NEW YORK — It’s courtin’ time and that still means going down on one knee for many proposers of marriage. Only now, more are choosing a special destination to do the asking.
Traditionally, the highest concentration of marriage proposals starts in November and stretches to Valentine’s Day, with December as the busiest month.
And in line with the popularity of destination weddings has come a growing desire for destination proposals, said Kellie Gould, editor-in-chief for the wedding site TheKnot.com.
Whether it’s on top of a mountain or in the forest, the love is in the thoughtful details, from planning to execution and the extra stress in between due to so many moving parts. The idea is to make the proposal not only memorable but social media ready, often with photographers in tow along with loved ones.
“I’ve been married 17 years and I look at proposals today and I’m wowed by how much effort the proposers are putting into it,” Gould said in a recent interview.
Rachael Sneddon, 26, and her husband, Russell, 32, in Portland, Oregon, were on vacation in Bali last May with members of both their families when he popped the question at a remote guest house as Balinese dancers and musicians entertained.
The music suddenly stopped and one of the guitarists began playing one of Rachael’s favorite songs, John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
“Then Russell asked me to dance, which is very unusual,” she laughed. “He is not really a good dancer. I was like, ‘I don’t know what you’re doing.’ Then he got down on one knee.”
He presented the ring in a box he made from scraps of the Portland International Airport’s famous teal patterned carpet.
“It was the thing in Portland where everybody took pictures of their feet on the carpet,” Rachael explained. “Right before we left for Bali they were ripping it out and everyone in Portland was really sad.”
In terms of destination weddings, Gould said, couples have indicated in surveys done by The Knot that the idea is to return over the years to reconnect, including with their kids in tow.The same, she said, is likely for destination proposal locales.
Christopher Rannefors and Rachel Linkous, both 25, live in Lexington, Kentucky. They plan to wed next September after getting hitched in June during a surprise weekend Rannefors planned in Asheville, N.C.
They were on a forest foraging trip with a group in search of wild mushrooms, flowers and herbs when Rannefors veered off with Linkous to a scenic mountain vista, where he did the deed.
“He said I spotted a bunch of mushrooms over here and when I turned around, with this amazing view, he was on one knee with this beautiful handmade wooden box,” Linkous said.
Rannefors added: “It was California redwood, from where we first met. We had done a ton of hiking near Marin and I got a chunk of wood and turned a little box out of it for the ring.”
After, they brought the baskets of mushrooms and other things they had foraged to a restaurant chef, who cooked up a special meal.
While they waited for dinner, they took a ceramics class in the afternoon, ticking off an activity that had long been on Linkous’ bucket list.
“I just wanted to make it memorable,” Rannefors said. “I wanted it to be unique to us. The most stressful part was keeping it a secret. Rachel is very talented at reading me.”
Bringing the wow for destination proposals means keeping track of the ring, above all, Gould said. While the asker is moving around, so is that precious cargo. Make sure to get the ring insured before setting out, she counseled.
Sneddon said her husband packed the ring in a suitcase full of his shoes and the suitcase went missing for about three hours. Gould advises carrying it on instead.
If the askee knows about the trip, prep, prep and prep, Gould said. This is not the time to wing the details.
Don’t spring the asking right away. The askee likely figures something is up, but keep the suspense going for a day or two to make it memorable. Don’t wait too long, though to avoid annoying rather than wooing.
Key is taking the askee’s interests and personality into account. You may love skiing while she loves the beach. Go for the latter. Does she enjoy romantic cities or rustic getaways, luxe hotels or cozy bed and breakfasts? This trip should be more about the askee, not the asker, if the two aren’t on the same page travel-wise.
If others are involved, try to keep the group of co-conspirators small. And make sure to secretly clear the askee’s schedule.
Sometimes it’s not possible to keep the destination a secret, and that’s OK.
Nicholas Bratton of Seattle proposed to his wife, Jenna, in 2006 on the summit of Mount Rainier, the highest mountain in the Cascades at 14,411 feet.
“We trained together,” he said. “She knew we were going to climb the mountain but she didn’t know what would happen on top. We had the place to ourselves. It was a gorgeous day. Most importantly, we made it back down safely and are happily married to this day!”