Our obsession with expensive proposals

BLAME it on celebrities, blame it on social media - but no matter how you look at it, marriage proposals have become big business.

As one of the most memorable days of your life, today's engagements are a far cry from tradition.

Forget dropping the knee at sunset, or blindfolding your partner into a room full of candles, roses and a bottle of champagne - because today, engagements are a very different genre.

From video cameras set up in trees - or better yet - built inside the ring box, to fireworks spelling out the name of your loved one - a proposal hasn't happened unless it goes viral, right?

Christian and Natalie met at university in 2008.
Christian and Natalie met at university in 2008. Instagram

When 28-year-old Christian Zaya met his now fiance Natalie while at university in 2008, he knew she was the one he was going to marry.

Both studying a Bachelor of Pharmacy in Sydney, the pair became friends through mutual acquaintances.

In 2011, they decided to be more than just friends, and the rest, as Christian put it "is history".

"We were studying together and we had the same classes together," Mr Zaya told news.com.au.

"It was a few years after we met that we went out to dinner and fell in love. We had the same interests and morals and connected straight away.

"As soon as we started dating, I knew she was definitely the one, and so it was then that I started thinking about how I'd plan the best proposal for her."

Christian and Natalie started dating in 2011.
Christian and Natalie started dating in 2011. Kurt George Photography.

In June 2016, Mr Zaya was driving through Sydney during the Vivid light festival, a time where the city sparkles with lights and fireworks. He knew it was a perfect time to execute his proposal plan.

The festival ran for two weeks, giving him just enough time to enlist all elements he had in mind for his magical night for Natalie.

During the two week planning process, Mr Zaya wanted to incorporate all the things Natalie loved - including fireworks, cruising on the harbour, fairy lights and fine dining.

His elaborate plan tallied up to $14,000 - and that's without the ring.

"I had to go above and beyond to pull this off," he explained.

"I always wanted an elaborate proposal, but it was about the priceless moment.

"I wanted all these elements to come together perfectly. I came up with this idea - and I wanted to do something extravagant for her."

The private Yacht which Christian booked for his proposal. The vessel usually accommodates 100 people, but he booked it out for just the two of them.
The private Yacht which Christian booked for his proposal. The vessel usually accommodates 100 people, but he booked it out for just the two of them. Kurt George Photography.

But the organisation of bringing all the elements together left Mr Zaya feeling overwhelmed. So he hired a 'proposal planner'.

"I ordered the fireworks, but The Proposal Co brought everything together," he explained.

"They had it all planned out with a time sheet and music cues. We organised a song for the pre-dinner, dinner and post dinner. We had a private photographer too who took all the photos."

Over the course of Christian's relationship with Natalie, he asked her to create a letter from the alphabet with her hands which he took a photograph of and kept for this very occasion.

As part of the proposal, Christian used each photo to create an A3 sign which read 'Will You Marry Me'.

This sign was presented to Natalie as he went down on one knee to the music of Bruno Mars - Marry Me.

With fireworks exploding as soon as she said yes, and another sign on the shores of Ballast Point Park glowing 'MARRY ME' - no wonder he needed a planner.

"She was crying tears of happiness. It couldn't have been more perfect," he said.

"She was blown away to say the least."

Starting their next chapter with a bang, Christian spent more than $14,000 on his proposal.
Starting their next chapter with a bang, Christian spent more than $14,000 on his proposal. Kurt George Photography.

While our obsession with capturing every moment may seem a little sad, the art of executing the perfect proposal has generated the modern trend of outsourcing.

Why go to the trouble of organising fireworks and a private yacht cruise, paired with a proposal playlist and all your favourite food when you can give that job to someone else?

Gloria Gammo from The Planning Co, along with her business partner Tania, assisted Christian in creating the perfect proposal.

From sourcing the right food, to ensuring the fireworks went off at the right time - The Planning Co has assisted hundreds of men and women in Australia and across the world - in organising the perfect moment for their 

"Marriage proposal today is a completely different ball game," Mrs Gammo explained.

"We have done over 100 proposals, and so far all have said yes.

"For men especially, they might've been planning the ring for months, but it didn't dawn on them about how they'd do the proposal.

"While a good portion of them have an idea of how they'll propose, they don't know how to bring it all together. And that's how we help."

While some may simply turn to an event planner, Mrs Gammo explained that planning a proposal - especially on behalf of a man - is a very different process.

"Sometimes with proposals we are given a few weeks to plan," she explained.

"But there's been occasions when we get 3 days notice. The quickest proposal I've organised is 6 hours in advance."

Mrs Gammo said social media had also played a big part in people wanting bigger and better proposals.

"People want their proposal to be trending," she said.

"We've had one client asking when their proposal photo would go on our Instagram account, because they wanted to get it trending."

Spending $14,000 - along with the cost of Natalie's ring, Mr Zaya said his friends were stunned by his proposal.

"It's not about the money," Mr Zaya said.

"If you're in that moment it's priceless and money can't buy that moment.

"I just wanted everything to come together, because you only propose once in your lifetime, and I wanted it to be second to none."

News Corp Australia


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