Elaborate proposals new trend in engagementsWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Ottney thought she was just touring the USS Missouri on Aug. 30, 2011.
Her sailor boyfriend, Alex Wolff, had won a trip to Hawaii for three people that included a private tour of the ship. Because he was deployed, he chose Amy, his mother and sister for the trip.
Amy was excited because his squadron was making a stop in Hawaii on its way back to San Diego. She would catch a glimpse of him before he was home for a true reunion after seven months at sea.
But first, Amy was taking a tour of the Missouri. She didn’t think it was unusual cameras were in her face because it was part of the contest deal. She got on the Missouri with Alex’s family and started taking in the history of Pearl Harbor.
As she got farther into the ship, she recognized someone, but she wasn’t sure why. It was Matthew Rogers, the host of one of her favorite reality shows, Lifetime’s “Coming Home.”
“It took me a moment to realize what it meant. I knew what was coming up. Then I was really excited about it.”
Alex was there to greet her at the end of a long line of sailors.
“I thought it was such a crazy surprise that I was going to see him. I thought that was the surprise.”
But it wasn’t. He started to push her away and all of a sudden he dropped to one knee.
“The additional layer was when he asked me to marry him,” she said, with a squeal.
Creating the perfect proposal is becoming a huge trend, according to Stacy Tasman, the founder of New York-based blog How He Asked.com. She isn’t surprised by a reality show engagement.
“They are getting bigger and better from a details perspective. It used to be a man would pick a romantic place and give a few words and then pop the question,” Tasman said. “Now instead of just saying the words, he is planning it all out with a whole day or evening.”
In her opinion, the trend started because people were sharing their engagements on Facebook and people wanted to know the details. No one wants to have a lame story. Also, women are mostly in charge of the wedding, and the proposal gives the man a chance to showcase his creativity, she said.
Tasman started HowHeAsked.com after her girlfriend got engaged. She wanted other couples to be able share their engagement stories.
It has since morphed into a business featuring vendors willing to help create the perfect proposal.
“I had a girlfriend get engaged and her now-husband asked me to come to the proposal. I was like, ‘I will come to the wedding, but what do you mean the proposal?’” Tasman said.
“My friend was a small-town girl and he wanted to include everyone who was meaningful to her. We flew down to Florida and he took her to the beach in her backyard where she had grown up and popped the question with shells. When she came back to the house, everyone was there to celebrate.”
Tasman said popular proposals these days include scavenger hunts and getting family members involved.
“It isn’t just saying the words, it is putting them into action,” she said.
While planning packages start at $3,000, Tasman said her advice is to focus on little moments in the relationship when you ask.
“When you pull those out of your relationship and put those into an engagement, that is very meaningful,” she said.
Jacquelyn Hodgson of Toledo knows about meaningful proposals. Her boyfriend, Zach Garrow, proposed Aug. 17 at a Detroit Tigers game. They weren’t even sitting next to each other, so Jacqueline didn’t suspect anything. In the bottom of the second inning, a Tigers employee started to organize a trivia game with the mascot, Paws. Zach volunteered to play. Jacquelyn became his partner.
The question was: Who won the Triple Crown last year? When Jacquelyn answered Miguel Cabrera (with help from the crowd), Paws opened his paw. Inside was a baseball that asked her to marry Zach.
“I had no idea,” Jacquelyn said. “At first, I didn’t even cry because I was in complete shock.”
Fortunately, Zach’s family was at the game with them and captured the moment on video and film. Tasman said a proposal won’t be perfect unless someone documents it.
“Have someone in the bushes or someone to take photos to capture it,” she said.
Amy and Alex love having their episode “Undercover Engagement” to watch whenever they want. They ended up eloping Sept. 10, 2011, and live as the Wolff family in Southern California where they met. Interestingly, they grew up just four miles apart. Alex graduated from Genoa High School; Amy graduated from Oak Harbor.
When she was dating him, she never expected such an elaborate proposal.
“Now that I really know him, I know he will go all out. He is zero or 100 in everything. If something is really important to him, he blows it up,” Amy said.
On the show, Alex told the host: “A proposal is huge. For a guy, it is saying, ‘I am putting it all on the line here. I want to spend the rest of my life with you forever.’”
Since then, he has more thoughts on the topic.
“You only ask someone to marry you once; you don’t want any regrets and you want it to be something that she’ll replay over and over in her head and still be telling your grandkids.”