For many, a proposal still remains one of life’s key milestones – and it seems some people are so determined to ensure it’s a magical moment, they’re prepared to invest thousands of pounds in getting it just right.
Hopeful grooms keen to woo their brides-to-be (or not) in style are turning to professionals to help with everything from location to lighting, gifts, flowers, photographers and more, the Telegraph reports.
And according to the outlet, those hoping for a hand in marriage are willing to dish out between £2,000 to £2,500 for the life-changing event, with some splashing out more than £160,000 for exclusive hire of swanky private venues.
The trend is understood to have kicked off during the coronavirus lockdown, when partners had more time to plan ambitious proposals. Add in the Instagram age, where show-stopping engagements are seemingly everywhere you turn, and it feels like being on bended knee is no longer quite enough.
Danielle Kendall, founder of hen party specialist Team Hen, says: ‘Having lost so many opportunities for celebration during lockdown, we’re celebrating more lavishly, simply because we can.’
Getting your big moment on social media is also a priority for many, she adds: ‘There are few celebrations in life these days that are not curated with the ‘gram in mind. Social media platforms have created a culture of showcasing our significant life events, including proposals.’
Dedicated agencies just for proposal planning have started to spring up too. Shivani Kattri, founder of The Proposal Planners, organises around 50 proposals a month, and some even include helicopters and private jets.
And men are seemingly the largest audience. Another agency, The Proposers, told the Telegraph that while they do have women in same-sex couples coming to them for their services, it has mostly been men.
Team Hen’s Kendall told MailOnline that there’s a new audience for a different kind of proposal too. ‘Popping the question to your bridesmaid has been popular for a few years, but it’s certainly true that these proposals get bigger and more lavish each year.
‘Asking your best friends to be bridesmaids is hugely personal and is the perfect moment to reflect on that friendship and thank your girls for being who they are.’
Should you be wary of a man who whisks you away in a helicopter to be proposed to on a private beach? Or plans a flashmob to pop the question on your way home from work?
Romance doesn’t always have to be about overblown gestures, says Kendall.
‘Everyone is different – I hate to be the centre of attention so to be asked in public, or in a lavish way that is posted on social media – I would hate that. My husband knows that about me, so did not ask in public.
‘For some people, their perfect proposal would involve friends, or an audiences of some kinds. If you are in the public eye it can also be a show of affection or wealth.
‘Asking someone to marry you is absolutely huge – its a question of lifelong commitment. So whether that is done simply, in an understated way or with flocks of doves and acres of white roses – as long as the sentiment is there, and asked for the right reasons – it doesn’t really matter.’
The rise of proposal planners comes following reports earlier this year that the average wedding guest is set to spend more than £1,000 this year.
Those attending a wedding in 2023 anticipate spending £1,045 on average per wedding, according to American Express.
This is an 18 per cent jump compared with the average spend people were anticipating when similar research was carried out in 2022.
Wedding guests were expecting to spend £883 on average last year.
Just over half (52 per cent) of guests said they are attending a wedding in 2023 that had been postponed since the start of the pandemic.
Gifts for the newlywed couple will be the biggest expense for wedding guests in 2023, the survey suggests, with attendees expecting to spend an average of £217.90 on the happy couple.
Cash, couples’ experiences and kitchen appliances are among the popular gifts that guests are planning to make this year.
Accommodation is the second biggest anticipated cost for guests, at £203.90 on average.
Wedding guests expect to spend around a third (32 per cent) more on accommodation this year than they did in 2022, the research found.
In addition to increasing guest spend this year, the average number of guests per wedding is expected to rise in 2023.
The research found that the average guest count for weddings in 2023 is 74, increasing from 66 in 2022.
Many couples are taking the opportunity to get married abroad in 2023, with Spain and Ireland being among the popular destinations, American Express found.
Some 2,000 people were surveyed across the UK by Opinium in March 2023.
A similar survey of 2,000 people across the UK was previously carried out in April 2022.