i have limited sympathy for people who get told “no” after a public proposal because public proposals are pretty much emotionally abusive
if you think it’s kinda cute, you can discuss it beforehand and then do a staged one later
but putting someone on the spot in front of a crowd of strangers (or worse, friends) and demanding they give you a yes or no answer to a complex question which will affect the rest of their life is
really not okay
No. STOP IT with the lazy blanket statements and consider the fact that not everybody on the planet has the same exact needs and wants that you do.
If you’re planning to propose to anybody, you should have an excellent idea of that person’s needs and wishes, what makes them uncomfortable—or disappoints them. So yes, anybody who knows that their partner has social anxiety (or serious opposition to the idea of marriage) and goes ahead with a public proposal is being, at the least, extremely inconsiderate, and possibly manipulative.
But on the other hand? There are other people—people like me—who absolutely need spontaneity and surprise and romance, and who would be totally crushed by being asked something so momentous in private and then asked to grotesquely re-stage a proposal for the public—because the point of those proposals isn’t to make the PUBLIC happy, but to make YOUR PARTNER happy. If my partner did that to me, I’d be completely gutted that they ruined such a special moment in a way that can never be fixed, and it would take me a long time to forgive them and not think of that time with disappointment and resentment.
The point of this post should be “Consider the needs and temperament of your partner before you do this,” not “Everybody feels exactly the way I do and this is always bad/wrong.”