A perfect proposal

Contest helps a lucky couple to pop the question in style

The florist, baker, photographer, videographer, venue and jeweler have been booked. The only thing missing is a couple ready to have their dream proposal come to life.

The nationwide contest will bring a lucky couple to the Bay Area, with an elaborately planned and decorated proposal to be held at Pleasanton's own Casa Real event center at Ruby Hill Winery.

Lea McIntosh, who has hospitality experience ranging from catering to event planning, is coordinating the winning proposal to custom fit the couple. After helping several brides, she started Ready to Propose, a service where she helps grooms create a memorable proposal. Until now, McIntosh said there isn't much industry attention given to popping the big question, which is a major milestone for many.

The key to popping the question, she says, is building anticipation.

"I wanted the person to think that the proposal was coming and then be thrown off," she said, referencing the mock proposal that was filmed for the contest. "She pulled the Tahitian pearls out of the cake and she thought a ring was coming. When he puts the pearls on her, he asked to see. When she turns around, he's already on one knee."

In order to enter the contest, the future groom--or bride, for those bucking tradition--submits their love story and proposal idea at Once the deadline is up April 30, McIntosh will peruse the entries and select a lucky winner.

"Several [entries are going to be regurgitations," McIntosh said, "stuff that's been done before. What's definitely going to catch my eye are the stories where they talk about their dream proposal that would reflect each other."

From the idea, McIntosh will put her creative gears to work alongside 15 area professionals with a sampling of services including videography, photography, transportation, cake, invitations and lighting design. The end results promise to be a magical moment.

"Casa Real has the ability to be a blank canvas," McIntosh said, adding that she could transform the space into anything from Tahiti to Paris.

Michelle Pangrazio, marketing director for Casa Real, said the site has been mostly booked when it comes to weddings since the event center opened last spring, but never for a proposal.

"We are always there when people get married," she said. "It's fun to be a part of beginning process. It will be a luxury proposal."

Andrew Hsu of Studio VSM in San Ramon, who is also lending his services for the contest, said he's done a proposal video in the past, and it's an idea that is likely to gain popularity.

"The proposal is one of the most emotional and dramatic events leading up to the actual vows on the wedding day," he said. "It's typically not very well documented."

"People always ask the newly engaged couple how it happened and they have to recount it," he added. "Often, they can't remember exactly what was said."

Recording a proposal is another way to spread the message, as anyone can upload a video online and share it with family across the globe.

The deadline for entries is April 30, with the proposal taking place Nov. 10.

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Like this comment
Posted by mac
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2009 at 10:20 am

Lovely story and nice idea, however why is it that everything in modern times has to be a big production. The BEST setting or most AMAZING idea. I hear some of the most beautiful stories from the heart that involve simple yet romantic and personal ways to pop that question.

This sounds too much like all the hype of celeb and hollywood. ALso sounds like how kids in high school ask one another to dances. No more are there simple questions. They go through hoops to find the most unusual or funny or outlandish ways to pop that question.

Are we getting over the top or am I just old fashioned?

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 30, 2009 at 10:35 am

How sickening...

Like this comment
Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2009 at 7:19 pm

I supposed if there's a market for it, then let someone make an income from it. For myself however, I think the idea is over the top. In my opinion, the best proposals and simple and spontaneous. How can that happen when you have such a huge production leading up to it? I'm also not so certain that I'd want to marry a guy who had to pay someone to help him figure out to propose. If he didn't have enough creativity to manage it on his own, he wouldn't be for me.

Like this comment
Posted by mac
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2009 at 9:43 am

Agreed! I think the only thing left out of the Perfect Proposal is the PAPARAZZI! :D You watch. They'll invite all their family and friends and 'wahlah', a camara flashing event will ensue in addition to the videographing.

(Can I get a cut for that idea?!?)

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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