Public vs. Private Marriage Proposal Tips

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By Sarah Pease, The Proposal Planner™

As a professional proposal planner, I’ve designed hundreds of engagements – from the quiet, small and completely private to the big, elaborate and showy. Here are a few tips and tricks to remember when selecting the level of public involvement in your proposal.

Completely Private: A secluded mountaintop, an exclusive private dining room, a deserted beach. The main benefit to a totally private marriage proposal is obvious – you’ll be alone and able to have real, unedited emotions. But there are serious drawbacks to a completely solo marriage proposal – you won’t have photos or video of it, or live music, or most importantly, anyone to share your joy with. I’ve seen this with my clients – I’ll be observing the “Yes!” from afar, keeping a discreet distance. After a while, the couple always has a seriously awkward moment of “Now what?” What they’re missing is people to congratulate them, celebrate them and share their joy with.

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Completely Public: These types of proposals are slowly getting a bad reputation – that they’re only for attention-seekers, not personal enough or too flashy for such an intimate moment. I don’t agree! Public proposals don’t necessarily have to be a flashmob in Times Square or a marching band in her local park. Public proposals can mean many different things, and there are tons of different levels of public-ness to choose from.

There are two things that effect a public proposal: the audience and the announcement. For the audience, some couples would be comfortable having a public proposal as long as it was in front of friends and family. Others would be okay with sharing their moment with a giant group of total strangers, but never family.

Another thing to consider is that the public may not even notice you! If you’re getting engaged at Rockefeller Center on Christmas Eve, rest assured that none of the people crowding the square will notice one bit if you drop to one knee. Effectively, it’s a private proposal in a public place. But, if you work with the ice rink to clear the ice, announce it and project it over the loudspeaker, then absolutely everyone will take notice. Announcing the proposal really makes all the difference.

The Goldilocks Solution: If you’re unsure about public vs. private then an easy compromise is to have the proposal itself be private, and then bring in friends and family to celebrate afterwards. Whether it’s a lively cocktail party at your home or a proper engagement party you’ll be able to have the best of both worlds.

Will you be planning a public proposal, a private one, or somewhere in between?

Sarah Pease, The Proposal Planner ™ is the foremost expert on marriage proposals and is the pioneer of Marriage Proposal Planning. Sarah is the founder of Brilliant Event Planning and Proposal Ideas, and has designed and produced dream engagements for countless lucky couples from across the world.

Colorado proposal photography by Captivated Photograpy