I, like most girls, love a good proposal story. And, also like most girls, I have an idea of what I’d like mine to be like. Personally, I wouldn’t want it to be cliché (think fancy restaurant with violins in the background), or too casual (“Honey, wanna get hitched sometime?”), but I’d like it to be personal, definitely original, and maybe reflect some aspect or anecdote of our relationship. Got that, future husband?

That might seem specific but compared to what I’ve heard from other women, I’ll be a breeze to propose to (my sister for example, wants incorporation of the floating lanterns in the sky as seen in the movie Tangled). Somewhere along the way, proposals have become almost bigger and more important than the engagement (and dare I say, marriage?) itself! A topic I’ve been thinking of writing about, it became reinforced today when I read an article titled “Are proposals the new weddings?”

They’re all over social media – flash mobs like this, or movie trailer proposals like this. It’s beautiful to see the amount of effort that has gone into the planning, but also interesting to see this aspect of culture. When did proposals become almost a public declaration, rather than an intimate moment between two people?

It’s something that I often discuss with my parents, as they don’t really have a proposal story. We badger them and pester them – if they do have one they surely would have caved by now! The same can be said of many of my friends’ parents, who also just progressed quite naturally and without much ado from dating to engaged. As weird as it seems at first, I quite like how it was. The focus was on the relationship and moving forward, not about popping the question in a way worthy of a YouTube upload.

This need for a large-scale proposal certainly reflects our voyeuristic culture, where we almost live our lives to be seen while always watching the lives of others. I think my favourite quote from the aforementioned article sums it up nicely:

“Unconditional love is sweet, but validation from strangers can be electrifying…it seems like more and more people are willing to pay the price for that virtual pat on the back.”

It’s almost like finding that special person who loves you isn’t enough anymore, we also need everyone to see and applaud it too. This makes for women with very high expectations, and men feeling a lot more pressure to accomplish that perfect moment. What do you think? Does the insistence on a big proposal perhaps detract from the relationship itself? Or is it better to have this obvious turning point in the relationship, unlike in the past where things developed without a fuss?

Tamara El-Rahi is an associate editor of MercatorNet. A Journalism graduate from the University of Technology Sydney, she lives in Australia with her husband and two daughters.