The coronavirus epidemic may have ruined many marriage plans, but many couples are still engaged. For many, foreclosure was both a bonding experience and a chance to get creative with the proposals.
James French, 33, originally planned a successful marriage proposal. He was going to ask his six-year-old partner Becky Firth during the vacation of his life in Japan. He imagined it taking place in the middle of the flower.
The coronavirus has put an end to this. The party has been canceled.
However, the couple managed in March to complete their planned move from London to the north of England where they had both grown up. They planned to stay with their parents in Saltaire, near Bradford, while looking for a new home. But since both groups of parents are vulnerable, the couple had to move in with friends instead.
James, a product consultant for a tech company, decided to improvise his proposal plans in less than ideal circumstances.
“I organized a treasure hunt in the village where she grew up with puzzles and poems in significant places,” he explains.
Ever since he did it for his 30th birthday, she hadn’t necessarily suspected what was going to happen. The final clue led to a spot on the moors, where he asked the big question. She said yes.
The tricky thing from a practical point of view was the ring, says James.
He wasn’t sure if he wanted to buy an expensive diamond online and send it in the mail, but of course he couldn’t go to a store because of the lockout.
In the end, he decided to buy a ring online that he would use only for the proposal. He knew it still had to look good, and similar to the real one he’d finally get so they could show up on engagement photos, he said.
The couple plan to wait until 2022 to get married, as they know there will be tremendous pressure to organize the postponed weddings next year.
It’s something we can celebrate now and cherish, despite the coronavirus, says James.
In Northamptonshire, Marilyn Coles, 24, and Roland Walet, 26, were also locked out.
They met on Tinder last year and have been living together for just over six months.
They had never thought of marriage before, but the coronavirus concentrated their minds.
“Locking out is a stressful situation and it brought us together,” says Roland. “Spending more time together has connected us, we can see each side of the other. “
This allowed Roland to get to know Marilyn’s son well from a previous relationship, he added.
“Suddenly, I could see myself spending the rest of my life with Marilyn. “
Marilyn remembers the day of the proposal well. “The doorbell rings and he became very dizzy going down the stairs, bless him. “
“I suspected it was finally the ring,” said Roland. He had a personalized one online.
After a quick inspection to make sure it was what he expected in the envelope, he got ready and went back upstairs to suggest in the bedroom.
The prospect of grand ceremonies and occasions, says Marilyn, makes her anxious, so that was exactly the kind of proposition she wanted.
Roland is a Dutch national and the couple plans to get married in Amsterdam next year in an informal ceremony with friends.
What should I know about coronavirus?
“Love does not wait,” says Tobias Kormind, head of jewelry at 77 Diamonds, with an ironic smile. It specializes in selling diamond rings online and ships more than 10,000 each year.
He anticipates “a massive drop in demand” from the coronavirus, perhaps as much as 80% of sales, he said.
In fact, his business so far has seen sales drop by only about a quarter.
Normally, he sells 60% of the rings online and the rest in physical stores, but online sales have increased since the lockdown, which has helped stabilize the business.
“Many customers have told us that even if they can’t go to a special offer place anymore, they don’t want to wait and instead offer at home in a very thoughtful and imaginative way,” says Kormind.
“If someone thinks it’s time to move, then that’s fine. The decor is really just a bandage. In times of crisis, you get to know people better, much faster.
“With the lock, it’s like the government is pushing love,” he jokes.
Hamish Shephard, founder of the Bridebook wedding planning platform, spotted a similar trend.
“We thought our business was going to stop when the coronavirus hit,” he said.
Bridebook has managed more than 170,000 marriages since it started in 2015.
In fact, new registrations for its service in April decreased only slightly from the previous year, by around 5%.
Customer feedback is that despite unprecedented financial pressures and the inability to organize wedding ceremonies, couples still want to get engaged, says Shephard.
He too attributes this to couples who spend more time together.
People on leave have the opportunity to share their hobbies and learn about their respective interests, outside of the usual work routine, he says.
He predicts that 2021 and 2022 will be record years for the wedding industry.
One of Diamond’s 77 recent clients is police officer Daniel Hughes-McConnell, 30. He was behind big proposal projects in New York.
He was well aware that his longtime girlfriend, nurse Emily Hands, also 30, had dreamed that this would happen next to the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas tree. She had had the idea since watching the movie Home Alone when she was a little girl.
He made the necessary arrangements, but the dream was canceled when the travel company Thomas Cook collapsed.
Daniel then planned to offer a trip to Italy. When the coronavirus forced him to cancel their travel plans again, he thought he was cursed.
Like James, he decided to adapt his plans to the new reality of locking, rather than delay.
He admits to being a little concerned about getting the ring in the mail. He was sent first class and registered.
But he ended up panicking because he forgot that a holiday was coming, which delayed his arrival by one day (Emily’s face winced in disbelief during our video call because he apparently shared this detail for the first time).
Daniel proposed on a beach near where the couple live in Prestatyn in North Wales, a place where they went on romantic walks together when they started dating.
He chose a place to kneel with additional meaning for Emily – a bench commemorating his best friend from school, who died a few years ago.
Emily was touched by the gesture and is happy that the couple did not postpone the engagement, awaiting a larger and more expensive proposal abroad.
“In fact, the cheaper proposal was a blessing in disguise,” says Daniel.
“The money we saved by not going to New York or Rome will be spent on our first baby, whom we are expecting in November. “
If you have an inspiring personal story about locking, contact the reporter Dougal Shaw