NAME: Caroline Ralston
INSTAGRAM HANDLE: @proposalboutique
JOB TITLE: Founder of Proposal Boutique
MOVED TO THE UAE IN: 2011
Caroline moved to the UAE in 2011 and after receiving her dream marriage proposal (in New York) from her now husband in 2014, she noticed that there was no support for men looking to ask the big question in Dubai, so she decided to set up the UAE’s first proposal planning company.
The company has been operating for 8 years, working with clients from all over the World who are planning to propose to their partner whilst in Dubai. They have planned every kind of proposal from rooftops, yachts, desert, helicopter, flash mobs and have even organised a proposal on the stage during a Dubai Media City concert.
They have planned over 400 proposals, have a 100% success rate and have worked with a number of high-profile clients including footballers, actors, models and influencers.
Proposal Boutique offers a complete A-Z concierge service for clients. This includes sourcing the perfect venue, organising permits, photography, videography, musicians, limousines, balloon arrangements, fireworks, dinner menus and decor which includes candles, flowers, centrepieces and any other custom items. They can even help clients pick the engagement ring and guide them with their proposal speech.
What does her day look like..
7AM- Wake up and respond to messages that were received overnight. We work with clients from all over the World, so the time difference means that we have a lot of inquiries overnight.
Then I head to the gym for a spin or Pilates class. This is the time that I turn my phone off and try to zone out for an hour. I work out every day as it gives me energy for the day ahead and helps to keep me focused. I also love the drive there and back as that is when I prioritise my to-do list for the day.
9AM: Start the day at the office. I use the mornings to make bookings for future proposals. I call venues, book the florists, work with the venue chefs to prepare personalised menus for the couple and complete any paperwork needed for permits.
I will then look at our recent proposal videos and photos that have been sent back by the videographer and suggest edits and retouches before forwarding them to the happy couple.
I then focus on the business aspects and update the website, update the accounts, make any payments, collate VAT receipts, ensure all contracts are signed for the day ahead and reach out to new venues to set up site meetings for the upcoming week.
11AM- I then have a team meeting where we brainstorm new proposal ideas, venues and decorations that we can offer to our clients. We also go through upcoming proposals and update each other on our goals for the week.
12PM- Lunch. I always make time for a big lunch as it’s a long afternoon and evening ahead. I also make time to read a chapter of the latest book for my monthly book club.
1PM- I then head to the warehouse and prep for the days proposals. The warehouse is full of every proposal prop imaginable and there are five coordinators that are always in and out so it can get disorganised very quickly. I love everything to be nice and tidy, so I like to go in and organise everything. I also use this time to keep track of the inventory and ensure there are no damages.
3PM- Load the truck and head to the venue of the day
4PM- Arrive at the venue, get the security passes and unload all the boxes and get stuck in to creating another stunning proposal setup. I like to allow plenty of time for the setups as I always like to prepare for every possibility. I always have a few back up plans if it rains or is too windy or I have a vendor cancel at the last minute (which has never happened. But if it did, we are fully prepared for it).
We are a massive part of a couple’s love story so there is a lot of pressure to ensure that every aspect is perfect.
Once I am happy with the setup and have made any last-minute adjustments, I snap some pictures and use them to show off to my family and friends later on.
6.30PM- Get changed into my ‘undercover’ clothes. Most of the time, I act as a member of the venue staff. I then lead the couple to their proposal setup without raising any suspicions.
I am there for the start of the proposal to coordinate everyone including musicians, videographers, photographers and any other participant and then the couple are left alone to enjoy an intimate dinner.
7PM- I will stay close by in case the couple need me for anything, but this is my time to catch up on any new inquiries.
I usually get my husband to meet me at the venue so we can enjoy some time together and get something to eat.
10PM- Say a final congratulations and goodbye to the couple and begin to pack everything away and head back to the warehouse
1AM- Get home, shower and pass out.
The days are very full on but when you see the couple react to the setup and see her say ‘YES’, it is so worth it. That is what makes me do it all over again in 6 hours’ time!