The Hippo


Apr 24, 2019








These halo engagement ring settings from Bellman’s Jewelers feature various diamond cuts that sparkle and shine.

Completely engaging
Like rings, proposals come in all shapes and sizes


 You’ve found the right person. This person is awesome. Like crazy, amazingly awesome. You share similar values and life goals. You are compatible in more ways than one. You’re each other’s best friend, and when you don’t see eye to eye, you agree to disagree. 

In other words, it’s time to put a ring on it. 
But how does one do that, exactly? It’s simple, right? Get down on one knee. Ask the four magic words. Hold your breath until you (gasp) hear a “yes.”
Not exactly. Nerves, social expectations and perfectionism risk mucking up any couple’s fantasy proposal. Emily St. Pierre, owner and lead planner of All The Fuss Weddings and Events — she left the fast-paced Vegas wedding event planning industry to set up shop in New Hampshire — says getting it right is all about making the moment special for just the two of you. 
“In the end of it, being engaged is the goal, and if something doesn’t go exactly perfect, it’s OK,” St. Pierre said. 
Here’s some advice for losing those down-on-one-knee jitters. 
True to you
Whether you choose a private, intimate setting or a public proposal amongst friends, family or everyone who can see the jumbotron, opt for an experience that is true to you as a couple. Think about each other’s styles and personality and let that be your guide. Ultimately the moment is about two people, and that should be the focus. 
Social media mayhem
Did you hear about the guy who worked with a Washington Post crossword writer to come up with a “willyoumarryme” crossword answer for his girlfriend to find? What about the inventive young man who created and videotaped a puppet version of the couple’s courtship and then showed it to his girlfriend before popping the question? Viral videos of over-the-top proposals can lead to pressure to do something more elaborate, but don’t let that impulse get the best of you. No matter what the proposal, in the end it will be so special that it won’t really matter how grandiose the gesture was. 
On the same token, hold off on logging onto Facebook or Twitter to announce your new relationship status. Take a few hours to be in the moment before shouting it out to the digital world. 
The ring thing
Back in the day, choosing an engagement ring was pretty simple, said David Bellman owner of Bellman’s Jewelers in Manchester. The guy would come in, choose from one or two rings, and that was it. 
“Now the poor guy will come in and there’s like 1,200 rings to choose from,” he said. 
In the past, it may have been a faux pas for women to help pick out their own engagement rings, but today more future fiancées are surfing the Web or snapping photos of engagement rings with their phones, then forwarding them along to their guys. Bellman encourages this behavior. 
“Let’s face it. When you are spending that kind of money you want to make sure it’s right,” he said. “This is a huge help to guys.” 
But if the couple is a little more old-fashioned, there are plenty of trends to give guys some insight into what’s popular right now. As far as the cut of the stone, round brilliant cuts are still the most popular, but princess and cushion cuts are gaining popularity. Princess cuts are perfect square diamonds while cushion cut diamonds are squares with rounded edges — a cut that works better for 2 karat or larger gems. 
The halo-style setting is a vintage style band that’s trending today. It’s a band of small jewels around the center stone jewel, expanding its size be as much as a half carat or more. Whether the center stone is round or square, a lot of couples have been going with that. The extra jewels don’t have to equal extra bucks, Bellman said. A $5,000 budget could mean a $4,500 stone and a $500 band, or a $4,000 stone and a $1,000 band. 
Custom rings are also in. Some future grooms seek out designers to create personalized or alternative types of rings that sometimes incorporate heirloom jewels to honor family and tradition. 
“I’ve seen brides who have taken family diamonds and put them in new settings. It’s maybe someone that has passed or a ring passed down through a few different generations,” St. Pierre said. “[For] one couple, the fiance’s dad passed away so his mom gave her ring to him.”
Random proposals
“I love proposals that come on a random day or night — a random Tuesday afternoon,” St. Pierre said. While some grooms-to-be might get down on one knee at Christmas or New Year’s Eve, proposing at an unexpected time could add an element of surprise and make it memorable. 
Even if you’ve planned everything to a tee, being able to improvise if the urge hits will lessen the stress. One of St. Pierre’s clients prepared an intricate proposal involving an elaborate dinner, but the ring was burning a hole in his pocket. Instead of waiting he got down on one knee when his future fiance came out of the shower for an impromptu proposal. 
Destination engagements
There is much ado about destination weddings, but a trip might be the perfect time for an engagement too. Whether it’s a romantic excursion to Paris or a weekend in the White Mountains, a special setting can amp up the wow factor. 
One potential con of a destination engage ment? It could eliminate the surprise because the engagement hopeful may be expecting it. The trick is to choose a surprising moment during the trip. One of St. Pierre’s clients had a hunch her boyfriend was going to propose to her during a trip to the family lake house. But instead of waiting, her beau got down on one knee 10 minutes after they arrived.
A family affair
Proposals can still be romantic even if the couple wants family around to share the moment. Pick a location that is charming and somewhat private, like a sunset at the beach. Maybe set up a beautiful picnic. Maybe hide the family and friends behind a sand dune or a patch of swaying long grass. It’s really special for some couples to have their family and friends present for a post-yes celebration, St. Pierre said. And as an added bonus, there is sure to be someone taking photos to capture the moment — no selfies required.
For private types, stay at home
The home is a simple, meaningful proposal location, especially for couples who already live together and are more private. A couple’s house, condo or apartment can often have more emotional significance than anywhere else, and there are plenty of ways to dress up the occasion. 
Try setting up the house with flowers and candles while your significant other is at work and be waiting on one knee when he or she walks through the door. If you don’t share a living space together, a favorite hiking trail, park or beach where you’ve spent a lot of time together could provide the perfect picturesque setting.    
As seen in the January 23, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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