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Rules of Engagement—There are none!

“I’m getting engaged and I need help!”    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the privilege of helping a young man come up with just the right scenario in which to propose. It is truly an honor to be part of the planning of this very intimate moment, and the romantic setting of The Bernards Inn has made it the choice for countless proposals over its 100-year history.

Everyone has a story about that moment and it’s one that is repeated over and over for many years to come.  Now that’s pressure! How do you make the occasion perfect and memorable?  One way to achieve this is to personalize the proposal and make it creative. But where to start? I always suggest that whoever is doing the asking to make it personal; there are no rules. A proposal should be unique to each couple.

I recently had a friend and colleague ask me to help him create that very special moment here at the Inn.  He has a warm, inviting personality, with never a problem holding conversation in a group.   But when it came time to actually thinking about saying the words “Will you marry me?” he didn’t trust himself to deliver it the way it should….Hollywood style.    So, he wrote all his feelings down and we decided to present his sentiments like a menu!  He planned an intimate dinner for the two of them.  When the waiter presented the menus for them to order, she got the special one.  Inside was his beautiful message for her and he simply got down on one knee after she was moved by his words and shed a few tears and out came the words: “Will you marry me?”   It was absolutely perfect.  He arranged for his and her family  to meet them for dessert as a second surprise to celebrate the blissful event.

I have had grooms-to-be plan scavenger hunts for their brides-to-be ending at the Inn. Recently, a gentleman proposed right in front of our fireplace after sending his girlfriend on a scavenger hunt looking for him in all their favorite places. His last clue?  The best lobster bisque in New Jersey… she headed straight for The Bernards Inn!

It was a bit more intimidating for me when my own son Mike asked me for help in coming up with that perfect moment to ask his beautiful girlfriend Chelsey to marry him.  Wow…I’ve planned over a thousand weddings and at least one hundred engagements, the pressure was on!

In the end, he planned a beautiful overnight stay with rose petal turndown and chocolate bride and groom strawberries in their room.   He did the asking before dinner with champagne and a bouquet of flowers on hand taking her completely off guard.  She thought it was a Valentine’s Day gift from him, not thinking a proposal would be coming for a few more months.  She lives in California so the timing was perfect, as they were leaving the next day to visit with her family, a vacation that had already been planned.  She went home engaged, to celebrate with her family, because my son had prepared them with that special phone call to ask their permission to marry their daughter.    Hint, hint…yes, that’s still done!

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  • Diane Carr Saturday, April 09 2011

    Thank you Roselynd, we are all very happy for Chelsey and Mike!

  • roselynd hughes Friday, April 01 2011



    What a wonderful son you have, he's so romantic.

    The best to him and his lovely bride to be.


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