Four Little Words

On March 31, Opening Day for the 2014 Major League Baseball season, a website called swimmingly.com provided lovers who might be considering proposing to their significant others with some news they could use.

Swimmingly.com published the rates for scoreboard marriage proposals for all 30 major league teams. Sadly, the Orioles don’t offer the service. But say your fiancee is a Yankees fan. Assuming you don’t see that as reason enough to dump her, you can pay $100 to propose before everyone at Yankee Stadium as well as those watching the game at home or on their iPads.

Just what makes for a great proposal? We asked Sarah Pease, a proposal (yes, you read right) and wedding planner in New York City. Pease, who owns Brilliant Event Planning, says today’s couples need her help with proposal planning because they aren’t satisfied with run-of-the-mill marriage proposals.

“Men are more involved in wedding planning, and since there’s so much focus on the bride at the wedding, grooms see the proposal as their time to shine,” Pease says.

“With the advent of social media and viral YouTube videos, the bar for popping the question has gotten much higher,” says Pease. “These days, if you tell someone you got engaged over dinner in a nice restaurant, they say, ‘Oh, that’s nice.’ Guys want other guys to say, ‘Wow, I can’t top that!’”

Pease talks about a recent prospective groom who used her services to plan a particularly elaborate proposal.

“We set up a scavenger hunt all around the city, and at the end, the woman was taken to what she thought was a pop-up champagne bar to meet the guy. When she was brought in, she had to figure out a crypto text with clues like those in “The Da Vinci Code.” After that, she clicked play, and a video played on a huge screen in front of her. All her friends and family were in the video giving her their blessings. Then the room got dark, and a wall opened where the man was waiting. The floor was illuminated with thousands of candles, and there were flowers that had been flown in from all over the world. The woman really liked elephants so there were little elephants with tags on them. On each tag, he wrote one reason why he loved her.”

Pease says the groom probably spent about $20,000 on the proposal and that didn’t include her fee or the cost of the engagement ring. Pease’s fees start at $1,195, she says. “It varies. A flash mob in Times Square is going to be more than a roof-top dinner proposal.”

The Schleifers’ marriage  proposal was like something out of a Disney movie. (Frayda Breitowitz)

The Schleifers’ marriage proposal was like something out of a Disney movie.
(Frayda Breitowitz)

Yitzy Schleifer of Pikesville didn’t hire a proposal planner when he was ready to ask high school sweetheart Lauren Schuster to tie the knot. The couple have known each other since they were in the 10th grade together at Yeshivat Rambam. Baltimore natives, the Schleifers started dating that year and have been together ever since. So Yitzy was well aware of his future wife’s “obsession” with all things Disney. When it came time for him to propose, it was clear that nothing short of a fairytale proposal would cut it.

It was three years ago during Purim that Yitzy proposed. “Purim that year was Saturday night and Sunday, and we got engaged that Saturday night,” says Lauren. “He is very political, so he told me there was a [Purim] event for college students and young adults at the governor’s mansion, and we had to go. He got us Jasmine and Aladdin costumes, and we got all dressed up and drove to Annapolis,” she recalls. When the couple arrived at the mansion, however, there was nothing going on. “He said, ‘We must have the wrong address.’ Next thing we know, a horse and buggy shows up and Yitzy asked the driver if she can take us to some address. He had a whole script worked out for her. After a while she pulled into a driveway and said, ‘I have to turn the horse around, so can you please get out of the carriage for a moment? I didn’t understand why we had to get out for her to turn the horse, but we did anyway.”

Yitzy motioned for Lauren to join him behind some trees where he had set up candles, flowers and champagne flutes. “A song from Disney’s “Aladdin” was playing, and he sang it to me with his own words. My ring was inside a genie’s bottle,” she says.

After the proposal, the couple drove back to Baltimore, where they were thrown a surprise engagement party at Lauren’s parents’ house. “It was all a total surprise,” says Lauren. The couple now have a 4-month-old baby girl, Maxi.

Sharon and Eric Rubin got engaged on the shoulder of the PA Turnpike (David Stuck)

Sharon and Eric Rubin got engaged on the shoulder of the PA Turnpike
(David Stuck)

Eric Rubin’s proposal to his wife Sharon came as a surprise to both of them.

“We were on our way back from visiting Eric’s parents in Upstate N.Y., and we stopped off in Riverdale to visit his grandfather. His grandfather kept referring to me as Eric’s fiancee, but we weren’t engaged. Driving back to Philadelphia [where Eric then resided and was doing his residency] we were having interesting conversations about ‘what if?’ and the future,” Sharon recalls.

“I never had any idea we would get married. I mean, I saw us being together but never really knew how we would get to the marrying part. He was driving my car, and we were on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Suddenly, he pulls off to the side of the road and turns on the hazards. Then he gets out and walks around to my side of the car, opens the door and gets down on one knee. ‘Sharon, will you marry me?’ he asked. He had to ask four times because I didn’t believe it. I had a cold and had taken cold medicine so I thought maybe that was what was wrong with me.’”

Eric said, ‘I have to get you a ring. You’ll believe it when I get you a ring.”

Sharon got her ring, and they have been married almost 20 years. They have three children, Jenny, 17, Alex, 13, and Sam, 11. Sharon believes that her husband’s proposal was a lot like their lives together have been. “We’re deeply committed to one another; we’re attune to each other and can finish each other’s sentences, but it’s not routine,” she says. “We’re not in a rut; it still feels like it was yesterday that he proposed. We’re still spontaneous.”

Lauren Schleifer says that she would have been happy to say ‘Yes’ no matter how her husband proposed. Still, the fact that he went out of his way to plan a proposal that really reflected her fairytale fantasies meant a great deal. “I don’t think you can predict what a marriage will be like based on the proposal,” she says. “I think it’s more about what the relationship was like before the proposal that is important. He made the Disney proposal because he wanted to do something he knew I would love. It was totally loving, and it’s been that way all along.”

Want to hire a proposal planner? Visit brillianteventplanning.com.

sellin@jewishtimes.com

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