NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- A marriage proposal, ideally, is a deeply personal profession of love and an expression of both consideration on devotion toward its recipient. Why wouldn't you want to pay someone else to handle it?
If you're thinking of popping the question on Valentine's Day, it's likely you're not the most original person to begin with. You don't have to compound this fact by punishing your beloved with a breathtaking lack of creativity.
Though a National Retail Federation survey says couples will spend nearly 6% less on each other this Valentine's Day than last, enterprising organizations from
to the National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild will make sure America's thoughtless dopes look like they spent countless hours (or, at least, dollars) formulating a plan to lock down their loved one for life.
As any bar or hotel that's ever grasped for the title of
knows, throwing a little diamond into a drink goes a long way.
offers suitors a creative reprieve by dropping a diamond ring created by in-house jeweler Bader & Garrin into a Grey Goose martini -- for $10,000. Dorothy Parker and her Round Table cohorts may scoff from beyond as the white-gloved waiter presents the drink on a silver platter, but neither William Faulkner nor Sinclair Lewis nor any other figure in the Algonquin's rich history of literary patrons will use the world "cheap" to describe you.
For $2,750 more, however, the Oak Room at Boston's Fairmont Copley
will put the ring atop the olives of its Belvedere vodka martini, and will throw in a steak dinner and one-night stay in a Champagne-, chocolate- and flower-filled suite.
If those scenarios still leave too many details to chance, the
Ivanka Trump Collection
is willing to take the maestro's baton and direct your entire engagement. With the purchase of any diamond ring from the shop's Bridal Bar, where prices start at $800, the store will set up a couple with a one-night stay at any of the Trump Hotel Collection's New York properties.
Champagne and long-stemmed roses will await in the room, while dinner at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's eponymous, Michelin three-star Jean-Georges restaurant follows that night, with breakfast-in-bed capping their stay the next morning. All the suitor has to do is open the wallet and bend a knee.
But is that who you're really marrying, a gold-digging lush who wants his or her life on display at all times? If the answer is yes, skip the subtlety and sprint to Atlantic City.
and MGM Mirage's
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
is holding a contest in which the couple with the most outlandish love story will be married by Run-DMC co-founder and practicing minister
at the casino's Gypsy Bar on Valentine's Day.
The upside is that it's free to enter, but the downside is that drunken attendees will be shouting out requests for "You Be Illin' " as dad walks the bride down the aisle.
If the answer is no, however, Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History offers a high-minded alternative. For $350, the museum will place an
in a specially lit case among other stones in its Grainger Hall of Gems. The ring will be accompanied by a message on a custom placard and a Champagne toast should all proceed according to plan.
If none of these options sound appealing and, quite honestly, you're exhausted from thinking about another person's feelings for five minutes, there's still one way to make a completely self-absorbed proposal while still benefitting others: a scoreboard announcement.
While basketball offers only its All-Star Game this Valentine's Day, NHL fans in New York City, Long Island, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Edmonton and Columbus, Ohio, all get a chance to express their love through hockey. For donations to team charities ranging from $50 in Minneapolis and Uniondale, N.Y., to a $100 donation at Madison Square Garden, fans can pop the question in front of 20,000 fellow die-hards -- most of whom will be vociferously advising the person on the receiving end to think twice about the suitor now kneeling in nacho cheese before them.
If successful, an arena
can be both a charity's and sports promotional department's dream. If it fails, however, the embarrassment can prove more costly than the
Valentine's Day proposal
-- Reported by Jason Notte in Boston.
Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet.com. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, The Boston Herald, The Boston Phoenix, Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent.