Grooms rising to occasion in proposals

By Michele McPherson

Simply dropping to one knee to pop the question is no longer enough for many men - potential grooms are outdoing each other with extreme and romantic proposals.
Prince William proposed to Catherine Middleton by a secluded lake on the slopes of Mount Kenya, after flying to the romantic location by helicopter. Many commoners are following suit by making the proposal a moment to remember.
Tauranga man Luke Dixon wanted to make it a weekend to remember when he proposed to his now wife, Rachel.
The couple often went on trips away, so he had to pull out all the stops to make the weekend special.
The long weekend away in Northland started with a scenic flight in a Cessna plane, followed by a trip to Paihia and dinner at the 35 Degrees South restaurant, which includes a 60,000-litre salt-water aquarium.
The lavish treats didn't stop there. The next day the couple went out on a 65-foot yacht, visited Russell and had a swim and a spa at Waipu Cove.
The big moment finally came the next morning, when Mr Dixon had arranged a stretch limousine to collect him and his soon-to-be fiancee just before dawn.
He got dressed in a suit - at which point he suspected Rachel had already guessed what was going on - and the couple visited an isolated beach where he went down on one knee and presented a ring he had chosen for her.
Mr Dixon was confident she was going to say yes - no matter what the circumstances. He said: "If I asked her in the pub she would have said yes."
But he wanted to make it special and memorable.
"It was heaps of fun."
Omri Yahel's proposal to Lucy Thomas made the front page of the Bay of Plenty Times when he hired a plane to fly overhead carrying a sign saying "I love you Lucy.

Will you marry me?"
Mr Yahel had taken his sweetheart for a gourmet picnic - complete with French champagne - near Waihi Beach.
But the real romance began when a plane flew overhead carrying the personalised sign and Mr Yahel dropped to one knee with a diamond ring. To the delight of other beach-goers, Miss Thomas yelled out a resounding "yes".
Despite the trend, Tauranga wedding planner Amy McKeown does not believe there is increased pressure on men to think of a show-stopping proposal. They just want to make it as special as they can.
"I have had some very romantic proposals through to some proposals that where supposed to be romantic but the groom [to be] got so nervous it ended up being a very drunken proposal," Ms McKeown said.
"I have a couple at the moment whose proposal was in Laguna Torre Patagonia with the most beautiful setting."
Ms McKeown said she had heard of everything from banners behind planes "to flying over paddocks that have been spray-painted with 'will you marry me' to random photos with the words 'will you marry me' on the photos".
Bay of Plenty celebrant Shirley-Ann McCrystal said the best proposal she had heard of was a surprise dawn engagement on the summit of Mt Eden.
"While looking around he suggested she look into the crater of Mt Eden which is quite deep but still covered in grass. She did and there she saw the words 'MARRY ME' written with small stones and boulders. He had been up most of the night gathering stones to write those special words.
"She was ecstatic [and said yes] so he took her back to the car and opened the boot. It was full of red roses and sitting in the middle of the largest rose was a diamond ring."
While the proposal tends to be a big surprise for the bride-to-be, the ring is not. Tauranga jewellers told the Bay of Plenty Times earlier this year that most couples were choosing the ring together after becoming engaged.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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