Season 16 of "The Bachelor" ended last night with the most controversial outcome in the history of the show: Bachelor Ben Flajnik proposed to contestant Courtney Robertson, whom America loves to hate. Many doubt that the couple will survive the media firestorm that they've faced since this season began airing. When Courtney's unkind treatment of the other contestants has come to light, Ben pulled away from Courtney and even briefly called off the engagement.
Despite the challenges that may lie ahead for Ben and Courtney, there are several tips that you can glean from the steps leading up to his proposal. These lessons will be useful even if you're planning a wedding on a budget.
1. Make sure that you're ready to propose.
As Ben narrowed down the group of women from 25 to the final two, he asked himself whether he could picture a future with each woman. The women who were most open with him, the adventurous ones, and the ones with whom he could be completely himself were the contestants who made it until the end. When it came time to pick out an engagement ring, Ben said that he had only one woman in mind to receive it. Though he was nervous, he felt completely ready to propose to Courtney.
Lesson: Figure out your own set of "must-haves" and deal breakers. Envision yourself proposing to your loved one and see how it makes you feel. Is this the person for you? Are you ready to propose?
2. See how you fit into each other's families.
Once Ben had chosen his final four contestants, he traveled to meet each of their families. He felt comfortable with three out of four of the families, and the parents of each of those women gave their blessing to an engagement. Ben said that he could see himself naturally fitting in with each of them. However, the family of the fourth woman, Kacie Boguskie, was aloof and revealed to Ben some fundamental differences between him and Kacie. Though it was difficult for both of them, he decided to end their relationship.
Lesson: It's important that you and your partner know each other's families and understand what you'll be marrying into. Is it essential to you to be close to your partner's family, or is it OK with you to keep your distance if you don't get along?
3. Choose a romantic backdrop.
Ben proposed to Courtney in picturesque Zermatt, Switzerland, with the Matterhorn in the background. Neither could stop talking about how breathtaking they found the views, and how the setting felt like part of a fairy tale. It was an unforgettable place to propose.
Lesson: Even if you'll be planning a wedding on a budget and can't afford to whisk your love away to Switzerland, you can choose a romantic setting for your proposal. Take her to the place where you had your first date, or where you said "I love you" for the first time. Arrange for an inexpensive weekend getaway to a charming town nearby. Choose a setting that will complement the beautiful moment you're about to share.
4. Select a diamond ring that she'll love.
In keeping with "Bachelor" tradition, Ben proposed to Courtney with a sparkly Neil Lane diamond ring. The center stone is cushion cut, and pavé diamonds surround it and line the band. Ben reportedly designed the ring just for Courtney, and upon receiving it on last night's finale, she gushed about how gorgeous it was.
Lesson: Engagement rings on "The Bachelor" typically cost around $60,000, and if you're planning a wedding on a budget, there's no way you can spend that kind of cash. Fortunately, you have a wealth of options for a high-impact diamond engagement ring that is also affordable. Consider buying a trio wedding ring set will be cheaper than buying each ring individually.
5. Prepare a few romantic words to share when you propose.
When Ben proposed to Courtney, he said, "Whenever I'm with you I have these incredible moments. You know, I thought to myself I could see myself with this woman for the rest of my life. I want you to know that I think you're an incredible woman." He continued, ""I have waited a really long time to tell you that I am in love with you more than you will ever know and this whole experience and journey has been worth it every step of the way." He ended with, "You are my forever."
Lesson: Think about the words you'd like to share with your bride-to-be that capture how she makes you feel, and why you want to spend the rest of your life with her. You don't need to write a speech, but do say a few heartfelt words before the four most important: "Will you marry me?"
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