Following on from her previous article about the questions everyone loves to ask if you’re in a same-sex couple, bride-to-be Becky discusses the pressure of proposing…
Everyone always wants to hear the proposal story, and you’re eager to tell it! The details roll off your tongue with ease and excitement as you regale your friends and family with the tale.
Even if there are some comical moments – like the ring box getting stuck in the top of your jeans, imagine that – it becomes a moment you will never forget. But have you thought about your partner’s version of the story?
Let me give you a little insight into how I felt both as a bride and as the person that proposed.
Planning a Proposal as a Woman
My first feeling leading up to the big moment was a whole lotta pressure. Not necessarily pressure from others, but more pressure on myself as I wanted this moment to be the most perfect and romantic moment of Ciara’s life.
We had talked about different ways we could propose to each other and every time, it seemed Ciara’s ideas were always that smidge more romantic. I suppose you could say the pressure came from a competitive streak within myself and I wanted to make her moment more romantic than she could ever imagine. Plus, I wanted her to have a story she could go to her friends and family with and make them beyond jealous.
In the last article, I described how we decided who would walk down the aisle last, considering we are two brides. Basically, we created our own competition in that whoever proposed first got to walk down the aisle last.
For me, the moment of walking down the aisle last was so important because it was the one moment I had dreamt about most since I was a little girl. Not how I would be proposed to. I also dreamt of the ring I would have on my finger, not that I was fussy on how it looked. I wholeheartedly believe that your partner knows you well enough to choose something that you will love.
Although, top tip: I have multiple non-secret Pinterest boards that Ciara can scroll through for some inspo and I can pretend to be shocked when she produces my ring!
That being said, knowing Ciara, she’ll come up with something completely different to my Pinterest boards and I’ll still love it. With everyone pressuring Ciara and making her feel less and less of a potential bride by declaring that they knew she would propose first, it lit a fire in my belly and I realised that it would mean more to me that she got her big moment.
For me, proposing to her first would actually be the most romantic thing. Plus, the surprise on her face was the best moment of my life so far as I managed to finally out-sneak her. A triumph in itself!
The Element of Surprise
For most heterosexual couples, the societal norm of him proposing to her has already been ingrained. A certain element of surprise is gone in that respect. This is quite a nice thing to have gained back. No one is ever going to be quite certain about what the other is going to do in a non-hetero relationship.
For all I knew at the time, Ciara could have proposed to me when we went to Florida months before I got to propose first. So, there was a time pressure as well, even though I had a rough date in mind that did change MULTIPLE times. As a woman, I knew there were multiple pressures on the person proposing but until I was in that moment, I never thought about how much – including the pressure you put on yourself.
This pressure led to an overwhelming feeling of dread: the dread of getting the ring wrong, of choosing the wrong place to propose and even the feeling that Ciara may not want to be proposed to crept into my head with a vengeance.
The last one was a silly thought but nonetheless a valid one because for some people it’s just not for them. My biggest worry was the ring and getting it wrong.
Word of advice to anyone thinking about proposing: do not show a picture of the ring you have purchased to your soon-to-be-fiancée asking them if they like that ‘type’ of ring. I was met with: “Meh, I don’t know if it is the photo or not but I don’t think it’s for me.” I had already bought the thing! That exact one in the photo! You can only imagine how I felt when I heard that.
The fear of the ring being wrong had haunted my dreams so often that I had to keep asking Ciara if she would definitely tell me if she didn’t like it. She had to be honest. I knew she would, but the fear of someone being too kind to save my feelings drifted through my head.
So far, nothing was quite as I expected. From the ring picking and assuming you would know immediately, to the reactions of family. One word of advice that I wish someone had given me: not all reactions are going to be the reactions you see in the movies.
I was once told that it’s unfair to have expectations of people’s feelings and then to be upset when they haven’t given me the reaction I wanted or expected. Regardless of what others feel, you are doing this for YOU and YOUR happiness. No one else. That took a little while to get my head around. I didn’t have a negative experience as such, I thought some of my family would be weeping for joy and happiness for me but that didn’t happen in the end and I understand now that sometimes people don’t know how to process certain information and that’s okay. Give them time.
Asking for Permission to Propose
On the topic of family, ever thought about what it would be like to ask someone’s parents if you could marry their offspring? No? Neither had I!
This tradition has been argued between couples for years. Do you ask vs why should you? It can seem outdated, archaic almost. For both of us, it was very important. Yes, we are two brides, but we also like some traditions.
Some same sex couples will be asked why are you keeping to heteronormative traditions? For us it was more about what those traditions meant to us. I wanted to ask to join Ciara’s family and vice versa. But when is a good time? Do you text? Is it rude to just ring? My issue was that Ciara’s family are about an hour’s drive from us and the only reason we would be going up was to see them together. It would be a bit odd for me to just waltz through the door on my own and say I was just passing by. I basically had to just pluck up the courage and ask. I’d maybe recommend not being as hungover as I was!
What I Learnt
So, do I feel like my big ‘being proposed to’ moment has been taken away from me? Heck no! My moment was proposing. By re-thinking about what that moment meant, I felt more joy and happiness because it was about making Ciara feel special.
Do I feel any less engaged because Ciara has the ring and I don’t? Absolutely not! People have asked me this many times and the experience has shown me it is so much more than a ring.
Do I feel less like a bride? NO! I feel just as much of a bride as Ciara does. We get to pick dresses out, flowers, venues and so much more! The only difference between us currently is that Ciara has a ring on her finger and I don’t. Yet. That’s right, Ciara still plans on proposing to me with the ring of my dreams and I can’t wait!
The whole way through the process I felt like a fish out of water. I had never sat down and thought about proposing to anyone. I only ever listened to the details of the lucky fiancée that had been proposed to, I never asked the other partner how they felt proposing.
Thinking back on it, I wish I had of asked more and found out what they were feeling and their thoughts about it all. I feel like that would have given me a little more insight and reassurance throughout the process. What I did get out of the whole experience was the absolute sense of pride. This was not something I had ever thought about, nor planned or talked about. It was like a switch and all I could think about was making Ciara happy. If I achieved that and gained a ‘Wife-To-Be’ out of it, then I was beyond happy.
Finally, I knew that our forever was a real thing and not just something we talked about. I could see our future lined up in front of us and I was ecstatic. Plus, the idea of planning our (my!) dream wedding is the moment I have been waiting for all my life.