In 2009, WhatsApp began its triumphal march around the world. The messaging service, developed as an alternative to the old-fashioned SMS, grew to nine-digit user numbers within a few years. In 2014, Facebook bought the company and the app, at which point around 800 million people were already registered on WhatsApp. The purchase price was a staggering $19 billion and was paid partly in cash and partly in Facebook shares (now Meta). WhatsApp still leads the list of the most popular messenger apps by a wide margin, ahead of Signal, Telegram and others.
But is the popular service the right medium to make a marriage proposal? Has an engagement over WhatsApp become commonplace in our digitized world?
Is a marriage proposal over WhatsApp a good idea?
A large part of private communication is now over WhatsApp, younger generations in particular use smartphones almost exclusively to keep in touch with friends, relatives and family. So the idea of making a marriage proposal with the help of WhatsApp is not entirely outlandish.
Nevertheless, we advise against proposing over WhatsApp, because no matter how beautiful the pictures you use are, no matter what you write, a marriage proposal that is not made in person in the presence of the other person has no intimacy and romance. It is precisely these two elements that make up a marriage proposal, two people who love each other deeply and experience this moment together. With WhatsApp, you don’t see the twinkle in each other’s eyes when you get on your knees. You don’t hear the answer “Yes, I do.” amid tears of joy. You can’t hug and kiss each other. You miss out on the thing that makes a marriage proposal one of the most beautiful moments in life.
The statement may sound very traditional and conservative, but there are simply things in life that are better said in person because of their importance and seriousness. Not on the phone, not by e-mail and not with WhatsApp. Revealing to your partner that you are willing to spend the rest of your life together, in a joint marriage, is clearly one of those things.
What are the chances of success of a marriage proposal via WhatsApp?
An application using a messenger does not necessarily mean that you have made a special effort. The picture of the engagement ring cannot replace putting it on yourself. There is a high risk that the proposal will come off as a spontaneous whim and your partner will think you are making a joke that isn’t working.
The chances that your proposal will be successful and not rejected are certainly higher with a real old-school proposal than with a virtual one. Of course there are good reasons for rejecting a marriage proposal, but the idea that the way you propose is the reason for the rejection is clearly avoidable.
The verdict on popular wedding forums on the subject of marriage proposals using WhatsApp is correspondingly cautious, for most people such a proposal still seems rather strange and very unromantic.
Are there situations in which a marriage proposal via WhatsApp is appropriate?
There are certainly exceptional situations in which a classic proposal is simply not possible, for example in a long-distance relationship across continents. You won’t see each other again for many months, but don’t want to wait that long? Then you could use WhatsApp, but not the normal messaging function, because in addition to this, the app also offers a video call function.
In such a video call, you can see each other, speak directly to each other, see each other’s reactions and present the diamond engagement ring on camera. Better yet, you hire a reliable valuables courier to ship the ring. Just before the ring is delivered to your partner, the courier calls you and you start the video call. A big surprise that certainly won’t fail to have an effect, but requires perfect timing.