The Proposal - How Do Men Really Feel?

Many men are really starting to think outside the box when it comes to their proposals and thanks to the Internet we can become more involved than ever before. Remember the bloke who used a puppy to propose (who could say no to that?).

As little girls we dream of the day our very own Prince Charming will sweep us off our feet and down the aisle. But while us girls can be involved with planning every single detail of the wedding, to ensure it goes exactly how we want it to, we will have little say in when, where and how the proposal happens.

Many men are really starting to think outside the box when it comes to their proposals, but what is it really like during that period when he knows that she is (hopefully) about to move one step closer to becoming his wife, and she is completely oblivious?

I spoke to a couple of men who have already been through this knee shaking, sweat inducing, heart-pounding moment - and come out the other side smiling.

A romantic proposal in paradise

Research commissioned by the insurer Liverpool Victoria found that six out of 10 engagements now happen on holiday and the number of British couples getting engaged abroad has increased by 39% in the last decade - included in these stats are Andrew Wiseman, John Saunders and their respective partners.

John had been with his partner Sara for five years and said that actually choosing the ring was easy because he knew exactly what she would like. "I chose a central emerald cut diamond with a baguette either side in a platinum band for longevity," he said. A study of 2,000 Brits by travel firm SuperBreak found that 22% of men actually planned to, or did, spend the traditional two months' salary on a ring for their partner. But, when you are spending that much money you want to make sure you get the right one and luckily for you men, jewellers out there such as 77 Diamonds don't just sell you the ring - they help you to design the perfect one! John said: "Before this I never knew how much was involved in diamond cuts, colours, clarity and certification - after much research I certainly feel educated now!"

However, John, who proposed while they were travelling, said hiding the ring, was the most stressful part. "I put it inside a camera case in my hand luggage... I didn't account for the fact my bag would undergo a random screening at Heathrow, there was hardly anything in it! That was pretty touch and go."

Luckily, John managed to send Sara, who was waiting next to him, on ahead.

"I said to the security guy, 'There's a ring in the camera case that I really don't want her to see!' He skirted around the camera case and we were good to go."

That was until the stress started again when they reached their first destination. "I took it out with me in a shoulder bag; walking around the manic busy streets and temples in Bangkok, everywhere you turned there were signs "Pickpockets are everywhere" and the crowds were huge," he recalled. "My hand was in the bag holding onto the ring for dear life."

Andrew decided the perfect time to propose to Cressi, his girlfriend of four years, would be during a holiday to Iceland. He also found the whole engagement ring experience stressful part - but this time choosing it rather than hiding it.

"I did not know Cressi's ring size, and she doesn't wear any jewellery so I literally had no way of finding this out without asking," he said. "I didn't want to get an expensive ring, which was the wrong size, so I went for a less expensive ring, which would have a meaning, and then would get her a proper ring later."

With a mutual love of dinosaurs and having spent their first date at the Natural History Museum, he chose a ring with a velociraptor on it. He explained: "Everyone loves the ring and the story and meaning behind it, especially Cressi."

John - whose proposal would take place in a vineyard that they flew to on an aircraft with himself and his friend and pilot Rob at the wheel, relied on several things, including the weather and aircraft availability - says he found tying it all together quite stressful.

"Looking back, there were so many clues as to what was happening but she didn't guess.

I particularly like that I managed to get her into a privately chartered plane (for a 'random flight') and land on the vineyard private runway and she just thought it was a nice day out!"

It would appear women are romantics with 52% wanting the traditional 'down on one knee' proposal. Both John and Andrew kept to the tradition of getting down on one knee.

Despite some stress and worry in the build-up both men got the all-important yes and in that moment went from a boyfriend to a fiancé - fortunately for both and especially, for Andrew as he admitted: "I didn't have a back-up plan [if she had said no]. I would probably just have died from embarrassment!"

It is not just men who ask the question...

Despite the fact that it has long been tradition for men to propose to women, tradition also states that once every four years, on 29th February, women are 'allowed' to propose to men.

According to dating website eHarmony, nearly three quarters of marriage proposals are done by men, and although 40% of men agree women have as much right as them to pop the question, almost a third of women feel it is the man's job to propose.

However, while many women would still prefer to wait for their partner to ask them, some are ignoring this outdated tradition altogether and are asking the question themselves, such as Ally Richards who told the BBC:

"Proposing is something I'd thought about doing for quite a long time. I realised I'd been, on some level, waiting for my partner to propose, then it occurred to me that I was ready to make that step and it felt quite silly to just wait and see if it would happen."

Ally, who chose to use a bracelet connected by rings to propose, goes on to say:

"On the morning of the proposal I still felt shaky and had butterflies in my stomach. I was worried he might be upset I'd taken the opportunity to propose away from him."

But she need not have worried as she did get a 'yes' from her shocked - but happy - boyfriend.

The lead up to the proposal may be a nerve-wracking ordeal for the one planning to ask the question, but it is definitely worth it when this incredibly romantic and special moment starts a brand new chapter in the couples' lives.