Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Embrace the Imperfectly Perfect

Way back when we were just dating and before we'd begun to seriously consider marriage, I read a New York Times trend piece about men hiring photographers to clandestinely capture their proposals. I was entirely put off by the concept of a stranger skulking around for however long the proposal adventure takes, essentially spying on these couples throughout a possibly drawn out surprise and during such an incredibly intimate moment, all in the name of capturing it on film. To me, it felt invasive and crass. There's a magic about a moment like that which photos can never quite capture. Photos are explicitly a means of retelling and sharing, and I was never entirely sure I wanted to fully share my proposal with anyone else.  As for having the photos as a personal memory, while true artists can capture the honesty of an emotional event, it struck me that from-a-distance paparazzi lenses can never properly capture the truth of a moment like a proposal. Trying to do so cheapens it, especially when I imagined the hours-long skulking involved in a proposal photo shoot.

Jason, on the other hand, thought the idea was somewhat sweet. He respected all the effort, planning and intention in hiring a photographer. He'd seen photos from friends' proposals taken by other friends or family members who were in on the surprise and liked the idea of having photos to help remember the occasion. And, while I could see his point about family and friend snapshots of joy, I still didn't love the idea of sharing such a private experience with others. Luckily, we had this New York Times article to help us learn, early on, about our differing approaches to a someday hypothetical proposal. Accordingly, his own eventual contribution to our process of engagement was private, intimate, heartfelt, and perfectly suited me and us.

So perhaps this long-held preference for intimacy and privacy colored the following reaction, but when I read last week's post on Style Me Pretty about the Professional Proposal Planning Services, I wanted to break things over the head of the modern wedding industry.  The wedding industry/blog focus on event design and pretty details has finally inspired wedding professionals to expand into providing design, details, planning and logistical implementation of our proposals now too. Silly me, I'd naively assumed our proposals were still just an incredibly personal moment and promise between two people and not a sales opportunity for intrepid event designers. It's still an incredibly personal moment, of course, but now, you can "improve" the moment by developing a "perfect" proposal concept with the professionals, using them to help you find the "perfect" flowers, dinner reservations, hotel, harpist, photographer, and lord knows what else. They can arrive ahead of time at the hotel (or wherever) and set everything up, so all you need to do is arrive with your partner, a ring, and a checkbook.

Yes, that description was a bit crass. And yes, I absolutely understand the conceptual value in hiring experts who have more knowledge of fancy restaurants and florists to give you advice about places that meet your partner's taste, particularly if you have limited time or your specific knowledge is limited. But there's something that makes me really uncomfortable about subcontracting intimacy and paying to have this "perfection" happen all around you, without you ever needing to fully engage in it. Then again, I'm someone who finds charm in the honest imperfections of the real-world proposal stories I've heard. It's the mistakes and human moments that make the stories salient, like when a friend refused to go on the hike her partner had planned for their proposal spot because of a brushfire warning and he kept trying to cajole her into hiking anyhow (she turned around and walked back to the car). There's something so incredibly touching about all the effort Jason took to plan an entire afternoon and evening of adventures, culminating in an at-home proposal after my inadvertent blurt-out proposal a few months before.

To me, there's something cold about designed perfection. Yes, I appreciate brilliant aesthetics. And yes, I appreciate when events are executed without complication or worry on the part of the participants. But, while I'm slightly envious of gorgeously designed and executed weddings, I'm also entirely frustrated that so many blogs celebrate the design and execution over the imperfectly perfect, messy, human emotions of our weddings. And now, this misplaced focus on the right flowers and the right setting and the right details and the right event planner and the right photographer has obviously bled outward from weddings into professional proposal planning services and into lord knows what other personal rituals and it all makes me ill.

This concept of carefully orchestrated details as an indication of how "perfect" your wedding or proposal is misguided and wrong. Yes, wrong. It's wrong and entirely misses the point. Pretty details can enhance honest emotions, and no one wants a logistical disaster to interfere with their weddings or proposals. But this focus on the Pretty and on having a fabulous photographer to capture the exquisite orchestration of details misses the genuine purpose of these important rituals. We participate in these rituals to connect with the people we love, not to provide them with a parade of expensive lovelies. We should hire people, such as capable event planners and coordinators, to help facilitate connection and not to design a stylish facsimile that photographs well.

Details and design don't preclude honest emotion, but they aren't at the core of weddings or proposals. Weddings are about acknowledging our most intimate emotions and committing to our partners in the presence of our chosen communities. They are inherently public and require some level of coordination to effectively manage the process. So, even if I dislike the ubiquity and expectations of expensive event design concepts on the blogs, I understand the incredible value in hiring experienced event coordinators (if you can afford it.) If they can also coordinate the prettiness, without letting it take center stage in how you experience the wedding and wedding planning process, you've found a true gem of an event coordinator and you should hire them immediately (if you can afford it.) On the other hand, proposals are about celebrating our most intimate moments and emotions together, without the explicit need for coordination or sharing. Proposals are when we can allow space for the joy of "imperfection" when she refuses to go on a hike or he drops the ring because he's nervous or she ends up proposing at on New Years Eve at midnight in the "wrong" bar in the "wrong" part of town. Those are the stories that last long beyond any exquisite floral arrangements.

Eff perfection. Embrace the raw honesty of your moments, and you won't go wrong, even if you can't afford to hire an event coordinator. And, with respect to proposals, especially if you don't hire one. I'm not sure I could have loved Jason's intricate proposal adventure if I'd found out he'd hired someone to help make it happen. I love it because it was his (and now ours). I love it because we spontaneously stopped at Canter's Deli along the way, which made sense for us but made zero sense from any aesthetic perspective. I love it because his slightly nervous energy and overwhelming love made the evening electric, in a way that planned perfection could never quite have captured.

27 comments:

  1. Amen, sister... specifically towards the proposal.

    I'm pretty sure I was shaking and crying and snot bubbles of joy were coming out my nose when Andy proposed to me. And although I'm quite confident that wouldn't translate to film, it was absolutely perfect to me.

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  2. I have, honestly, a lot of regrets about our proposal - and I don't have them because my expectations were too high, but because after months of making me wait, I feel like Mark rushed the actual proposal because he had the ring and was just SO EXCITED! (I know this makes me sound like a jerk, but seriously, he didn't even shave before he proposed EVEN THOUGH his stubble gives me a rash when we kiss! I mean, really?)

    Anyway, I really wish we had better pictures, or had asked somebody to take a picture of us, because the pictures of us are out of focus and blurry and bad. So I don't mind the hiring a pro photographer thing as much as some people do - I think it's kind of cool, actually.

    I don't wish that Mark had hired somebody, but maybe if he had mentioned it to somebody, they would have reminded him to grab a razor and NOT let me put dinner in the oven. (Like seriously, he's getting all ready to propose and I'm going "hurry up, the apartment is going to burn down".)

    I embrace the imperfection of our proposal, like how he asked and I said "no, seriously, give me the list of reasons why you love me and then ask" although I worry that I come across as totally bossy. It made for a fun story later, although it strikes me as funny in retrospect because I didn't want the big proposal story, and he did, and now I feel like our story is lame.

    Your other commentors are totally going to flame me for this but I don't really care. I know that I sound like a picky b*tch when I complain about it, but I think it's important to recognize that sometimes we don't embrace the imperfections - we just get the hell over them because they're really not that big of a deal. It's been 15 months and nobody asks how we got engaged anymore.

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  3. Thanks for this post! I really needed to hear it.

    I get very anxious and uncomfortable when people ask me to tell them about the proposal. I always thought this was because I was somehow disappointing people by how simple it was - there was no good "story." But no, now I realize that even if it was a glittery, fantasy affair I still wouldn't want to share. It's private and it's ours, and it's normal to want to keep it that way!

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  4. That SMP post was vile. Leave it to the wedding industry to learn to make money off something so sacred. My husband proposed to me (without a ring) in a train carriage after a fantastic night of drinks and karaoke. I was eating McDonald's french fries and it was magical- no proposal planning company necessary.

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  5. I think the proposal stories you're hearing in the comments are already a million times sweeter (to me) than the extravagent, elaborate, expensive ordeals described on mainstream wedding media. And I definitely felt the same way about having a photographer spying (that's totally what it is!) on the proposal to capture your reaction. I've always been creeped out by that, but since my FH wanted photos, he set our digital camera on a 10-shot self-timer and told me we were going to take goofy pictures together, except really he was proposing. Now we have a flip-book of our engagement (and my red, blotchy, tear-stained face). I love those pictures, and they aren't in an album on facebook, or on our wedding website. They're for us.

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  6. Ellie,
    I'm going to concur with you. I think we just have to learn to live with whatever we are dealt. For some people, they are all about the show and the glitz and for them, maybe hiring professionals is fun and makes it great. For me, it would take away the best part - the thought and planning put in by MY guy. Not someone else. Because really, it is the thought that counts.

    But in the case of my guy, he doesn't have an ounce of romance in him. So maybe the best thought for him would be hiring someone who could actually pull off a romantic night and blow me away? We can read the same thing in many different ways.

    And Ellie, I'm kinda in the same boat. Our proposal story is pretty lame. I had mondo expectations, they were partially met, but it was no magic moment. And thats ok.

    I'm not going to embrace it and pretend like it was amazing and great and perfectly imperfect. I'm going to stick with "It was ok." but I don't really care in the end. We love each other and are getting married. And THAT is perfect.

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  7. i choked on my biscotti.

    that's sick.

    my first night of honeymoon is gonna be special, too. wanna hire a photographer to capture the moment? or an event coordinator?

    good lord, i'd be so hurt if josh hired one of those guys. and that's just it. HURT. not pissed or disgusted or whatever. hurt that he felt like he didn't know me enough to know how to have a special moment with me- he needed to hire someone to tell him how to make it special. wtf.

    /rant

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  8. So glad you wrote this! My head just about popped off when I read that SMP piece and I couldn't believe no one else had brought it up yet.

    And Ellie - no flaming here! Proposals are about two people, and you both come into it with expectations and that's totally valid. I ended up being relieved that Meg over at Practical Wedding had done a series on engagements that touched on proposals because I ended up casually mentioning it to my guy and we realized we are NOT on the same page. Not even in the same book, really. But that gave us a chance to discuss what we both expected and what we were comfortable with and hopefully it will make the whole process much better for both of us.

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  9. First time commenter here.

    Just wanted to voice my agreement. A proposal is one of life's most intimate moments and I couldn’t imagine having a photographer and a professional event planner stage everything to be “perfect.” Similarly, I wouldn’t want to share my proposal with a stadium-full or restaurant-full of people. I wouldn’t even want to be proposed to in front of my (or his) family.

    I think this whole proposal planning phenomena feeds into the idea that we have in this country that there is no room for the uncomfortable, the messy, the imperfect. Perfect proposal, perfect wedding, perfect life. These are the ideals that society wants us to aspire to. Whatever happened to just letting things BE? Sure, your life might not look like a spread in a magazine, but maybe you’ll actually be living it? Funny that.

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  10. @Ellie - you know there's no commenter flaming here, right? I like smart discussion and dissent. :) And frankly, I get it. Jason and i had very different approaches to what we wanted from proposals, which surprised both of us in that first "spying photographer" conversation (and after). To me, an elaborate, public big gesture proposal was exactly what I didn't want, so he came up with a sweetly imperfect adventure. And my proposal to him was wildly imperfect and I had tons of regrets about it. But I haven't heard a "perfect" proposal story yet. They've each had quirks. And, while I can see why you might have appreciated less over-eagerness from Mark and more shaving, I think the story is sweet in its realness and can't-wait love. Maybe you wanted a bigger deal than you got, but there's something honest, at least, about him planning it himself. If he'd hired someone to do most of the work, you might have lost that.

    And yes, I agree that sometimes these moments we've built up in our heads AREN'T a big deal. And that's why we can move on and focus on the core (the promise) and not the symbolic act (the big-deal proposal), especially if the symbolic act wasn't quite what we'd hoped for (really, my first proposal was an underwhelming mess.) But, like my girlfriend once said "there's probably something wrong if the proposal is a complete surprise. Like maybe you should have talked about this marriage thing first?" The proposal is icing on the relationship cake and a chance to express how much we love each other, not a chance to buy a lot of expensive services in an attempt to make it special and important.

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  11. AGREED.

    Truthfully when I first heard about this "trend" of photographers lurking around, I kind of liked it. I was all oh happy pictures. Then I thought about it and realized I was insane. I did NOT want a picture of that moment, I wanted to keep that to myself for me and him.

    We got engaged in a restaurant with four other people at the table, yet he knew enough to wait until we were the only ones at the table together before he proposed. Smart guy.

    I think the memory is better, because I was pretty grumpy that night to begin with, so I don't need random grumpy pictures of me on our proposal night around. I don't need pictures of him running outside right before because he forgot the ring in the truck, while I sat at the table cursing him for running outside for a "smoke". I don't need pictures of me almost chugging my ring (in a wine glass) back because I just wanted to go home.

    The pictures would make me feel sad and grumpy and guilty for being upset on such a great night but my memories are mine and I laugh at how silly I was being.

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  12. proposal planning? yikes. I'm with you. I love our imperfect proposal, because it was totally us. We went up to griffith observatory but left quickly because it was crowded and freezing. Then fiance pulled the car over on a back road in griffith park complaining that there was something wrong with his tire. I panic, turn off the stereo (cued to our song) and hit the emergency flashers before running around to his side of the car. he was on one knee with the ring and the tire was fine. i start crying, he shoves the ring at me and turns the stereo back on. i asked "...so are you gonna say anything?!" While I don't necessarily mind the idea of having photos of it, I agree that paparazzi pics won't be able to convey the same emotion. My memory will serve much better.

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  13. Eff perfection indeed. That NYT article made me throw up in my mouth - blerg. My fiance's proposal was perfect *for me.* There are no pictures, but that's okay. I think the memories are just that much more precious. (And seriously, we'll have a hella lot more memories that will be captured on film before we die!)

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  14. I admit that my idea of what I hoped for in a proposal was a tad different than what Tony delivered. In my proposal fantasy, for example, I was not tired and headachey and surrounded by laundry that needed to be put away. But the proposal -- and how he went about it -- was his to plan and execute. In so much of wedding planning (particularly for heterosexual couples), the focus is on the bride. To me -- and feel free to call me old fashioned, I can take it -- the proposal is more about his feelings; it is about when he is ready and the expression of his love and desire. I don't really mind that my proposal didn't involve sparkling wine, fireworks, or a fancy restaurant. I certainly don't mind the lack of creepy paparazzi hiding in bushes to ambush my private moment. Those things would not be a reflection of Tony, of his feelings, or of who we are together.

    As it was, my proposal was imperfectly perfect -- a true and honest expression of love at a time when he loved me despite (because of) my disheveled appearance, and at a time when we were surrounded by reminders of the everyday humdrum chores of our life together. The proposal felt real and sincere partly because of the messy surroundings. It was the bare honesty that turned that moment into magic.

    I'm glad I don't have pictures of my proposal. That, like the other private moments that take place in our bedroom, is not for other people to see. If they want to ooh and ahh, I'll show them my ring and they can murmur about how pretty it is. But the proposal is ours alone.

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  15. Unlike some of you guys, I wasn't ill when I'd found out about the Professional Proposal Planning Services. Do I think it's in poor taste? Kind of. Would I be upset/mad if himself had used similar services? Yes (our situation was a bit different that the usual proposal stories you hear, but if it had been stereotypical, it still would be a waste of money, in my humble opinion). But still, it doesn't make me ill. It does, however, make me feel a bit like sighing a lot and throwing my hands in the air. It's not enough that we're faced with feeling like our weddings might be "lame," but now we're faced with pressure to make our proposals storybook perfect as well. Even the 'perfect for us' sentiment, I mean . . . what if things had gone differently? Would it still have been perfect for you guys? Or is that to say that any proposal involving the two of you would've been perfect? I don't like the word perfect. I try not to use it.

    Look . . . I love us. I feel that the us-ness really is more than good enough. I want to say no to the pressure and slam the door but -- I'll admit it -- sometimes it creeps into the cracks, and I'm not exactly sure why. Perhaps it's because the Proposal Planning Services and the like are banging so loudly to come in.

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  16. I have ALWAYS wondered how the hell people get such clear and amazing pictures of their actual proposal. The only cool thing about having a pic is being able to show it while telling the proposal story... so that friends and family who weren't there, get to SEE the moment, as opposed to solely hearing about it. and it would be nice to have the image for memory's sake. But hiring a photog and coordinator to help plan and capture your proposal like it's an "event" isn't my bag. it kinda creeps me out. a moment that is so intimate and so special between two people doesn't need a parade and a photoshoot. I was, however, definitely guilty of wanting a picture at first... before I knew we were even going to get engaged... but it was only because all my girlfriends had pictures and VIDEOS of their proposals. My desire had nothing to do with the actual proposal, I just wanted mine to look as special as theirs did. Which is so so silly, I have a hard time even admitting it. And that's not what a proposal is about. Not in the least.

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  17. @eclipse - I think the "perfect for us" sentiment, at least from my end, acknowledges how "imperfect" it was and where the process went entirely off the rails. And oh well. We're engaged now and we have a complicated story of love, compromise, miscommunication, and communication without any giant public gestures. It's not an easy story to tell and no one was particularly impressed when I told them how our proposals unfolded. The magic wasn't theirs to know, and that's kinda how I like it.

    I despise the notion of perfection, because it's really about standardizing and creating impossible images of what "prefect" might be, when really, any proposal between the two people who are right for each other is right (even if it went wrong, somehow.) It's why I used "perfect" in quotations, because it's a dangerous word and concept.

    So it makes me ill because it created the expectations you're trying to slam the door against. It makes me ill because the existence of these services allow doubt to creep in. It makes me ill and it makes you throw your hands in the air, but I think we're getting at the same thing. Professional Proposal Planning means there's a pressure to create a fantasy date, when life is messier than that. It created a concept of proposals that most men and couples can't possibly live up to, but it also steals meaning from the true emotion of what's happening by focusing our energies on the effing details instead of the experience.

    Every couple is different. Every couple negotiates their own proposal desires. Some want a big show. Some want a quiet moment without much fuss. Sometimes the couples have vastly different ideas about what they wanted from the proposals and there's either a compromise or some disappointment, hopefully followed by a focus on the love and intent of the action if not the specifics. But I hate the notion of expectations about the specifics, which professional services only help reinforce.

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  18. We didn't have photographers or a ring. It was me and him talking in bed. No kneeling, not even a formal question. And it's memorable because it's an important part of our lives, not because I have amazing photos or because I was wearing a cute dress or because he got a bunch of people to sing and dance.

    What eludes me is the need to orchestrate every moment of life... yes, weddings are big gatherings (often) and require some amount of planning. But why does a proposal have to be youtube fodder to be great? Why does it have to be a seamless production? Makes me wonder how people who expect a proposal to be "perfect" deal with real life in all its thrilling messiness...

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  19. Wonderful post. This makes me happy, partially due to the fact that I felt the same way when I read the article on SMP, and partially because reading other people's engagement stories here in the comments reminds me that our lives don't always have to be bloggable.

    I think it's not JUST the wedding industry/blogs that make it so we feel every moment has to have the perfect photos and accompanying vintage dress, Etsy earrings, and indie song in the background. I think it is also due to a generational shift in how we connect with people in our lives. Facebooks and blogs. "Pictures or it didn't happen." In a Web 2.0 world, it's as if every moment as to be Photoshopped and ready to get slapped onto Flickr and Twitter for consumption by our 250 'friends' in order for it to feel 'normal'. Not even perfect, just the expected standard.

    Before, there was the unreasonable expectation for lives to be like in books. Later, like in films and television shows. Now, it's like our lives have to fit into the realm of a soundbyte and a photo, and something with the high expectations of a wedding or a proposal triples the pressure. (I feel like this webcomic captured the problem perfectly - http://xkcd.com/77/)

    My proposal was hardly a proposal. We were lying in bed, we talked about whether or not we felt it was right, we decided it was, and we went to sleep. Am I disappointed there's no story? I was for awhile, but now I feel like the pressure to have a story comes from society and the aforementioned problems stemming from my generation's method of communication, and not because I MYSELF wanted a story. I'm glad it was rational and well thought out, because since then I've never had to question whether it was something we really wanted or just us being swept up in a 'moment'.

    Again, thank you for this post. It makes me feel better.

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  20. No effing way. This thoroughly pisses me off. So much so that I wanted to vomit halfway through the post.

    What the hell is this? I mean, seriously. I read a comment on the SMP post and someone said, "Why hasn't anyone thought of this sooner! Take some of the pressure off these poor boys, I love it!" People really think this takes pressure off of our partners in making the perfect proposal? Why not just throw a bunch of men in a locker room shower so they can fight over whose is bigger, because that's what it feels like to me. We live in a world where bigger is better and more money equals less problems. Psssh. Right.

    As if we already didn't feel pressure from WIC in our weddings, now we have to see it in our proposals. What's next? Are event planners and photogs going to infiltrate the awkward first date? Sheesh.

    I only feel this way because I know how stressed Josh was about proposing to me and this "professional proposal" makes me mad for him. Even though we had already picked a ring and already set a time line, he still felt so pressured to make everything perfect. And you know what? It was.

    And... I'm done.

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  21. thinking back to our (very much alone) proposal story, I think it would be been awkward for someone to photograph. we made out A LOT. what if you thought you were alone, sharing this intimate, awesome moment, and tried to get randy and your intended suddenly whispers "there's a photographer/event planner in the bushes!"

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  22. Man, I cannot believe how the wedding industry has taken over every aspect of relationships! It is so frustrating...don't get me wrong, I know that some guys need help with this and it is still thought that they put into even 'planning' it out with a hired hand. It's sweet regardless...though I agree, a little less 'owned' by the man (or woman) entirely. Mr Fix It did not go all out...he did not do anything spectacular or over the top. He hid a ring in a box of chocolates and gave it to me on Christmas morning. Even though he didn't drop to one knee or say all these ridiculously long loving words, it still made me cry. It was the act of giving me a ring and showing that he wanted to spend his life with me that moved me. I always thought I wanted something extravagant and overly romantic and thought out...but it didn't matter in the end.

    You know from my post today how frustrated I was with the whole photos thing...I think the intrusion of the wedding industry into all of our lives via media, internet, magazine, tv, etc is seriously deluding women (young and old) into thinking their weddings will be unrealistically extravagant and artsy or whatever. I know I would not have been so upset had I not been mesmerized with all that I have found on blogs and the net.

    I think we need to remember that every single thing is each person's to cherish in their own way...it doesn't need to be over the top or better than the previous person!

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  23. @Ellie: I'm going to agree with you too.

    I feel like such a b*tch saying it, but I was disappoint with the proposal too.

    We had talked about it, and I'd always said I'd prefer it to be just in some everyday moment together, like cooking dinner together in our kitchen. He wanted it to be a big production. In the end, it was in a crappy hotel room before we went to meet his family for dinner.

    Don't get me wrong, it was a joyous occasion and we were all so happy and we got to celebrate with everyone, but...

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  24. Well said. I thought a lot of the same, that a proposal should be intimate and, well, more special than sitting around watching TV together, but not ORCHESTRATED. Adam proposed to me at a secluded picnic on a day with exceptionally beautiful weather with lots of tasty (but simple) foods. And for me that was perfect.

    But on the other hand, some girls LOVE a show. Don't girls with that personality type deserve what's perfect for them too? It's not all about spending more money. A guy could spend the same amount on a skydiving trip he thought up on his own as on a coordinator who thinks of something less expensive but really fun.

    And as I commented on that post, I can't fault guys who go the paid route. Yes, it could end up really impersonal. But it could also be like a therapy session for insecure guys. Like a coordinator could ask "what sorts of things do you like to do together, relax by the fire, or play tennis? What's her favorite color, can you bring me pictures of her living room decor so I can get a sense of her style?" Some guys don't know how to put clues together to execute a romantic plan.

    Sure, it could end up icky and impersonal, with guys who don't stop and think about what his lady really likes and just throws money at someone to make it pretty. But I dunno, would really be the case if he feels so connected to a woman that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her? Dating and attempting to seduce someone? Yeah. Committing to someone in sickness and in health? Probably not.

    I think more likely that it's a different kind of sweet when a guy is nervous and insecure about making it a day to remember. I'm sure in the past some would ask friends and family for suggestions. A talented coordinator is just broadening those options.

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  25. Oh I have such mixed feelings about this post. What I agree on is that hiring a planner sort of takes away a certain something from the moment, because it has been orchestrated by an outside party.

    But I disagree about the part regarding having a photographer capture it. My best friend and I thought we were brilliant geniuses when we came up with the idea for this 1 1/2 years ago. Of course we were kind of idiots, because we weren't the first ones to think this up. But my best friend loved it, and while we were partially joking, I know she would really love it if it actually happened. I know a photographer who has also done this in real life, and maybe what doesn't urk me about him is that he doesn't advertise this as a service. The man came to him with the idea, and, I have to be honest, the pictures are awesome.

    Flash ahead to Mr. Beagle's proposal, where he set up a camera on a tripod and a lightbox and snapped the proposal with a remote in his hand. It was all his idea and part of his plan to create some kind of grand gesture. I didn't need the pictures or a grand gesture to make the proposal special, but that was his contribution to making it special. He's a photographer, so photographing it was what comes naturally. And I have shared one of the photos. I love it. Simply love it. Because the radiant looks on both our faces makes me so happy, and I want to share my happiness with my friends and family. I cannot hide it away. We are happy and we want everyone to know we are happy. And there are other photos we have not yet shared, but I suspect that we may at some point.

    Aside from the photo, which kind of does look like the perfect moment, the proposal didn't go exactly as planned, because we missed the fireworks and I was on crutches (which are lying in the grass out of the picture). Oh, the best laid plans....

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  26. You thought YOUR description of this was crass? Wow. I thought it was absurdly nice. Mine would have been about two words, and one of them would have been unprintable.

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  27. 5 minutes before we stepped onto the Ponte des Artes where my future husband was waiting to propose to me, I said to my then roommate "You should totally be my bridesmaid when I get married. Ooh and wouldn't it be funny if I got engaged soon."

    15 minutes later, said roommate was slyly taking pictures on the bridge as I was shocked and newly engaged. She said the French there were giving her rude looks for intruding on our moment.

    THAT is a set of proposal pictures that I love (and yep my floppy white hat and sandwiches were everywhere in those pictures.)

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