. I literally traveled all over the state of Texas, collecting pieces of a charm bracelet and chapters of a story that he was writing about what our life would be like together. I thought this was incredibly romantic. He said he was just trying to wear me down because he was terrified I would say no. He claims he had a sniper installed at the top of the grassy knoll where he proposed ready to take one of us out if I said no. He didn’t care which one it was. That’s how they roll down in Texas.

My proposal was very public. My sister’s was very private. Which one is better?

Here is my cardinal rule for any proposal: It is not about your ego, it is about your partner. If your partner is someone who has a sense of adventure, has no problem being the center of attention and will appreciate all the meticulous planning that went into a public proposal, then it might be an incredibly sweet memory the two of you can share together.

However, if you partner is intensely private, hates going on Facebook, has a tight-knit group of friends and doesn’t appreciate surprises, then maybe you should skip the Jumbotron and have a candlelit dinner at home instead. That way, when she thinks back on your proposal, it will not be tainted with feelings of awkwardness and embarrassment.

Remember that you are beginning the rest of your lives together. Start off on the right foot by focusing on what your partner would love, rather than just trying to impress everyone else. Even though they went about their special moments totally differently, I think both Eric and Ryan nailed it. Well done, gentlemen. And a HUGE congratulations to Meredyth and Ryan!