Proposals are at their peak around the holidays, with one in four grooms popping the question in December. Incidentally, it's also the month of a statistical spike in break-ups. Coincidence? Maybe not. A bad proposal can mean the end of a relationship, and it's not always obvious what's bound to backfire. Before you bite the bullet, educate yourself on how not to pop the question.
1. Don't propose in public
If you haven't watched the video (above) of a Jumbotron proposal that backfired, consider it a warning. "Proposing in front of an audience of thousands puts way too much pressure the woman," says Amy Eisinger, an editor at TheWeddingChannel.com. "You never want to make her feel uncomfortable or pressured to answer right away." It could lead to a false positive: "Your partner may agree to your proposal to save face in public and then privately retract it," warns relationship psychologist, Dr. Linda Young. The same goes for proposing in front of family members. "The proposal should be about the two of you and no one else," says Eisinger. "Overall it's a great idea to consult the family beforehand but when it comes down to the moment of asking, you should do it when no one else is in the room."
2. Leave food out of it
As a general rule, any proposal that's been part of a plot line on a sitcom is a no-go. Proposing at a restaurant with a ring in the dessert is as unoriginal as giving chocolates on Valentine's Day. "I think what any girl really wants is to make her feel special, unique," says Eisinger. Pulling a move that's over-used takes the personal aspect out of your romantic moment. It also can lead to sitcom-style moments as one woman discovered when she swallowed the engagement ring hidden in her milkshake. She spent the night in the hospital and had to wait a few days to reclaim her prized possession from the most unfortunate of places.
3. Don't invite the internet into your intimate moment
"To @emilychang - After fifteen years of blissful happiness I would like to ask for your hand in marriage?" "@maxkiesler - yes, i do." To the Twitter community, this was just about the sweetest proposal in the blogosphere. In the real world, however, it's a little sterile. "If you're doing a video or tech driven proposal you should be in the same room to experience it together," says Young. This way you remember the moment as one you shared together, not with friends or co-workers.
Then there's the problem of YouTube. Ever since wedding proposals starting getting attention on the site, people have turned the question into an opportunity for viral fame. Recently, one guy spelled out "will you marry me?" in Super Mario Brother's gold coins as his bride played the game (see video above). Aside from the preoccupation with posting a viral video, the problem with hi-tech proposals is privacy. "Total strangers or your Facebook acquaintances know about your engagement before your close friends and family do," says Eisinger.
4. Don't propose the day you wed(Courtesy of Danny Bonaduce/People Magazine)
The recent wedding of reality show star Danny Bonaduce and his manager Amy Railsback was a surprise for everyone but the bride. On a trip with Railsback to Maui, Bonaduce got a call from the hotel's wedding planner informing him that he was going to walk down the aisle at sunset. Luckily he was a good sport, but a surprise proposal-turned-wedding can almost feel like a kidnapping with no time to think through whether you really want to go through with it all. "You never want the other person to feel pressured into it," warns Eisinger. You could end up estranged before your honeymoon. Thankfully, that wasn't the case for Bonaduce...yet.
5. Beware of Mother Nature(Courtesy of Transformers/Paramount Pictures)
No matter how much you're meant to be together, sometimes weather gets in the way. One guy had the best intentions hiking up a mountain with his girlfriend to propose. But when they got lost and the temperature dropped, they had to call in the mountain rescue services to save them. Needless to say, he never got the chance to get down on one knee. Another groom-to-be lost the $9000 heirloom he was about to give to his future wife when she dropped it on a rock jetty. Then there's Megan Fox who was so thrilled to get a ring from Brian Austin Green that she dropped it on the beach and sent a search party to find it, without success. Moral: Save the outdoors for the honeymoon and pop the question where there's limited potential for natural disaster.
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