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The Proposal. No, not that awful Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds movie, but the actual request for marriage. How important is it?

Over the weekend, one of my friends was telling me how she would like her (future) boyfriend to propose. To be fair we were looking at which is a website featuring videos of marriage proposals caught on film. My friend was telling me that she was hoping he would propose to her in a very public way and that someone would record it on video. Though some people think the ultrapublic, jumbotron proposal is cheesy (and a way to make headlines after being brutally rejected), she is wanting something of that caliber. The kind of epic marriage proposal that gets 23 million views on Youtube and lands couples on Good Morning America the next day. When she said she wanted a “memorable proposal” I wondered what types of proposals are not “memorable” considering it’s not every day a man asks you to marry him. That moment is unforgettable! Maybe by “memorable” she meant “likeable”?”

According to a recent study, one in four brides hated the way their future husband proposed.

Twenty-six per cent of brides-to-be said that they wished the moment had been more romantic, original or personal.

Others would have preferred it to be more private or complained that it was too over-the-top, and a third said that the biggest faux pas was proposing without a ring.

I’m with them on the ring thing. Nobody has to be sporting a blood diamond the size of her head, but I think it’s pretty strange to be engaged without a ring. Did he pop the question via text message?

Still, I wonder if this high dissatisfaction comes from the fact that we see so many proposals nowadays through social media. I almost feel bad for guys. Proposing ten years ago was probably way easier than proposing today. Now, in our current culture of reality shows, overshare and grandstanding, men and women witness more proposals than ever thus creating expectations no matter how unrealistic. With every event chronicled on Instagram and YouTube, it’s almost as if it’s no longer enough to find the person you want to marry, but guys better bring it with the marriage proposal. Some men are up to the challenge, but others are scared away by the perceived pressure.

At least three men have recently expressed to me their nervousness about proposing. Not because they don’t want to marry their girlfriends, or think she doesn’t want to marry them, or can’t afford an engagement ring, but because these guys feel the intense pressure to pull off the #GreatestProposalEver.

Who doesn’t love a great proposal? But does it make it great because there are tons of people  and a video camera around to capture it or because it’s great to find that person you want to marry who also wants to marry you?  What makes a proposal terrible? The fact that he did it when you were in sweats or the fact that he asked you and you didn’t want to marry him? In my opinion, the worst proposal is the kind that results in a blink-and-you-missed-it marriage.

I know someone who had a fantastic proposal by social media standards, but no one will be more surprised than me if they make it to their third wedding anniversary. Some people take the proposal more seriously than the wedding vows and that’s just sad. When days are doing couples part, who cares if he spells out “Will You Marry Me?” in rose petals? If it’s only going to last a few weeks then you may as well just pick out a ring while he plays Call of Duty.

That’s not to say that marriage proposals aren’t essential. They are. An (accepted) marriage proposal signifies the start of a new chapter in a relationship. Plus they can serve as a great jumping off point for the sometimes grueling process of planning a wedding. Personally, I think creative proposals are the best. The kind when the guy (or ballsy girl) proposes in a way that is meaningful and unique to the couple whether in front of a crowd or alone. Then again, I wonder if I’m only saying that because I’ve been watching too many YouTube proposals lately.

Does it really matter how a guy proposes? Are there women who would turn down marriage or be genuinely upset if he didn’t propose the “right” way? Are there women who would say yes to a boyfriend she didn’t necessarily want to marry simply because he asked in a stunning fashion?

After listening to a friend tell me how she hoped her guy popped the question, I wonder if more women have in mind their “dream proposal” and what happens if the reality is nothing like the dream?

Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink or check out her blog This Cannot Be My Life

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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