According to the survey, conducted among unmarried men and women in South Africa, both men and women agree that a marriage proposal should be a romantic surprise rather than a joint decision resulting from a discussion.
Interestingly, it is the men who lead the charge in this sentiment; 55% of the male respondents opted for a surprise proposal, compared to 45% of female respondents. Only 11% of men would be happy with a joint decision without a romantic surprise, whereas 18% of women preferred this option.
As far as a setting for the proposal goes, the majority of women surveyed (40%) would like to be proposed to at a meaningful occasion surrounded by family and friends, whereas the majority of male respondents (30%) opted for a dramatic setting like a mountaintop or deserted beach. Neither men nor women like the idea of a fancy restaurant, but are not far off in agreeing (men 25% and women 19%) that anywhere at all would do – even the kitchen – as long as the moment was right.
Some 69% of women would like the ring to be a surprise, while just 31% would like to choose the ring with their significant others. Interestingly, men do not differ very much from women in their preferences on this topic; 65% would like to surprise their partner with a ring.
The majority of women feel that it is equally likely that their partner could get it just right, or totally miss the mark. Men are surprisingly confident in their knowledge of their partners’ jewellery tastes, however, as 35% believe they would be able to choose the perfect swoon-inducing ring.
In order to help men along in their selection, both men and women agree that the best way for her to drop hints is through her friends. If these hints fall on deaf ears, however, and the ring is not at all what the bride-to-be would have chosen, how would they handle it? With grace, it seems. Fully 51% of women say that they would learn to love the ring regardless, as it is what the ring represents that is more important. Having said that, 39% of men would be happy enough if their partner tactfully broke it to them that the ring was not to their taste, and they went and exchanged it together.
In order to give men a bit more insight into what their partner might be looking for, Shimansky was interested to find out more about the kind of ring women are dreaming of. A very surprising 40% of women would like something different and unique; 33% would like a modern and stylish ring, while just 27% would prefer something classic and elegant.
When it comes to the price of the ring, it seems that both men and women err on practicality. 77% of women believe that the price doesn’t matter as long as the ring suits their personal taste and style. The remaining 23% believe that the price is an indication of commitment, and 25% of men agree with them.
Men take the planning of a proposal quite seriously, it seems. 37% of men would start shopping for the ring and planning the perfect proposal six to 12 months ahead of time. The majority (42%) would start planning three to six months in advance, while 22% would leave it until a few weeks before the time – a larger percentage than most women would like, perhaps.
Amid these differences in opinions between the sexes there is, interestingly, one topic on which men and women are in complete agreement: whether or not to ask the bride’s father for permission to marry his daughter. Only 30% of both men and women believe that this is an antiquated custom, whereas a surprising 70% believe that it’s a sign of respect.