On Monday night during The Emmy Awards, director Glenn Weiss dropped to one knee while accepting an award on stage and asked girlfriend Jan Svendsen to be his wife.
The surprise proposal ended well: Svendsen accepted and the live audience applauded in celebration.
But popping the big question in public is risky, and there are instances when proposing in private is best. Here’s what you need to know about public proposals.
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Consider whom you’re proposing to
The biggest factor you should consider when planning a public proposal is the person you’re proposing to. According to Julie Blais Comeau, the chief etiquette officer at Etiquette Julie, you need to really think about your partner’s personality and what he or she would like.
“Would this person enjoy a public display? Or are they someone who would prefer a private moment?” she said to Global News. “Are they somebody that’s very private? Are they very shy? Are they an introvert? You should really consider .”
Blais Comeau said that you also need to think about how they are going to react to a public proposal. If their well-being is at risk and they could have a panic attack or faint, for example, it’s best to make a proposal a private affair.
“If the person hates surprises and is going to feel the pressure go from 0 to 200 … it’s probably not a good idea,” she said.
Pick the right location
The location of a public proposal is vital. Blais Comeau said you should pick a place that is special for both of you, making the event even more meaningful.
“You want a place to have meaning for both of you, not just for you,” she said. “That place may be with family or friends.”
If you pick a spot that’s not safe or on private property, for instance, your plans are at risk of being ruined or interrupted. You should also think about the people who might be in that space, as you don’t want your proposal to negatively impact others.
“Is going to cause an accident? What’s it going to do to the other people?” Blais Comeau said. “Circumstances should be considered.”
Location is also about timing. You don’t want to propose during someone else’s special moment, Blais Comeau said. Examples of this include popping the question during a graduation ceremony, or during a moment that celebrates your partner’s personal achievements.
“It was moment at the Emmy Awards, but had won , would it have been OK for him to run onstage … to bend on one knee and ask?” she said. “He would be taking away from the merit of her.”
“If you’re going to take away from someone else’s moment or achievement … it’s not a good idea.”
Consider your motivations
While public proposals can be very romantic and make for a life-long memory, Blais Comeau said that you need to be honest about why you want to propose in such a grand way. Public proposals tend to get attention from people outside your family, so you need to consider if that’s a driving factor in your decision.
“Is it for you to have a million views on YouTube?” she said. “If it’s not about love and union together, then maybe your motivations are wrong.”
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