rules of engagement Ireland’s only proposal planner Arlene Malone's top tips for putting a ring on it
While proposal planning is big business in the USA, Propose 2 Me is the only company in Ireland offering the service
Valentine’s Day lovebirds may not be following in the same vein as Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly by drinking each other’s blood next weekend. But the American rapper did something right when he got down on bended knee to ask his actress girlfriend to be his wife last month, according to Ireland’s only proposal planner.
“It’s still the done thing,” says Arlene Malone, who founded propose2me.ie in 2016. “A lot of people might have a little poem or a little speech that they read out and then they get down on one knee.
“I’d say 99pc of the time there’s tears and shocked expressions and speechlessness. It’s a lovely job because you get to be part of one of the happiest moments of people’s lives and make it easier for them.”
Former office worker Arlene spotted the niche in the Irish market following her own destination wedding in Spain in 2015. Today the mum-of-two helps other couples from all over the world to put a ring on it with panache.
“Proposal planning is big in America,” says Arlene, “but Propose 2 Me is the only company in Ireland doing it.
“Basically, my role is to take the stress out of popping the question. The person contacts me with the date, location and budget they have in mind and I’ll come up with a few packages. They just have to get their other half to the location for an exact time and everything else is taken care of.”
Starting from €300, the Louth-based entrepreneur has helped real-life Romeos (and Juliets) to organise everything from flash mob on Grafton Street to a romantic picnic by Glendalough waterfall.
Ahead of her second busiest time of year after Christmas, in the era of ‘a bit of personal news’, Arlene agrees there has never been more pressure on the question popper to get it absolutely picture perfect.
“Oh without a doubt,” she says. “Everything’s being competed for now. With weddings, everyone’s trying to come up with a different venue or a different band, and it’s the same with proposals. Everybody’s looking for the perfect Instagram post, for people to talk about it and says ‘wow’.
“Generally, the Irish are more shy because they’re afraid of somebody that they know seeing them,” adds Arlene, who has aided couples from all over the globe in pulling off their dream Irish engagement. “Whereas the tourists coming to the country actually don’t mind the public display.”
Whisking your intended away on a romantic weekend is still the most popular way to get engaged, according to Arlene, who is also in-house proposal planner at The Merchant Hotel in Belfast. But other options guaranteed to get a ‘yes’ include a traditional horse and carriage proposal or adventurous hot air balloon proposal.
Just remember to bring the ring, jokes the planner, whose service includes photographs of the magic moment.
“People are wanting to be a lot more romantic now – and the ring is a big part of it. A lot of people are going ahead and buying the ring for the proposal.”
Her other top tip for those planning to surprise their partner al fresco this February 14? “Bring an umbrella,” she laughs.
Proposal queen Arlene’s own engagement was suitably dramatic after her husband Stephen popped the question during a cruise holiday struck by Hurricane Sandy. Despite a 100pc success rate, she confessed she still gets just as jittery for her clients.
“As many proposals as I’ve done, I’m still as nervous for this one as I am for the first one,” she says. “But I’ve always had happy customers. I’ve never had a ‘no’ — touch wood!”
See propose2me.ie for more
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