General Etiquette > Dating

Public Marriage Proposals

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Texas Mom:
When DD was home, we had a discussion about public marriage proposals.

One of the duties of the department (sports team) in which she works is to facilitate and set up such events for guests. 

Most of the time, the person says, "yes," but occasionally there is a refusal.

She wondered what the people at "Etiquette Hell" would recommend & ask me to post!

That's tough. I know that I, personally, would NOT want to be surprised by a public proposal. I think there's a big pressure to say yes because

-you're suddenly, and unexpectedly, the center of attention
  there you are, enjoying a sports game, when you see your face on the jumbo tron.
-there's audience encouragement
  Think of how much catcalling and whooping there is during a "kiss camera" where people who look like couples are put up on the jumbo tron and encouraged to kiss. When they do, there is chering. If they don't, there is jeering.
-you don't want to create a scene/make people feel uncomfortable
  when the answer is yes, the audience gets the warm fuzzys of seeing a tender moment. If the answer is no, it's just awkward.
-a fear that the proposee will be heckled for refusing
  Along the same school of thought that you should always accept a date because the poor person mustered up the courage to ask you. The poor guy/girl went to all the trouble to arrange this awesome proposal and that heartless Female Dog/Bacon Fed Knave ripped their poor heart out.

If you're going to say no, I think you should say no right away. Logistically, imagine the proposer had told friends/family to watch the game and they all think there's a wedding to plan?
More importantly, it's cruel to dash false hope. Here the proposer is thinking that there's a wedding to plan and a future with the love of his/her life, while the reluctant proposee is trying to figure out how to unaccept.

Yes, there may be some awkwardness, and some backlash from the public at the unexpected response, but that's on the proposer, not the proposee. The proposer is the one who is causing the situation. Imagine you're at a party when a guest admires your jacket. Guest then demands the jacket, and makes a scene. You can sense that Host wishes you would just give Guest the jacket to keep the peace. You aren't wrong to not give Guest your jacket, and the scene/discomfort isn't your fault.

I'm with Twiggy. I'd be pretty upset if a man ever tried to propose to me in an elaborate grand gesture that involved a large audience. I think it's unfair to the "proposee"." He or she will feel tons of pressure and is always going to look like the bad guy. (How could you say no to someone who obviously loves you so much that they'd go to all of this trouble and who is so confident that they're willing to take such a risk?)

I'd say no for all of the reasons Twiggy listed. Additionally, I don't like the idea of lying to someone.

What is she asking for help with, exactly?

Does she want to know whether it is a good idea for the department to facilitate such events?
Or does she want to know what she, as a facilitator, can do as "damage control" in case a proposal is rejected?
Or is she looking for advice she can give the prospective proposers when they come to her and ask her to facilitate their proposal? Or is she wondering whether it is "her place" to advise and warn them for things that can go awry? I think the latter would all depend on the policy of the department in these matters...

I think you should do whatever you prrsonally feel like doing.

Some people have made it clear that "when it happens" they will accept. They migjt also be clrarly comfortable in the spotlight. Not eberynody would love it but some might


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