By Ashlee Sturme
Ever since my man and I began courting, he told me that I was the girl for him and he wanted to marry me – he is a true romantic at heart! I have to admit that, at that stage, marriage wasn’t really my top priority – with divorced parents and celebrity break-ups, I was beginning to think that marriage was a bit of a joke.
Why bother? It seemed no one kept their vows or were wholly committed to each other. Besides, I was a modern gal, and de-facto would give us all the same benefits anyway.
Six years, two babies and our own house later… and the tide had turned! My darling partner no longer spoke of marriage and I was the one begging for a ring – it felt like the next natural stage of our relationship. I began to see that I would be waiting a while for a proposal . . . unless I took matters into my own hands!
I told just one friend of my plans and she offered her advice and ideas. Leap Year allows a gal to break tradition and make the proposal herself, so I had a date to aim for. First, I asked my beloved, IF I proposed to him, would he say yes? (Cheating, I know, but I’m not one for rejection!) He just grinned.
And that’s why, at 1am on the 29th February, when I was up feeding a baby, I grabbed my lipstick and wrote “marry me?” on the bathroom mirror. I had already dressed the two kids with matching t-shirts. One said “Daddy, please marry Mummy!” and the other said “Dad, say YES!” I crawled back into bed feeling rather chuffed with myself.
Things didn’t go quite to plan. Daddy didn’t go to work that day, so didn’t brush his teeth early like he normally does, missing the message on the mirror. He undressed the kids and was rather baffled, while I slept in later than usual. It was not a good start to the day. But all’s well that ends well, and when I stepped out of the shower to see the steamed up mirror, my heart leapt and a smile spread across my face – I could feel my cheeks warm. My scrawly proposal had been replaced with just one very simple word in a rouge red streak – YES!
The next step was ring shopping – for me, of course. I found a gorgeous design with a smattering of little diamonds, and had it sized to fit. Then we announced our engagement to our family at an afternoon tea with a heart shaped cake and heart cookies and little heart glitters everywhere. It certainly wasn’t traditional, and it was nothing like I’d dreamt, but ladies, sometimes we can’t leave important things to chance.
We often hear our friends and family gush about beautiful proposals. Tiffany’s builder husband began by asking permission from her mother, writing his proposal on a gibbed wall, and then presenting the ring on one knee!
Passionate dates, rocks spelling words on the beach, candles and rose petals, romantic dinners, guitar serenades and specially-written songs, spa pools and aeroplane rides make the proposal a memorable and exciting start to the marriage journey.
Yet it seems that off-the-cuff and unplanned proposals are more common than first thought. Women are definitely making their opinions count – one clever girl proposed to her man Nick on a magna-doodle, while Bree had her wedding planned within six weeks by her friends at Playcentre, and skipped the engagement phase altogether! Although Bree said that she does feel like she missed out a little, she knows that her husband just isn’t romantic in that way.
Katherine was disappointed when she stepped out of the shower and her now-husband asked her to marry him while he shaved. Bobbi thought that her man would put the ring on her finger, but he said, “Here you go!” and gave her the box. “What a let-down,” she said.
I talked to many whose proposals hadn’t been planned at all – watching romantic movies, driving past bridal shops, sitting at the beach. No glittering diamonds in ring boxes, no candle-light, not even a bended knee. “What do ya reckon, babe? Shall we give it a go?” – and the wedding plans begin!
Proposals that go wrong sometimes lead to confusion, fights and tears – but more often than not have a happy ending. One woman told me that her man panicked when their boat ride was cancelled, so took her to Mitre 10 while he thought about his next move. This enraged her because she thought she had to rush back to work. They had a fight – but she forgave him when he finally proposed on the beach where they’d had their first date.
Proposals that didn’t go to plan can still be special and memorable. Yvette told me that when her partner proposed, the ring fell into the ice-cream. “He then proceeded to pick it up, put it in his mouth, slobber all over it, then take it out and slip it on (my finger) while asking ‘Will you marry me, baby?’ It was so funny/gross but so awesome at the same time.” she said.
Jo reckons that when her man proposed, they were sitting in a spa pool. “My hair tied up with a g’string because I forgot a hair tie to keep my hair dry! I was playing with the settings on the spa, turned around and he had the engagement ring in the box!”
In the meantime, we’ve just had our third baby and I’m planning a wedding for the next Leap Year in 2012. We can’t agree on a theme, a venue or the honeymoon – I think I’m in for a big lesson on compromising! My fiancé is a traditionalist, shy and romantic at heart; I’m an organiser, loud and out-going, and I like things to be bold and different!
We’re fiercely independent and both stubborn, and we have a tight budget – oh, I can hear the debates now! ?