The wedding industry is booming. Market research firm IBISWorld estimate the industry is worth a staggering $51 billion in the US alone; in the UK, the figure is £10 billion. Even the economic downturn hasn’t deterred couples from investing in their big day.
Surprisingly, planning the wedding is no longer just the domain of the bride-to-be: the annual David's Bridal What's on Brides' Minds survey recently revealed that 83% of modern grooms take a hands-on approach to wedding planning.
This has sparked a new industry trend: the proposal planner. Just like wedding planners, proposal planners ensure that a once-in-lifetime event runs smoothly. Passionate about romance, and with an eye for detail, these are professional organizers experienced in creating memorable and bespoke marriage proposals. The demand for their services is growing. In the case of male clients, who make up the vast majority of a planner’s clientele, they want to be able to have complete ownership of an important life event; it’s their (perhaps only) chance to make all the decisions and create memories.
Another factor in the growing global popularity of proposal planners is the pressure on proposers to pop the question in a creative and memorable way, caused by almost constant Media coverage: whether it’s elaborate celebrity proposals or proposal blunders, these stories are regular features. Take, for example, the recent very public proposal a contestant Ireland’s Rose of Tralee festival received from her boyfriend. It took place on live tv and a recording of the event went viral on YouTube overnight. The following day, it was all the Irish media was talking about, with debates over whether the girl was happy or mortified at the gesture and sharing of proposal disaster stories.
If the Media obsession with proposals wasn’t enough, newly-engaged couples are increasingly posting their own proposals on social media: there is, it seems, no escape from what everyone else is doing.
“We’re seeing how everyone else is getting elaborately proposed to, and we want it too,” says Anja Winnikka, director of wedding website, TheKnot.com. Men planning to propose are acutely aware of this. They also know their girlfriends have been dreaming of getting engaged and their wedding day all their lives and are determined to make the proposal of her dreams a reality.
Elaborate proposals aren’t, however, for everyone. A proposal planner can help the groom-to-be determine whether the proposal should be elaborate or intimate. The client retains full control of the proposal whilst the planner conducts research, deals with vendors and ensures that everything runs smoothly on the day. Most planners are female and thus are able to provide an objective – and confidential – female perspective, too. They can even advise clients on choosing the ring!
Most planners offer a variety of packages, ranging from bespoke ideas or professional paparazzi-style photographer or videographer to immortalise the moment to full planning services. Fees begin at $199 in the US and £99.95 in the UK.
What a Proposal Planner Does:
- Interview the client (face-to-face, over the phone or via an email questionnaire) to find out as much as possible about the couple’s personalities and relationship.
- Create and design bespoke proposal ideas, unique to the couple so that they will have a one-of-a-kind and memorable proposal to treasure forever.
- Undertake all the related research, such as suitable venues and props, saving the client time.
- Negotiate discounts with retailers, saving the client money.
- Organize every aspect of the proposal, handles payments and, if required, can be discreetly on-hand on the day, taking the stress out of planning and enabling the proposer to enjoy the proposal too.
- Offer absolute discretion: no-one will know they’ve been involved unless the client wishes them to.
Who Should Hire a Proposal Planner?
Not everyone will need to hire a proposal planner, just as not all couples require a wedding planner. Those who may benefit from this service are:
- Time-poor because of work or other life commitments
- Not naturally romantic or creative
- Worried about their organizational skills
- Uncomfortable negotiating with venues and vendors
- Thinking of proposing in a different country or unfamiliar place
- Striving for absolute perfection
What Will People Think?
Some men worry what people – especially their fiancée-to-be – will think if they find out that they’ve hired someone to help plan their proposal.
Surveys have revealed that most women overwhelmingly support such a service as the client is heavily involved in every step of the process and has invested a great deal of time, thought and money into ensuring everything is perfect: they clearly care a great deal about getting things right. Planners have reported that when their clients choose to reveal their involvement, they often get emails thanking them from the client’s partner too! When a couple announces their engagement, inevitably the first question on everyone’s lips is “How did he ask?” What could be better than having an incredible answer to that question?
However, especially in the UK, proposal planning is still viewed with scepticism by some as it’s so new. If clients are worried about revealing that they’ve sought help they can be reassured that no-one will know unless they choose to tell them. All proposal planners offer their clients 100% confidentiality.