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Only 13% of proposals ‘go as planned’

Only 13 per cent of marriage proposals go as they were originally planned, a new survey suggests.

More than 500 married men from the UK, United States, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were recently polled about their proposals. The vast majority of participants admitted that their grand scheme for a romantic proposal fell apart even though they were ultimately successful.

The most common problem men encountered when proposing was that their chosen location, such as the Shard in London, was too crowded. Other popular issues included bad weather or having nowhere to celebrate afterwards.

Some men said that on city breaks their partner had become fatigued while others discovered the location they selected was closed when they got there. Meanwhile some participants claimed their proposal was overshadowed by witnessing another couple get engaged in the same place.

Stage fright was also a significant hindrance to some men looking to pop the question. According to the survey, more than 34 per cent changed their original plans when they experienced nerves in the public place they had chosen. In fact, fewer than ten per cent actually say what they had prepared when the time comes for them to ask.

A lot of men chose an iconic destination for their proposal such as the Shard, the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station in New York or Sacre Coeur in Paris. However, low-key settings such as restaurants and beaches were also quite common.

Some proposal traditions are as popular as ever. More than three quarters – 77 per cent – got down on one knee and 89 per cent asked for their partner’s parents to give their blessing before they proposed.

The survey was carried out by wedding speech writing agency All Speeches Great and Small.

In 2013, a poll of over 2,000 women revealed that as many as a third was disappointed by their partner’s proposal. Thirty-three per cent said the event was not as “fairy tale” as they had imagined, while 25 per cent wished it had been more surprising.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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