I just heard about a marriage proposal that involved a fake Amazing Race experience. The Mrs.-to-be didn’t realize the lengths her boyfriend was going through to become her fiancé. But he coordinated actors all over the world so they could travel through several countries and he could eventually propose under the Northern Lights.
Wow, huh? I gotta say, though, I’m a little nervous to hear about whomever tries to go bigger than this! I also have to ask, is it necessary?
Remember when the grand gesture was sitting down with a girl’s father to ask for her hand in marriage? Or when kids asked each other to the prom in a note passed during 6th period instead of with an elaborate YouTube video? Or when baby gender was revealed with an excited phone call rather than smashing pastel colored cakes?
I do. I remember all those things. I can’t deny that there’s something fun about sharing our joys in big ways. But I don’t like the trend of always going even bigger. There’s something wonderful about simple joys too. So, somehow, we’ve got to find that elusive balance where grand showmen aren’t diminishing the beauty of modest ways of sharing news. And vice versa.
I’ll never forget the friend who grabbed my hand to show my shiny new engagement ring to her boyfriend. I was giddy with love and she said, “What you get me better be bigger than this.” That’s not cool, yo. Thankfully I’m not good at quick comebacks and didn’t even say anything in response. I’d hate to think that my wonderful news could have been overshadowed by a knock-down-drag-out cat fight in the middle of the Campus Ministries building at my alma mater. Instead, I moved on to show the perfect-for-us ring that my fiancé had gotten me to others and the day holds positive memories for me. (Score one for thinking before you speak, which is what I like to call my stunned silent response.)
So, how can I have my low-key bliss while others have their over-the-top ecstasy? Here are a few ideas:
Know your audience
Some people like big and splashy, the more glitter the better. Others appreciate subtlety. Don’t through a surprise birthday party for someone who’d rather have a quiet, sit down dinner. But do attempt a black-tie anniversary gala for that couple that would be over the moon to see dozens of friends dressed to the nines, but not for the couple that would blush and try to blend into the wall paper.
Know your budget and priorities
I don’t even want to think about how much that Amazing Race proposal cost. And I can’t wrap my brain around spending tens of thousands of dollars on anything other than a house or car. But others can. I have friends that travel often and well, with their children. That’s their priority and they make adjustments other places in their lives to meet their goals. Another friend celebrated holidays quietly for years so that she and her husband could celebrate retirement by sailing around the world!
Use your connections
If you still want the big bash, see where you can enlist help. Who can donate the cake as their gift instead of ordering from a fancy bakery so that you can spend your money on a great photographer to capture the moment? Or maybe the cake is what’s important to you and your friend can snap some pictures? Only you know the answers to who can help out and where you want to spend your money.
Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate
If you were hoping for a proposal worthy of Internet stardom and instead get a shy, “Will you marry me?” It’s better than okay. If you want to marry this person, it’s perfectly right to say “YES!” no matter how the question is popped. If you were looking forward to a quiet night in front of the boob tube to celebrate turning twenty-nine again and open your door to shouts of, “Surprise!” When the shock wears off…feel blessed to have friends that love you. Do your best to never make someone feel wrong for showing their excitement about you. A “Thank you” will do nicely.
So, is this trend of out doing the last greatest announcement going to continue? Probably? Is it necessary? Probably not, but that’s really a moot point if it’s here to stay. The good news, in my opinion, is that traditions will still hold on and less flashy proclamations of love and joy will also persist. For that, a “Thank you” will also do nicely.