Our dual proposal: How we both proposed to each other

July 8 | Guest post by Emily

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dual proposal

Since we first began dating, Gemma and I have done and faced a lot of things together, from the overwhelmingly fantastic to the seriously challenging, and we have made the absolute best out of all of those things. We also have a tendency to casually decide to do quite significant things together, without any hesitance or guardedness. Things like moving-in, meeting family, and deciding to buy a flat together.

So, it occurred to me, whilst I considered every ridiculous thing from sky writing to treasure hunts, that the tradition of surprise proposals — with one ring, one bended knee, weird paternalistic permission-granting, one partner secretly stressing whilst the other remains clueless, and one partner obsessing over details whilst the other doesn’t even know they’re supposed to be paying attention — didn’t really fit with the way our relationship works. Or the way we would want our marriage to work.

We do things together, make decisions together, and create traditions together. So why not propose together?

Once Gemma and I had decided to work together on developing a "dual proposal," the planning had to begin. We are both established professionals, with complex project management as a part of both of our jobs, but something about engagement planning meant all semblance of logic flew out of the window.

Our conversations for days existed in a vortex of potential dates, locations, symbolic elements we could include, costs, and how we could maintain an element of surprise for each other. We completely failed to start at the What Would We Like It To Look Like part and ended up speaking at length about trivial details like when the weather would be best or the merits of arranging a mutual friend to ambush us with rings whilst we were on a walk or something.

In the midst of all this, we were also on a hunt for ethical engagement rings. It was really exciting to be able to buy them together, literally and financially. It made a big difference to have each other’s input on style and to decide together what we could afford. Not only that, but it was an opportunity to shift the buying of rings away from a tradition that symbolizes a down-payment on the bride, to something that actually represents our relationship.

Eventually, we settled on a specific weekend and decided we would each take half of the day to plan a surprise for the other. After a couple of weeks we both admitted that we hadn't had any ideas that were feasible or affordable. Then Gemma mentioned a lovely idea of planting a tree in our favourite park and having a picnic beneath it.

Here is a short video of how we pulled off our dual proposal (with bonus reactions from our friends and family):

Anyone else pull off a dual proposal? Give us the hows and whys!

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  1. I'm not crying, you're crying! Oh god, I'm gonna be such a mess at my ceremony. Anyway!

    We didn't do a dual proposal, but I did have a counter proposal 🙂 It's my partner's first marriage and I like taking part in traditions, so I wanted him to propose whenever he felt ready. (Don't worry, we had lots of conversations along the way to make sure that we were both on the same page regarding marriage.) In the meantime, I'd been carrying his ring around in my purse with me, making sure that I had it any time we went on a date or anywhere that could be considered romantic. The day of the proposal, I'd coincidentally been talking to classmates about engagements, so when I got home and my partner suggested that we trek up the huge hill near our house to the best view of the city at sunset because he was "feeling ambitious," I stealthily grabbed the ring and off we went!

    Once we stopped huffing and puffing from climbing the hill, he said all kinds of sweet things and got down on one knee. I responded with, "Okay, but before I give you an answer, I have something I want to ask you too" and then I pulled the ring out of my pocket and said all kinds of sweet things. He was adorably confused and we dissolved into "yes"es and giggles and crying, and then went for ice cream. Perfect execution!

    16 agree
  2. I love this! My husband and I did something 'offbeat' for our engagement too! We just decided to get married, there was no formal asking. (We had talked about it beforehand, of course.) We were in the mall, three months before our two year anniversary. On a random happenstance, we walked into a jewelry store, just to look. I found a ring I loved, and I tried it on in the store, and it fit perfectly! Not five minutes later, he did the same! We came home and told all of our friends. That was it!
    Congratulations to the both of you. Many wishes for a lifetime of luck, love, and happiness!

    5 agree
  3. Yes! We'd been talking marriage pretty much since we got together (we'd been friends for a while before), got each other non-ring engagement presents (we plan to do wedding rings, and one ring's enough for each of us), and then…waited. And waited. And waited. And moved to NYC for the summer.

    Eventually, it was the realization that life is short (a friend had suddenly died), and we didn't need to wait for The Perfect Moment, that sent us off on an impromptu adventure. It turns out that there is at least one tree in Central Park that is small, something of an umbrella, and usually away from people. So we sat under the tree, asked each other to…marry…each other…, exchanged our gifts, and called it good. It was super fun and super chill. And now the map on my phone has a little star where our engagement tree is.

    3 agree

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