Marry me? There must be 50 ways to pop the question
By Natalie Naylor
December 22, 2005 | I used to think
that an engagement ring was traditionally delivered
in a small package, a nice velvet box possibly wrapped
with a bow. I found mine tied to the forelock of 1,200-pound
equine by the name of "Jeffery," a much-loved horse
who was given to me the day of my engagement.
My cousin's sparkler fell from the bandages of her
boyfriend's sprained ankle while she was re-wrapping
his injury. A neighbor of mine popped the question to
his girlfriend in Hindu after purchasing a diamond in
India. I keep hearing more and more stories about creative
and elaborate marriage proposals and wonder if I have
been mistaken in my assumption or if unique proposals
are becoming a trend.
According to an article about wedding statistics
on soundvision.com there are approximately 2.3 million
weddings every year in the U.S.: that breaks down to
nearly 6,200 weddings a day. With those numbers the
wedding industry is raking in about $72 billion a year.
According to the book Rings for the Finger
by George Frederick Kunz, "The custom of bestowing a
ring upon the betrothed brides had been traced back
in Rome to the second century B.C. Plain iron rings
were first used for this purpose and they were still
favored even when the wearing of gold rings had become
general among certain classes of the Roman citizens."
The book also states that the "the placing of the betrothal
or wedding ring upon the fourth finger seems undoubtedly
to owe its origin to the fancy that a special nerve,
or vein, ran directly from this finger to the heart."
The tradition of a diamond engagement ring did not
get its start until 1866, when an enormous diamond mine
was discovered in South Africa by the De Beers mining
company, says author Nancy Eaton in the book Your
Vintage Wedding. After that De Beers began promoting
its newly found gems to the society elite. The De Beers
gained (and still maintain) a near monopoly on the diamond
market, positioning them as rare and exclusive with
expensive price tags. By the turn of the twentieth century,
any woman who wanted to be fashionable needed to have
a diamond atop her wedding ring.
Nowadays almost 83 percent of brides receive a diamond
engagement ring, according to adiamondisforever.com,
and a widely accepted guideline on how much to spend
on an engagement ring is two-months salary.
That would mean someone who made approximately $30,000
a year should consider spending roughly $5,000. This
rule however, is really considered more of a guideline
and is not strictly adhered to.
Not only have engagement rings evolved over the years,
so have the ways to get engaged. Suitors are constantly
coming up with creative or elaborate ways to ask for
their loved one's hand in marriage.
Natalie Watkins, a recent graduate of Utah State University,
was proposed to in rhyme when her then boyfriend made
up some of his own words to the children's book
Oh, the Places You'll Go! , by Dr. Seuss and instead
titled it Oh, the Places we'll Go!
"He was halfway through the book before I realized
he was proposing to me," Watkins said.
Melinda Abel was proposed to in the Skyroom restaurant
at USU. "He (her boyfriend) asked me to meet him for
lunch, I had a sinking feeling he was going to do it
but I didn't want to get too excited," Melinda said.
Her husband Nick Abel said although they had talked
about marriage, the proposal was actually spur of the
"That morning when I woke up I didn't know I was going
to propose," Nick said. Between classes he said he picked
up a ring and made reservations for a candlelit table.
With a small audience of wait staff watching, Nick got
down on one knee and proposed to Melinda.
According to an on-line article written by John Pagliaro
titled Ten Tips to Proposing, proposing
down on one knee is a thriving tradition that originally
began in the day of knights and chivalry when it was
customary for a knight to bend down on one knee to show
servitude to his lover.
Another long standing tradition according to Pagliaro
is the groom asking the bride's father for approval
before whisking his daughter away. Eric Noble, a USU
student from Oregon, called his girlfriend's father
and met with him for lunch to ask permission before
proposing to her later that evening. What can be a nerve-wracking
experience for some future grooms wasn't much of a problem
"It wasn't too bad because I had spent a lot of time
with her family," Noble said.
For those future fiances who are having trouble thinking
of the ideal way to ask the big question, Shaneco.com
provides helpful advice, tips and
ideas for creating a special wedding proposal.
According to Shaneco.com there are four key elements
one needs to take into consideration before popping
the question. They include the setting, the scene, the
script, and the props. Following a brief explanation
of each element is a list of about 30 different romantic
ways to ask, including renting advertising space at
a movie theater for an onscreen proposal, getting Chinese
take-out and hiding the ring inside of a fortune cookie,
or hiring a plane to skywrite a proposal the day of
an outdoor family picnic.
Of course there really isn't a need for an extravagant
proposal, a relationship is built on a solid foundation
will still be able to survive the test of time even
if the engagement is quite simple. My own grandparents
got engaged in a phone booth after WWII and are still
going strong after almost 60 years of matrimony.
Equalityinmarriage.org provides some partnership tips from
the pros, highlighting some of the great quotes about
success in marriage. One quote originally taken from
the book 12 Hours to a Great Marriage simply
states: "There is probably no better way to keep love
strong in your marriage than through friendship."