Duchein Okesene might just count himself lucky he got a yes when he popped the question to his partner at the summit of Queenstown's gondola back in 2017.

Ahead of the most romantic day of the year, the Aucklander was among Kiwis who spoke to the Herald on Sunday about how they asked for their beloved's hand in marriage.

Okesene had chosen partner Rosalyn's birthday as cover for his longtime plan to drop to one knee, but his efforts at keeping the big question secret were spoiling what the 25-year-old thought was a trip away for her birthday celebration.

Rosalyn and Duchein Okesene, pictured as Duchein popped the question above Queenstown. Photo / Supplied
Rosalyn and Duchein Okesene, pictured as Duchein popped the question above Queenstown. Photo / Supplied

It started when she wanted to cuddle while they were in a taxi to the gondola, but Okesene had the single solitaire diamond ring in his jacket pocket and feared she would catch on if she felt the box through his clothing.

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"We were sitting together, holding hands ... she wanted to hug and I was manoeuvring myself not to hug her. She started getting grumpy with me."

It continued when they were eating at the gondola restaurant, and Okesene left his future bride alone at the table for 10 minutes so he could scout out potential places to pop the question.

The 26-year-old settled on the viewing platform, but hit a snag. His partner of six years by now just wanted to leave.

"I thought 'I'm so in the dog box'."

Fortunately, Okesene was able to change her mind, a teenage girl was recruited to take photos and — as the pair enjoyed the view — the question was asked.

"She said yes! But afterwards she told me she had been big time annoyed [before the proposal]. She said, 'You were ruining my birthday'. I said, 'Sorry love, but there were other things happening'."

It had been particularly important to him that the proposal be a surprise because the couple had already decided on marriage, even choosing a ring together, but Okesene hadn't yet made it official, he said.

The couple married in April last year.

But with couples around the world planning romantic dates for Valentines Day on Thursday, Couplework clinical psychologist Nic Beets said grand gestures were not enough to make a relationship last.

Beets, who specialises in relationship and sex therapy, said grand gesture proposals were "very much a modern thing".

There was no research on the success of marriages that came from grand gesture proposals compared to those with less dramatic beginnings, but an American study of 3000 marriages had found the more expensive the wedding the less likely it was to last.

So while grand gesture proposals, or weddings, were not a problem in themselves, they should always be matched by kind behaviour at other times.

"Trying to prove your love in a grand gesture is a lot less effective than being caring day to day."

Ollie Mason-Clarke also wanted to make his proposal special so chose the spectacular scenery of Queenstown, and the cover of a birthday, when he asked partner Sarah Collier to marry him in August last year.

The couple and Collier's cousin had climbed to the Ben Lommond Saddle and, after asking Collier's cousin to operate the drone, Mason-Clarke got down on one knee and asked his partner of four years if she would marry him.

Sarah Collier, left, accepted partner Ollie Mason-Clarke's marriage proposal while they were walking Ben Lommond Saddle in Queenstown last winter. Photo / Supplied
Sarah Collier, left, accepted partner Ollie Mason-Clarke's marriage proposal while they were walking Ben Lommond Saddle in Queenstown last winter. Photo / Supplied

The 35-year-old also got a yes, although she was so shocked the 30-year-old didn't have her "happy cry" moment until 90 minutes later after they had descended the saddle, Mason-Clarke said.

He had enjoyed reliving the moment, captured via drone, since. The video has also been shared to his combined 75,000 Instagram and Facebook followers on his King of Cheat Meals pages.

"I wanted to be able to watch it again. I knew it was going to happen really fast. But also I thought others would appreciate me sharing it. Heaps of people have enjoyed it."

They will wed next year.

When Ariel Chuang decided she wanted to marry partner Sian Evans she had to do something neither were any good at — keeping secrets from each other.

Chuang, 31, decided to pop the question to her 37-year-old partner while on a trip to Paris disguised as a birthday present.

"I had arranged to get the ring made prior to leaving New Zealand and picked it up at customs. Sian and I can never keep secrets from each other, but I managed to keep the ring hidden for six weeks by telling her I had an anniversary present, which she thought was a necklace she had wanted."

Ariel Chuang and Sian Evans, in Paris after they became engaged. Photo / Supplied
Ariel Chuang and Sian Evans, in Paris after they became engaged. Photo / Supplied

Chuang, a doctor at Taranaki Base Hospital, also called Evans parents to ask permission to marry the Bell Block School deputy principal.

"I was trying to be old-fashioned."

As they picnicked in a park looking towards the Eiffel Tower, Chuang went down on one knee.

"She was completely surprised."

Evans returned the gesture by herself proposing to Chuang on a dinner out the following April, before the couple wed in September last year.