They plan what?

  • Friday, May 16, 2014

I know about Wedding Planners. They even made a movie about one of them.

Estate Planners help us put aside enough of what my mother used to call “the wherewithal” for our retirement.

One can also make early arrangements for one’s final exit. Then too there are Excursion Planners, people who lay out trips for fun and/or business travel – like going to Disney World, attending a convention, or taking side jaunts on shore while on a cruise stop.

But a Proposal Planner? Whoever heard of one of those?

Apparently I’m one of the last to notice. Perhaps that’s because it’s been 60 years since Jim proposed. One summer’s day he led me into my Atlanta backyard, took my hand, slipped a diamond on “that” finger and plied me with that much-dreamed-of four-word query. I flew into his arms, then flew through the house waving my left hand under my parents’ noses, then flew across the street to a good friend’s house to show her the ring and ask her to be part of the wedding. Then backtracked home to fly into Jim’s arms and say “YES!” all over again.

Will you please tell me who could have planned that scenario? I can’t imagine anything more romantic even while skydiving, swimming with the dolphins, riding in a hot air balloon or gondola, taking out a full page newspaper ad or a treasure hunt, ending with the proposer on bended knee.

How about slipping the ring on her finger while she sleeps and wake her with champagne and strawberries? These are but a few Proposal Planner offerings.

I came across Proposal Planners in the national news recently and was amazed to discover this kind of business has been thriving for years. In a reprint of The New York Times article from 2011, Elaine Louie talked about different versions of this enterprise. One Sarah Pease, of Brilliant Event Planning in New York, expanded her wedding and party planning business to proposal planning when a friend asked for his lady’s hand in marriage with a ring at the bottom of a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket. She said it worked for that couple who are happily married but she thought there were better ways. Her charges – even then – were definitely “better,” beginning with $500 for devising a plan. Handling the whole operation could run to $12,000 plus fees for providing transportation and the site. Other like businesses across the country are called Heart Bandits, An Exclusive Engagement and The Yes Girls.

I’m sure all these events are exciting and memorable, but somehow spur of the moment proposals – with a bit of advance personal planning – seem most appealing to me. I know that was true with my parents. Mom was a bank teller and dad and a friend came into the bank every Friday for weeks with their paychecks from the local steel mill. Dad kept talking about what a “looker” mom was and how he’d just like to lean across the bank counter one time and give her one great big kiss. The friend of course, kept goading him until one afternoon dad did just that. Not satisfied with the delightful buss, he added, “And one day we’re going to get married!”

That was 86 years ago.

My dad it seems was ahead of his time. There’s probably little doubt that he was one of the first ever “Pre-Proposal Planners!”

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