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Pop the Big Question in style

BIG SURPRISE: Mr Wee hired HelpYouMarry to plan a series of nine surprises for his girlfriend, which led to a proposal on their ninth anniversary in February. After she said "yes", they were married on the same day.


    Jul 07, 2014

    Pop the Big Question in style

    FOR grooms-to-be here, it seems buying a ring and getting down on one knee in a restaurant is no longer enough for her to say "yes".

    More men are hiring professional planners to execute elaborate proposals, worthy of Facebook shares, likes, and even a chance at going viral.

    Lee Ming Hui, managing partner of proposal planning company HelpYouMarry, saw 15 clients in 2012, a number which doubled to 35 last year.

    Of the 60 men Mr Lee and his team helped pop the question, 10 were tourists.

    Spaniard Daniel Gartz, who proposed to his fiancee Bettina Schramm on a beach in Sentosa, was one of them. He sought HelpYouMarry out through the company's website.

    The proposal, which took place in March, began with a waiter who presented a box - filled with memorabilia like the couple's photos - to Ms Schramm at the beach.

    Later, balloons were presented to her, each with words that formed: "Bettina would you marry me?"

    For the record, she said yes.

    Popular locations for tourists looking to propose include local icons such as Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and Sentosa.

    Mr Lee said his clients are mostly men in their late 20s and 30s, who have worked for a number of years.

    "They are typically very busy and sometimes struggle to come up with ideas to bring meaning into their proposals," he said.

    The creation of such experiences does not come cheap.

    Civil servant Wee Jie Hao paid $6,000 for a proposal to his girlfriend on their ninth anniversary in February.

    The 26-year-old said the fee was "worth it" as it was a once-in-a-lifetime event.

    He added: "I wanted a video of the proposal process, and although I could get friends to help, I didn't want to trouble them. I could not expect quality since they are not professionals."

    Such videos and photos add a nice touch to the couple's wedding day or banquet, said Mr Lee.

    He and his business partner, Jennifer Goh, helped Mr Wee prepare a series of nine surprises for his now-wife, Careen Ang, to represent the nine years they had been together.

    A set of clues eventually led her to the proposal site, where she watched a video recorded by her husband.

    It did not end when she said "yes".

    Mr Wee immediately ferried her to the solemnisation venue in a limousine and they tied the knot three hours later the same day.

    While HelpYouMarry is one of the few companies here which market themselves as proposal specialists, wedding planners also offer such services.

    Eileen Tan has been in the business for the past decade and takes on about 10 proposal cases a year.

    The 30-year-old, whose day job is in office administration, said demand has been constant, with numbers picking up before auspicious periods such as the Dragon Year.

    Her charges start from $300, a figure which can go up to thousands, depending on how elaborate the plan is. Her rates do not include professional photography and videography.