Christmas is the perfect time to propose as it's the ideal month for romance- all the sights, sounds and smells encourage feelings of love. It's a time for family, friends, partners and taking some well needed rest with the ones you care about the most.

Emma and Chris

Emma and Chris

It's no surprise that many couples decide to get engaged at this time of year as the backdrop of the twinkly lights and the snow make for a beautiful setting in which to pop the question, as this couple proved.

Emma Barton got engaged to her partner Chris in New York recently.

"It was a wonderful experience," said the 31-year-old, from London. "We went to a restaurant, which was lovely and quite pricey, and I'd noticed that Chris seemed slightly on edge. We walked through New York and though it was relatively early in December, the Christmas spirit was evident; there were lots of Santas around and the whole atmosphere felt incredibly magical.

"We'd been on a helicopter trip earlier and I've got a suspicion that he'd actually planned to propose then but we shared the trip with others so that perhaps put him off. Then we went to the Empire State Building, and went up to the top floor. He seemed nervous. He was looking around for a quiet spot - it was very busy - and then he got down on one knee and asked me. I cried. He might have done too, probably out of sheer relief!

"It was a brilliant feeling afterwards. There were people around us, cheering and applauding, and as we travelled back down in the lift we couldn't help sharing our news and people were congratulating us. We bought a snow globe from the Empire State Building as a keepsake. It's a silly little souvenir but it means a lot to us.

"My favourite memory was when we returned to the hotel - and there was a voicemail from my sister telling me that she'd just given birth to my niece. That helped to make it all very special.

"We waited until we got home to tell our families face to face, though Chris had asked my Dad's permission first, in the traditional way. The whole experience was amazing. Chris had proposed on our first night there, so we were able to enjoy the rest of our time in New York and, to be honest, we were in our own little bubble for those remaining days."

Of course, planning a trip to New York, booking it, selecting and buying the ring - none of that happens overnight and in the spirit of the best marriage proposals, the detail paid off. Emma was surprised and impressed by her other half's homework.

"I think Chris had been planning it for six months," she recalled. "Not just the proposal, but the ring. He'd even got my boss to get involved in checking the size of my ring finger. Because it was my manager doing it, and not a close friend or a family member, I didn't suspect a thing. He was very clever and discreet. He'd also chosen the diamond and the setting from 77 Diamonds I believe, and kept it hidden from me until New York."

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