Millennials Are Surprisingly Traditional When It Comes to Proposing

Except for the whole social-media part…

Updated 06/21/17

@nicoleyoley via Instagram

There are a lot of words associated with the millennial generation: lazy, entitled, entrepreneurial, and crop tops, just to name a few. But one that usually doesn’t get thrown in the mix: traditional. However, according to a new survey, when it comes to marriage proposals, millennials are all about going old-school.

The poll of 2,000 married Americans across the country conducted by JamesAllen.com, an online diamond bridal jewelry retailer, found that millennials (ages 18 to 34) are more than twice as likely as people over 45 to have had a proposal where the person proposing got down on one knee. And one in three of these millennials think proposing in this way is of the utmost importance.

In some more surprising news, millennials were also more likely than the over-45 set to have a religious element included in the proposal (a mention of God, proposing in a religious setting, or timing it to a religious day). And over 60 percent of them asked a parent for permission for a hand in marriage; only 20 percent of their older counterparts felt that this was necessary. Oded Edelman, CEO and cofounder of JamesAllen.com, says, “Millennials may be more likely to honor ‘traditional’ proposal customs than one might expect, but they add personal touches where it matters.”

Yet millennials did tend stick to their more modern ways when it came to buying engagement rings. Millennials were still three times more likely to buy their engagement ring online versus those over 45. And this generation also thinks more money needs to be spent on the engagement ring; millennials are twice as likely to say that spending at least a month’s worth of wages on the engagement ring is “extremely” important, going as far as to say that the rock should cost an average of two and a half months' rent, while those over 45 thought just over one and a half months would suffice. Interestingly, the study found that people living in the Northeast spend twice as much on rings as those in the Southwest. (We see you, New Yorkers.)

The young 'uns are also all about the big, planned-out, often over-the-top proposal. Millennials were more than twice as likely to say that it is extremely important for a proposal to be unique and meticulously planned. After all, this is the generation that started to make asking someone to the prom its own event.

The poll found that the more expensive the ring, the more elaborate the proposal, with 42 percent of younger people saying that they made sure there was something unique or different about their proposal. (Only 15 percent of older people said the same.) This could include putting together a video presentation of some sort or going on a trip.

But hang on—we can’t forget a huge factor that plays into the millennial mindset: social media. (If you didn’t ‘gram it, it didn’t happen, amirite?) Those between 18 and 34 were more than eight times as likely to have shared news of their engagement on social media, with over half of them sharing it just a few hours after the proposal. Forget calling your parents immediately after saying “yes”—what could be more important than landing on the right filter for your ring selfie? The younger crowd is also into doing their proposals in a more public way. Over 40 percent proposed in front of other people, while 77 percent of those over 45 had their big moment in private.

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