We’ve all done it; I don’t care if you’re 14 or 24 – if you’re an American woman, odds are you have some sort of idea what your future wedding will be like.
And though we millennial ladies have collectively decided we have plenty of time until we will allow you to pop the question, nevertheless, we’ve done our due diligence when it comes to sufficient pre-planning.
Beyond those who are technologically literate, there are a bunch of us on the fringes of obsession. We’ve looked to our phones to help us make quite a dent on our pre-wedding checklist: we’ve Tiffany’d or Cartier’d the ring with the now iPhone-friendly app, Around Me’d the most captivating churches and pinned the perfect save-the-dates, centerpieces and bouquet arrangements. Easy.
“There are lots of resources out there for brides, which predominantly fall into two categories: sources of inspiration and tools for planning,” says Alison Denton, sales planner for Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. “Pinterest is definitely a huge social referrer for Web sites with bridal content like MSW.com.”
Brides are using technology for all aspects of wedding planning, whether it’s finding vendors through sites like WeddingWire and WeddingMapper, or referencing online resources for planning tools in all arenas, like The Dessy Group.
“Pinterest is a huge traffic driver for us, which sometimes outperforms our site traffic from Facebook,” says Melissa Lacitignola, community experience designer for Gemvara. “We’re putting a lot of focus on Pinterest, because of its dynamic: it’s incredibly visual, and that’s exactly what our pieces are.”
But what about the groom? [Insert tire squealing noise.]
“Grooms often have a dozen of technical questions for us when picking out rings,” saysLacitignola. “To help them in that process, we offer video tutorials on YouTube and FAQs on our site. But, in the end, all they care about is will she like it? And that’s how Pinterest comes into play, as it allows them to browse different ‘looks,’ and select which is best for her style and personality.”
Luckily for our generation, technology has facilitated ease for our men when it comes to nailing the proposal. As such, we have a few tips for them on how to leverage these resources, precluding any proposal disasters or unneeded stress.
Get the ring right the first time. Though the ring is the most superficial of the proposal’s true meaning, outsource this huge purchase. While we’d love your grandmother’s heirloom ring, odds are you’ll be springing for it yourself, without gram’s help.
Keep in mind your soon-to-be spouse has likely toyed with the Tiffany’s ring-building app; it’s very possible that she’s built her dream ring and shared it with friends. That said, don’t be afraid to ask her sister and/or close friend(s) for some tips. (Note: PLEASE make sure you ask the sister or friend whose style closely matches your lady’s, for tragedy could certainly strike.)
“MSW.com just launched a new jewelry finder, comprised of hundreds of rings and other bridal jewelry. With this, our users can filter through by designer, metal, gem, cut, and style,” says Denton. “In the end, I think it’s just about communicating what you want; and with technology, it’s become a lot easier to find what you’re looking for.”
Or, after you chat with her girls, perhaps you’ll find she’s into the ring shopping deal; some prefer surprise, while others prefer a choice in the matter. Either way, ask those closest to her first.
Proposals over dinner are lame. Tap into your creative side, or perhaps let a friendly app do so for you. Be a little more original. Dinner proposals are from the movies, and not in a Humphrey Bogart kind of way.
“What matters most is the air of romance in it,” says Margeaux Reizian, medical student, University of Michigan. “Technology may aid in the situation to share the news with friends and family.”
On that note, steer clear of an idea you got from a cheesy Zales commercial. “We’ve seen all of those commercials, and maybe even cried to them, but that doesn’t mean we don’t expect a little originality from you,” says Alyssa Roland, international affairs graduate student, University of Michigan.
Get to know her style. That’s right, stalk her on Pinterest. While we certainly don’t expect you to do the heavy-lifting of design, event planning and centerpiece creating, you are on the hook for your valued opinions.
And though we truly appreciate said opinions, ultimately, we assume your taste to be the same as ours. Your responsibility is to let us think you care, but go along with what we want.
“I’ve heard of a fool-proof theory for dudes in the wedding planning stage,” says Jack McCarthy, management consultant. “Regardless of your fiancé’s question, you respond with a canned series of, ‘Yes. Yes. No.’ That way, you appear supportive and thoughtfully engaged, but really, you’re a little checked out.”
And while your phone will certainly make this momentous, intricate occasion less confusing, there are always things that technology can remind you to do; please note that you must inherently know them in the first place.
Ask her parents for permission. Tradition exists for a reason. While some aspects of the traditional marriage proposal and ritual are sickeningly outdated, others are tried and true. Furthermore, a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T is forever cherished, especially from your future in-laws.
“I know it sounds old-fashioned and paternalistic, and the feminist in me dies a little when I say this,” says Roland. “But it just makes it that much more special – I would think – and less stressful for the girl when she knows he’s already talked to her parents about his plans for their relationship.”
Get down on one knee. Your marriage proposal is something that your blushing bride will have to explain to people for the rest of her life; friends, family, coworkers – and hell, even strangers – ask proposal details in the same breath as “Oh! Em! Gee! Let me see the ring!” Be a prince charming and show some humility, passion and reverence.
And, hey bros – now you know that technology is certainly your friend, since this is the big day, keep in mind that it can do some damage, too.
“I like things to stay traditional,” says Christina De Simone, senior associate finance for Amgen. “People post to Facebook a photo of the ring right after the proposal. For parents who aren’t tech-savvy, they may be last in line to hear about the engagement, or hear about it through the grapevine. In a way, technology can take away from many traditional aspects of an engagement, which I think are the most important. Marriage is about families, and when random Facebook friends from one night out at a bar or from freshman orientation find out about an engagement before a family member, something is wrong there.”
When it comes down to it…yes, this list of so-called essentials is entirely superficial. If the relationship has come to a point of proposal, the details don’t matter as much as one may think. Though romantic and somewhat important, they are miniscule compared to the relationship as a whole. What truly matters is what this entire process and tradition signifies: eternal love and devotion. Sappy? Sure.
We appreciate your effort. We will love you even if you drop the ring over the bridge on which you insist proposing. At the end of the day, we’re in love. And engaged. Fairy tale thus complete.