With this BBQ I thee wed...
October 9, 2012 10:34 AM   Subscribe

My partner is planning to propose in a matter of a few months. I want have something that I can surprise HIM with when he proposes to me! Is it acceptable for a woman to give a reciprocal proposal gift to the man? And if it is acceptable, would a barbecue be a little too bizarre?

As of last Thursday I have found out that my partner has paid a substantial down payment on the ring of my dreams and that it is currently off getting sized. He didn’t intend to tell me, but he is crap at secrets. He was trying to be sly but I figured it out pretty quickly when he came home absolutely BOUNCING and grinning and had been gone much too long for him to do what he alleged he was doing. He had this whole fake-out plan in place with the jewelry store where he’d take me to see the ring “one last time” to be sure I felt it was the right one and then be all “Oh no, it appears someone else bought the ring!” and then I’d get all upset. Thankfully he couldn’t keep it together long enough to have that work out.

Anyway, I am estatic that he is so visibly excited at the idea of proposing to me, and I am so move that he is getting me the most gorgeous and unique and meaningful ring I can imagine, and I continue to be really touched by how much effort and thought he has put in to finding a ring that he knew I would love and that had real meaning. (Locally made, center stone is a sapphire which is the stone for September (his birthmonth and the month we intend to get married), pear shaped sapphire which has meaning with my family, etc).

I love him so hard I can barely breathe and I really want to give him something in return when I agree to marry him.

Question 1: If you were a man with fairly traditional and chivalrous values, how would you feel if you were also gifted something at the time of proposal?

Question 2: The only thing I can really think of to give him that I know he would love and use is the BBQ he has been lusting after all year because our current BBQ is dying/dead. The only reason we haven’t gotten a new one is the cost, and the only reason the cost is an issue is because he’s allocating his extra money in to engagement ring. Is an engagement BBQ weird? If you’re a man, how would you feel about getting a BBQ from your newly-ringed fiancée as a reciprocal engagement gift?

In case this helps, he is in his late 30's, a well educated intelligent working professional, and he has a 5 year old son from his first marriage that he has 50/50 custody of.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson to Grab Bag (53 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
That is so sweet of you! Mazel-Tov!

An engagement BBQ is not weird, it's awesome! I am sure he'll love it and y'all can have a nice barbecue to announce your official engagement!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:37 AM on October 9, 2012 [11 favorites]

As a man with fairly traditional and chivalrous values, I think it would be bit weird to receive a gift from my fiancee' at the moment she became such.

However, I see nothing wrong with giving the BBQ as an engagement gift a few days later.

You describe him as chivalrous and traditional, which makes me think that his idea of a proposal is an event where all of the arrows and attention point at you. I'm not arguing the right or wrong of it.

My $0.02. :)
posted by DWRoelands at 10:40 AM on October 9, 2012 [12 favorites]

Nothing weird at all about that. Congrats.
posted by mmascolino at 10:40 AM on October 9, 2012

Question 1: I would feel like I had absolutely positively proposed to the right person.
Question 2: Engagement BBQ is the greatest idea ever.

posted by jbickers at 10:40 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

I honestly think this is completely adorable and it will be so totally YOU TWO to get him an engagement BBQ and you guys will have this kind of reverse Gift of the Magi thing happening that is just- do it! Do it to it!

But if you for some reason wanted to be suuuuuuuuuper-traditional or just more...I don't know, matchy matchy, you could get him a nice watch! Watches seem to have fallen out of favor as romantic gifts for men and I'M KIND OF MAD ABOUT THAT.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:41 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

If you were a man with fairly traditional and chivalrous values, how would you feel if you were also gifted something at the time of proposal?

I think for some men, the proposal as much about the man being chivalrous - in other words, it's already sort of 'his moment,' and giving him a gift at that time might be stealing his thunder.

If you think he might not be happy with receiving a reciprocal gift at the same time (and would you be asking this is if you weren't unsure?), then consider surprising him with the barbeque the next day.
posted by muddgirl at 10:41 AM on October 9, 2012 [16 favorites]

It's a great idea! Congratulations!
posted by marimeko at 10:42 AM on October 9, 2012

This is adorable. I think nothing's weird about giving the BBQ, but second DWRoeland's suggestion to give it to him a few days later, not right after he pops the question.
posted by sweetkid at 10:42 AM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

Get him the BBQ! Congrats!

(Although how you're going to haul a BBQ out at the exact time of proposal may be a bit complicated...)
posted by sawdustbear at 10:42 AM on October 9, 2012

Random thoughts:

It's a pretty eccentric gift, IMHO, but if it works for you then it works for you.

Might the reciprocal gifting take away from the "magic of the moment" (tm)? He might want the moment to be about him giving you the ring. There is no reason why you can't gift him something later, leaving the proposal to stand alone on its own special day.

One issue I see with gifting a BBQ is that it's not permanent. Your ring will last 50 years. The BBQ won't. Some people suggest really nice watches as engagement gifts for guys, but that might not be the right thing for your guy. Also, guys who like watches tend to have very specific tastes in watches. That makes a purchase much harder.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:44 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

My now-wife got me a road wheelset for my bike. (Velocity Aerohead with an off-center rear drilling and Ultegra hubs.) She only got one engagement ring. I got two! And it's exactly what I wanted, so I think a new grill would be awesome if he loves grilling.
posted by supercres at 10:44 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

(Although how you're going to haul a BBQ out at the exact time of proposal may be a bit complicated...)

It is more that I would keep a card or something in my purse with a picture of his BBQ in it to give him. If I do this (which I think I may) I want him to know that I had been planning it, that it wasn't some passing idea or sudden flighty thing that I am occasionally very capable of having. I really want him to know that I had been thinking of him and wanting to get him something.

And yes, he loves grilling. He is ridiculously meticulous with his smoking wood chips and meat placement and temperature control, etc. It is one of his absolutely favourite things to do.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:44 AM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

I would have LOVED if my wife had given me a new BBQ when we got engaged. However, as someone who was a little bit traditional when it came to the proposal, I think muddgirl's response about "stealing his thunder" is accurate; I would likely have felt that way had my wife immediately reciprocated by giving me a gift.

Giving him a gift is probably cool, but I'd wait a day or two. Besides, a BBQ isn't something you can have in your pocket to whip out the moment he whips out the ring. Waiting a day or two just seems practical in this particular scenario.
posted by asnider at 10:45 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Anyone who would have a problem with their betrothed celebrating the betrothal with any kind of gift - let alone one chosen with the giftee's pleasure in mind - would be beyond "traditional and chivalrous" and into bizarre and controlling. I trust your fella is nothing of the kind.

Furthermore, I think it a perfectly appropriate gift. A good marriage, like good barbeque, develops low-and-slow.
posted by Egg Shen at 10:46 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

1) Would be awesome.
2) Would be awesome.
posted by wrok at 10:46 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

I grew up with fairly traditional and chivalrous values, but currently labor under a gender politic that is somewhat more mixed. It would not bother me in the slightest.

Thinking about the etiquette of it, I believe that there is no circumstance in which a person should be bothered to receive a thoughtful and well-intentioned gift from a close friend who could afford to give such a gift.

You know your fiance better than we do, but unless you know for a fact that he would feel emasculated by the mere act of a reciprocal gift, I still don't see a problem with it. (Also, and speaking again from a place of traditional gender roles, I can think of nothing emasculating about being given a barbecue.)

Having said all of that, it does sound as though your intended may have had a specific plan in mind for how the proposal was supposed to go. It might be a good idea to wait a short time (say, a day) before giving him the barbecue, simply because he might feel as though the pressure is on HIM to make sure that the proposal goes right, as an event, and he might be thrown off by the presence of your gift to him.

But in light of that, I think that your idea is very sweet.

Also, congratulations!
posted by gauche at 10:46 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

definitely the next day. if he's all about this being a big deal for him to propose to you in this way, then let him make it all about you and gushing and being surprised and all of that.

he's making a big deal out of it because he wants it to be this special thing he does for you. so don't steal his thunder or trip up his plan. give him a gift the next day or a few days later or something.

as for it being meaningful, TELL him it was something you thought about so much you asked the internet for advice because you wanted it to be JUST RIGHT and you were just so blown away by how thoughtful he was being (as you said up top).

maybe even write in a nice card and leave the bbq w the card all santa-like in the living room while he's sleeping or something (AFTER the proposal of course).

all the best to you :-)
posted by sio42 at 10:49 AM on October 9, 2012

Two things:

1) I'm in the apparent minority who feels that you may be stepping on his pride by doing this. It's not taboo, but it might be ... weird.
2) Grills, unlike rings, break down after a few years. How would he (and you) feel about eventually wheeling the thing to the curb once it has roasted its last portabella?
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 10:50 AM on October 9, 2012

I think the idea of the Engagement BBQ is AWESOME. I would also give it to him maybe the next day, because he is surely planning this event very carefully.

He won't think it's a spur-of-the-moment gift if you wheel it out the next morning, trust.

posted by Countess Sandwich at 10:50 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I LOVE the idea of an engagement BBQ! What a great idea. So many memories to be made together as a new family! Delicious, delicious memories.

I gave my husband engagement boots when he proposed. They were very high-quality, nicely-built, and meant to wear well for a lifetime. Silly, yes, but I wanted to give him something that would last and last and remind him of me when he wore it--it seemed only fair since I got a ring. His friends were very jealous when he told them that he got a special thing, too, and they all thought engagement boots were a great idea. I say go for it!
posted by anonnymoose at 10:50 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wait a few days and celebrate your engagement by BBQing some stuff. Maybe invite over parents or siblings for BBQ where you announce it.
posted by BibiRose at 10:51 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Does he think that his proposal is still a secret? Does having the BBQ gift card (or whatever) ready to go suggest that you have figured out his secret? Do you think he will be saddened that he was not able to keep it a secret? If the answer to any of those is yes, I might be inclined to play along with the surprise and give him the BBQ gift a few days or a week later, perhaps as part of a special day or activity?

On Preview, BibiRose is genius. That's what to do exactly.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:54 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

The thought about proposal largely being about the proposer focusing all the attention upon the proposee is actually bang on. He has said a number of times how he has "plans" and how he wants it to be an amazing and surprising moment for me. Totally fair point about how my gifting him a BBQ in that same moment may take away from whatever plans or expectation he had for the moment.

Rocksteady, he told me directly that he has put money down on the ring. It isn't something I found out without him knowing, so yes, he knows I know. He does still hope to make the proposal itself happen unexpectedly though.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:54 AM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Is it possible to get a BBQ (or, more practically BBQ tools) engraved with initials or something? It would show him that you didn't just rush out that day and buy it for him and it would make it more romantic.

I also agree to wait until the day after to gift it to him. Congratulations!
posted by Flamingo at 10:58 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Engagement bbq is great. I was gifted a set of golf clubs by my fiance a few weekss after our engagement. It was meant as a gift that implied how much she was excited to be engaged to me and that I could still have my own life after we were married.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:58 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think "Engagement BBQ" may quickly become the defacto reciprocal engagement gift!

posted by Cosine at 10:59 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Data point: My fiance has wished many times that he had a ring to wear during our engagement (and now I feel like kind of a douche for not getting him anything, but it is really cute when I catch him "trying on" his wedding band). So even though its not traditional, I get the impression that at least some guys _do_ want something, but they all know they aren't allowed to ask.

I think the BBQ card is an awesome idea! Maybe be strategic about when you give him the card though. If he does something crazy all-out and elaborate for the proposal, wait until everything has calmed down some (spectators gone home, etc), and give him the card while you two are having post-engagement happy huggy time.
posted by sparklemotion at 11:01 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

I love the idea of an engagement BBQ! I agree that with a very traditional person it should probably be given a few days after. And engraved (maybe a small engraved plate?), because that's just awesome and hilarious and wonderful.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:05 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Yes, the engraved plate with the names and date and something about the engagement is a perfect addition. More than that, it's something that can be salvaged when the barbecue itself has given up the ghost.
posted by gauche at 11:09 AM on October 9, 2012 [6 favorites]

why dont you let the ring be the surprise of the day. and then a few weeks later have a gathering of friends/family engagement party/bbq where you plan on using your old bbq and then give him an engagement surprise of unveiling the new bbq.
posted by c at 11:09 AM on October 9, 2012

I think clearly what you need to do is get a picture of the BBQ and shrink it down really small, and stick it in an empty ring box, and when the moment is right, get down on one knee and whip it out.
posted by phunniemee at 11:24 AM on October 9, 2012 [21 favorites]

plan on using your old bbq and then give him an engagement surprise of unveiling the new bbq

If he's serious about actual barbecue (I mean low-and-slow large hunks of meat over smoldering wood for hours and hours, not grilling) this is a bad idea. Barbecue takes some serious prep time, and his preparation is tied to the equipment he'll be using.
posted by supercres at 11:25 AM on October 9, 2012

If he has no sense of humor and/or takes himself quite seriously, I would not advise the BBQ. If neither of those descriptions apply, you should totally do it.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:29 AM on October 9, 2012

Phunniemee, you are BRILLIANT! He would think that was hilarious, and since I went so far as to get a teenie tiny photo of the BBQ in question he would know I had planned it for a while. And I actually have a ring box from the store he is buying the ring from because when he bought a necklace for me there last year they put it in a really fancy pants ring box for him. I KNEW I was keeping that box for a reason... :)
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:29 AM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

I think you should gift it first thing the next morning, like stupidly early, so that it's clear that this was a nefarious plot long in the making, ready to go at any second. Amplified thunder, rather than stolen.
posted by jsturgill at 12:00 PM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

supercres: If he's serious about actual barbecue (I mean low-and-slow large hunks of meat over smoldering wood for hours and hours, not grilling) this is a bad idea. Barbecue takes some serious prep time, and his preparation is tied to the equipment he'll be using.

I think the idea is to have a big cookout for friends and family using the old equipment, and during the festivities, announce his upcoming present. Of course, you'll then have to have another party for him to break in the new grill, but that's OK.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:06 PM on October 9, 2012

I think it sounds like a great idea, but I agree with some others about waiting to do it on a separate day. I got my now-husband an engagement Playstation 2, which was promptly stolen by some teenagers when we moved to our current town. Still, we still have the memory of the gift itself. In that sense it doesn't matter if it's as long-lasting as the ring.
posted by bizzyb at 12:06 PM on October 9, 2012

I actually have a ring box from the store he is buying the ring ...

Just remember to remove the cushion inside the box and replace with a charcoal briquette.
posted by Kabanos at 12:15 PM on October 9, 2012 [15 favorites]

One more thought - give him the gift of thinking he completely surprised you. BBQ a day or two later.
posted by NoDef at 12:23 PM on October 9, 2012

When you get the BBQ - get a Weber, it's the only one I have had that could stand the test of time...
posted by NoDef at 12:26 PM on October 9, 2012

FWIW I got an engagement ring. My (now) husband got an engagement Zippo.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:32 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't worry that the grill will eventually wear out. That just means that you can get him a (bigger, better) 5 year anniversary grill.
posted by psycheslamp at 1:00 PM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Don't forget steak, the perfect grill accessory.
posted by wryly at 1:20 PM on October 9, 2012

A personalized steak branding iron might be a nice permanent addition to the purchase of the grill.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:22 PM on October 9, 2012

Sounds great. My friend bought her new fiancé and engagement guitar. Seemed to go down very well.
posted by penguin pie at 1:30 PM on October 9, 2012

I got my spouse an engagement ring too, although we shopped for it after the actual proposal (or rather, I nominated several and let him choose). Guys often feel a little left out of all the thrill and fuss around the lady's ring, and almost all of his colleagues were envious. Now he has a little bling for the other hand when the mood strikes!

So anyway, another vote for its being really a great idea, whatever the appropriate gift for your guy might be. Everybody loves to celebrate, to feel thought about, surprised. Yay, and tell us how it goes! :))
posted by acm at 2:04 PM on October 9, 2012

I think it's charming. :)

And I agree with letting his moment of glory honoring you reach it's conclusion, but "proposing" to him the same day, so its one big happy day of relationship affirmation and giddiness.

You'll know best how to time it so you don't step on his toes OR have your big secret "now it's my turn" plans interfering with relaxing with your fiance.
posted by itesser at 2:19 PM on October 9, 2012

Big pancake breakfast the next day, more bacon than a man could eat in a lifetime (if that's something he likes), real maple syrup, butter, eggs, fresh-squeezed OJ, and... a hand on his arm just before he takes his first bite.

"Honey, I have something I need to say before we eat."

You sound serious. He frowns. What's going on? Is something wrong? Is this SWEET spread of delicious food meant to soften the blow?

Drop to knee. Procure ring box with tiny photo. Stunned bafflement. An awkward grin?

"Darling, you made me the happiest woman in the world yesterday, and I want you to feel loved too. This brand-new, quadruple burner natural gas stainless-steel grill, oven, and smoker combination BBQ and ice chest embodies the fire that burns for you in my heart. Will you do me the honor of grilling our first engagement dinner on it this night? Eight pounds of USDA prime steaks are already in the fridge."

I have not been able to stop thinking about this.
posted by jsturgill at 2:45 PM on October 9, 2012 [14 favorites]

It's *your* proposal, wedding, marriage, etc. Feel free to re-create old traditions into something new that celebrates your joy. An engagement gift of a fabulous BBQ grill sounds great. We recently celebrated a similar event with sky lanterns.
posted by theora55 at 4:36 PM on October 9, 2012

The BBQ is an awesome idea and will make him crazy with excitement, but don't give it to him until a day or two after he proposes to you - that day is his day to make you swoon with happiness.

The happiest we can be is when we're going something for someone else, so let him walk on the clouds on the day he gives you the world's most beautiful ring. You can enjoy the same thrill when you give him his BBQ a day or so later and watch him be the kid with the new toy.

What a wonderful life you two are going to have - each of you wants to thrill the other more than to be thrilled yourself. Beautiful.
posted by aryma at 8:34 PM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

This is awesome! The only thing that gives me pause is the impermanence of a barbecue as oppose to a ring. You get a keepsake for life, he gets... something that will likely need to be replaced in a few years.

But I love the idea. I knit my now-husband an engagement Aran sweater, and neither one of us thought there was anything weird about that!
posted by third word on a random page at 4:54 AM on October 10, 2012

Well, I have it all arranged. A friend of mine is going to store the BBQ until it is needed, and another friend is going to see if her welding husband would be able to attach a metal plaque to it that commemorated the proposal. :) I'm going to do the ring box with charcoal in it proposal on one knee the day after he proposes.

You all have been wicked good help! Thanks so much!
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 5:13 AM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

FOLLOW UP: He proposed on sunday. I was totally shocked and taken off guard, so once I stopped crying and said yes, I soon blurted out that I am getting him an engagement BBQ. He is THRILLED! He thinks it is the most thoughtful thing ever and he thinks I am amazing for doing it. So even though I didn't deliver it the way I wanted, it totally went over well and I feel really good about it.

Engagement BBQs rock.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:20 AM on October 31, 2012 [14 favorites]

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