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Pharos Tribune (États-Unis)

Will you marry me ?

Locals talk about how they got engaged; new Paris agency comes up with one-of-a-kind proposal ideas

On a night in March, Rachel Lucas, 19, of Walton, and Brandon Hough, 25, of Kokomo, went out on a date in Indianapolis. The two had been dating for a year and a half but Rachel had no idea that Brandon would pop the question that night. Brandon went to get the car after they finished eating, but instead came back in a white carriage. He then got on one knee and asked her the question — a diamond ring in hand. After an immediate “yes” from Rachel, the two went on a cold, but memorable carriage ride around Indianapolis.

Also in downtown Indianapolis that month were Angie Conklin, 26, of Peru, and Dan Mayhill, 25, of Logansport, who had been dating for a year and a half as well. Angie, who has a passion for photography, couldn’t wait to get some pictures of the city and of Dan and herself. When a family walked by, Angie stopped them and asked the father if he could get a photo of the couple. The man took a couple of photos of them posing in front of the Indiana War Memorial. At that moment, Dan saw the opportunity as a perfect one to ask Angie to marry him, seeing how she loves pictures. The father fortunately kept snapping pictures during the entire proposal, which made the experience even more exciting for Angie.

One couple who decided to go a different route was Melissa, 31, and Scott Grandstaff, 34, of Logansport. Seven years ago Scott surprised Melissa at her workplace, Designer Joe’s Haircare and Nails in Logansport, in a gorilla costume. “I wanted to do something she’d remember,” Scott says. “I wanted to stand out.”

No matter how you want the proposal to go, romantic or wacky, a new French agency in Paris, ApoteoSurprise, has come up with several unique ways in which one can “declare their burning love” to another. The program is for couples who plan on traveling to Paris for their engagement. Nicolas Garreau started working on the idea in 2004. It became an official business in January 2006. “When I was a child, I was always searching for original ways to declare my love to girls. So, for example, I wrote "I love you" on the street with a (piece of) chalk,” Garreau writes in an e-mail. “(Some years later) I noticed that many lovers were coming to Paris every year, but nothing romantic was available for them.” “I also noticed that many companies, all over the world, were working on (setting individuals up to meet each other for possible marriage in the future), but no company was working on declarations of love or marriage proposals,” he writes.

Some examples of proposals you can choose to be a part of through ApoteoSurprise according to its Web site are :

- On the wings of an airplane — “While enjoying a romantic flight over the truly luxuriant country-side of Yvelines, a second airplane will appear beside you and then reveal on its wings your declaration of love.”

- Upon a starry night — “After being followed by the paparazzi and harassed by hysterical fans, you’ll take refuge in the restaurant where stars dine, to witness your surprising declaration of love magically appear.”

- By creating a press book — “You’ll be models for a day as your love is immortalized by a world famous photographer and his team of professionals who’ll capture your relationship’s stunning beauty.”

- In 1930s Paris — “Musicians will magically appear all the way along your journey down the romantic Saint Martin Canal before tenderly delivering to your sweetheart your poetic declaration of love.”

- Under a car on two wheels — “After a crazy pursuit aboard Starsky and Hutch’s ride, a car filled with gangsters will lift up on two wheels and reveal your explosive declaration of love.”

- With a fireworks display — “While enjoying a romantic dinner in one of the most romantic castles in France, an elegant fireworks display will be set off in the gardens along with a huge blazing red heart.”

- On a castle seen from above — “After flying in a helicopter over the City of Light’s priceless gems, your sweetheart will be stunned to discover your monumental declaration of love at the foot of a castle.”

- In an island chalet — “You’ll ride in a Rolls Royce into the heart of a forest to discover an island candlelit paradise where you’ll enjoy an unforgettable dinner in an enchantingly romantic chalet.”

ApoteoSurprise has something for everyone. They offer 30 unique experiences. A customer can even make up their own adventure, although Garreau says it hasn’t happened yet due to the variety of the existing experiences. The price to participate isn’t cheap though. It can range from $1,000 to $20,000 depending on how extravagant you want to get. Garreau says most of the surprises cost $2,500. Garreau said that many Americans are taking advantage of the opportunities. “A study says that 80 percent of American women were unhappy by the way they were asked to be married,” he writes.

Rachel, Angie and Melissa aren’t complaining, however. They all seem to have enjoyed their engagement proposals. Before asking Rachel to marry him, Brandon sought out advice from some women in his life on how to propose. “My mom’s friend said, ‘No matter what, just make it memorable,’” he said. It makes you think — maybe it’s just the thought that counts.

Melissa Soria

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