Let me tell you a little story about where a smart guy about to get really lucky chose to propose. 

If she’s never been to a Japanese Hibachi steakhouse where they grill your food right on the table in front of you…or you’ve been together and it’s one of her favorite places to eat and enjoy the experience, consider planning a sizzling engagement proposal at a Japanese Hibachi Grill.

She’ll love your dinner dates together even if you can’t always (or ever) afford the most expensive restaurant. But sometimes you just gotta do it up right. Here’s one way to provide some sizzle with your supper, and a little adventure and group dynamics to a public proposal straight out of a storybook.

If your life was a movie, here’s how we’d help you script the perfect proposal moment.

               1. Dim the lights

      Most restaurants are WAY too well-lit. It’s almost antiseptic, and anti-romance if you ask us. Plus there’s the safety factor to consider when you’re dating and that awesome woman is still technically on the market because you haven’t put a ring on it and heard “I do”.

      Too much light equals too many guys and too much opportunity for someone younger, fitter, wealthier, and better-looking than your sorry behind to steal her away from you.

      Trust us, we know this. Dim lighting contributes to a romantic feeling, period. Hibachi grill restaurants are typically dim on the lighting spectrum, and the spotlight is on your entertaining chef. That is…until you are ready for the spotlight to be on you and your bride-to-be (see #4 below for how to get that spotlight).

                2. Cue the applause

          Most restaurant chefs don’t get applause, and if people are hooting and hollering in most restaurants it’s because you’re in a kid-friendly restaurant or a sports bar restaurant (neither of which typically would be recommended for a proposal location for most women). 

          Yet applause is actually common in a Japanese hibachi grill steakhouse. That’s because they serve up entertainment along with the cuisine for you and the other diners sitting around the same chef’s cooking surface in front of you. The chefs not only perform their chopping, mixing, cooking, and serving duties right in front of you, but it’s also pretty normal for some to tell jokes, make flaming onion-ring-oil volcanoes, toss knives and cleavers up in the air, or tie chopsticks into bunny-ear-sticks for kids to use.

          Why is all this relevant to you, dear sir? Clapping is contagious. And people who clap once are in the mood to clap again. You wouldn’t be the first guy to get spontaneous applause following your marriage proposal at a Japanese hibachi grill. Want to increase the odds random strangers in the restaurant will give you and your love the slow-clap? Just pay attention to #3, #4 and #5 below.

                       3. Time it right

              If you do decide to propose in a public place with people….you do want people to ooh, and ahh, and clap, and smile and wink and take pictures. It is immediate social proof feedback to your honey that you did a great job and other people see and know how special she is. 

              The key is to time it right. You don’t want to pop the question too early. Premature proposal is not pretty. Exercise a bit of patience, here, and it’ll pay off.

              When’s the right time? Make sure your table already has received your food. Too early before receiving food and your moment will not seem like a perfect post-dinner experience…but a pre-dinner interruption. If possible, also make sure some group somewhere in the restaurant has clapped and applauded for something in your hearing. Any behavioral science major in college could tell you that’s going to increase the likelihood people around your own table will clap for your engagement proposal.

              And make sure your confederate(s) (see 4 below) has/have seen and acknowledged your signal that you’re about to do it right there in public. Otherwise, gosh, you might not even get pictures of the proposal and that would be a shame.

                            4. Enlist your confederates

                  Imagine you’re down on one knee with a ring box held in out-stretched hand, having just asked her to marry you. Before she can answer you say “shh…hold this for a minute”, hand her the ring box, make a “T” sign with your hands for “time out”, pull out your phone, stand up, carry it over to a passing waiter, ask them to take a picture, show them how to use the camera function, come back, get back down on one knee and ask your girlfriend to give you back the ring…so you can give it back to her on camera.

                  A memorable proposal might be ruined by something so prosaic as handing a camera or cameraphone to a stranger and asking them to take a picture. Matter of fact, anything so simple or easily-arranged-for-in-advance might spoil the magic for her. And the truth is, it’s NOT THAT HARD to have a plan that will contribute to an occasion that will be talked about for years. 

                  This is where your confederates come in. They could be friends that came with you, or a couple you spoke with privately while your partner was in the Japanese powder room. Or it’s easy to recruit one or more confederates from among the staff working at the restaurant. 

                  Instead of the chef— who often has his/her hands full and is behind a Hibachi grill for crying out loud—ask a host or hostess with the run of the restaurant to help you. In advance. 

                  Some things they may help with might be:

                  a) letting the chef know sometime during the night you plan to propose and that he/she should lead a slow clap afterwards for the other customers to jump in on;

                  b) taking pictures (give them the turned on and fully charged camera ready to take pictures IN ADVANCE,  provide a quick demonstration of how to use it, and provide any passcodes necessary to make it work;

                  c) bringing dessert, strawberries, wine or champagne to follow the proposal. This isn’t necessary but plenty of guys have said that they wished they did something like this during their proposal. Mr. Cubic Zirconia is one of them! And maybe in the Hibachi Grill Proposal scenario, since you're at a group table… order enough goodies to share with everyone there. It’ll help you and she take some time to savor the moment!

                  Remember, timing is key when working with a team. You want this to happen smoothly without being seen to communicate with your confederate(s) “in the moment”. That means you need to pre-arrange to provide your confederate(s) a signal or code word you will give them later in the evening when you need their help.  

                              5. Invite her inner circle

                  You may want to propose to her where it’s just the two of you. Or you may want one or more people special to you and her to be there. Maybe her parents, grandparents, sister or brother. You may even want a full-fledged engagement party. A Hibachi grill proposal is ideal for any of these scenarios. 

                  You even have the choice whether to go with a group of people— large or small—or to have this inner circle “magically appear” at the right time to witness your proposal and party with the newly engaged couple afterwards.

                  Scenario 1: She knows you’re going to dinner with her parents (or whomever). You show up, all of you eat together around the same Hibachi grill table…and at the perfect moment…BAM!  It’s up to you whether you tip off her inner circle members what’s going to happen beforehand.

                  Scenario 2: She believes you’re going to dinner with just the two of you. You show up and ‘bump into’ a certain person or persons in the restaurant for their own reasons (so they say), who were really there because you arranged it with them and they’re in on the surprise. You then invite these folks to eat together around the same Hibachi grill table with you and your partner…and at the perfect moment…BAM! Keep in mind this will feel believable to your bride-to-be with 1-3 people maximum and they have to have a good reason to provide for why they were together at the restaurant. Otherwise she may get suspicious and jeopardize your proposal surprise! 

                  Scenario 3: She believes you’re going to dinner with just the two of you. You show up and lead her to a Hibachi grill table in the left wing of the restaurant. Meanwhile, an entourage of her friends, family and co-workers happen to be eating on the opposite side of the restaurant in an entirely separate wing not visible from where you’ll be eating. When you give the host/hostess you enlisted as your confederate the signal…a bunch of faces she recognizes walk into the room and back you up as you get down on one knee ready to make her heart melt with a proposal she’ll never forget. It’s like a surprise birthday party, but for an engagement party. Pull this one off, and you’re more than merely a man; you’ll be half-man and half-amazing for years in her eyes.

                  That’s it!

                  The idea for a perfect proposal. What do you think? Did you propose at a Japanese hibachi steakhouse? Or are you thinking about it? We hope that these fun and creative proposal ideas got your  romantic juices flowing. Until next time!

                  Mr. Cubic Zirconia


                  P.S. If a marriage proposal is so long ago you’ve eaten thousands of meals together since then ...don’t sweat it. You don’t always need a one-in-a-lifetime reason for a fun and adventurous couples’ dinner night out. Just because works, too.