How to Propose

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In the news today is the story of 'knight in shining armour' Mark Crayford, who took riding lessons for six months before proposing to his girlfriend, Tracey, on horseback (wearing a full suit of armour no less). Unfortunately for Mark, he fell off the horse before uttering "Will you marry me?" but luckily, Tracy said yes anyway.


It's not just Mark who's doing it either. Heard about die-hard romantic Stephen Williams who spent a whopping seven months planning his proposal to his unsuspecting girlfriend, Jennifer? The proposal itself lasted THIRTEEN months, and included letters hidden in shampoo bottles and Stephen dressing up as, erm, a leprechaun.

Now although admittedly, Jennifer probably whooped with unrivalled joy (we imagine) and happily accepted Stephen’s proposal (we know), the tale left me feeling more than a little bit uncomfortable. While I admire Stephen’s gumption, and swoon delightedly whenever anyone in the office gets sent flowers, it’s left me wondering if – like hen dos, weddings, birthdays and backcombing – the competitive nature of it all has got just a little bit too big for my liking.

Plus, call me a cynic, but the most memorable proposals don’t always have the happiest of endings, you know. Take Russell Brand’s proposal to Katy Perry – after organising a horse-drawn carriage, elephants (ELEPHANTS!), Indian dancers, a firework display and a ring hidden in thousands of flower petals, they split after 14 months of marriage. Oh and remember how Jordan Bratman’s elaborately-devised scavenger hunt for Christina Aguilera left them heading towards Splitsville, instead of everlasting happiness? Yup, us too.


Don’t get me wrong guys, I’m not suggesting you ditch the thoughtfulness altogether. Heard of The Proposers? They’re the UK’s first marriage proposal planners. With packages starting at £100, the service includes a questionnaire sent to the man probing him for details on the couple’s relationship – followed up by a specially-tailored proposal.

Plus the uber-luxe Sarojin Hotel in Thailand, offers – alongside its usual spa services – ‘A tailored proposal service for you and your loved-one,’ where they personally plan the big ‘P’ while you and your boyf laze by the pool with your matching Kindles.

Props for the entrepreneurial ideas, but C’MON BOYS! Letting somebody plan your proposal? REALLY? What happened to a simple, heartfelt, sincere proposal? The kind that make your tummy flip like fireworks (in a good way) without actually being subjected to a jaw-droppingly expensive personal firework display spelling out ‘Will U Marry Me, Babez’?


In fact, a (male) friend of mine recently revealed his own perfect proposal idea and it kind of hit the nail on the head. You know what it was? “It’s a picnic by the river,” he said. “I’d get friends to cycle past and drop off sandwiches and champagne and then I’d propose after they’d gone.” (To be fair, he also told me they’d be dressed as giant animals, but I’m letting that one slide.) Cute, personal and totally memorable. What’s not to like? And not a leprechaun in sight.

In fact, I’m sending my boyfriend the link to this article in a second (and I suggest you do the same) as a discreet heads up. Because the only thing I want to find in my shampoo bottles is Aveda’s Smooth Infusion, thank you very much.

Follow Sophie at @Sophiegoddard on Twitter.


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