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Marriage proposals—history, trivia, mistakes to avoid and 3 beautiful stories

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Have you ever checked out our wedding proposal contest on Best for Bride? If you haven’t already, you should! It is full of exciting stories of wedding proposals done right, and we are certain that you will enjoy reading the innovative and romantic ways in which the singular life-changing question, “Will you marry me?” was presented and accepted by different couples.

As I was going through these stories of love, I thought it’s a good idea to look at what marriage proposals are like today, and explore it a little deeper. So, join me as I dig into this subject and let’s have some fun. We also have three of our popular story favorites at the end of this post, so don’t forget to check them out as well.

Some history on the existence of marriage proposals

In many cultures around the world, it used to be and is still customary for the man to ask a woman’s father for her hand in marriage. This has changed in many cultures today, with women being in charge of their destinies and being asked for their hand in marriage, directly.

Accepting a proposal is not compulsory. Many couples choose to wait and see if they are indeed agreeable to spending a lifetime together, before they agree to get engaged. Nevertheless, a surprise proposal executed beautifully and thoughtfully is a thrill for every prospective bride, and one that most women dream of.

This article on the Wikipedia tells us how 29 February is the one day that women could propose to their partner, in countries like Scotland and Finland. Although proposals by women are more popular today, it is still considered the prerogative of a man to take this important step.

Proposing on bent knee

The symbolic gesture that has forever been associated with marriage proposals, most men (a whooping 76%) still favor the practice of proposing to their lady love on a bent knee. Although there is no definite history behind this practice, this article on the Love to know blog, sheds some insight.  It suggests that the gesture exalts the woman, as the man shows his respect to her by lowering himself. It is also comparable to the kneeling of knights when conferred an honor, and accepting a proposal of marriage is a similar honor. The practical reason suggested is that this pose of the man places the ring in an elevated position between the couple, This prevents the blocking of the light falling on the ring, and makes it more attractive. Isn’t that interesting? So, which of these reasons do you buy?

Now, let us look at some interesting trends, numbers and facts with regard to marriage proposals. Hopefully, this will give guys (or girls) a better idea of what would work, if they intend to pop their question sometime soon.

Facts, figures and trends

#Simple or showy?

We’ve seen plenty of romantic wedding proposals in sitcoms and movies, so which of these do you think would be the best for your woman? Is it the romantic and intimate style with just the couple there that the two of you would love? Remember the proposal scene in Pride and Prejudice? How romantic was it when Darcy proposed to Elizabeth on the moor at dawn. Is your girlfriend a fan of such scenes, or would she rather prefer the epic Flash Mob proposal on Cougar town, where Jules cannot deny the proposal because of how touching it was? (Despite her already being married, that is!)

Well, it so happens that 50% of women on the Robin Bros annual survey prefer that her partner spend majority of the funds on the ring, and keep the proposal simple. Despite this, a third of them wouldn’t mind having their engagement broadcast to the rest of the world, instead of keeping it just to themselves. After all, this is the age when reality shows rule us.

#Who should propose?

Traditionally, it was the man who proposed, except in specific cases and on specific days like we saw earlier. Now, things have changed a lot. 37% brides believe that it is fine to take on the responsibility of the proposal, rather than wait around for their partner to realize when it is time. This explains the new trend of engagement rings for men. In fact, the tradition of proposing on bent knee extends to this scenario too, but with the woman on her knee instead. Many men don’t really mind this type of proposal though, nor do they have any qualms about accepting it.

#When is the ideal time to propose?

Interestingly, women were more of the opinion that they had to wait for a while to make sure they were compatible as a couple, before deciding to get married. A fifth of the women on the Marriage proposal survey by Chillysauce mention that they would like to be proposed to on the anniversary of the day they got together. Men on the other hand, had no such personal dates as their preference, and chose Christmas Eve and Valentine’s day as the more likely dates to pop the question.

#Is it alright to propose on social media?

It is surprising how proposals, which were once considered very personal, are now finding more likes when executed in the public eye. A surprising 40% of women in UK, on the Chillysauce survey wouldn’t mind being proposed to over social media. Celebrities like Kelly Rowland and Kristen Bell have taken the leap to propose via the digital world, and more couples are following suit. However, the survey by Robin Bros in US suggested something different. Almost the entire population they surveyed deemed techie proposals as inappropriate and unromantic, even when followed by an in-person gesture. So, I think it differs from place to place, and person to person. So, give some thought to it before you make your move.

Now, let us move on from these numbers and get around to a more serious topic. If you are planning to get engaged in the near future, these definite proposal mistakes might be helpful.

Proposal mistakes to avoid

#Popping the question too early

There are women who want to get married right away, and then there are those who just aren’t sure. Like the survey said, most women like to wait it out and see if the relationship is headed anywhere, before they commit themselves entirely. While guys may be certain that they’ve finally met the woman of their dreams, girls are usually more skeptical. So, our suggestion is to wait till you are past the infatuation stage, you have had your first few arguments and are still certain that this relationship will work. This will save you the trouble of being in an awkward situation if she seems undecided or says no.

#Proposing empty-handed

Marriage proposals and engagement rings are a match made in heaven. One isn’t complete without the other! Proposing without the ring is a big, BIG mistake. So, what do you do if you aren’t sure that she’ll like the ring you pick? This article on the Knot suggests that you choose one from a store with an exchange policy.  Doesn’t that sound good? Or, if you have been engaged for long and both know that a wedding is on the cards, you can take her ring shopping. Our proposal story contest winners in Season 1, Darren and Angela did this.  They were together for 6 years,before they were engaged to be married. Darren knew her style by taking her out to look at rings in advance, and everything ended out fine in the end. Or, you could always consider proposing to your lady love in a ring store, like Patrick Dempsey did in the movie, Sweet Home Alabama.

#Not personalizing the proposal to suit her personality

Not all women may revel in the idea of being proposed to in front of hundreds of onlookers. Many would rather prefer being a park, or in a meaningful place with just the two of you or few onlookers who you know and would like to have there at the time. Make the moment about her, and your proposal will be more impressive. Many women love being proposed at the place where you first met. So, if your lady is a real romantic, you may like to consider this option. Also remember that your partner may prefer it if you had it well-planned, instead of just going with the flow and not taking it seriously enough. It is a life-time commitment after all, so give it the due importance it deserves.

#Ruining the surprise

You may have painstakingly created the perfect plan for your proposal, but beware of sharing it with too many people. Sure, you can enlist the help of your trusted friends or family, if you want help with executing it. You may even give a hint to her parents when you ask them for their blessings, but don’t share the details. Make sure that it is a secret, and not something that is public knowledge. You do not want your girlfriend hearing about it from someone, and the surprise being spoiled. She may also appreciate it better if she could break the news to everyone afterwards, than learn that they all knew it beforehand and it was a surprise only for her. Wait for the right moment, and give her the joy she deserves when you propose to her. You could even have a meaningful engagement with just the two of you, and then break the news to the rest of your gang with an engagement party.

It’s now time for us to look at some of our favorite proposals from our engagement proposal contest archives.

Proposal Contest Winners

1.Kristen and Jason’s Catch Phrase Proposal

This is one of the most romantic proposals we’ve ever come across. Jason caught Kristen off-guard with his proposal, by leading her to the scenario through playing the board game “Catch Phrase.” When it was Kristen’s turn to guess, Jason’s clues began with “It’s something you do, when you love someone.” Kristen’s first comical guess was buy them stuff. Her brother who was also playing, finally guessed ‘Proposal’, and all of a sudden Jason was on his knee, asking Kristen to marry him. How unique was that. Read all about this wonderful couple who were the season 2 winners of our story contest here.

2.Sean and Paige’s touching cancer to engagement story

Season 4 proposal story winner Paige was diagnosed with stage 3 lymphoma cancer and was in the hospital recovering from surgery. On the second night of her stay, Sean had all her visitors leave early, and walked in with a bouquet of roses. After showing her that he’d shaved his head so she wouldn’t be alone when she lost hers during therapy, he went on to propose to her. It was a touching moment, as Paige was too overwhelmed and ended up with her vital signs running berserk. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful proposal.

3.Louie and Rosie’s Pizza Proposal Story

This couple, on their fourth anniversary visited their favorite restaurant in Woodridge. Rosie went on to order her favorite pizza, and was upset that it took them more than an hour to get it ready. Just as she was above to give the staff a piece of her mind for the undue delay, her fiance took over and went to meet the staff. Surprise, surprise, he returned with a heart-shaped pizza that had “Will you marry me” written on it. How unexpected, exciting and thoughtful! And here’s the pizza that did the honors.

Isn’t it refreshing to read these stories and appreciate the beautiful thought that went into each of them? Our proposal story contest pages are full of hundreds of exciting stories, just like these. Why don’t you visit them here and pick out a few to read when you have some time to spare? Perhaps, even add your own story and enter the contest that is on?

For more interesting wedding advice, stories, shopping related tips and more, keep visiting us at Best for Bride.

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Tips to prepare for your wedding dress shopping

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Wedding dress shopping is fun and exciting, but it can also be overwhelming if you don’t know what you want. To find the right wedding dress, you may first have to look at hundreds of options. So, don’t hit the stores till you have narrowed down your preferences to a select few. Plan in advance and your wedding shopping will be productive and enjoyable.

This article will help you understand how to prepare for your bridal boutique appointment, so you can make the most of your experience.

Begin early

There are three main processes, when it comes wedding shopping –determining the type of dress you want, finding the right bridal boutique and finding the dress. The entire process may take anywhere between 6 and 12 months. A little research before shopping will make it easier and much more effective.

How to start?

While some brides know exactly how they want to look on their wedding day, others may not have a clue on where to begin. Don’t worry, we’ll help you get there.

First, find a silent spot and sit down with a pen and paper. Close your eyes and imagine your wedding day. Do you envision yourself as a traditional bride in a classic white wedding gown? Or do you picture yourself as a fashionable, stylish bride in a modern wedding dress?

Depending on your preferences, write down a few describing words for the gown you have in mind.

Now, look for dresses that match your idea. Browse through online wedding gown collections and photos in bridal magazines to find inspiration. Save these for reference, and make notes on what you like and what you don’t in a particular dress.

Ask your friends for suggestions on what would look good on you. Once you begin doing this, you will slowly zero-in on the features you want, and eliminate those you don’t. You should soon be able to shortlist suitable silhouettes, type of sleeves, neckline and length. It’s now time to move on to the next step.

Fix a budget, find a boutique

The worst thing that can happen when you go shopping, is to fall in love with a dress you cannot afford. So, fix the maximum amount you can spend on your wedding dress and make sure you stick to it. Budget for accessories like veils and shoes too.

Now, find a boutique that carries the dress collections you like. You can check online or call them to confirm availability of these collections. Although you can buy a dress online, remember that you may not be able to judge how the dress would look on you till you actually try it on.

Book your appointment and go shopping!

Once you finalize the boutique, fix an appointment with them on a day when you have plenty of time to shop. If there are any particular dresses that you liked, inform them so they will have it ready when you arrive.

Take a friend or two with you, when you go shopping. Limit the number of people who accompany you, as too many opinions will only make the decision difficult. Choose someone who is fair in judgement and will give you an honest opinion.

Now, all you have to do is attend your appointment and find your dream dress!

Visit Best for Bride to browse through our vast selection of wedding dresses and for all your other wedding needs.

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The Duties of the Maid of Honor

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If you have been chosen for the maid of honor, you are probably wondering exactly what your duties are and what is expected of you. There is a lot of work that goes into planning a wedding and the other components that go along with it and the bride has chosen you for a  reason. She expects you to be there for her when she needs advice or needs something taken care of.

There are also several traditional things that a maid of honor is usually responsible for. Below, you will learn more about some of those different responsibilities.

Bridal Shower

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Most often, it is the maid of honor who hosts, plans and throws the bridal shower. Of course, you should talk to the bride first before planning this huge event because she may have some specific instructions in mind for you.

Assisting the Bride

Basically, the maid of honor is the person that the bride shares the most experiences with when she is planning her wedding. It is likely that she will be invited along for choosing decorations, the cake, the dress and even the venue. Be prepared to offer your honest opinion, but keep the interests and personality of the bride in mind as well. Remember that it is her wedding and that her desires should be met rather than yours.

There are also many other areas that the bride may require assistance. For example, the maid of honor is usually the main person to help the bride dress for her wedding day. She will probably be responsible for making sure that everything is taken care of on the big day and may even be asked to make some emergency repairs and/or decisions on the day of the wedding as well.

The Bachelorette Party

This is probably one of the most fun responsibilities that is left upon the maid of honor. It is usually her role to set up a fun night to celebrate before the wedding with the other bridesmaids and the bride. Be sure to consult with the bride on this one so that you select an event that will make her feel comfortable and relaxed. Some couples have even begun joining the bachelorette and bachelor parties into one huge event, so this is something that you may want to consider as well.

Conclusion

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In the end, the maid of honor has been chosen by the bride because she is the one that the bride trusts the most. She is probably the bride’s best and closest friend and should be available to help the bride in any way that is needed.

Being the maid of honor is a huge honor at any wedding, but it does hold  great deal of responsibility as well. You should make sure that you are willing to provide the support that she needs before you accept the role that is being placed upon you.

Best for Bride

This wedding superstore is the perfect location for all your wedding planning needs. Here, the maid of honor can easily help the bride make the decisions that will help make her special day the best day of her life.