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The Pros and Cons of a Public Proposal

They're not right for everyone.

Contributing Writer
Donovan Groves Events Surprise Proposal Idea
Photography by: Adam Donovan-Groves

If you've been imagining your dream proposal since you were a little girl or boy, you're not alone. But when you consider your future proposal, where do you see it happening? Are you the type of person who hopes for a public display of affection, with a proposal coming at a sports game or a historic site, or do you want something private and quiet? If you're not sure which camp you fall into—or which kind your future husband or wife would prefer—consider the pros and cons of a public proposal before planning one. Here, wedding planners explain what you need to know.

 

Related: Ways to Make Your Proposal Pop

 

Pro: You can include friends and family.

A public proposal is a great way to get friends and family involved in this special moment. "If someone is particularly close with his or her family or girlfriends, he or she may want to share an engagement with those people," explains Lauren Chitwood, wedding and corporate event planner and owner of Lauren Chitwood Events. "Or, you can always disguise your proposal with a scheduled public event like a family reunion or holiday celebration."

 

Con: You can't control your surroundings.

Being in public is a big, big variable, explains Chitwood. "You are not able to control other people and even animals depending on where you are, meaning an innocent bystander can walk right into the middle of your proposal or photobomb you," she says. "If you're popping the question in a restaurant, an overly attentive server may not give you enough peace and quiet."

 

Pro: It's easier to enlist a photographer.

If you're thinking about hiring a professional photographer to document your proposal, it's far easier for him or her to hide in a crowd in public than it would be at home or somewhere remote. With that said, it's also important to note that you might not actually need to hire a photographer for a public proposal since friends, family, or passersby might be able to snap decent photos of the moment, too. 

 

Con: There's way more pressure to say "yes."

Carine Saint-Jean, owner of Spectacular Affairs, explains that a public proposal can put someone in a tough position to say "no," resulting in them saying "yes" with the intention of changing their mind later. "The pressure of not wanting to disappoint all the elated bystanders and embarrass or disappoint the proposer puts them in a rock and a hard place," she says. "Unfortunately, this pressured 'yes' will eventually turn into private 'no.'"

 

Pro: You have a place to revisit.

Proposing in a public setting provides you with a designated location of importance that you can revisit together for years to come. This not only makes things a bit more special, but it also provides opportunity for more day trips, weekend getaways, or even overseas vacations.

 

Con: It's less intimate.

When your proposal involves just the two of you, there's an opportunity to connect on a deeper emotional level. "The couple gets to focus on each other and express their feelings without the glare or pressure of an audience," says Saint-Jean. "For this reason, a very private individual might not prefer a public proposal."