Wedding Etiquette Forum

Public vs. Private Proposal--a poll

Help settle a debate:
Would you prefer (have preferred, will prefer) to have a proposal with some sort of public display (at an amusement park, ballgame, riverwalks, etc.) where people can see what's going on, or have something more private with just the two of you? If you had something public, what was it and what did you think of it? I'll share the origin/my opinion later...


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Re: Public vs. Private Proposal--a poll

  • Mine was a private proposal and I wouldn't have had it any other way.  I don't like being the center of attention so a public proposal would have made me really uneasy.
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  • I almost said I didn't care--but then I thought about the incredibly sweet, mushy way that H asked me, and I wouldn't trade that for the world. It's something he wouldn't have done in public.
  • I'm not a fan of "proposals" to begin with -- I think a good marriage starts with a discussion between two adults who mutually come to a decision. So with that in mind, if there has to  be a proposal, definitely private. I think it's horrible to put someone on the spot like that with a public proposal.  
  • edited February 2010
    Ours was semi-public. It was in front of a lot of our friends (okay, it was at the end of our kickball game). We were on our way to a bar anyway, so they bought us champagne. It was fun. I thought it was a unique idea and FI thought it would be nice to have our friends there to celebrate. (Then I found out one or two other people have done a kickball proposal since then - in different parts of the country. But I still get asked by other people in our division, "Are you the one who got engaged at kickball?")

    A ball park in front of 50,000 people? A little much, IMO.

    Edit: Based on what Ten said, I want to add that I was 100% aware the "proposal" was coming because we had already decided to get married and bought the ring together. FI just wanted to do something a little traditional and sweet. I even knew where he was keeping the ring before the proposal, but I had no idea he would propose that night. I feel like even a completely surprise proposal should NOT include even a question of whether or not she will say yes though, so she shouldn't feel pressured into saying it if it is in public. I assume people talk about marriage and their future in all serious relationships. Perhaps I'm just too hopeful.
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  • I hate being the center of attention and feel that a proposal should be an intimate affair. Honestly if Dh had proposed in front of a bunch of people I would have been suspicious that he was trying to force the issue (she can't say no if people are watching). Most people don't consider it to be a huge decision, but the decision to say yes really is an important one, and I don't think it should be taken lightly or publicized before she has a chance to think about it (even if its only the two seconds)
  • My proposal was semi public. We were tailgating at a college football game, and all of our friends were there. So yeah, there were like 100,000 people on campus, but I think only the people in our tailgating area knew what was going on. A public proposal is a bad idea unless the couple has had very explicit discussions about marriage and whoever is proposing is sure the other one is going to accept.
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  • Mine was actually IN public, but no one noticed, so it was very private.  Which was far and away my preference.  I just don't think it would have felt right to FI to have it be at home with just us there.  He's more a public guy.  So, he found a compromise.
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  • Ours was semi-public. He took me to our fave dance club which had to be opened by the manager and a couple employees. They witnessed it so it wasn't entirely private - the best part of it not being totaly provate was he planned for the manager to take a picture of the proposal and now I will always have that to look at.

    I wouldn't have had it any other way. A TOTALLY public proposal would have freaked me out.
  • edited February 2010
    He proposed to me on top of the Eiffel Tower, but no one really noticed, since you're not exactly people watching there.  I loved it.  I know it was corny, but it was very us.

    ETA: I wouldn't have cared if it was jumbotron-esque.
  • edited February 2010
    We went out to dinner with friends (that are like family) and when we went back to their house for drinks afterward, he proposed.

    They were all in on it and thankfully, recorded it. I think if he had done it while we were at the restaurant I would've been a little shy because I cried like a baby ... and strangers don't need to see that.

    EDIT :  I also had no clue that he was going to propose, so I was thoroughly shocked.
  • Ours was alone in our apartment, just the two of us.  He told me early on that he wanted to surprise me, and I asked him for just one thing, to do it alone, in private.  I wanted it to just be the two of us, privately, and I'm glad that's what he did.
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  • My proposal was a little of both.  We were at dinner and our booth afforded us enough privacy that I definitely consider it a private proposal.  However, he stood up and announced to the entire restaurant that he proposed and I said yes.  Couples were coming up to us for the rest of the night to offer congratulations. Mortifying and extremely public, yet sweet. It was also completely out of character for him.
  • I screwed up his very public proposal unknowingly. I'm SO glad I did. He waited after I ruined it and did a very private proposal that was perfect. I'm just not a very public person, and I loved my proposal.
  • I definitely wanted a private proposal. I always feel like I am intruding when I see a proposal at a restaurant or in a public park or something. I know the people doing the proposing obviously don't care, but it is jsut such an intimate moment to me.
  • Ours was semi-public.

    My sister and I were having lunch at Cheesecake Factory and her phone rang so she went outside.

    I looked up and Robert walked in. (He lived in NY at the time, so that was another surprise).

    I said "Ohmygod" like 20 billion times because as soon as I saw him, I knew what was going on.  There were only two other tables around us, but then all the servers came around to clap and congratulate us.

    It was perfect.  And I love that my sister knew and kept it a secret from EVERYONE.

    Robert had taken my Dad out to lunch to ask "permission" a few months before so everyone knew it was coming eventually.

    Yes, I like that he asked for my Dad's permission.  Yes, we discussed it like two adults.  But I like that he proposed and I love that him and my Dad had lunch to talk about things.
  • Mine was private.  We were outdoors and he waited until people left the cliff and then asked.  People showed up right after and we got our picture taken.  It was perfect for us.  I'm glad he did it that way but as I would have said yes regardless I would have been ok with public as well if he wanted to do that. 
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_public-vs-private-proposal-poll?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:d186a631-9321-462c-b762-4b72506201f5Post:a069155a-1315-47f4-834d-88dfcfa6ec6e">Re: Public vs. Private Proposal--a poll</a>:
    [QUOTE] I assume people talk about marriage and their future in all serious relationships. Perhaps I'm just too hopeful.
    Posted by msmerymac[/QUOTE]

    I don't know. I've seen an awful lots of times where people on these boards will say, "It was a complete surprise. I had no idea!" Or the flip side, when a woman is ready to get married and gets all sorts of advice to let the man do it when he's ready, in his timeframe, and she should basically just shut up and wait till he does it, rather than discuss it.  
  • Mine was semi-private (my brothers were there, but no strangers or anything). I don't think I would like a public proposal very much. Luckily he knew that.
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  • I'm shy so I didn't want to be in front of a lot of people while he proposed.  I guess ours was sort of public, we were on a cruise.  It was the first day and we were sort of in a little corner out on deck.  There were people around that I'm sure stopped to watch, but it was still private for us.
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  • We had talked about getting married, I knew a proposal would be coming at some point.
    I wanted private.  No way would I go for a jumbo-tron.  NMS.  However if you're into it great, you need to know it will go over well before hand.   

  • I thought Fi was going to do it during our formal pictures on the cruise, which would heva been cute but also kind of embarrassing because there is a line of people waiting. Luckily, he waited until we were alone by these big beautiful staircases to propose.
  • I think there should be another choice.  Mine was not private as in just the 2 of us, but it was not public like at a ball game.  It was done with my family around.






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  • ggmaeggmae member
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    edited February 2010
    MIne was in public, without many people around (on a beach on a daytrip with a busload of people.) So I guess it was somewhere in the middle. Honestly, I wouldn't have cared either way. I hadn't dreamed up a perfect proposal in my head or anything like that - I was just happy that he proposed when he did!
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  • I was adamant that the proposal be just between the two of us.  I didn't even want my family to know the date of the proposal so they wouldn't be sitting by their phones waiting for me to call.  I really wanted some time to just let it all sink in afterwards. 

    Luckily, he waited so freaking long from the time he spoke to my parents to when he actually asked (oh, three months) so it was a surprise to everyone.  It was perfect.


  • He had our families there along with my best friend and it was in a public area, but only family really noticed.  So I guess in your terms it was public, and perfect.  However a proposal where there are random strangers around would have been a big no!

    and @tencups  I don't think many "proposals" these days are not the first discussion of a wedding a couple has.  The surprise is in the how  its asked, not that  the question was asked.
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  • Mine was both. Buddy and I were alone in the house, but it was also broadcast on the Internet while it happened and later put on YouTube. I was okay with that, in fact, it was awesome and the video is in my bio (I know it sounds confusing). I wouldn't have been cool with a crowd physically around me - whether at a sporting event or even just family.
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  • Ours was in the car, in the driveway, and I don't wish it was anything other than what it was.
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  • Ours was in public, but few people really noticed. It was at a boardwalk during the 4th of July fireworks.
  • Mine was private, in our basement with only the cats watching.  I wouldn't be a big fan of something really public, just because neither one of us is very into being the center of public attention.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_public-vs-private-proposal-poll?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:d186a631-9321-462c-b762-4b72506201f5Post:7b380d92-6260-44d5-9093-13fe9170d1ff">Re: Public vs. Private Proposal--a poll</a>:
    [QUOTE]I thought Fi was going to do it during our formal pictures on the cruise, which would heva been cute but also kind of embarrassing because there is a line of people waiting. Luckily, he waited until we were alone by these big beautiful staircases to propose.
    Posted by Mrs_AF[/QUOTE]

    FI was going to wait until formal night too, but he was afraid I'd find the ring.  So he asked while we were still in port - we hadn't even gone to the muster drill yet! <img src="http://cdn.cl9.vanillaforums.com/downloaded/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-laughing.gif" border="0" alt="Laughing" title="Laughing" />
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