What women want (when it comes to getting engaged)

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First Posted: 3/19/2015

Planning the perfect proposal for the special woman in your life can be intimidating.

With some proposal going viral on YouTube almost every other week — from intricately-choreographed lip-sync videos to flash mobs — the idea of simply getting on one knee can seem stale.

But is an elaborate spectacle what your girlfriend expects when you decide to finally pop the question?

Brides-to-be Cierra Plesnar and Jessica Banks, both from Dallas, revealed what women really want when it comes to men popping the question.

Guys, take notes.

At 4 years old, Dustin Fitzgerald, of Sweet Valley, told a girl at preschool that he was going to grow up and marry her. Seventeen years later, Fitzgerald is about to marry Plesnar, that girl.

Growing up, the couple’s mothers were best friends. Still, Plesnar said the last time she saw Fitzgerald as a child was when they were 9.

“I didn’t see Dustin again until we were 18 and I was a freshman at Shippensburg. He was working for my uncle, cutting down trees,” Plesnar said.

Shortly after, Fitzgerald joined the Marine Corps and they lost touch again.

“In the fall of 2013, I decided to message him on Facebook because I knew he was in Japan and I just wanted to see how he was doing. I wasn’t even sure if he would remember who I was,” Plesnar said.

He remembered and the two kept in touch until he returned home last summer. Then they officially began dating, Plesnar said.

A mass at Calvary Bible Chapel in Hunlock Creek would prove that testaments of young love should not be dismissed. The pastor asked Fitzgerald to say a few words at a service.

Plesnar thought nothing out of the ordinary.

“He went up after the intro of the sermon and started thanking the church body for their support and prayers while he has been in the Marine Corps. He then thanked me for supporting him and being his rock. Then he called me up front and at first I refused to go, but I did go up front. He introduced me to the church body and then said there was something he wanted to do,” Plesnar said.

That’s when she knew the that little boy who told her he was going to marry her was going to really propose.

Plesnar said she was so surprised and excited about the proposal, she thought she was going to shake out of her high heels.

The bride-to-be said she fell in love with her ring from Van Scoy Diamond Mine in Wilkes-Barre, but the ring is not the most important part of the proposal. For Plesnar, it’s all about being surprised.

“The element of surprise leads to a genuine and unforgettable emotional reaction. Make it heartfelt. Something that was planned specifically for her. She is going to tell the story of the proposal over and over and it should be meaningful,” Plesnar said.

The most meaningful part of Plesnar’s proposal was that her family was included in the surprise and was able to witness her proposal. She encourages men to include people who are close to the woman you want to marry.

Jessica Banks followed the sentiment of Plesnar when it came to what she wanted from a proposal.

“I think women want honest emotion and a bit of effort. I know that is what I wanted and it is what I was lucky enough to get,” Banks said.

While living in Florida in 2010, Banks met a man in the Navy named Aaron Heil from St. Louis, Missouri.

As Banks and was getting ready to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the couple’s first date, she didn’t expect an elaborate celebration since Heil had just returned from a Navy detachment to New Mexico. To her surprise, a nice dinner and trip to the beach was planned, she said.

As Banks and Heil walked on the beach, under the stars, Heil got down on one knee and popped the question.

“I was totally surprised since he had only been home for about two weeks and was spending most of that time working well into the night,” Banks said.

Getting engaged on that special date was just the bit of effort Banks anticipated.

“Aaron totally surprised me on a day that is very important to us. We will be getting married on the fifth anniversary of our first date and one year from the date of his proposal. His proposal is a memory that will not be forgotten and a story I am happy to share,” Banks said.

The secret to the proposal women want seems clear — include the people closest to her, show a bit of effort and make sure it’s a story that she will want to share with a newspaper.