Poll

What should a person do if proposed to in public and the answer is "No"?

Refuse Immediately in Public
108 (52.7%)
Accept in Public and Refuse at the earliest opportunity in private
50 (24.4%)
Other (Please Explain)
47 (22.9%)

Total Members Voted: 205

Author Topic: Public Marriage Proposals  (Read 20653 times)

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Yvaine

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #30 on: January 10, 2013, 04:01:09 PM »
Rashea's response made me think of something. 

The person doing the asking has had time to really think and consider if they want to marry the other person. 

Why should the person being asked not get the same amount of time to think it over before making a committment? 

I think that is one of the reasons I dislike Jumbotron proposals.  It's putting the person on the spot.

Or else, the couple has already agreed to marry and the public proposal is just a way to give the ring, do a "look at me, look at me" and create a story around their engagement.

I do think that most people, even if there hasn't been a "So, are we getting married someday?" conversation, have thought about it privately. I think in every serious relationship I've been in, I got to the point where I pondered whether I would want to marry this person if the question came up.

bah12

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2013, 04:20:54 PM »
I would hope that when one half of a couple chooses to propose in public that the relationship has been long/deep enough that they know that their SO is in favor both of getting married and of being the center of attention for that moment.  And as much as I wouldn't like it myself, I know plenty of people that would love to have a big moment like that right in front of everyone...even a stadium full of strangers.

I would also think that the instances where the proposee doesn't want to marry or is not in favor of public proposals is not that often.  I think that if I were publically proposed to and I my answer wasn't "yes", I would have to say so and I would do it with the same tact and care as I would if it had happened in private.  I just don't think there is a right/wrong answer here.  Public proposals are great for some people and horrible for others.  Being proposed to and not wanting to say "yes", I imagine is awkward and difficult regardless of the location.  And if someone chose to say "yes" first and then say "no" later, I wouldn't fault them for feeling that was the tactful way to handle it.  Just as I wouldn't fault someone for being honest in the moment...realizing the proposer took a risk and likely doesn't know a whole lot about their SO anyway.

 

FoxPaws

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2013, 05:11:31 PM »
I chose the Accept in Public, Say No Later option. As much as I believe in honest answers, I would not have the courage to deal with the scene that might ensue if I refused right then.

A friend of a coworker arranged a semi public proposal at a dinner in front of all their closest friends. I was a nervous wreck on his behalf, despite the fact that he was a total stranger to me at the time. "Oh dear Diety! What is he going to do if she says No in front of all those people?" Years later I ended up working for the happy couple. When I told them that, they both laughed. The wife then informed me - and him! - that the proposal took place just shy of a personal deadline she'd set for him to propose or else she was moving on.
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Dr. F.

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2013, 05:33:28 PM »
Anyone who would do something like that to me doesn't know me well enough for me to marry him. At all. I *HATE* things like that. I don't like watching them, and I'd be mortified to be the center of attention like that.

My sister once dumped a boyfriend because he had the waitstaff at a restaurant sing her "Happy Birthday" against her stated objections. He claimed he thought she was joking. I agreed with her completely - that would be a HUGE red flag for me. (Others are fine with it, and that's great for them, but I'm not dating anyone who disregards my wishes like that!)

OP - has your daughter ever heard anything after the "no" responses? I'm curious what the proposers said, if anything.

Sophia

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2013, 05:42:29 PM »
... The wife then informed me - and him! - that the proposal took place just shy of a personal deadline she'd set for him to propose or else she was moving on.

During the date where my husband proposed, we killed time at a bookstore waiting until a reasonable dinner time.  I scoured the shelves looking for a book with a title like "How to Dump Him."   (I really believe in books)   Fortunately, I couldn't find one.  Then the goof had his feelings hurt that I wanted time to plan a wedding.  He waited to ask until he was ready to BE married. 

CluelessBride

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2013, 07:37:18 PM »
I answered "refuse publicly," but that's because I have the vague hope that a few very public "No, I won't/can't marry you" answers displayed on Jumbotrons or the equivalent might discourage people from making such proposals when it's not some form "we've already agreed we want to get married, but it won't be official until I give you a ring."


Youtube has 232 hits for: public proposal rejection.  (http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=public+proposal+rejection&oq=public+prop&gs_l=youtube.1.0.0l10.2165.4386.0.6607.11.8.0.3.3.0.246.765.7j0j1.8.0...0.0...1ac.1.JTidBIpQzrA) DISCLAIMER: I haven't viewed any of those videos, so I can't vouch for them all being clean/without language/etc.

Refusals are definitely out there, and you'll even come across a news article on them from time to time. Doesn't seem to phase the public proposers.

I have a pretty mundane proposal story: nowDH took me to dinner and then proposed when we got home. But it was perfect for us. I don't think it is my place to judge what type of proposal works for others.

That said, if it were me being proposed to and I didn't want to marry the guy, I think I would go the deflect/stall route and decline later in private.


LifeOnPluto

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2013, 09:19:01 PM »
I certainly don't think it's rude to simply say "no" to a public proposal. On the other hand, berating the proposer in public would be rude (eg "No way! I'd never marry an idiot like you. Yuck.")

That said, I also don't think it's rude to say "yes" to a public proposal and "no" later in private. Yes, the proposer might feel as if you lied to them, and led them on, by saying yes. But really, that's the risk one takes - a public proposal comes with a LOT of pressure to say yes!

pearls n purls

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2013, 09:52:49 PM »
If the answer was going to be no, I'd probably reply with "I need time to think about it" or give a non definite answer.  That would hopefully save the proposer some embarrassment.  I think the elation of a public "yes" shortly followed by a private "no" would be more painful.

Amava

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2013, 10:04:46 PM »
What is she asking for help with, exactly? 
She's seen things go both ways & wondered  about the viewpoints of the Etiquette Hell community about the matter.  She's looking for a different point of view, and the diversity of this community is a great place to find opinions that run the spectrum.
Ahh... So she /has/ actually seen it happen that people said "no"?
So how is it usually dealt with? Does the facility use some "distraction" techniques for the audience when a proposal goes wrong?

By the way, I missed your poll question the first time I read this topic, so I didn't realise that the question she asked was what our opinion was on what a person /should/ do if they're proposed to in public and don't want to accept.  I honestly don't know what I would do. The mere thought almost sends me into a panic attack (not even joking!) and makes me very glad I'm already married.
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Does she want to know whether it is a good idea for the department to facilitate such events?
The facilitation = $ for the team owners; it's not her place to decide whether it's a good idea.
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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?


She talks to them when they book about the humiliation factor in the event of a refusal.
It's good to hear that she gets to "counsel" them a bit on the possible outcomes of their plan. (That's why I asked: to know whether she was allowed to speak any words of caution at all.)

The questions I would ask (if I were her, and if that was ok with my job description), from my own thougths and from reading other people's replies, are:
- Have you already discussed getting married
- Are you sure your partner wants to marry you
But also, and at least as important:
- Are you absolutely sure that your partner is ok with this sort of public display?
- Are you sure this is going to be like a lovely dream to your partner, and not a nightmare?

Important to me is that the person who wishes to propose, should not only take their /own/ possible humiliation factor into account, but also the feelings of the person who is about to be proposed to. 
Because even though to some people being publically proposed to seems like a beautiful dream, to others it really does seem like a nightmare - even if they do want to marry the proposer.

blarg314

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2013, 10:11:12 PM »
I'm suddenly reminded of the beginning of a dreadful movie, called "The Zookeeper", I think. At the beginning, socially clueless guy has staged a massive proposal sequence - letter in a bottle, band, fireworks, everything. And the girl turns him down and makes it clear that she had been about the break up with him. A classic case of a guy who was so caught up in the spectacle, and his mental script that he failed to pay any attention to the girl he was dating.


I think a person should only propose in public if (a) you are certain that the proposee will not be embarrassed, (b) you are certain that the proposee will like and enjoy a public proposal, and (c) you have already discussed engagement/marriage and are certain that the proposee will say yes. Basically, you should be certain that you will not be causing the proposee any embarrassment or discomfort.

I think that's a good list. I would add

4) Your proposal does not significantly inconvenience your audience. A jumbo-tron is fairly innocuous as these things go; staging a flash mob in a crowded area, or trying to get random strangers to participate is a different story.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2013, 09:03:43 PM »
I think a non-commital answer is the best route, so I voted other.  "Can I think about it?"  or  "Can we talk about this in private, please?".

I think the elation followed by the huge let down of yes-now-no-later is a very, very, very bad idea and is probably more hurtful than just a flat out no.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

poundcake

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #41 on: January 14, 2013, 04:19:36 AM »
Public proposals are, in another poster's words, really icky, and if anyone did that to me, I'd know they had no idea what kind of things I value and would refuse.

I also find them incredibly manipulative, even at the best of times. Does anyone remember the YouTube video posted on Hell's Belles a few months back with the public proposal that turned into a whole over-the-top wedding? The bride went from sobbing because her boyfriend had been violently confronted by what she thought was either a stranger or a secret girlfriend, to, in front of cameras and a shopping mall of strangers, being asked to marry him right then and there. The whole thing smacked of a smug "Now look at this big wedding I gave her! She can't ever be mad at me for anything." The bride was put on the spot in humiliating public ways multiple times, and had no choice in any of it.

Another example I have is a coworker who had been dating her boyfriend for about six months. He kept wanting to speed things up, and talked a lot about how he wanted to get married and have kids asap. She was barely 22, and kept putting the breaks on, and was even starting to think she should break up with him. The holidays were coming up, so she decided to wait until after that and then have the "slow down or I'm out" talk with him. He knew this full well. What did he do? On Christmas Eve, at his family's house, in front of twenty people, he made a huge production of giving her her present: an engagement ring, and he proposed to her. She refused, and left immediately. A day or so later, during their break-up argument, when she demanded to know why he would do that to her when he knew full well she wasn't ready to get married, he said "But I thought if I did it like that you wouldn't say no to me in front of my own parents!"   

So I agree with people who have said, as long as marriage has been discussed between the couple, I'd grudgingly say that a public proposal is okay for them although it still seems more about performance and even control than real feelings.


Garden Goblin

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #42 on: January 14, 2013, 09:13:07 AM »
I think if a person feels a "no," then they should say no. Public humiliation is the risk you take with a public proposal.

The problem is the humiliation tends to be on both sides, and only one side consented to it being public.

It wasn't a marriage proposal, but I got quite publicly asked out by a young man I had no interest in, and the public fallout was he was comforted and I was branded heartless to have refused his grand romantic gesture.  I guess that's another for the list of 'why I hate rom coms'.

Emmy

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #43 on: January 14, 2013, 02:51:08 PM »
I think if a person feels a "no," then they should say no. Public humiliation is the risk you take with a public proposal.

The problem is the humiliation tends to be on both sides, and only one side consented to it being public.

It wasn't a marriage proposal, but I got quite publicly asked out by a young man I had no interest in, and the public fallout was he was comforted and I was branded heartless to have refused his grand romantic gesture.  I guess that's another for the list of 'why I hate rom coms'.

I agree.  I don't like lying, but I have a lot of empathy for somebody who is put in such a situation.  The proposer may feel embarrassed and hurt, but ultimately they chose to take that risk.  The proposee who said 'no' would probably be branded as heartless and would also feel embarrassed however they did not choose to be put in that position.  The proposee may say 'yes' as just a reaction to get the spotlight off of them as quick as possible, kind of like somebody pulling their hand away from something hot.  It would be hard to imagine being surprised in such a public area and calmly asking the proposer to talk about it later with your face still on the jumbotron.  Another chance the proposer takes is that the proposee says 'yes' because of the pressure and not because they really mean it.

Poundcake, that is an awful story however good for the girl for saying 'no'.  It's just hard to fathom people who are more interested in getting engaged than they are in the feelings of the person they supposedly care about so much.  Even if she had folded under pressure, would he be happy knowing his bride to be was unsure and reluctant and only agreed to get engaged due to the pressure of the public proposal.

My personal feels are to each their own.  I don't find public proposals offensive, but I don't find them romantic or exciting either.  I don't really care all that much that two people I never met got engaged on the jumbotron and would probably choose that moment to get a snack or use the restroom.  I'm really not a show off type of person and the idea of having one of the most special moments of my life in front of thousands who couldn't care less isn't appealing to me. 

illini

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Re: Public Marriage Proposals
« Reply #44 on: January 14, 2013, 06:32:20 PM »
I'm mulling over a semi-public proposal. It's semi-public in that we are going to Disneyworld (which is a very special place for her), and we are going to see the Fantasmic show, so I'm planning on doing it then (just get down on one knee, not anything to put the spotlight on us).  However,  we've talked about marriage, and even looked at rings so I'd know what she likes.  I don't think it's a look at me moment, but I hope it will help give her a story she'll cherish.