Sealed with a click
Natalia Kaplan wanted to surprise her boyfriend by proposing to him. But the surprise took on a life of its own when she accidentally sent him the email detailing her secret plan
Natalia Kaplan planned the perfect proposal.
The season would be summertime, and the setting would be the Niagara butterfly conservatory she and her Toronto-based boyfriend both loved. There, she’d offer him the custom-made silver ring with the firefly etched into it by a New Zealand designer and ask for his hand in marriage.
At least, that was the plan until one email derailed it.
“I had this whole scheme planned out and I sent it to my best friend to be like ‘I think this is it. I’m going to ask him,’ ” Kaplan said. “Because I’m stupid, I cc’d him on it.”
Despite the blunder, her intentions were in line with a slowly emerging trend — the rise of the female proposal — say those involved in the wedding industry. Some women are doing it because they’re eager to eschew the maledominated tradition. Others are romantics, who while they may have grown up dreaming of elaborate male-initiated proposals, just want to get hitched and aren’t hung up on who initiates it.
“I think women are just kind of like, ‘Well, if I have equal rights in every other way, why do you get to decide when we get married?’ ” said Crystal Adair-Benning, owner of Distinct Occasions, a wedding and engagement planning business in Toronto. “Women are getting ballsy and getting empowered and they want to propose.”
Adair-Benning said she’s seen a subtle increase in women proposing to men during her four years of helping clients with their marriage proposals.
Nearly 10 per cent of her engagement clients are women, but she suspects numbers are higher in real life.
“Women, when they do it, it can either be more spontaneous — it just kind of comes out — or they put some thought into it and already know how they want to propose,” she said. Men typically think women want romantic, grand proposals and women think men want low-key ones, she said.
For Kaplan, then a Ryerson student, the accidental email ruled out any chance of a heartfelt, surprise proposal.
“I think I’m going to propose to Lex this summer,” the message read. “Oh man it makes me feel giddy and dizzy just writing it out . . . I mean I’ve always felt like we will get married at some point but it just kind of hit me the other day why not now, and why can’t I ask?”
She didn’t realize her mistake until her boyfriend asked about it that night.
She promptly screamed and ran out of the room.
“After I calmed down, we sat on the couch . . . and I’m like, ‘Yes, I want to marry you,’ ” the 25-year-old recalls. The two were married in June 2014. Risk and reward But proposals don’t always elicit happy tears, warns Toronto psychologist and relationship expert Nicole McCance.
Possible female proposal-related risks include blindsiding a man who doesn’t want to get married or sparking a certain “failure to launch” feeling in him for having de-facto lost his chance to propose.
Women, too, have to be ready to forever give up the experience of being proposed to, brace for family and friends voicing antiquated viewpoints and prepare for the inevitable question: “Show me your ring!”
For 23-year-old Anya Dai, her proposal at Blue Mountain on Valentine’s Day 2015 went off without a hitch, but it was the fallout that stung.
“(My boyfriend’s parents) were like, ‘No. That’s not OK. Why would you do that?’” she recalls. “I was like, ‘Uh, I don’t know, I love him?’ ”
Dai also had to give up a lifelong dream — she was obsessed with tales of romantic engagements growing up — but she wanted to show her future husband just how serious she was by sacrificing that.
“I wasn’t just saying yes to him,” said Dai, who first bonded with her boyfriend over their shared Christian faith.
“I (was giving) up what I’ve always dreamed of . . . I wouldn’t do that for anyone else.”
Her boyfriend’s parents eventually came around — only after he proposed to her a few weeks later, giving her the custom ring he’d had in the making for months — but it didn’t diminish his pride in his now-wife’s boldness.
“One person asked me if I felt like less of a man in the relationship,” said Dai’s now-husband, Kassey Dimaculangan.
“I feel actually more special and if anything more of a man — that a woman loves me so much that she would go against the grain.”
Anya Dai and Kassey Dimaculangan on the day they got engaged. Dai proposed on the hill on Valentine’s Day 2015 at Blue Mountain.