Ballpark Estimate: $60 to $180 an hour and up
Will you marry me? These four simple words have withstood the passage of time. But while the phrasing never goes out of date, the presentation of marriage proposals has dramatically changed. While it used to be that a man getting down on bended knee to privately ask for a woman’s hand in marriage was enough to satisfy even the most romantic at heart, in today’s competitive age, many women want more than just a heartfelt declaration of love. In fact, some feel that the larger the display of affection is that accompanies a proposal, and the more public it is, the more special the moment. That’s where a new breed of consultants comes in, to help men develop extravagant wedding proposals sure to make almost any woman answer, “yes.”
A Growing Trend
In an age where excess is the norm, it may come as no surprise that the bigger the ring, and the bigger the proposal, the better received it is received. Yet the proposal doesn’t have to be expensive. Just thoughtful and personal and well-planned out, says one marriage proposal consultant. She points out that a man needs to take the time to develop a proposal that will touch his girlfriend’s heart, not empty his wallet, since the story of how he asked her to marry him is one she will recount over and over to family and friends for years to come.
Providing Help Behind the Scenes
If you’ve never heard of a marriage proposal consultant (also sometimes called a coordinator), you aren’t alone. This is a relatively new concept, but one that is growing in leaps and bounds as more men turn to the experts to help guide their efforts.
Just as you might invest in the services of a stock broker, an art teacher or a personal chef, you can hire a marriage proposal consultant to develop an effective approach for your personal situation. How much, or how little, help you receive depends on you and your preferences. You can arrange for anything from assistance with brainstorming some ideas all the way on up to having the arrangements and details arranged for you. Some marriage proposal consultants also coach men on how to act and how to stay calm in a circumstance that will be forever life-altering. You can perhaps think of a wedding proposal consultant’s role as similar to driver’s ed, getting men ready and prepped for the driving test, but with some flowers and champagne thrown in. In addition, if you want to take all of the credit, rest assured that most marriage proposal consultants are willing to keep the role they played in assisting you to themselves.
If you’ve ever watched a marriage proposal, either in person or on TV, it’s likely you were drawn to the happy moment and moved by the level of emotion it brings. The depth of feeling is contagious. Some marriage proposal consultants recognize this fact, and are quick to help men who want to impress their intended to capitalize on the public’s love of a good story and give them what they want, in the form of bigger, and more unusual, proposals sure to make any attention-loving bride-to-be sure to blush from the attention.
Of course as more men go to greater lengths to ask their girlfriends to marry them, the stakes get higher and higher. It takes more and more to impress, and it becomes harder to come up with new approaches. So the experts have to continually reinvent the ideas and to stretch themselves to be fresh.
The key, though, truly isn’t all about how big the proposal is, but more about achieving the perfect fit. For instance, if you met on a train ride, perhaps your bride would appreciate being proposed to with a candlelight dinner on a private train car. Or if you both enjoy the opera, a personal serenade from your favorite opera star with notables from New York’s social scene watching might be a hit. It’s all about what touches your heart and seems like the perfect beginning to a life you will build together. Further, if you think she would like her family and friends present when you pop the question, keep this in mind when planning your strategy. Or, if she comes from a traditional family where etiquette is important, remember to ask for her family’s permission for her hand as the event nears.
How to Find a Marriage Proposal Consultant
There are many marriage proposal consultants out there. The key is finding one who feels like a good fit for your styles and your goals. You can do a search online to come up with a list of marriage proposal consultants who work in your local area helping coordinating proposals and other special events. You can also ask colleagues and friends if they can recommend anyone. Further, some wedding planners also offer proposal services. In addition, some of the better hotels also have people on staff who specialize in helping to coordinate marriage proposals. Do some research and shop around to find someone who has the energy, creativity and resources to help you develop the right plan.
Some of the types of services you can expect from a marriage proposal specialist include:
- Help creating a perfect proposal scenario
- Assistance selecting a ring
- Planning of the logistics, such as arranging tickets, dinner, special accommodations
- Writing of the proposal wording, or a special note or song to express your sentiments
- Media relations, if you would like to publicize this event
- Hiring a photographer and/or videographer if you’d like to capture this memory
- Coordination of all of the steps to make it all comes together without a hitch
No matter who you hire to help you, you can expect him or her to begin the planning process by asking lots of questions about you and your intended and your interests and goals. This will help direct some possible scenarios customized specifically for your taste and your life. Or, if you have some thoughts of what you would like, but are not sure how to go about putting them into action, let the professional help you work his or her magic. With an expert to guide you through this exciting time, almost anything is possible if you have an open mind.
What You Can Expect to Spend
How much are you willing to spend to start off the rest of your life? Most marriage proposal consultants charge for their services by the hour. How much you can expect to spend really depends on how extravagant a proposal you have in mind. Realize that in addition to the hourly fee, you will also need to pay for the logistics, such as dinner, a serenade, roses, champagne — and of course the ring itself.
It’s also worth pointing out that some proposal companies offer two levels of service: consulting on the proposal plan itself, and then coordinating to pull together the logistics of the actual plan. Other companies group these tasks together.
You can expect a marriage proposal consultant to charge in the range of $60/hour to $180/ hour or more.
Creating the proposal itself can average about two or three hours of work, while the hours spent on coordinating the logistics can vary so much, depending on what’s involved.
In addition, some services require a minimum number of hours, so get all of the facts up front before you agree to anything. Some marriage proposal consultants may also be willing to arrange a package deal for more elaborate proposal scenarios, so don’t be afraid to ask if this is an option if a set price makes you feel more comfortable.
It’s also worth mentioning that in addition to the marriage proposal consultant’s fee, when it comes to paying for the proposal itself, the costs are all over the place. For a simple, but romantic, picnic in a field, you need only worry about the cost of food and a picnic basket, which most men can handle. On the other extreme, a proposal spelled out overhead by a skywriter can cost between $1,200 and $2,000 for the message alone. Many other creative ideas can fall somewhere in the middle.
Therefore it’s best to begin by figuring out what you want and what you are willing to spend, and go from there.
You also want to be sure you give yourself and the marriage proposal consultant enough time to prepare for the big event. Generally a few months lead time can be wise if you want to plan something on the more complicated side.
A Cost Effective Alternative
If spending a few hundred dollars for an expert’s help, on top of the costs for the logistics themselves, seems unnecessary to you, yet you still are at a loss for how to propose to your intended wife, there is one other option. For somewhere between $10 and $20, you can access a variety of online databases chock full of proposal ideas, or you can buy one of the many books available that provide tips to help men come up with a proposal that feels right to them.
Just keep in mind that no matter how much, or how little, you spend, all that truly matters in the grand scheme of things is that when you ask the question, she says, “Yes”.