Inviting women to propose live on camera to their unsuspecting partners is one of the most daring ideas we've ever had in my five years as the Editor of Brides. But also one of the most emotional and rewarding we've embarked on. Could we really keep it a secret from all these partners? Would the women be brave enough to go through with it? What if somebody said no?! These are the questions that have kept me awake at night for the past few months.
The Brides team took care of all the arrangements. We styled the women with the help of the incredible teams from Benefit Cosmetics and Michael Van Clarke. We dressed them in beautiful evening wear and pretty accessories from David's Bridal - our generous partners in all of this - and we provided them with the perfect cover story. Invite your love to The Savoy in London to do a restaurant review of the hotel's new dinner menu, then simply film a short piece to camera at the end to critique what you ate.
As the day went on, the women started to share their thoughts and feelings with me. One had asked her friends and family if they thought she should do it; they all advised against it. One knew that he had already bought a ring and wanted to do it himself. One was his first love; they'd been school sweethearts since the age of 16. And one was planning to propose to a man who had been badly hurt in a previous marriage. As the hours raced by, nerves increased. But they were in this together and not one woman changed her mind on the day.
Their partners arrived later that evening believing our cover story. They shared a beautiful meal, then, one at a time, each couple went into our secret 'proposal room' where the cameras were rolling. This is where I was sat, totally hidden behind a screen, waiting for the drama to unfold. And boy did it.
One woman sang her proposal; several cried; some did it with a gift; one got down on one knee; another had a ring ready. They all did it, in their own way. The tension was almost unbearable as the faces of these men, one by one, turned from shock and confusion to elation and joy.
I have just watched our final edit of the film and I am so proud of it. Special events like these don't happen without the endless enthusiasm of the dedicated team at Brides and a brave partner like David's, who really let us loose with the idea they were backing.
But a special mention must go to our acting events director Kendra Leaver who held the hand of every woman involved from the very beginning while co-ordinating dresses, hotel rooms, menus and our star prize - from Club Med, a £5,000 Mauritius honeymoon (enjoy Pete and Holly!)
Well done everyone - I will remember it for a long time to come. Now turn to page 204 for the evening's highlights - and to meet our newly engaged couples.
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