In the business of engagement.

by Jake W, Lambent Assistant

It's February in the city, and, if there's one thing the drug stores, magazines, jewelers, and chocolatiers can all agree on, it's that love is in the air. The adage that you can’t buy love seems to have an exception in this city: love often comes with a price tag. While many despise the Hallmark-ification of Valentine’s Day, the rest of us hopeless romantics can't stifle the giddiness that a dozen roses, a box of truffles, or a diamond necklace can bring.

On several occasions clients have gotten a Lambent assistant to stage their marriage proposals, perhaps the most deliberately romantic moment of a person's life. The story is always the same: a young man, madly in love, is ready to pop the question and wants assistance with the set up. The reason that a handful of men, independent of each other and not regular clients, have come up with the idea of using an engagement assistant with zero marketing on our part underscores how it’s a really good idea.

There’s the practical aspect –  you need someone to pick up the flowers, scatter the petals, light the candles and put on the right music while you're out distracting your almost-fiancé. Assistants are an extension of you, with a unique blend of skills – organizer, stylist, event planner, confidant – that allow us to assume crucial roles in deeply personal settings. Also, planning to propose makes men nervous. Having a partner in crime to get you your ultimate one can be deeply reassuring. You’re not in this alone.

Last year around this time, one client approached us in a state of mild panic. He and his girlfriend were moving into a new apartment in the Flatiron district and he was all set to pop the question, but he couldn't figure out how to do it. He had, as he told me "no idea about this sort of thing." I asked for her favorite flowers (he had saved a list in a Word document), a budget (he had thought about that too), and his ideas so far.  He wanted to take her out to dinner and come back to find the apartment set up all romantically. He added, “Oh, and a bottle of Dom." I told him I would take care of the rest.

I spent that day running around ordering bouquets of roses, lilies and purple hydrangeas; picking up champagne, glasses, ice and the bucket to put it all in. I bought candles of all sizes and jars to contain them, including some out on the balcony. I bought roses just for rose petals and lined the front hallway with them. I and even got some Baked by Melissa mini cupcakes and a cute little stand for their display.

Texting back and forth with the client, I lit the candles and hit the lights as the sun started to set, and I was out the back door as he and his girlfriend came in the front. Ten minutes later, the client called me to tell me just how beautiful it all was and how much his girlfriend loved it. He added, “Oh and she said yes!" I, of course, told him that it had been my pleasure and that he should promptly hang up the phone and call his mother.

We are a jaded culture in which material expressions of romance can seem to be part of the problem – we buy what we should be expressing from within. Engaging an assistant for getting engaged may seem less than ideally organic. But the execution is beautiful. We want to love and love to love, and it is gratifying to see this feeling manifested in ways we can see and touch. We appreciate those big, sweeping romantic gestures shown in movies and books, and secretly pray will happen to us – more, that we can be the one to give that to someone else.

Getting engaged is sweet, momentous, and hopefully a little scary. Whether you want to scream it from the rooftops with a sign, a bucket of lollipops, a mariachi band, or just a quiet little candlelit dinner overlooking the Hudson I say go for it. Love can be as big and bold as you want it to be. Just don't be afraid to ask for some assistance.