By Jill Brooke
Walter Clark is a self-described romantic who wanted his engagement to be a home run.
After all, there is so much attention on the wedding day, but why not make the proposal a memorable moment?
A natural researcher, he found a Florida company called “Dream Picnics Miami” on Instagram that specializes in creating special birthday announcements or engagement plans. More importantly, it is not a huge investment but delivers a big impact. Clark decided on their beach picnic option.
Not only did owner Diany Castillo build a beautiful teepee-shaped arch with luminous candles, but she sourced exquisite red roses. Since red roses are the color of love, the teepee poles were wrapped in ruby-colored fabric.
Clark did add his own music for the big moment – and his own champagne.
“It cost less than $500,” marvels Clark, who is so happy with the company that they’ve been hired by the couple to produce their wedding next February.
In fact, Diany Castillo, who started the company a year ago, had focused on birthdays, baby announcements, and engagements for this idea. Castillo says she got the idea from a company in California that does similar gatherings. “We wanted to make memories affordable,” she explains. “Costs depend on the hours but normally it’s a two-hour event.” Basic costs start at $300 and then there is a menu of add-ons. Plus it is easier to do since the company is in Florida where you don’t have to rent the beaches and have lots of sunshine.
Her happy clients now have urged her to expand to larger events.
Naturally, Clark’s fiancé, Orieta Acuna, not only said yes but felt it was one of the best nights of her life.
“Plus everyone around us was cheering when they saw what we were doing,” adds Clark, who is a commercial bank lender as well as a sports agent for the National Baseball Association. Acuna works in childcare.
While ideas circulate for creating memorable marriage proposals – ranging from hiring a private chef to creating custom-made puzzles – it makes it easier when someone specializes in making this type of event happen. Luckily more companies are now recognizing this fertile market.
Furthermore, there are 5.2 weddings expected in the next year which becomes a whirlwind of details – and costs The average wedding is more than $28,000. (And that is a conservative estimate) The engagement is far less stressful and more intimate. It is also a milestone event that deserves to be focused on with more creativity.
After all, it is not only the big party that creates joy. Sometimes the smaller gatherings can make a memorable splash too whether it’s for a big birthday, an anniversary, a baby announcement, or an engagement.
A beach setting is always romantic. As is on top of a mountain or in a cozy log cabin. Be mindful of ambiance. Picnics are always a great idea – which can be at a beach or in a garden. Finding the right location saves costs since the ambiance is built into the environment and you don’t have to spend as much making one.
While red roses ideal choice for engagement, baby announcements can have blue delphiniums for boys and pink peonies for girls. Dried flowers are also trending since the neutral shades match so much decor.
The decor is essential but so is personalizing the event with elements unique to the couple. Select a favorite song like Walter Clark used or have pictures of the couple around the venue. For a baby announcement party, bring in pictures of the parents. Or if it’s a surprise, let the spouse see the gender by the decor.
Too often these moments aren’t documented. Plan ahead to have a friend or ask someone nearby to take a picture so you can have it forever.
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD, floral editor for Aspire Design and Home magazine and contributor to Florists Review magazine.