Planning a wedding can be very stressful and expensive. A lot of times we assume that the planning is only stressful on the bride because most of the decisions and details fall on her plate. But what about the stress and planning that got the bride to that point? What about the stress that the groom faces when choosing the perfect ring and planning the perfect proposal? I had never thought too far into the financial obligation that falls on the groom prior to the responsibility that he will have for the wedding itself, or rehearsal at the very least.
When my fiancé proposed, I realized that the pressures that he faced without me were more than the pressures that I now face with him. He knows about the wedding plans that I am making, where the money is coming from and how it will all play out. But when he proposed, he could not share any of that with me, nor could he get my opinion, or my help for that matter. So I thought I'd let him tell us about the pressures and process that he went through during the planning phase of the engagement and maybe shed some light for the next grooms-to-be so that they have a guide or at least know that they are not alone!
When did you know you were going to propose to me?
"Well, I always knew that I would marry you."
No. When did you actually decide that you would purchase a ring and make it official. Was there a lot of time between that confirmed decision and the day that you proposed?
"I knew I would propose to you the summer of 2016. We had been going through many rough times and the years prior were a true test for us. I knew once we got back together that we would be together forever so I better put a ring on it, and quickly. So I started looking and planning, but it did take some time for me to decide on a ring and figure out finances and the process... I had no idea what I was doing and I had no idea how many options were out there! I ended up proposing in September, so it took me two months to pull it together!"
Did you have some help with the ring, or did you pick it out completely on your own?
“In this situation, I was pretty lucky. Because you write a blog and you are always picking out wedding dresses and rings to feature on your blog, it was easy for me to use that as an excuse to get to know what you liked. That worked out well for me. I was able to get a pretty good idea of what you liked just looking at what you'd pick out online and there was one ring style that you kept picking out. The cross band seemed to be the most unique and the style you leaned towards. That is how I got to that decision. But then I needed to find a diamond. I had no idea that there were so many things to think about and so many price points. What size, what color, what clarity, what shape? So many questions."
"I enlisted the help of a vendor that is a good friend of yours. She knows everything about rings and made that known to me!! So I basically brought her through the process with me. Every time my jeweler found a stone, I would send her the picture and information and she would say "Yay" or "Nay" - finally, we found the perfect stone and I pulled the trigger! But no one at all saw the ring until I pulled it out and asked you to marry me. Not even my sons who pressured me everyday to see it!”
What came first, the ring or the proposal concept?
Did you plan the proposal on your own, or did you seek some help?
"Originally, I planned a proposal all on my own. We were set to go to New York in September, right after Labor Day, which is my birthday! I had originally planned to propose in New York. I know that Madison Square Park is your favorite place in New York, so I was going to propose to you while eating your favorite... Shake Shack! And, since you are a former dancer, I was going to have a flash mob perform to add a little something, something. I only told one person – your best friend, Monica."
"She had just gotten engaged as well and suggested that you might not want to be out of town and then have to wait until you got back home to share the news with your family and friends. She thought that having everyone there would be something that you would rather, although you always told me that you didn’t want me to propose in public and you didn’t want me to tell anyone before it happened. After thinking about it, I agreed with Monica and decided that, for once, I was not going to listen to you! So we pretended that Monica was doing a FLASH MOB to launch the new website for her clothing store. Of course, you were on board to help as soon as she told you about it. Thus began you, basically helping to plan your own proposal!"
What was the day of the proposal like for you?
"The day of the proposal was very stressful, but so exciting. It was raining and the proposal was set to take place outside. I cannot even tell you about the anxiety that I felt. You were not in the best of moods, so that was rough! ha ha. My biggest concern was that someone would spill the beans after we had finally made it to the big day! Because of the rain, everyone was texting and calling all morning, so I was freaking out thinking that you would wonder why my phone was blowing up! I was so excited and so nervous all at the same time. I just couldn’t wait to get it out and ask you to spend your life with me!"
How did you feel when it was over?
"When I finally popped the question I felt relieved and very excited. Well, actually, I didn’t feel relieved and excited until you said YES! Although I didn't get to say any of the speech that I had planned out because I could not even think, I was just so happy that it was done and that you were happy. I was excited to tell you all of the things that I had been doing and I was just so happy about starting to work towards the wedding and a life together. It was truly just the best feeling."
Did you ask for my dad's permission?
"Of course! I am old school, so to me, that was a given. I know that times have changed and it seems to be a thing of the past to some people, but that is a tradition that I think should carry on. As long as your bride-to-be has a good relationship with her father, I think it is the right thing to give him the courtesy of being able to, not necessarily give you permission, but hopefully, his blessing, and some other sound advice that you might appreciate in the end. A little bit of bonding time with your love's father should never be a bad thing and, in my case, it was simply an opportunity for me to speak one on one with the man that has known her for her entire life. It was a chance to share stories and get to know him better, but also her."
What advice would you give to other guys getting ready to or planning to propose?
"Do not propose to a wedding planner - - ha ha. It's a lot of trouble."
"No really - find out what she wants and what's important to her. Make sure you include the people that are close to her, if that is something that she would want. Know her well enough to know whether or not she would be okay if you proposed out of town or without her friends and family, etc."
"I had put so much pressure on myself because of what she does for a living. She has seen and heard everything, so how could I come up with something different and as amazing as she is? But after seeing her reaction and having such an amazing day with everyone, I knew that the belles and whistles weren't what she wanted. More than likely, that’s not what your bride-to-be is looking for either. Just follow your gut and do not be too proud to enlist some help. I would have kicked myself if I had gone with my original plan. Oh, and do not worry about what goes wrong. Something will go wrong. You will forget everything you planned on saying. It is okay! And, I don’t care if you’re marrying the happiest person on earth, on the day of the proposal, nine times out of ten, your bride-to-be is waking up in a less than perfect mood or she will not want to go along with whatever plans you’ve made that day. Do not worry! If it rains, do not worry. Just remember, if she is the right one, she won’t care about any of the things that went wrong, just the things that went right – like you asking her to marry you!"
Do you have any things that you wish you had done differently?
"NO! Actually, I am so happy that I rethought the proposal and did it in New Orleans with our friends and family. We ended up having about 50 people come out that day and I would not have wanted it any other way! Especially because my sons were able to be there! That was so important. My favorite part of the day was us being able to hang out with everyone and celebrate. We ended up on Frenchmen Street on the balcony of Dat Dog (a popular local joint) with a brass band playing beneath us on the street! It was the perfect New Orleans night. Friends, family, cocktails, music and a true celebration!"
What was the most stressful part? Was it the day of, the planning, the picking out of the ring?
"Actually, the day of was the most stressful part, other than having to go ask your father for his blessing! But honestly, keeping the secret that day in particular was the most stressful part. Because I had so many people involved, I was just worried about you seeing someone and worried about someone slipping and telling you. Other than that, I knew the proposal idea was great and you’d love that everyone was there so that was not a concern. I was stressed about the ring initially, but once I got it in my hand I knew it was perfect so that was not a concern either. It's a pretty cool ring - if I do say so myself!!"
What are the things that you think people don't realize that guys go through when preparing such a great thing?
"I do not think that people realize the details and that we have to make sure that all of the i's are dotted and t's are crossed. The stress of figuring out whom you want involved or whom you think she would want involved. And the pressure of picking that one piece of jewelry that she will wear everyday for the rest of her life. The pressure of facing the one man that has been in her life forever and asking if he basically thinks you're good enough... that's stressful!! But one other thing that I don’t think people realize is the financial portion of the ring. We talk about the wedding and how much it costs, but rings are expensive! Do not get me wrong, they are worth it, but some of them can cost about as much as the wedding, but no one really talks about that. Everyone focuses on the money spent after the ring, but consider how much it took to get the ring in the first place!"
So what do you feel now in regards to planning the wedding?
"I know that the wedding is going to be fun and a celebration - one big party. A lot of planning is going into it and I know that once it's done, we'll sit back and enjoy the day. I am involved in the planning, but for the most part, it makes more sense for me to sit back and let you handle most things. We talk a great deal about details, but I don't question much because I know that it will be better if I just let you do your thing. It's going to be amazing and so far, you’ve been great!"