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Surprise wedding proposals: organising your wedding before you propose(?!)

by | 12 December 2015 | Stories

When we wrote about proposal tips recently, we talked about proposals that only work when you’re massively confident her (or his) answer will be ‘yes’.

And then we heard about this…

Our friend-of-a-friend, Mel, had a surprise proposal from her long term boyfriend, Michael, and found out straight afterwards that he’d already organised the wedding.

Bold move, huh?

So let’s hear the story from Mel herself, and then have a think about what we can learn from it.

So, Mel, can you give us a bit of background?

I met my husband when we were at college and we were together for 10 years before he proposed. We’d bought our first house together and we always knew we’d get married at some point.

Very sadly in January 2009 Michael’s best friend died in a car accident. This really shook him up and made him evaluate things. It made him realise just how much I meant to him and he wanted to show me that and celebrate our love (corny, huh?).

So, he told my sister he wanted to propose and he wanted her help to plan the wedding. He wanted to do something really special to surprise me, so between the two of them, they bought an engagement ring, booked the church, the reception venue, a band and the caterers.

When I was 10, my Dad passed away. Ever since then I had wanted to get married on his Birthday, 17th July. Michael knew that date was important and he wanted the wedding on a Saturday so that everyone could come without taking time off work, so the wedding was booked for 18th July 2009.

Awesome. Tell us about the proposal itself

Michael had ordered my engagement ring, but it was going to take six weeks to arrive. It was only four and a half months until the wedding and Michael knew I needed to find a dress.

So, I got home from work one Friday, knowing that I was going to my sisters for dinner. Michael told me to dress up a bit as we might go out afterwards.

When I came downstairs from getting ready our song ‘I Swear’ was playing and Michael went down on one knee with a ring box and asked me to marry him. In the box was a picture of the ring he had chosen with ’18th July?’ printed on it.

I said ‘yes!’ and then told him he’d got the date wrong! That’s when he explained it was the right date, it was all booked and we were getting married in just a few months. Obviously I was over the moon and really excited.

I felt really touched that he had organised all of that for me. I should say that I’m very laid back and he knows this so he was never worried that I’d be upset by his decisions or that I would say ‘no’.

Young woman showing engagement ring

When we arrived at my sister’s house, my Mum, Michael’s parents and all our best friends were waiting there (but they didn’t know he’d proposed). So I got to announce our engagement to all of our most loved people at once and it was a surprise engagement party for everyone. That was a great night.

How did it feel having so little wedding prep to do?

I feel I had the best of both worlds, as I had an amazing surprise of having my wedding organised for me but I still got to do all the fun, little things and be involved in our big day.

I got to pick my dress, pick the bridesmaid dresses, go with my Mum to pick her outfit, choose colour schemes and flowers, sort out invitations, pick the cake, do table plans and choose song lists. Plus, I had time for a great hen weekend and hag (hen & stag) party.

I really had no stress on the build up to our wedding, which I have seen happens often with friends. I enjoyed every minute as I was spared a lot of the organising. I know my Mum and Michael occasionally worried they might not get things done in time when trying to work with the caterers and such, but it worked out well in the end.

It probably would’ve been exciting looking at venues together and imagining what our wedding would be like there but I don’t feel I missed out, I just had a different wedding experience.

[Writer’s note – Mel also told us all about the wedding itself, which sounded super cute and romantic. But we’re just talking about proposals today, so we’ll skip that bit.]

Couple walking holding hands

Would you recommend Michael’s masterplan to others?

I think if you know your partner well, understand what they like, are sure they will say ‘yes’ and know they won’t mind missing the early stages of planning, then yes, it’s a wonderful way to propose.

Whenever I share our story with people they all think it was such a lovely thing to do, albeit brave. But I do get lots of women saying it would not be for them because they like to be in control.

So what can we learn from Mel and Michael?

On the face of it, organising your wedding before you’ve even asked your partner to marry you sounds like the ultimate gimmicky, high-risk, daredevil proposal.

But we think it’s totally textbook.

Michael and Mel clearly know each other inside out and communicate really well. Michael knew Mel wanted to get married and he knew exactly what kind of things make her happy. So it wasn’t really that risky at all.

And once you take out the risk factor, it doesn’t even seem that gimmicky. It’s just a really sweet proposal, made by a man who’s gone to great lengths to give his girlfriend an amazing surprise.

So if you’re thinking of popping the question, always remember that if you really know each other and have a really strong relationship, you can go that extra mile and do something a bit unusual. Whatever will make her (or him) happy.

About the author

Matt Phil Carver

Matt’s a copywriter and blogger from West Sussex, England. He spends his days helping people simplify their writing and give their words more punch and personality. At weddings, Matt’s always quick to get up and dance, even when the vicar’s telling him to wait for the reception.


Stories Surprise wedding proposals: organising your wedding before you propose(?!)