She Said No | Proposal Learnings
She Said No [To The Proposal]: Stories + Learnings
We find there is a fear and fascination with this topic. For guys soon to propose it may not be a fear per say of getting turned down but more of a nervousness. The reality is if you are a guy in that position the odds are in your favor. We have seen a 99.8% success rate in proposals. We do not think there is any industry metric but clearly we attract couples that must be on the same page in their relationship. There have been a few things we have seen and gleaned from these one offs and that is why we share.
Technically we have never gotten a ‘NO’ but rather she says something else.
She Said Lets Go
Women about to get engaged to you know you. In this scenario the guy was very eager to get engaged. This eagerness led to wanting to drop on one knee earlier in the week in a place that was very popular. We had planned for another place that at the time was still fairly low key but growing in popularity. Shortly before the proposal while waiting for someone else to come we had someone else come down and propose. Ironically, the photographer said ‘they have a plan’ implying go away followed by them missing the proposal moment with two photographers. The other photographers were 5 ft from the couple getting engaged.
Most guys do not want a crowd but rather seclusion. As we believe no one wants to propose in line with other guys we had our guy bail from the planned spot. We provided an alternative to keep it special but that was not used. One certainly has their own right to propose whenever and wherever they wish. We however have done this closer to 1000 times than our first time so we have learned a few things. In the end she said lets go as she knew something was up. Maybe she saw the girl who just got engaged. Maybe it was not the right time in her eyes. Maybe he was a little early on the timing and her readiness for getting engaged.
Seclusion is really important. If you can look up a location online and know where it is know that there is a good potential another guy might be doing the same. Locations go through an upward trajectory of popularity where it no longer works. You know you are there the more popular it becomes but really as things get locked down and restricted to protect the land. That was one of the last times we used that time of day at the spot. Even after switching the time of day we starting hearing ‘another proposal’ mumbled by people which led us to stop using the location.
A “Plan” is not always a good plan. The other photographer was copying us and did not know it. It was not the first and continues to happen. You are new and just trying to make a quick buck. You will say yes to anything, let the guy drive things, and go with it. In the end it looks like a success even if you miss it cause she is so happy. The results are vastly different however. The learning to take away is that some plans have huge gaps based on experience. Ours was not as risk adverse as it would be today many years later. Most people have a very haphazard level of planning which means they need to shoot up close in a spray and pray method. Not all plans are the same.
She Said Not Now
She loves you but there are some other reasons why she did not want to be engaged. If she tells you she does not want to get married then no matter what you have in the pipeline you need to pull the plug. In this scenario they went to a location that was popular – like classic busy. Hundreds of people were around. He had it planned out in detail. We went with their plan as just an add on photographer. We gave some guidance on the spot. In this case she cried for 5 minutes before saying yes. With the hundreds of people watching you kinda are pressured into it. Sort of like the kiss cam at a major sporting event and you get down on your knee to propose. In that scenario there is a ton of pressure. It was a yes but after seeing many proposals it seemed like in private it might have been a different outcome.
Notice the theme of seclusion? Surrounded by people there is a pressure placed on the girl. Perhaps this is why you see proposal failure video in the mall. There are a couple reasons why we take photos at a distance and one of them is to not be a factor. In the previous scenario we took photos all along and she never knew it. In this one 50 people cheered after she said yes. If you ever feel like someone is watching you know it is a lot more intense in that moment. The other thing to note is that this is an intensely personal thing happening between you. For most women this is about the two of you not other people praising the delivery.
If people travel into town for the proposal you are more limited. If they are involved in the proposal itself know that you get more pressure on things to move forward. Often people will have people come in for a party afterward. This more will box you in from a day / time stand point limiting flexibility for conditions like weather. Outside of people we recommend keeping it more simple for the actual proposal vision. If doves need to fly out of the background at the exact moment know you are focusing on the execution more than the girl. This might be a contributing factor to a different response than you expect.
She Said Not Good Enough
This last scenario is a bit more unique. We spent a lot of time going through a lot of scenarios, locations, and talking through things. We landed on this one given location that was completely secluded and absolutely gorgeous. They showed up and you could sense something was a little different. We do not recall if they got down on a knee or not but it was about 10-15 minutes standing there talking about something. After you see first hand a number of proposals you know what is nerves and when something is not going right. In the end we were called up and told it was not the right place. They were engaged not too long afterward.
You need to know your girl and what she wants. Not all women are mountain women – the kind that are cool with peeing in the woods. Some women want to be wined and dined. Some women want to hop in an helicopter and land on some private island where this huge setup awaits. There is nothing wrong with it per say. Our take however is that if she needs production value out of the proposal there might be something off in the relationship. Here is a hilarious comedy by the comedian John Crist on a Marriage Proposal.
The other learning is that if you have tried to propose in the past do not reattempt in the future. We are being general but most women say she had to wait years longer than she would have wanted. Most guys are slower than she is so in light of that if she is not ready she might be someday. You might be the ambitious guy or there could be some other factors of life saying slow it down. We have tossed out some ideas to others in the past and they see it as a one shot kind of thing. We think there might be some wisdom in that one.
Take Away: Summary
- Most guys are nervous to some degree so do not stress this topic. The odds are in your favor.
- Not all places you see online look like what they are in reality. Here are proposals on the blog if you need inspiration.
- Keeping it simple and secluded focused on the relationship is what most women want.
- We love to help people make it special and create a good story so getting outside help is okay. We have learned to be extremely raw and real so we shoot straight.