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Interesting and Unusual Ways to Propose in Cape Town and Surrounds
“If you find yourself tying the ring to a dog’s collar, stop, and look at yourself”
Last updated: 16 February 2017
Popping the question is very stressful, so I’ve heard, and this year I thought that maybe you needed a little help; so just call me the Fairy Godmother cause I am here to make all of your romantic proposal dreams come true.
As a general rule, I tend to avoid cliches like the plague, and this overview will be no different. Just like a birthday present, a proposal needs to be thoroughly considered and planned, and it’s probably best not to leave anything to chance (aside from the answer maybe, but preferably try to only propose when you’re 99% sure they will accept). It’s hard to think of something more awkward than a public proposal where the proposee declines and the proposer then leaves broken hearted. So, let’s try and avoid that, shall we?
It will probably help to first outline the cliches (and I mean no offence if these methods worked for you, they also have their value - just not in this overview). My pet hate (aside from when dudes order food for me - “um... excuse you?”) is when people put stuff in my food. No, I don’t mean roofies. I mean jewellery. The most over-used, over-played move in the history of the world is to put the ring in his/her dessert. Please don’t think that there is a loophole and putting the ring in their starter or main is acceptable; it’s not. Please just don’t. In the words of Vitruvius from the Lego Movie - “Emmett, that idea is just the worst”.
Let’s divide the proposals into the type of person that would appreciate and, hopefully, accept them!
Take it from someone that loves to read; a proposal to do with books would be so insanely perfect that I am actually getting a little misty-eyed just thinking about it.
Idea 1: I read this thing once (somewhere on the internet, probably Buzzfeed) that a guy decided to make his and his girlfriend's love story into a children's book (she was a primary school teacher). She was drawn as a beautiful giraffe and he was drawn as a hippo, which is already incredibly endearing. He presented her with the book, she read it with tears in her eyes and taped to the back page was a solitaire diamond ring with ‘will you marry me?’ handwritten underneath. Logistically, this is a little tough but definitely doable. There are plenty of printing places in Cape Town, like Print on Demand (Printondemand.co.za), so all you need to do is get drawing! If, like me, even your stick men look a bit weird maybe get a friend who is handy with a pencil to jot down some doodles and you can be in charge of the captions!
Idea 2: Go to the National Library and propose amongst more knowledge than anyone can ever possess. The National Library of South Africa is located on Queen Victoria Street right here in the Mother City CBD and I’ll hazard a guess that most of you haven’t been there. This white-columned building is the perfect place to pop the question when your significant other loves books more than they love you. Jokes, but if they don’t like books, it probably won’t hold the same magic. A little tip - if that person is loud, maybe go to the library, have a look round then pop the question outside the building so the romance isn’t ruined with angry librarians shushing you.
To me, a foodie, a cook and a baker are all the same; they all love food. So I have thought long and hard about the best ways to get down on one knee while including food in some kind of way.
Idea 1: The Lindt Chocolate Studio sounds like the closest we'll ever get to heaven on earth. Picture this - you’re dressed up for dinner, you surprise pookie-bear with a chocolate-craft course, you make something delicious and at the end, you say “I can live without chocolate, but I can’t live without you, be mine forever - will you marry me?”. If there was a way to propose to myself, I would do it like that. You never know, you could give them a call and maybe the studio could arrange something special for your joyous announcement.
Idea 2: This is more for the hot beverage lover than the foodie, but they usually go hand-in-hand. The Clay Cafe in Hout Bay is the perfect place to create something lovely for your something lovely. Get a mug, decorate it beautifully and at the bottom of the mug write ‘Will you marry me?’. Doesn’t that sound amazing? If you are incredibly observant, you could print ‘look up’ on the bottom and when they look up, you’re on one knee with a ring in your hand. Disclaimer: You can propose to someone with a jelly ring and it still means something, the price of the gift means very little, it’s all about the gesture.
The Adrenaline Junkie:
Jumping out of a perfectly good plane seems insane to me, but hey, who am I to judge? If your love is brave and enjoys seeking those thrills, then I think these ideas will suit you quite nicely!
Idea 1: Speaking of planes, I think skydiving (while being very slightly on the cliche side) is quite an unusual way to propose. Let’s say that your significant other fancies a bit of skydiving, you say “good plan, love” and you buy them a ticket. A few weeks later, the day has come, he/she goes up in that plane and once they jump out and the adrenaline has subsided, they see a big white sheet with a big message written on it. If you can’t guess what that message is by now, then you clearly have not been listening. When they land on the sheet with the best question ever, you can be there waiting for them with flowers (if that’s their thing) or maybe even chocolates (that’s more my thing).
I really only have one idea for adrenaline junkies. All the other ones I could come up with were insanely banal (even more so than sky diving) and I can’t break my one rule, right?
Wrong! Idea 2: If you’re going to go cliche, you sure as hell need to go all out. It’s either all cheese, or none at all. In the spirit of cheesiness, take your special someone up Table Mountain and drop down on one knee as the sun sets. Even I have to admit that it sounds pretty special. Just be aware that hundreds of tourists will likely snap photos of you in the process, so good luck with that.
Everyone likes a little adventure, but some people take it to a new level. These are the people that love experiencing new things and hunger for something exciting in their lives; enter you and your proposal!
Idea 1: You go home one evening and say that you’ve got to go to a conference - meh. But, the silver lining is that they can come too and you’ve booked the tickets. Please for goodness sakes leave them enough time to get leave from work, proposing to someone that just got fired probably won’t go so well. On the day of departure, you propose at the airport (something relaxed like placing the ring on top of their passport or, if you’re bold, in the middle of the departures lounge). Then you surprise them with tickets to a whole new destination for a little weekend away! Even if I didn’t want to marry someone, I would have a tough time saying no to the holiday. This plan does require lots and lots of organisation and money so please keep that in mind.
Idea 2: Bainskloof Pass. If you have never been up Bainskloof Pass, then you are missing out. It’s got views that rival Chapman’s Peak (minus the sea) and it’s only an hour or so away in Wellington. Once you’ve driven up there, you both get out and before she/he knows it you’re down on one knee - how romantic? After you have shared a quiet moment to yourselves, you can plan ahead of time to meet your families at Linton Park (a stunning and quaint winery also in Wellington) for a toast and a little sneaky wine tasting.
Idea 3: I think that a common theme with meaningful proposals is that they usually involve just the two of you. Personally, they are the ones that I think mean the most. In the spirit of that, renting out a small stone cabin in the middle of nowhere sounds like a little slice of heaven. Imagine a grey overcast day, a log fire burning in the fireplace, a book in your hand and your s/o in the kitchen making tea. That night, as casually as asking you what you want for dinner, they tell you that you are everything they have ever dreamed of and they want to spend all their forevers with you.
Please bear in mind that everyone is different; your love could be all about the big gestures and in that case a public proposal is perfect! On the flip side, they could be very introverted and prefer a quiet and tender moment between the two of you. No judgement.
The Nature Lover:
These are the free spirits that love mother earth; they love hiking, picnics, ocean swims and they are pretty much always sporting a golden tan.
Idea 1: The Aquarium. I love the aquarium, it’s serene and relaxing and they are more than happy to accommodate a proposal! My idea was a little crazier but on reflection, it became a little bit unrealistic (unless you are prepared to get a scuba diving qualification). The new I&J Ocean Exhibit boasts turtles, rays, guitarfish, sardines and offers you the opportunity to dive in the exhibit. Can you see where this is going yet? Have a look below and see what I am talking about:
Idea 2: Take a rowboat out onto a lake like in The Notebook. Short of being proposed to by Michael Buble on a frozen lake at Christmas, this is the most romantic thing I could think of. I can find neither a lagoon nor a company to rent you a rowboat, but I am just here to spark your inspiration fire, so burn away people. If you really like the boat idea, there is also the option of hiring a yacht at the V&A Waterfront and propose at sunset. This is clearly for those living the Kardashian lifestyle, but hey, we can dream right?
The next ideas are all a jumble of personalities, but will work for most people (which is good, I guess). These ideas were just too difficult to put into a category so we left them for you to decide:
Idea 1: If you are feeling brave, and I mean really brave, there is always the Scratch Patch. Before you write me off as mentally unstable, hear me out. There is just something inside humans that seems to constantly hope. I mean that as a good thing, that people (no matter how bitter) will always have that little bit of hopefulness at the back of their mind. I’ve been to the Scratch Patch and mostly come out with Tigers Eye and some Rose Quartz, but how stoked would you be if you found an engagement ring? As I stated above, this is for the brave but I have a solution to make it a little easier. Simply go with you s/o to the scratch patch, keep the ring in the box and bury it when you are already scratching. He/she will squirrel around looking for something precious and stumble across a little velvet pouch with a gorgeous token of your love inside it!
DISCLAIMER: Do not bury the ring without a box or bag to protect it; you might as well kiss it goodbye. Do not bury the ring and leave it to get later - BAD IDEA. Do not panic if you misplace it - stay calm and remember that the more you move, the deeper it’ll sink.
Idea 2: I realise that the Amazing Race was cool in 2007, but retro is in so get a headstart and propose in the most creative way possible with a city wide scavenger hunt! I have laid out a rough plan for the scavenger hunt, but personalising it can only make it better!
Make a plan with your significant other to meet for breakfast, but instead arrange for their sibling to meet them with a note saying “Go to the place that you and ---- first met” (make sure they know all of these details beforehand)
Waiting for them at the place you first met will be their future in-laws with another note sending them to another place.
Their best friends
Waiting at the next place, have her/his best friends waiting for them with yet another note.
The final step before you see your love is her parents house. They can be waiting with a final note, a new dress and a car waiting to whisk them away to one final place.
When they get out of the car, you’re there with flowers or wine (whatever your special someone adores [HINT - puppies]), you drop on one knee and queue the tears.
Everyone all together
Tell everyone involved in the proposal to get themselves to Kirstenbosch Gardens for a sunset toast to your new lives. Sounds like the perfect adventure, right?
Idea 3: There is a little beach close, but also not so close, to Cape Point, where you can trek for some lovely seclusion. I am not going to outrightly say - go skinny dipping - but if there is nobody else there, it’s hot and you’ve just been proposed to, then why not? Pack all of their favourite food items into a basket (and the ring) then take them on a picnic that they will never forget! This idea is inexpensive and certainly unique, but please bear in mind that hiking at noon in summer is a bad idea and your significant other certainly won’t thank you for it. After you have proposed, go home and then go out to dinner to celebrate - that way they get both a personal moment and a fancy experience all rolled into one successful day.
That marks the end of my creativity unfortunately, so let your creative flags fly. If you like part of these ideas, come up with your own and go crazy! Hopefully you’re only going to propose once so make sure it is as memorable and perfect as can possibly be. Good luck, and I hope love is in the air for you all.
For your next date, check out these romantic restaurants.