The Debate: Is It Ok To Plan Your Own Proposal?

These STELLAR gals give their opinion.

It’s pretty common for little (or big) girls to dream about the day they’re proposed to. Whether you want an all in, flamboyant, public proposal or a simple “we should probably get married”, chances are you have a fair idea of how you’d like it to be done.

If we have lots of expectations and hopes, are we better off just planning the entire thing ourselves and sparing our other halves the hassle? STELLAR Editor Vicki Notaro and Digital Editor Valerie Loftus weigh in on the question: Is it okay to plan your own proposal?

Valerie Loftus – YES!

“Well, saying it’s not okay to plan your own proposal implies that women never do the proposing, which isn’t at all true these days. That leap year tradition is so old hat. Besides, proposals aren’t really the ‘surprise’ events they used to be – most modern couples talk about getting married long before anyone gets down on one knee (or at least they should). Chances are you’re both pretty up to speed on each other’s likes and dislikes in that department.

“But even if you’re not the one doing the proposing, I don’t see anything wrong with giving your significant other a little push in the right direction. I’m not suggesting a full-scale orchestration, but you have to remember that people aren’t mind-readers. If you feel physically sick at the thought of a public proposal, bring it up sometime. You do NOT want to end up red-faced and jabbering “NO, no, no, no, please don’t, no… yes” like the time yer man proposed on stage at the Rose of Tralee. If you think Christmas engagements are a little basic (sorry), mention it. If you have a place that’s particularly romantic or special to you, and you think it would be a perfect place to get engaged, drop a few hints! It’s all good.

“At the end of the day, you’ll probably be delighted with whatever your significant other comes up with. You’ve seen Don’t Tell The Bride – more often than not, everything works out just fine, and if it doesn’t, there were probably some deeper issues there in the first place. But if you’re genuinely concerned that the occasion won’t be as momentous as you want it to be… maybe you should plan the whole thing from start to finish, and pop the question yourself. Just a thought!”

Vicki Notaro – NO!


“I will not lie. I dropped some considerable hints to my then-boyfriend about getting engaged. He knew about my unusually fat fingers, that he wasn’t to dare propose to me around Christmas and that I liked yellow gold. But that was the extent of it, which is unusual for someone who is a mild control freak like me. I wanted Joe to propose to me because I wanted to be sure it was what he wanted. In my experience, men rarely do anything they don’t want to do, and coercion rarely works in the long term. I also know he wanted to be the one to propose to me for the myriad man reasons, you know the way girls apparently plan the wedding in their heads as kids? Well it seems some men think about how they might one day ask The One to be their wife. Not all men, of course, but sure we know that.

“Anyway, it was important to him to be the one to do it, and although we’re not a very traditional couple, I understood that and knew he’d get to it in his own time. When it did happen, it was utterly magical and made all the better by the fact that I hadn’t micro-managed it. Little did I know, he had spent week consulting with a designer and creating my ring from scratch. He surprised me on a regular Friday evening (at the very end of November LOL) and elevated that day to something amazing. There were roses, prosecco, he did it at home with our dogs and candles lit and it was absolutely perfect.

“I get wanting to make sure things are just right, but to me, telling a man how to propose to you, controlling every detail and then acting surprised, is a bit of a cod. By all means, take control – but if you’re going to do that, own it and don’t be messing afterward with the whole ‘oh I’m so surprised’ shtick.”