Singaporebrides | The Groom Room

December 2011

The Art of the Marriage Proposal

If marriage has been on your mind, you must have realised that you can’t escape the Proposal. It’s likely that she is already expecting it (you see her lingering outside jewellery shop window displays). In fact, she’s probably Googling and gushing over how other men have done it – right. We know we’ve said it before, but you men just don’t get it, do you? Fret not. Here’s a pre-proposal guide by SingaporeBrides to soothe and inspire!

#1: Test the waters

Try to talk about marriage (and married life!) before you propose. Most likely, this will happen naturally. After all, in Singapore, it’s common for couples to ballot for a flat years before they actually settle down. So chances are, your girlfriend is already expecting the proposal – she just doesn’t know when you’re popping the question.

There is also an important reason why you first discuss the possibility of a life together (complete with a HDB flat and 2.5 kids). When you do so, there is a lesser likelihood that she will be caught off-guard when you get down on one knee. It also means that you won’t be embarrassedly left on bended knee when she mutters: “I’m not ready to settle down yet…”

Tip: We may not be stuck in the Middle Ages, but it will be a nice gesture to ask her parents formally for her hand before you propose.

#2: Shop for an engagement ring

This is a given, but it is also a task that befuddles most men. Says Joel Mah, a civil servant in his 30s: “I rarely shop, so I was at my wits’ end when I had to buy an engagement ring. I cajoled a fashion-savvy female friend to accompany me to different shops to check out styles and prices.”

So you can do some research and legwork. Start by reading up on different ring styles and learn about the 4 Cs of diamond buying – colour, cut, clarity and carat. But the most important thing is to suss out her preferences. This is probably the time to start noticing not-so-subtle hints from her, like “Oh, isn’t a ring lovelier when it comes in an egg-blue box?” (She means the Tiffany box, by the way.)

Tip: If you’re completely clueless, you might want to get your girlfriend’s bestie to point out the jewellery brands and designs she prefers. This is often the easiest way to accomplish the task!

#3: Deciding on the game plan

Be creative. Thanks to social media like Facebook, she’s probably bombarded with friends’ status updates like “He proposed – on a private yacht!” or YouTube videos titled “Best Proposal Ever!” every other day. So you shouldn’t settle for a cookie-cutter proposal. Put some thought into it.

How you do it will naturally depend on the type of woman your girlfriend is. If she’s a private person, refrain from shouting it out to the world (like buying an ad space in the national newspaper). But if she enjoys a little attention, you can probably do it in front of a small crowd of friends. No matter what, do make it a surprise (in other words, don’t send her an email telling her to expect a surprise next Sunday!).

Tip: It’s not all about the ring. Find out what her favourite blooms are and prepare a stunning bouquet of flowers too!

#4: Choose the right spot

You should always aim to choose a location that matches your proposal method. When picking the perfect spot, consider places that are romantic and meaningful. It could be a simple spot, like East Coast Park where you rollerblade together on weekends. No matter what, just make sure your proposal is done in person, and not over the phone!

Lately, the trend has been destination proposals. After all, what can be more romantic than whisking her away to a beautiful city like Venice, and then presenting her with a diamond ring? There are other pros to destination proposals. Joel shares: “I proposed during our Hong Kong holiday because I knew she would both be in a more happy, relaxed mood – after shopping!”

Tip: If you’re proposing at a certain venue, do get extra help from the staff. For instance, if you’re proposing at a restaurant, letting the waiter know beforehand will ensure that you get an intimate, quiet corner for the romantic deed.

#5: Say why you love her

During the actual proposal, it is normal to be tongue-tied. But try your best to say why you want to spend a lifetime with her. It shouldn’t be a laundry list, but share as much as you can, like how she’s always there when you’re down. Or how she has a knack for making you laugh. Being sincere will help!

Oh, the phrase “Will you marry me?” may seem easy to say in your head, but greater men have been known to stumble over these words in an actual proposal (especially if you’re nervous or doing it in front of a crowd). So practise saying it out loud a couple of times so you’re comfortable and confident.

Tip: Remember to drop down on one knee! It’s not only more sincere and traditional, but it is also a gesture that’s guaranteed to melt her heart.

How the celebs do it…

Some celebrity marriages may not have stood the test of time, but that shouldn’t stop you from picking up a few tips from these red-carpet stars.

The reality TV route: Kris Humphries & Kim Kardashian

Their big moment was all caught on camera – live. In a season finale of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”, NBA star Kris Humphries spelled out “Will You Marry Me?” with rose petals on Kim Kardashian’s bedroom. Then he went down on his knee. She gasped, and accepted (perhaps it was the 20.5carat diamond ring). And it’s as simple as that… except that the lady called it quits after 72 days.

The mushy route: Selina Jen and Richard Chang

Taiwan pop trio S.H.E’s Selina Jen – who suffered from severe burns during a filming accident last year – shared that her fiance’s proposal was “mushy”. Instead of a ring, lawyer Richard Chang presented her with a diamond-encrusted watch because, as Selina reveals, he wants to “hold on to me because it is bigger”. We can only say “Awwww…”

The safe route: Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes

Who can forget the sight of a very smitten Tom Cruise jumping excitedly up and down on Oprah’s couch? But what sealed the deal was a heartfelt proposal at one of the most romantic cities in the world – Paris. Katie Holmes had accompanied Tom to promote his 2005 film, War of the Worlds. He took the opportunity to propose to her at the famed Paris landmark, the Eiffel Tower. And she said yes. By the way, Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria called his efforts “cheesy”. If you think so, try another romantic destination. Venice, perhaps?

The non-traditional route: Pink & Carey Hart

If you got a spunky girlfriend, she might just pop the question before you do! At one of motocross racer Cary Hart’s racing matches in 2005, Pink held up a sign that said: “Will you marry me?” He said yes, and the couple got married on a Costa Rica beach… before breaking up three years later. Still, you might want to wait and see if she might catch you by surprise.