Occasionally a new man here will ask for advice about popping the question. To avoid repeating myself, I'm going to put what *I* did here.I talked to her beforehand; it was not out of the blue. We needed to decide if possible reservations were justified. I think this is wise, and I don't think it's a violation of tradition, except possibly the tradition in the movies, where things need to be surprising and dramatic rather than to make people happy.On my own, I checked out the jewelry stores at the mall, and eliminated the ones that didn't put prices on the rings, on the theory that the point in making you ask every price is to keep you from being able to do smart comparisons, and part you with more cash. Zale's was one of the remaining stores. I didn't buy the ring before the proposal. Why not? Contrary to my expectation (and concern), it's not traditional to present the lady with a ring. Here's Miss Manners on the subject, but Emily Post had the same view:The elaborately staged engagement, complete with surprise ring, is a
relatively recent development.
Previously when impassioned gentlemen showed up with rings, it was because they had family rings to offer. Otherwise, the proposal was followed by a trip to the jeweler's, where the lady was urged to choose among rings previously selected by the fiancé as being in his price range.... it is customary for couples to shop together for their wedding rings.
I did plan the event: traditional or not, I wanted it to be memorable. (One of her friends got a proposal from her now-husband in this form: he gave signs to her first-grade class for them to hold up, spelling out, letter by letter, WILL YOU MARRY ME? I couldn't let this big event suffer by comparison!) I had considered catering an outdoor supper for her, but logistically it would have been difficult, and the mosquitoes would have eaten her alive. We went on a hike. I proposed to her on a mountain peak. On bended knee, and with the words "Will you marry me?" -- that reduces the ambiguity of what I was talking about! I brought a thermos of champagne -- except, since neither of us really like champagne, I mixed it with OJ to make a "mimosa," which is supposed to be the right way to have champagne in the morning. It was maybe 11:00 am. The date and time when the universe changed.That afternoon, we went to the jeweler's. That evening, she got to show it off to her friends, without having to take a trip to the ER because I hid the ring in her pudding and she swallowed it, or some such! So I got to see how women show off the ring. And who's observant and who isn't.Her parents found out when she called from the jeweler's to ask about her late grandmother's wedding ring. It's hard to keep a secret while asking questions like that.I asked her father for his blessing to marry her, after the ring was on her finger. After all, it was her decision that really mattered. This also is traditional, at least the tradition we had after women were free to choose their husbands.Now, this is the nontraditional part. I announced it to my side of the family, who are out-of-state, by posting a picture of our hands with the ring on her finger, on my blog. I knew that my niece would be checking it. This is how my sister reported what happened.Niece: Momma, I have to show you something on the computer.Sister: I'll be there in a minute.Niece: No, I really have to show you something.Sister: Well, I'm folding clothes --Niece: No, I really have to show you something.
Within two hours of that everybody else in the family knew.
My niece said, "It was a shame Momma had to learn about this through the Internet." I disagree: I knew my niece, being the Internet hound, would be the one to know first, and I wanted to give her the thrill of getting the news.
Miss Manners would probably not approve. But I think everyone was happy.