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Proposals Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

This Woman Spent 2 Years Planning the Most Romantic Proposal to Her Boyfriend

 News, Proposals  Comments Off on This Woman Spent 2 Years Planning the Most Romantic Proposal to Her Boyfriend
Nov 102016

Gone are the days that women have to sit patiently and wait on their boyfriend to drop to one knee. In this ever-evolving world of women flaunting their #GirlPower, female proposals are becoming much more common in our culture — and by no means is it a faux pas to take the reigns yourself. That's why we were SO excited to see that travel blogger Sonja Lishchynki, who created Montecristo Travels, planned the most epic proposal for her longtime boyfriend Stefan Dumas.

The uber-romantic proposal, which took place at the Charles Bridge in Prague (and featured THE cutest little pup, guys), took a whole two years to plan. Now that's what we call dedication! "Stefan was elated and surprised — but not surprised at the same time because we've never done anything in a traditional way," Lishchynki told The Huffington Post. "He cried. He was overwhelmed I think. But also elated and joyous. I think he was taken aback by how much it meant to him."

But aside from the emotional and heartfelt proposal, it just may be the engagement ring that really stood out on this special day. According to HuffPost, "Stefan is a descendant of French author Alexandre Dumas, who wrote famous novels such as The Three Musketeers and The Count of Montecristo. When Sonja and Stefan were dating, he mentioned one of his biggest regret was that he never had their family signet ring — which was lost when the Dumases immigrated to North America — remade before his dad died."

Knowing how important this ring was to her future fiancé, the travel blogger did everything she could to figure out every little detail about this historical piece of jewelry. She scoured the Paris archives and La Fondation Dumas to get all of the details correct before heading to a retired Hungarian master jeweler to recreate this special, and one-of-a-kind, engagement ring. And after 18 months, the old saying came true. All good things come to those who wait. The ring was complete!

See More: 10 Stunning, Over-The-Top Places to Get Engaged

Now that Lishchynki's proposal plan was almost complete, she took her boyfriend out in the streets of Prague (where they were to attend a friend's wedding later on) for an early-morning photo shoot. Dating a travel blogger, Duman wasn't really suspicious of this photoshoot, as they happened all the time throughout their relationship. As the couple stood on the cobblestone streets by the water, Lishchynki pulled out the special ring right on cue and kneeled down to pop the most important question of her life.

Through tears, her future husband replied with a resounding, "Yes!" See more of the romantic photos below.

The Truth On Why Women Don’t Propose

 Brides Magazine December 2016-January 2017, Proposals  Comments Off on The Truth On Why Women Don’t Propose
Nov 042016
Tips to Help You Propose to Your Boyfriend

Photo: Getty Images

In 2016, we have Hillary Clinton shattering glass ceilings, Sheryl Sandberg telling us to "lean in," and Beyoncé singing anthems about how girls run the world. But when it comes to the marriage proposal, women are somehow fine taking a backseat. Why is it still so hard for women to ask, "Will you marry me?" To find out, we put seasoned writer Sarah Z. Wexler on the case. As a recently engaged (now married) bride, Wexler was in-tune with the inner-struggle many brides face upon getting engaged: They live with their partner, they've discussed marriage countless times, they may have even picked out a diamond engagement ring — and yet, they have no plans to propose to their man. Many, in fact, would never dream of popping the question.

The reasons for this — as Wexler discovered through interviews with historians, sociologists, and relationship experts — are many, and they're caused by the permanence of deeply entrenched cultural traditions. (Think: years of male-dominated relationships and economic inequality.) But, in speaking to real brides who got engaged via female proposal, Wexler found that by upending the norm, you're really just advocating for yourself and your relationship — and the benefits of doing so vastly outweigh any awkwardness or societal judgment when it comes to taking on a nontraditional role and asking a man those four little words.

In the weeks after Tony and I talked about getting engaged and picked out the ring, I spent all of my idle time brainstorming adorable ways he could propose to me. He could write "Will you marry me?" on a wall of our new house, which we spent every night painting; he could place the ring in a dresser drawer at one of the vintage furniture stores we visited on weekends; he could attach it to the leash of one of our dogs, Ginsberg and Sunny, and ask if I felt like going for a walk. When I rattled off my list to a friend, she said, "If you have so many great ideas, why don't you just propose?"

Until that point, the thought had never crossed my mind. True, I was an empowered woman who wasn't afraid to make the first move: After we had chatted online for only a few days, I was the one who asked Tony to meet. After he hadn't spent a night at his own place for months, I was the one who suggested that we move in together. By the time we cosigned on a 30-year mortgage for a home in Portland, Oregon, I knew I was ready to marry Tony. But I worried that if I proposed, I might never know for sure if we'd gotten engaged before he was ready. Although I knew he would say yes if I asked, I didn't want to make him feel rushed or pressured. There was something that made me want to be 100 percent sure that go-with-the-flow, people-pleasing Tony wouldn't just be agreeing to something he was only 95 percent sure he wanted. (It's more than coincidence that his name backward spells "y not.")

I also worried what some of our friends and family might think. I could practically hear what people might whisper if I proposed — that at 34, maybe I was rushing into it because my fertility window was closing. I felt conflicted: I'm a feminist, I don't live my life based on what other people think, and I knew he would say yes — yet still something was holding me back.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only progressive woman who is hesitant to propose. How many engagement ring selfies have you seen of a beaming woman holding up her blinged-out hand with the caption "I said yes!"? I've come across dozens in my Facebook feed from friends and maybe 50 not-really-friends from high school, but I've yet to encounter a "He said yes!" post. This social-media rite of passage (or bragging right, depending on how you look at it) has only reinforced our collective norms surrounding proposals.

In a 2014 Associated Press survey of married heterosexual couples, only 5 percent got hitched after the woman proposed. Even more surprising is that 23 percent of women still think it's "unacceptable" to do so. "I've seen no evidence that the pattern of the man asking the woman has become less common," says W. Bradford Wilcox, the director of the National Marriage Project, a nonpartisan, nonsectarian initiative at the University of Virginia that researches and analyzes marriage in America.

Why are we stuck in our ways? Maybe it's because we've had centuries of men calling the relationship shots. Consider the origins of the proposal: The man would ask the bride's father for permission to marry her because, historically, marriages were arranged without the woman's consent and essentially transferred ownership and control of the woman from her father to her husband. "In Europe and early America, women were forced into marriages as a way to secure military alliances and business deals or to raise social status," says Stephanie Coontz, a professor of history and family studies at the Evergreen State College, in Olympia, Washington, and the author of Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage. Marrying for love first came about in the late 18th century but was still based in inequality because, as Coontz points out, "the woman was dependent on her husband, and all the rituals of marriage and engagement underlined that. Of course, she couldn't ask someone to take care of her and support her financially for the rest of her life, so she had to wait to be asked."

See More: What He's Really Thinking Before He Asks You to Marry Him

But we now live in a world where 70 percent of women with children under age 18 work and more than 37 percent of women earn a higher income than their husbands, according to 2014 Bureau of Labor statistics. So why are we still waiting for economic equality to have some sway in creating proposal equality?

The modern women I spoke with who proposed to their now-husbands didn't do so because they needed his paycheck or were worried about his commitment. "I hate when people assume I proposed because I was nervous that David wouldn't do it or that I was sick of waiting," says Maya Horowitz, 28, an editor at a tech startup in Palo Alto, California, who proposed to her evolutionary-biologist boyfriend, 34, this past Valentine's Day. "We had discussed our relationship in depth and agreed we wanted to get engaged. I wanted to be the one to ask because I wanted to do something nice for David." Horowitz surprised him by taking out an ad in the local newspaper that said, "You are the love of my life and my best friend. I can't imagine my future without you. Will you marry me?" He said yes.

When Horowitz asked her new fiancé if he thought it was somehow emasculating if a woman proposed, "he said that men who get proposed to should feel even more secure in their masculinity that someone loves them enough to do that."

Even so, traditional ideas about what is appropriately masculine and feminine remain predominant in our culture, explains Jack Drescher, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in New York City who's studied gender within the LGBT community. "And despite women's many strides in achieving equality, most people are comfortable accepting certain stereotypes," he says.

Some argue that women themselves don't challenge the stereotypes because — whether they admit it or not — many of them still hope to be swept off their feet. "Although women have evolved in so many ways and don't 'need' to get married, there still exists this deep-rooted cultural desire to have the white-knight dream-fulfilling proposal," says Sherry Amatenstein, a licensed clinical social worker in New York and the author of The Complete Marriage Counselor. We've seen this play out in pop culture on a dozen seasons of The Bachelorette. Even though the woman holds the power in each episode, narrowing down her suitors, in the finale she chooses her guy and then waits for him to propose to make it official.

There is one group of women that bucks the status quo: Thanks to the 2015 Supreme Court marriage-equality decision, we see more women proposing — albeit to other women. Will hetero women follow their lead? "Gay marriage has upended certain norms, but I'm not sure it will ever have a major ripple effect on straight marriage proposals," argues Drescher. "But it took a long time for us to have a female presidential nominee, so as more and more women take on 'non-traditional' gender roles, it may speed up social acceptance for women proposing."

In the meantime, however, there are women like Horowitz who didn't wait for society to catch up and are happier for it. In 1974, at age 23, Jean Oglethorpe of Fort Myers, Florida, proposed to Jim, now her husband of 42 years. "After living together for several years, I was rather matter-of-fact. I didn't ask him to marry me per se, I just told him that it was time to get married and that he would need a suit for the occasion," she says. You might think that a woman setting her wedding day in motion so directly would've made waves back then, but Oglethorpe thinks we're actually more rigid with proposals now. In the free-love '70s, "no one seemed to care very much about the traditional aspects of courtship and marriage," she says. "I can't remember any of my friends having a formal proposal like the ones you see today."

For Carlyn Butcher, 31, of Alexandria, Virginia, it was more about spontaneity than formality. At 25, she popped the question out of the blue on a subway platform to Steve, then 26, less than two years into their relationship. Butcher saw her proposal as an act of love and a way for her voice to be equal to Steve's in expressing what she wanted.

"I think it's sad if a woman wants to get married but doesn't propose because she feels like societal conventions are telling her that's not okay, that she'll emasculate her partner. Screw societal conventions!" says Butcher. "Now that Steve and I have a daughter, I'm even happier that I proposed because it will show her that she shouldn't be afraid to advocate for what she wants."

While many women fear that they'll seem aggressive or overbearing by proposing, taking this approach may set the tone for a more progressive relationship. As Butcher puts it: "My proposal was just the first sign that we wouldn't hold ourselves to old-fashioned roles. Steve is an incredibly involved, helpful partner and father. He does the dishes, makes dinner."

The same goes for Ellie Casson, 31, of Oakland, California, who proposed to her husband, Jamie, on the beach in Mexico in 2012; she's now the couple's primary breadwinner, while Jamie does more of the child care. "Ellie is so strong and confident, I don't think anyone was surprised that she proposed to me — except me!" Jamie says. "I was totally caught off-guard; I had to have her ask me twice. I'm not at all disappointed that I didn't get to propose. I'm just glad I got to marry Ellie."

In the end, I decided to go the traditional route and wait for Tony to get down on one knee — which he did, the month after we moved into our new house. While I wouldn't change the way I chose to begin my marriage to Tony, I can't help but hope that my future daughter — or my daughter's daughter — if she's so inclined, won't hesitate to ask the man of her dreams for his hand in marriage.

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BRIDES New Jersey: The Most Scenic Places to Propose in NJ

 Local, New Jersey, NY, NJ and CT, Proposals  Comments Off on BRIDES New Jersey: The Most Scenic Places to Propose in NJ
Oct 272016
Places to Propose in New Jersey

Photo: Getty Images

Chances are you (and your partner) have spent countless hours brainstorming the perfect place and way to propose. For our New Jersey couples, the good ol' Garden State has a bunch of stunning, scenic places where you can ask, "Will you marry me?" amongst a storybook backdrop. We've compiled a list of our five favorite scenic spots in NJ that are sure to take your breath away.

Waterfront Parks in Hoboken & Jersey City
Just across the river from Manhattan on the Jersey side is an abundance of parks and piers that provide the most beautiful scenery for popping the question. In Hoboken and Jersey City specifically, we recommends Pier C (conveniently located near the Hoboken PATH station) for the most amazing skyline views or Liberty State Park, which is nestled opposite of Liberty and Ellis Island for even more incredible sights to set your about-to-be-engaged eyes on.

The Great Falls
Just 12 miles west of New York City is this 77-foot waterfall located in Paterson. As one of the United States' largest waterfalls, this beautiful spot also boasts a rich history being a driving force behind the Industrial Revolution. This breathtaking scene provides its visitors an opportunity to experience a natural wonder nestled within within an industrial, urban setting. It's uniqueness and "hidden gem" qualities make it an ideal spot to make your love official.

Spirit of NJ Dinner Cruise
Dine, dance, drink and get engaged aboard the Spirit of New Jersey Dinner Cruise. Departing from Weehawken's Lincoln Harbor, this cruise is a special date night where you can board the ship as a couple and leave as fiancés! The sparkling New York City skyline will take your breath away as it floats by your dinner table — while you and your love share a meal, tear up the dance floor to music provided by the onboard DJ, and begin a new chapter in your lives together. Read real brides' reviews here!

See More: Now That You've Got the Ring, Start Looking for the Dress at These New Jersey Bridal Boutiques

New Jersey Beaches
Even though it's commonly known as the Garden State, New Jersey boasts a plethora of beaches to boot. With 130 miles of sandy shores from central to southern New Jersey, you won't have to look too far to find a remote spot to pop the question. Our recommendations? Take a sunset walk on the beach somewhere with a favorite restaurant or bar nearby. That way, you can take a moment to celebrate together before you start spreading the happy news.

The State Line Lookout
This overlook is located at the highest point of the Palisades Cliffs, which you can find approximately a half mile south of the state line separating New Jersey and New York. This location offers free parking, and is open every day throughout the daylight hours. Complete with a refreshment stand and gift shop, this scenic spot offers views of the Hudson River, perfect for hiking, bird watching, and of course — proposing!

To see more New Jersey locales to pop the question (or say your "I dos!"), head to our Local Venues page!

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This Beauty & The Beast Proposal is Something Straight Out of a Fairytale

 Celebrity, News, Proposals  Comments Off on This Beauty & The Beast Proposal is Something Straight Out of a Fairytale
Oct 172016

It's a tale as old as time... and one we never get tired of watching! By now, it comes as no surprise that, here at BRIDES, we love love LOVE binge watching truly epic proposal videos. And this one's a beauty! During a stage production of Beauty and the Beast, the actress playing Belle got a fairytale-worthy surprise when her real life sweetheart appeared on stage — and popped the question!

We've seen Disney-themed proposals before and others that took place in the most magical place on Earth — all of them totally picture-perfect starts to countless happily ever afters. There was the one where the groom transformed photos of him and his bride into movie posters of classic Disney films. Another included a mini flash mob in Downtown Disney. Celebs also can't resist the mouse, as MTV's Rob Dyrdek proposed to his girlfriend during a performance of Aladdin at Disneyland. But this Beauty and the Beast proposal opens up a whole new world of adorable! (Not the right movie, we know, but work with us here...)

When the actress playing Belle took the stage for the final song of the performance — big yellow ball gown and all — she was surprised to find her boyfriend standing on stage opposite her, dressed in the Prince's costume. But, hey, the show must go on and without missing a beat, she kept on singing with her love taking over the Prince's lines (and he's not a bad singer to boot!). Although the actress shot him a confused glance or two through the song, the pair continued singing, until the music swelled and this real life Prince took it as his cue to make his about-to-be bride feel like a true princess.

See More: Attention Princesses: You Can Now Get Married at Disney World With The Park All to Yourself

"Now you know why I was so happy this morning, don't you?" he asked, as this on-stage Belle broke into a huge smile with tears in her eyes. "There's nothing more that I would love than to spend the rest of my life waking up to you everyday," he continued, before dropping to one knee, pulling out the engagement ring.

No surprise here, she of course said yes and after a round of applause from the audience, this Prince and his beauty danced around the stage as the ensemble sang the titular song.

And — duh — they lived happily ever after!

9 Subtle Signs He’s Probably Going To Propose Soon

 Engagement, Proposals, Relationships  Comments Off on 9 Subtle Signs He’s Probably Going To Propose Soon
Sep 302016
Signs He's Probably Going To Propose Soon

Photo: Getty Images

You know he's the one, but does he feel the same? You think he does, but you've noticed he's been acting a little strange lately — not just "strange because he's a man," but strange.

Well, it could be that your main heartthrob is about ready to pop the question! Yes! But we're not too excited, are we? Yes, we are! Here are nine signs he's probably going to propose soon.

1. He doesn't dismiss your hints.

He Doesn't Dismiss Your Hints

There's nothing worse than a woman haggling a man over an engagement ring when he has no intentions of popping the question. So if you start dropping hints about ring styles you love, and he looks at you with adoration and not, "Not this nonsense again," he might be ready to buy you a sparkling gem of a ring.

2. He plans his future with you in it.
If he's talking about his future and not referencing it as, "One day down the line" or "When the time comes," but instead is speaking about his life plans with you directly in line, he's ready to commit to you for the long haul. Don't be surprised if you find him on one knee, with a ring in one hand and yours in the other.

3. He makes a point to bring you around more.

He Makes A Point To Bring You Around More

Are you suddenly BFFs with his family? Are the family invites to events and dinners pouring in? Are you meeting obscure family members that he barely references or family members that he adores even if they live miles away? He's grooming them — and you. Letting everyone get a chance to really know you is a sure sign he wants you around forever.

4. He's working overtime.

Is he suddenly not available to cuddle and hang out so much because work is running him ragged? Does he seem a little stressed or tired? He may be working overtime to provide your hand and finger with the best ring this side of town.

See More: 50 Love Quotes That Express Exactly What 'I Love You' Really Means

5. He's suddenly being secretive.

Hes Suddenly Being Secretive

Is he being secretive, but not in an angry way? Simply taking steps to go somewhere or hunting online, yet refusing to let you look? Someone may be ring shopping.

6. He refers to you as "the wife."
If he calls you "The Wife," and not in an annoying or sarcastic way, he's putting vibes out into the world that he already sees you as his special lifelong love. A ring is the next natural step.

See More: 4 MUST-DO Tips For A Successful Monogamous Relationship

7. He asks you about your future.

He Asks You About Your Future

Suddenly, homeboy is talking to you about your future wants. We all know men can avoid deep conversation and commitment like the plague, but if he's reaching out to you to open the conversation, he's putting the feelers out to see if you're ready and willing to be with him forever.

8. All his friends are getting married.

Does he surround himself with a ton of married guys or have friends who are about to walk down the aisle? This is a man whose core group values commitment, which most likely means so does he. The bachelor is most likely not schmoozing with a bunch of married guys because he needs people to go out and flirt with. If your guy is hanging with committed dudes, he wants a commitment as well.

9. He tells you straight-up.

He Tells You Straight Up

If you're the eager beaver looking for some reassurance of his commitment to you and he's willingly sharing that he's in it to win it, then be patient. That ring will come.

See More: If You IGNORE These 5 Relationship Red Flags -- Prepare For A Breakup

This article originally appeared on YourTango.

‘Why I First Rejected His Proposal’

 Proposals, Wedding Proposals  Comments Off on ‘Why I First Rejected His Proposal’
Sep 162016
rejected wedding proposal

Photo: Getty Images

Most proposals go off without a hitch — a drop to a knee, a ring, a resounding 'yes!' (often with tears). But for some brides, the first time is not the charm. Here, five real brides share why they rejected their partner's proposal at first, but with better timing and some crucial second chances, eventually changed their mind.

"He proposed during our first date. Yes, we'd felt an immediate crazy attraction but Allan's suggesting marriage seemed ridiculously impetuous. So I said 'Let's wait and see how we feel in six months.' Six months later to the day he asked the question again, this time with a ring. I said yes. That was 15 happy years ago." — Jean

"Tim was my high school love. He proposed before we went off to separate universities because he was afraid we would lose our connection otherwise. I said while I was tempted it didn't feel like a good idea. We needed to have these formative experiences on our own, do some growing up, and when we graduated if we felt the same way, I would reconsider his lovely proposal. Both of us wound up having other relationships during college, as young people should. We always kept in touch, however. We attended each other's graduations and started dating. Five months later he proposed again, saying, 'I still feel the way I did back in high school. What about you?' I said I'd never fallen out of love and this time I could accept with no doubts whatsoever. I'm glad we waited. It helped us mature and have a better chance of forging a healthy marriage." — Anne

"I met Bill five months after a horrific divorce. Bill was a wonderful guy but I was in no way, shape, or form ready for a serious relationship and he was too wonderful to be a rebound guy. Knowing my reservations, he still proposed. And I said no. We stopped seeing each other — he said it would be too hard to continue casually dating. A year later we ran into one another at a bowling alley of all places! I was at a different place in my healing process and we started dating, this time more seriously. Eight months later he proposed again; this time I happily accepted!" — Lyn

"Carl and I met in an English Literature class, bonding over, of all things — Pride and Prejudice. Our class performed skits based on the novel. Carl was Darcy and I played Elizabeth. When he proposed there was an undeniable spark between us and even though I said no because — well, that's what the material dictated — a part of me thought, 'Hmmm.' We started dating after the class ended and six months later he proposed for real. Unlike the previous pretend proposal, I unhesitatingly accepted this one." — Pam

"I'd always thought it wasn't a good thing to accept the first marriage proposal that came one's way. So when Rob popped the question even though I thought we had a great relationship I couldn't bring myself to say yes. What if someone better came along? Six years later I married the second man who asked, and we had a pretty awful marriage though stayed together for 15 years because of the kids. I finally got the nerve to get a divorce and while scrolling Facebook one day, I came across Rob. We started communicating again. He was widowed. A few months later we met in the flesh. One thing led to another and here we are, happily married at last. Do I regret the wasted years? Yes and no. I wish we'd had more time together but I can never regret having my fabulous children. And I can say without hesitation, having survived a bad marriage, I so appreciate a good one." — Michelle

See More: The Most Adorable Real Proposals of the Week

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.

5 Ways to Plan a Marriage Proposal Inspired by The Bachelor

 Engagement, Proposals, Wedding Proposals  Comments Off on 5 Ways to Plan a Marriage Proposal Inspired by The Bachelor
Aug 302016
how to plan a bachelor style proposal

Photo: Booje Media

The greatest and most heart-wrenching moment of watching a season of The Bachelor is, without a doubt, the proposal. There's something so dreamy about the whole set up of the situation. It's usually somewhere exotic, where waves are crashing in the background and the suspense of it all is enough to make your heart race for a good thirty minutes. So if you're about to propose to someone who watches The Bachelor religiously, here are 5 ways you too can plan a television series-worthy moment that you and your fiancéee will never forget.

1. Pick an Exotic Location
When you're brainstorming spots to pop the question — think big. Your local park or beach won't do the trick. Instead, find an exotic locale that is remote and romantic. Make sure there's a lot of greenery behind you, and that the spot is totally picturesque.

2. Make it Suspenseful
A true proposal on The Bachelor isn't one that happens quickly (there are at least 5-10 commercial breaks, let's be serious). The building of suspense is a key factor in this situation, so plan to arrive at the location an hour or so before it all goes down to build up your nerves and emotion. Give your partner instructions as to where to meet you and how to get there.

3. Rose Petals — EVERYWHERE
It's not romance without red rose petals all over the place. Roses — or any flowers for that matter — set the mood.

4. Give a Long, Heartfelt Speech
With all the nerves, you may have the urge to jump down onto one knee. Instead, wait until they arrive and give them a long, 3-5 minute speech about how you can't imagine your life without them, building up perfectly to the main event.

5. Have a Camera Crew Filming It
If it's not on film and the whole world can't watch it later, then did it really happen? A camera crew will definitely elevate the proposal to a new level — and once you add some edits and include a tear-jerking music score, it will be a memory you can rewatch over and over for years to come.

See More: These Real Life Proposal Stories (and Photos!) Are Giving Us ALL the Feels

Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.

Famous Photographer Gray Malin Helped Two Couples Pull Off Their Dream Proposals

 Engagement, News, Proposals  Comments Off on Famous Photographer Gray Malin Helped Two Couples Pull Off Their Dream Proposals
Aug 122016

It takes a lot of work to pull off the perfect proposal — hours of planning, rehearsing the speech, and having to pick out a beautiful, yet affordable, engagement ring can put tons of pressure on a guy. Which is why we were SO excited when we found out famed photographer Gray Malin ‐ who we actually use for tons of beach honeymoon inspo (seriously, just take a look at his Instagram!) — is getting in on the proposal game. In the first round of his "proposal series," Malin helped two couples bring their perfect idea of a proposal to life. Here, you can read their adorable stories and see the amazing photos.

Couple #1 — Don and Nicole:

In Don's perspective — "We have been fans of Malin Gray's work for years, starting our collection the year that we moved to LA. We both take a lot of pride in our home and are always on the lookout for cool pieces that we'll be able to keep forever. Our first purchase from Gray was one of his classic beach scenes and we've since added several more. When Nicole surprised me with the 'I AM BUSY' print, I was inspired to incorporate our shared love of Gray's work into my wedding proposal."

"I reached out to Gray to ask if it'd be possible to shoot something with the phrase 'MARRY ME,' thinking that I was really setting myself up for disappointment given the demand for his work. But, sure enough, Gray responded and told me how much he loved the idea and that he could shoot it two short weeks later. I was able to curate the entire proposal around the print — which turned out absolutely perfect, I should mention, I decided to recreate the photo in person at our favorite celebration spot, Mr. Chow. Fast forward a few weeks and she said YES!"

As for what was going on in his head before he dropped to one knee, Don told Gray, "I remember pulling up to the restaurant with intense pain in my stomach, hoping that all of the work that I had put into this surprise would play out without any problems. Nicole and I spend all of our time together, so pulling everything off without her knowing was a HUGE feat. I also remember being absolutely speechless as I got down on one knee — fortunately the balloons and the print 'said' it all for me."

And Nicole's reaction? She told Gray, "Honestly, the fact that Don was able to pull it off is really impressive. He has the hardest time keeping surprises from me and there were so many fine details to the event that I really can't believe it! We have been dating for several years and grown so much in our time together that I was absolutely overcome with emotion when I realized what was going on. He always goes above and beyond to take care of me, but he totally outdid himself. Seeing the print was the icing on the cake — our shared admiration for Gray's work is even greater now than before."

See More: These Real Life Proposal Stories (and Photos!) Are Giving Us ALL the Feels

Couple #2 — Jesse and Becky:

In Jesse's perspective — "Becky bought one of Gray's Prada Marfa photos years ago. It was really the only piece of art in her studio apartment. When we moved into a one bedroom together, it came along too and had a prominent place on our wall. Becky and Gray actually started to work together on a few projects and she adored him. She always mentioned their projects to me and how much she loved working with him, so I reached out to Gray to create the most special surprise and to be an important part of our engagement."

As for getting a picture of Becky from above (for the "MARRY ME" photo in Washington Square Park Gray would create), things proved more difficult. "It was easy to photograph me on a knee. I went home and had my dad take a picture of me from above on a balcony while I was across the street. But photographing Becky was hard. How do you take a good, clear picture of your girlfriend from several stories up without giving it away or feeling like a complete pervert? Not easy. So naturally, I decided the best idea was to get Becky drunk. There was one snowstorm that seemed like a good excuse, but the lighting and the depth were off. A few weeks later, I took her to brunch and then we walked along the High Line. I told her I was feeling 'artsy' and asked her to stand below the High Line so I could take pictures from above. That should have been a red flag, but she didn't oppose. Mission accomplished."

And Becky's reaction to this well-thought out proposal? "I was incredibly surprised and impressed! He thought about every single detail and crafted such a special proposal. We have always loved Washington Square Park — we live two blocks north and spend a lot of time there so it was very meaningful that he asked me to marry him in the park. I didn't know at the time that there was one more surprise, which of course, was Gray's beautiful photograph."

"After the initial shock wore off, Jesse told me he had one more surprise, which I would get that evening. I had no idea what he had planned. When I got to the bar and saw the photo, I was overwhelmed with love. It is, by far, the most thoughtful gift I have ever received and I can only image the amount of time and effort that went into creating such an incredible piece of art. Before I knew Gray, I loved his work and then when I got to know him, I absolutely adored him, so his involvement in our engagement means the world to me."

We can't wait to see more of Malin's incredible work!

BRIDES Houston: These 5 Outdoor Spots in Houston are Ideal for Popping the Question

 Engagement, Houston, Local, Proposals, Texas  Comments Off on BRIDES Houston: These 5 Outdoor Spots in Houston are Ideal for Popping the Question
Jul 152016
houston proposal spots

Photo: Courtesy of geneva.walker on Instagram

Choosing to propose to your partner is a big decision — let alone where to do it! For our Houston brides and grooms wanting to officially take your love off the market, these one-of-a-kind proposal spots are sure to be a totally gorgeous proposal backdrop. From gardens to reflection pools, you're sure to find the ideal outdoor spot to ask the biggest question of your life.

Houston Arboretum
What better place to ask your love to marry you than by some of Houston's most breathtaking blooms? With a flock of ornate gardens including "The Wildlife Garden" — featuring intimate benches for watching the unique setting's wild birds, animals, and butterflies, there's no limit to the amount of creativity allotted to your proposal moment. Wedding rentals infused with the arboretum's lush greens and natural foliage also makes this spot the perfect place to later tie the knot! Read real brides' reviews here!

Memorial Park
The natural elements of one of Houston's most popular parks create a magical wooded escape from the city's bustling metropolitan streets. Memorial Park is an ideal spot for a picturesque proposal, located next to Houston's thriving arboretum, and the botanical scents of this park will waft their way to wherever you are — creating a romantic aroma for the big moment. For anyone wanting to make an extra-special proposition, this Houston staple is the spot for a post-picnic proposal!

See More: Find The Best Wedding Planner for Your Big Day on Our Local Vendors Page

Discovery Green
Noted for providing Texans with some of the best panoramic views of the Houston skyline, this popular destination has been uniting couples in the heart of downtown Houston since 2008. Meant to completely redefine the natural landscape of its surrounding urban environment, the location is a beautiful site to kick-off a lifetime of memories with your partner. Covering 12-acres of extensive green landscape, there are an endless amount of hidden locations to get down on one knee.

The Reflection Pool at the Houston Zoo
Ranking as one of Houston's most whimsical and magical spots for an engagement, the serene setting of the reflection pool at the Houston Zoo provides romance and curiosity. Thanks to the cascading arch effect provided by its overgrown trees, the reflection pool is a serene and very unexpected location to pop the question to your sweetheart. Some of the zoo's most popular areas are also available to rent for wedding ceremonies, giving you and your other half a magical start to "happily ever after" at the spot of your proposal.

McGovern Centennial Gardens
What better way to get engaged to your fiancée than in the middle of one of Houston's most coveted proposal spots. Located in Hermann Park, the McGovern Centennial Gardens' ornate collection of flowers and plants is a stunning locale for this life-changing event. Whether your partner loves to stop and smell the roses in the rose garden or prefers more of a forest vibe in the one-of-a-kind woodland garden, this unique celebration of nature will provide the perfect backdrop to your special occasion. Read real brides' reviews here!

Need an expert photographer to capture your engagement? Check out our favorite Houston photographers here!

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5 Things You Should Do While You’re Waiting for a Proposal

 Proposals, Relationships, Wedding Proposals  Comments Off on 5 Things You Should Do While You’re Waiting for a Proposal
Jul 142016
waiting for proposal

Photo: Getty Images

You know a marriage proposal is coming. But that knowledge is both a blessing and a curse. (After all, no one likes to wait.)

You don't have to twiddle your thumbs anxiously awaiting his or her sweet words, however. As relationship and etiquette expert April Masini says, "when you're trying not to do something — like blurt out, 'hurry up, already!' or 'I can't wait for you to propose to me!' — it's best to keep yourself preoccupied and distracted." And we've got five suggestions for how you can spend your time — activities that will take your mind off what you're waiting for and make you better for doing them.

1. Be social, and enjoy being single.
According to Laura L. Ryan, licensed marriage and family therapist, now's the time to take advantage of your single life. "Do things that you will not be able to do when you are someone's wife," she says, suggesting dancing, an all-night karaoke session, hitting a coffee shop by yourself and hunkering down with a good book, or watching back-to-back episodes of The Bachelor. As Ryan says, "when you are sharing your life with another person, you will lose some of these freedoms, so make the most of your remaining time as a single person."

2. Learn what it takes to make a marriage succeed.
When you're waiting for a proposal, it's easy to focus your energy on planning your future wedding. Instead, Alexandra H. Solomon, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist and Loving Bravely: 20 Lessons of Self-Discovery to Help You Find an Keep the Love You Want, suggests spending this time planning your marriage. "There are so many great books out there about what it takes to create a successful marriage," Solomon says. "Spend a little time daydreaming with bridal magazines, and a lot of time with books, articles and videos about marriage."

3. Get yourself in tip-top financial shape.
If you're in debt or struggling financially, Amber Kelleher-Andrews, matchmaker for NBC's Ready For Love, suggests using this time to try to dig yourself out. "Remember that when you marry you are also marrying each other's financial obligations, debts and credit scores, as well as benefits," she says. "The more together you are financially, the more attractive you are to your prospective spouse — and vice versa."

See More: 6 Thoughts Every Girl Has When Waiting for Him to Put a Ring On It

4. Get organized.
Organizing your desk drawers may not sound like a pleasant way to pass the time. But Masini says that clearing the clutter and getting organized can actually help the time fly, all while keeping you occupied in a super-productive endeavor. "Whether it's cleaning closets, doing tax prep, or applying some feng shui to the garage, you can do good while creating space for all those wedding gifts to come, all by simply getting your life organized," she says.

5. Practice self-care.
Solomon says that in order to create a happy twosome, you have be a healthy by your lonesome. So, take this time to practice self-care and get into the healthiest emotional and physical shape you can. "Some examples of self-care include yoga, meditation, journaling, going for a walk, reading, taking a hot bath, and calling a friend," she says. "What you do to take care of yourself doesn't really matter. What matters is that you have a menu of uplifting options for tending to you. Weddings have a way of kicking up all sorts of emotional dust, so having your self-care tool box ready is important."

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