Real Grooms, Real Proposals - Part 1


Greetings Wedding Scoopers! In today's feature, we bring you part 1 of a 2-part interview with 5 amazing guys, in which we explore in detail their entire proposal process, from how they decided that their fiancee/wife was the one, to picking their engagement ring and finding the right words to propose. We hope the uniquely male perspective in this candid and introspective interview will inspire fellow grooms-to-be and give the ladies some insight into the thought processes and (often hidden) feelings of their significant others. 


TWS: Hi gentlemen, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedules to chat with The Wedding Scoop! I'm Dharma, and I'll be moderating this interview. I know from personal experience that proposing can be one of the most challenging (but exhilarating) moments that a guy has to plan for, so thank you for sharing your proposal stories with us and our readers! To get started, why don't you introduce yourselves to our audience?

Brian: I'm Brian, from Malaysia. Born and raised in KL. I'm a fun-loving guy, who takes a rather chill approach to life.

Deanson: I am Deanson and I got my wife to say 'yes' on my first proposal attempt!

Fabian: My name is Fabian.

Stephen: My name is Stephen and I'm born and raised in Hong Kong. I have been working overseas in Qatar for the past 8 years, which is where I met Doreen from Singapore.

Keith: Yeow! My name is Keith, I am a dreamer.


TWS: Great, it's good to have you gentlemen with us! So let's set the scene...tell us about your proposal.

Brian: It was at my birthday; Hilary was involved in the planning of my surprise birthday with some of my closest friends, but she had no idea about the big twist - that I was using it to plan the proposal!



Brian and Hilary's proposal captured by Shanghai Affairs.

Deanson: I chose to propose on our anniversary, and to keep my plan under wraps, I gave the excuse of bringing her to a new restaurant for brunch at Ngee Ann City, where the proposal was to take place...


Deanson and Chloe's proposal captured by Lawrence, UnderTheStars Photography.

Fabian: I took my wife, Julie, out for an Italian dinner at Duxton Hill that night. I didn't plan an elaborate proposal, I just knew that I wanted to keep it simple. I thought about doing it at the restaurant but it was too public for me so we took a walk after dinner and I took her to a dark secluded spot in Duxton Hill, got down on one knee and proposed. She said yes. She couldn't even see the ring; it was so dark. Maybe that's when I knew she was the one.


Fabian and Julie post-proposal.

Stephen: The proposal was planned to happen when we were on holiday at Jeju Island, South Korea atop Mount Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak).


Stephen and Doreen's proposal location on Mount Seongsan Ilchulbong.


Stephen and Doreen's post-proposal selfie.

Keith: Boy meets girl. Boy is afraid of commitment. Boy realises that she is the one. 10 months after, boy jumps the gun and asks for her hand in marriage!


Keith and Jeanne's proposal captured by Fusheng, Embrace Pictures.


TWS: I love the variety of approaches to the proposals. Alright, now let's get into the nitty-gritty details. Take us through your entire proposal process, step-by-step. Let's start with laying the groundwork: How did you decide that your wife/fiancee was the one you wanted to spend the rest of your life with? Was there a specific moment?

Brian: There was no specific moment, but just how she made me feel, especially when she smiles. I did think, one day, about what would it feel like to lose her, and it was horrifying. So I guess that is when I said I need to seal the deal.

Deanson: I think love is an attachment, and I found that I was so attached to her that I knew I wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.

Fabian: I wouldn't say there was a specific moment. I think I'm not an easy person to be around sometimes and seeing the constant effort she put into the relationship - putting up with, or sometimes not standing for, my nonsense, convinced me that I wanted to commit to her for the rest of my life. And she's pretty.

Stephen: A voice within me kept assuring me that Doreen was the one that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and that voice only grew stronger as the days went by.

Keith: Being 30 years old, I guess you already know what you want in a life partner but there is always that sense of uncertainty. There comes a point in time where you ask yourself: if there was one person you'd want to be with now and forever, someone that made you feel so complete, so at ease with, who would it be? Jeanne was it.


TWS: And what was the most important consideration on your mind once you decided you wanted to marry her?

Brian: We are in a long-distance relationship (KL-Singapore) so the most important consideration for me was how we are going to make it work.


Brian and Hilary's proposal captured by Shanghai Affairs.

Deanson: It was how to create the perfect proposal that will surprise her and move her to say 'yes'.


Deanson and Chloe's engagement shoot captured by Jose Villa.

Fabian: Sharing common beliefs – my wife comes from a Catholic background and I come from a Protestant background. I think it is supremely important to share the same set of underlying values or belief systems; it is the framework in which we resolve differences, especially differences we may not instinctively want to resolve.


Fabian and Julie's wedding portrait captured by jfaith weddings

Stephen: The most important consideration was how to surprise her with a sincere proposal. She breaks into an infectious laughter when she is surprised which is rather amusing, haha.


Stephen and Doreen's engagement shoot captured by Kelvin, Lightedpixels Photography.

Keith: Getting her family's approval! Cause they had only known me for 7 months!


Keith and Jeanne captured by Fusheng, Embrace Pictures. 


TWS: Asking your fiancee-to-be's parents for their blessing or permission was once a standard practice for engagements, and these days is regarded as quite a traditional approach. Did you ask the family for permission to marry your fiancee?

Brian: Yes, I had texted Hilary's mum to say I would like to have a chat with her and Hilary's dad after lunch over the weekend. We sat down and chatted for close to 2 hours while Hilary went out for a mani-pedi.

Deanson: I didn't. For me, it was more important that she said "yes" first and that I knew she felt the same way too. But we did announce the news to our parents right after.

Fabian: Yes. I found out when Julie was busy in the evening and casually suggested that I would have dinner with her parents. Then I went for dinner and after that I asked her parents at their home. I'm quite lucky, my wife's parents were completely open. I think I said "Why you gotta be so rude? I'm going to marry her anyway" - just kidding! I said "Hi guys, I would like to marry your daughter."

Stephen: No, I did not ask for permission from her family first.

Keith: Haha! I think this was as difficult as the proposal itself. Although I did my best to attend most of the family events, circumstances did not present themselves for Jeanne's parents and me to really get to know each other. Two months before the proposal, Jeanne had to go on a business trip so I manned-up and called her parents out to Goodwood Park Hotel for tea. I prepared what I wanted to say for days. I guess they already suspected what was coming and just allowed me to speak. Among other things, I told them that I was completely in love with their daughter because she was the most amazing thing that has happened to me. I also told them I saw the potential in Jeanne, and what she is right now is just the tip of the iceberg, and I wanted to be the man who brought out the best in her. I was sincere, I didn't want to say it just for them to nod their heads, I knew it from my heart. To my surprise, her mother started crying! I was thinking, "Dang! Maybe this whole thing is just too early", and then she looked at me and welcomed me into the family! I was ecstatic, we chatted a bit more, I let them know the rough dates of what I had in mind and before we parted, the both of them gave me a big warm hug and left with beaming faces. Oh yes, I also went to each of her brothers to ask for their blessings too, I thought that would only be respectful.


TWS: Out of curiosity, did you think about the ring before the proposal, or the proposal before the ring?

Brian: Proposal before ring for sure!

Deanson: Proposal before ring, because the story will be shared for a long time. Of course, a great ring helps too.

Fabian: I made up my mind to propose, then after that I went ring-hunting. Does that answer the question?

Stephen: The ring before proposal.

Keith: Ring before the proposal, it seemed more complete to me.


TWS: Ok, let's talk about the rings! What was your starting point in picking a ring?

Brian: Well, the first thing I did was to see what was on offer at a well-known jeweller to get an idea of what kinds of designs are timeless and something that she would love.

Deanson: I started doing some research online and then went to the shops.

Fabian: My brother was my starting point - he told me to try on one of Julie's rings on my little finger and use that as a size guide. Then I turned to her best friend for advice on what she wanted specifically, although I knew from the start that I wanted to get her a blue sapphire.

Stephen: I simply went with my gut instinct on Doreen's preferences and I was pretty sure that Doreen would like a classic ring design without too much frills.

Keith: My sister Kristine is a GIA qualified jeweller, so that really helped. Jeanne also gets along with my sister well and they spent time together.


TWS: And were you thinking about wedding bands at this point or did that come up only later?

Brian: Nope, not at all!

Deanson: We decided on the wedding bands together after the proposal.

Fabian: Wedding bands came much later in the process.

Stephen: I did not think about wedding bands until much later when we were actively planning our wedding. We visited jewellery stores together and picked a design that both of us liked.

Keith: Later! I kind of left that to Jeanne and my sister! Haha!


TWS: How did you go on to find out what specific style of engagement ring your fiancee/wife likes?

Brian: I never really asked what Hilary would like as I believe if you are committing the rest of your life to her, you should at least have a very good idea about what she will love! So with the assistance of my mother, we picked out the ring.


Hilary's engagement ring selfie.

Deanson: I knew that Chloe likes classic designs and so I chose Tiffany & Co.'s "Tiffany setting" engagement ring.


Chloe's Tiffany & Co. "Tiffany Setting" engagement ring captured by Jose Villa

Fabian: I have had talks with my wife about the kind of rings she likes. We both decided on blue sapphire as the main rock so that was a big part of the conundrum solved. Once I decided on the type of rock, I turned to my friend, QingRong who runs a jewellery business, to help me source for a good sapphire. I wanted a sapphire that was naturally sourced (not artificially heated) but with good colour as well, and something 1 carat and above. It took a few months but when QingRong returned with this particular sample, I knew I had found a winner. It was natural and had a really striking and clear blue. I personally like the traditional brilliant cut but had good intel that my wife preferred a squarer cut and a band with diamonds, so in the end we got a modified brilliant/step cut and cushion shape.


Julie's engagement ring selfie.

Stephen: I simply went with my gut instinct on Doreen's preferences and I was pretty sure that Doreen would like a classic ring design without too much frills. That was also when Tiffany engagement rings came to mind because their designs are a symbol of timeless love.


Doreen's Tiffany & Co. "Tiffany Setting" engagement ring.


Doreen's Tiffany & Co. "Tiffany Setting" engagement ring captured by Kelvin, Lightedpixels Photography.

Keith: My sister Kristine profiled Jeanne based on her physical features, personality, favourite colours and hobbies, and even what she does on weekends and what her mother wears, to get the perfect match. So Jeanne has big eyes, sharp features, and is very subtle in her style; she doesn't like to stand out. One word stood out - class. It was a blessing that Kristine already knew Jeanne quite well, so I only had to shortlist the options. We finally selected a princess cut diamond on a platinum ring. Platinum is the best of metals.


Jeanne's engagement ring.


TWS: We all know that thinking about engagement rings can set a girl's heart a-flutter and a guy's pockets aflame. How did you work out a budget and which features of the ring to prioritize?

Brian: Never really thought about it. It is a once-in-a-lifetime engagement ring, so I just set my mind on getting her what would make her super happy. Budget was not a massive issue, the priority was getting the closest-to-perfect ring for the occasion.

Deanson: I had an idea of my budget, and from the selection recommended by the Tiffany people, I picked out the ring that I thought my wife would like most with the cut and carat as the main considerations.

Fabian: I actually looked for the stone first, after deciding it was blue sapphire that I wanted. So I asked QingRong how much a natural, 1 carat and above blue sapphire would cost. Once I was comfortable with the amount, I asked QingRong to start looking for the stone. Then once the stone was selected, I shopped for bands at the shop which I thought would best bring out or present the sapphire.

Stephen: I visited the Tiffany store when I was on a work trip in Manchester in the UK, and was adamant on getting an engagement ring before we flew to South Korea for our vacation and the planned proposal. The priority was to find an appropriate diamond size and classic ring setting that would complement Doreen's petite fingers so she would feel at ease wearing the ring for different occasions. I also had help from a middle-aged woman who saw that I was alone in the Tiffany store. She offered her fingers to model the various Tiffany ring settings and suggested which design would suit a classy lady like Doreen, haha! On a side note, we would like to compliment Tiffany for their excellent service as I managed to find a suitable engagement ring in Manchester to travel with me to Jeju Island in South Korea, for the proposal. Subsequently, we brought the ring to the Tiffany store in Singapore for resizing to fit Doreen's finger. The Tiffany staff then couriered the ring to the Tiffany store in Hong Kong and the resizing was done promptly so we could collect it on time to bring it back to Qatar. That was quite some travelling for the engagement ring - it went halfway around the world!

Keith: I didn't have a budget but Kristine knows I'm not a rich man so she knew what to prioritize.


We hope you enjoyed the interview so far and be sure to check out part 2, where the guys share how they planned and executed their proposals! Have a great proposal photo or experience to share with us, Wedding Scoopers? Drop us a message in the comments below or hashtag a snap #theweddingscoop over on Facebook or Instagram, we'd love to hear from you! :)


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{This feature is brought to you in collaboration with Tiffany & Co.}