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When did wedding proposals become such a big deal in India?

Flash mobs, special videos, trips to London... When did wedding proposals reach this Hollywood-level of crazy? For millennials, who’ve grown up on Hollywood rom-coms, where the male lead exists only to pop the question at the end, the proposal is a very big deal.

brunch Updated: Nov 16, 2013 16:19 IST
Yashica Dutt

Justin Baldoni, a filmmaker from Los Angeles, was planning to propose to his long-time girlfriend, Emily. Keeping with the current level of craziness involved in wedding proposals, he obviously wanted to do something special. It couldn’t just be a cheesy routine of slipping the ring in her champagne glass and having her choke on it (like Kareena Kapoor in Ra.One). Popping it with lights (remember Rab Ne Bana De Jodi?) or having it written in the sky by an airplane, was also, well, too Eighties. Even a flash mob had become a tired cliché after Justin Timberlake’s proposal to Mila Kunis in Friends With Benefits. So, here’s what he did.

Everything! He not only booked the whole restaurant where they had first met, but also directed an elaborate 27-minute proposal video that included a flash mob, a spoof of ’N Sync and ABBA, him asking her late father for his daughter’s hand at the former’s grave and a montage of the couple’s happy moments, where he said that Emily was the most amazing and beautiful woman he’d ever met. No wonder when he finally got down to asking her whether she’d marry him, Emily said this was the stupidest question ever (and obviously answered in the affirmative). And yes, the video went viral.

For millennials, who’ve grown up on Hollywood rom-coms, where the male lead exists only to pop the question at the end, the proposal is a very big deal. They’re the stars of their own movie-style love stories. And a grand proposal is the penultimate act, which sets the tone for what lies ahead. Like most trends these days, this too finds its roots in the Internet. Richha Arora, a wedding planner, says that men face intense pressure to make the proposal a memorable experience for the girl, what with wedding proposal videos going viral every few days.

Maybe it’s the grand declaration of love on Facebook or a story for the extended family and friends, but wedding proposals are getting bigger and more important for a generation that documents every aspect of their lives and loves being the jewel in the crown. Here are few wedding proposals that’ll leave you gasping.

Aparajita Ninan, a graphic designer who got married two years ago, didn’t want a cheesy proposal. But she did expect her then boyfriend, Anand, to do something special that would make his commitment even more evident. Sort of a modern version of a roka. https://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2013/11/proposal.jpg

Two days after ‘discussing’ the idea, they were going to a friend’s wedding reception and stopped to buy flowers. As Anand got out of the car, Aparajita received a call where she was asked to guess the identity of the caller. After playing along for a while, she spotted Anand, down on one knee, holding a phone in one hand and a ring in the other – he was on the same conference call. The voice on the phone was that of a radio jockey, who revealed that they were on air! Anand then spoke about their relationship and gave Aparajita a ring with seven diamonds, one for each year they’d spent together. Aparajita struggled not to cry and – of course – said yes! Soon calls and messages started pouring in, because Anand had ordered all their friends and family to tune in.

For Mehak Shahani, who runs a wedding and makeup blog, Peaches and Blush, her own wedding was obviously a big deal. She wanted a big proposal, since “our weddings suck the romance out of a relationship.” As she says, “In India, weddings are all about the family and the couple gets lost amidst the madness. It’s nice to have a special moment you can cherish and tell stories about.”

While the preparations were on, and there was no sign of a ‘grand proposal’, she dropped bomb-size hints to her fiancé about how adorable movie proposals were. So she was sort of prepared. But when a car titled ‘Skywaltz’ came to pick her up, she shuddered. “I thought it was going to be something crazy like jumping off a plane,” she laughs. Thankfully, it wasn’t. It was a hot air balloon ride and at 6,000 feet, he popped the question.

“I don’t think I even said yes. I just stood there with a goofy grin on my face, feeling dazed and slightly in shock.”

Poonam Vora was to marry Terrence Raphael and didn’t bother much about a proposal. It was all right if he didn’t make it a big deal, as long they were strongly committed to each other. But Terrence obviously didn’t agree. He planned the proposal over two weeks. Starting her day with a spa visit, he whisked her away for a movie and an elaborate dinner. While driving back, he faked a car breakdown. As she waited impatiently on the road, out came the balloons and Raphael went down on one knee on an empty road under the night sky. Something she had never expected in her wildest dreams. Of course she cried, but now the memory only makes her smile.

From HT Brunch, November 17

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