Social isolation during this pandemic was forced upon all of us and we all had to learn to embrace being alone during this time. Zoom dates, online sex and socially distanced meetings became the new norm that we all participated in. If you were quarantined with your significant other, congratulations, all of us are extremely envious of you.
Being quarantined with your partner during the pandemic without the pressures of work or social obligations sounds like a dream come true and for some, it did. While many of us struggled with job security, paying the bills or even finding a steady partner, a real turn of events was the surprising number of people who got engaged during these tumultuous times.
While around 49% of couples reported to having their engagement plans ‘wrecked’ due to the onset of the endemic (according to a survey), most of them adapted to the situation and with a little creativity, still managed to propose to their partner. Amidst everything that was happening, it was refreshing to see how love still found a way to flourish. Although the timing of people choosing to get engaged during such a time did leave some of us perplexed, these could be some of the reasons why some people chose to get engaged during the pandemic-
The lockdown helped couples grow closer and realise ‘it’s time’
The pandemic has been a dreadful time for most of us but a few lucky one’s managed to make a little staycation out of it. As expected, the couples who quarantined together ended up spending much more time together than they normally would. In fact, this is the exact trend that was seen in a survey conducted in April 2020 by The Lasting Marriage Health App. According to the survey, more than 40% of the couples (out of the 1000 responses), reported spending over 20+hours MORE per week with their partner due to the lockdown restrictions.
While all this time together could be a trigger for fights, every 6 in 10 couples reported to this closeness, strengthening their relationship. This closeness only seemed to accelerate the couples want to tie the know and many of them were even successful in doing so.
This is exactly how Rachel and her fiancé Kurt got engaged, as reported by Hello Giggles. Prior to the covid 19 pandemics, they had big plans for a spring engagement and a fall 2021 wedding date. While the outbreak definitely threw a wrench in their plans, it did not deter them for getting engaged. Their relationship is proof of the lockdown only strengthened their bond and brought them closer together when he says “While the situation overall has obviously been tough, the time we've gotten to spend together has been amazing, honestly. It has made us grow even closer and learn more about one another. By the time we got engaged, we both felt even more confident about our relationship and our future together than we had pre-pandemic, so taking this step was an easy choice”.
The pandemic created an atmosphere of a ‘make or break’ situation for couples
While quarantining with your bae may seem ideal, it could also be extremely stressful for some couples. The stress and fear caused by the pandemic, social isolation and uncertainty of the recent events could lead to many couples becoming extremely co-dependant on each other. This co-dependency could make them believe that ‘no other alternative’ other than them getting engaged seems plausible right now because they are afraid of being by themselves.
On the other end of the spectrum, all this time that the couples spent together could make them give their relationship a ‘reality check’. Jocelyn and Aaron freeman, relationship coaches and authors of The Power Couple tell Hello Giggles how they observed this pattern in their own clients. “We are seeing that couples are taking a really honest look at whether they want to fully commit to their partnership or end it altogether. The quarantine has presented the opportunity and time for everyone to reflect on their life and what they want/don't want moving forward” they stated.
Even Krawiec, agrees that this pandemic caused couples to look at this scenario as a ‘challenge’ and that it has only made them more eager to ‘take the next step’. She says “Spending six months together [has] helped couples to solidify that they could live together and survive. If there were any uncertainties about what could be tolerated and what could not, these were answered and likely resolved during COVID-19 quarantine.”
While this pandemic was a true test for how strong a couple’s relationship was for some, it turned out to be just the right kind of nudge to drop ‘the question’ for other couples.
2020 was a rise in spontaneous proposals
I have always thought that proposing to your partner is a tedious and nerve-wracking process because there is so much that has to be done in exactly the right way. However, the pandemic changed all the rules of the wedding game which resulted in most of us, throwing caution to the wind. Whether it was wedding planning with a professional planner or carefully selecting out the engagement ring with your partner, the traditional ‘chronological order’ of events was now shaken and people had to ‘get in the moment’ if they wanted to stick with their original plans.
This, in fact, was seen in data that was collected by The Knot which said that most proposals that were carried out in 2020 were spontaneous. In 2019, the trend was making proposal preparations at least 1 to 3 months in prior to popping the question. However, in 2020 it was seen that the entire ‘proposal planning’ cycle shifted and now, almost 50% of all proposals were ‘in the moment’ and planned in or less than a month. ‘This shift is likely attributed to the changing nature of COVID-19 restrictions. As rules and regulations continue to evolve, a precautionary question of "when" to propose is especially impacted’.
In a twisted turn of events, the pandemic helped push the couples towards a more secure future with each other not only by getting engaged but also married. While a big lavish wedding with a 1000 guests was now impossible during the pandemic, ingenious ideas helped people tie the knot even during these tough times.
Wedding sites encouraged ‘weddings from home’
While sites like Shaadi.com and Jeevansathi.com are extremely popular in India for finding your ‘soulmate’, no one anticipated the halt that the pandemic brought to carrying out weddings. In the times, Shaadi.com came up with one of the most ingenious solutions and hence the concept of ‘weddings from home’ was brought to life. This initiative was introduced to help couples across all communities, cultures and religions to get married during the lockdown period.
The story of Avinash and Kirti is a true testament to this initiative being extremely successful. Right in the midst of the pandemic, they got married on April 14 via video call! You may be wondering how authentic a virtual wedding could really be, however, this one checked all the boxes. This wedding from home came as close to a real Hindu ceremony and had a Ganesh sthapna, sangeet, dhol, sangeet performances by family and even make-up and mehndi artists who helped the bride with her look via video call - all from the comfort of their home. In fact, even a Panditji officiated the ceremonies over video call and it was attended by over 200 of the pair’s guests.
Planning to propose to your partner? We’ve got your back with these tips
So, while the pandemic definitely changed the tradition of having a ‘big fat’ wedding to that of a more intimate one, it has definitely not deterred couples from tying the knot. If you're feeling like there is no moment like the present and you want to pop the big question to your partner, there are some of the tips you could keep in mind while proposing to your loved one-
- Whether you have quarantined with your partner or you have spent it apart, this pandemic has truly tested out the strength of all relationships. While spontaneous proposals could be a fun way of surprising your partner, it is important to think of whether they’d actually want this or not. Look for clues, subtle signs or even causal mentions during your conversations to find out whether tying the knot is even on their mind. A surprise proposal makes for an amazing ‘how did they propose to you ?’ story but only if the other partner is sort of expecting it.
- Another important thing to keep in mind while proposing is the venue. While your house may be comfortable and charming, you'll have spent the last few months locked in there already. Choose a place that has tonnes of open space and where the crowd would be minimal. This way you could have privacy while still enjoying the outdoors.
- After you figure out the ‘where’, it is important to think of the ‘how’. Probably one of the most intimidating aspects of a proposal, the way you propose to your partner could actually affect their likeliness of saying yes or no. Thankfully, this pandemic has taken the pressure off you to come up with some big grand gesture. In a survey, it was found that during these times most couples cherished the simple reminders that their partners loved them. In these tough times, a reminder that a person will love you and stick by you through thick and thin is all anyone needs. So be genuine and show your love for your partner while asking them to spend the rest of their life with you, it would most likely work out in your favour.
- Lastly, you could also think about who you would like to involve in the proposal. While having a large audience is not recommended, you could invite a few close friends and family members to commemorate this occasion. To make things fun and interesting, you could also involve any pets (if you have them) in your proposal. If you're keen on professionally documenting the process, you could also hire a photographer/videographer to capture the moment.
While 2020 will definitely go down as one of the toughest years this generation has had to face, it also showed us that genuine love can surpass all tests and trials. Although surprising, love DID find a way to flourish even during the pandemic.