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!