If you’ve found the right person making the decision to propose might be easy. Making a plan and carrying it out, on the other hand, is a bit trickier– you want to make sure it’s perfect, after all. Here, we take you through the three steps of planning, preparing and executing a proposal.
The planning stage
Planning a proposal is all about listening, paying attention, and maybe dropping a few hints.
You might not want her to know you’re thinking about proposing, but you definitely want the proposal to be just right. A big part of that is learning what kind of ring she prefers. Try browsing through jewelry stores together to see what catches her eye. If that’s not an option, snoop through her jewelry box to see if there are any similarities in pieces she already has. Does she prefer white or yellow gold? Is her style simple and elegant, or bright and flashy? Does she like traditional round stones, or is she drawn to fancy cuts? Also, listen for little hints she’s dropping; if she thinks you might be popping the question soon, she might be working little details into your conversations to ensure you have the tools you need to make the right choice.
Another part of the planning stage is deciding what kind of proposal she would like. Is she an attention-grabber? If so, she might appreciate a public proposal. Is she very close to her family? If she is, a proposal at a family gathering would be a great way to let her share that special moment with everyone she loves. Is she the sentimental, romantic type? In that case, she’d probably be happiest in an intimate setting with just the two of you.
Now is the time to actually purchase the ring. You already have an idea of her style, but you might not know a whole lot about diamonds. Take the time to learn. By being an educated shopper, you are increasing your chances of finding a great deal on a high-quality stone.
Before going shopping on your own, set a price limit for yourself. Once you’re in the store and see something you know she’ll love, it might be tempting to spend more than you can afford. Chances are you’ll regret this in the long run– and your fiancé-to-be wouldn’t want you to make a purchase you’re uncomfortable with. By setting a firm limit before you head into the store, you’ll save yourself from spending too much.
Now that you’ve decided whether she would want a public, intimate, or family-oriented proposal, it’s time to make the preparations.
If you’ve decided to take the public route, you need to figure out the location. If you think a restaurant is the best idea, make reservations somewhere special. If you want to propose at a sporting event, contact the people in charge. Don’t wait until the last minute, or you might be disappointed.
If you’re going to propose in front of her whole family, it might be tricky to find the right time. Many people choose the holiday season to propose because that’s a time when everyone is together. If it’s summer and you don’t want to wait that long, you could plan a Fourth of July BBQ.
If you’ve chosen an intimate setting, you’ll want to make it really special. Now, you need to plan out how. Will you make her a romantic dinner? Surprise her with a hotel room for the night? Decorate her apartment? Send her on a scavenger hunt? There are many options, but they all take some serious planning to get just right.
The final steps
You have a ring and you have a location. Most importantly: you have a plan! Now it’s time to set it into action.
If you want it to be a complete surprise, you might want to avoid her for a day or 2 before popping the question– as long as she doesn’t get suspicious or suffer from hurt feelings. If you’re nervous, she’ll see right through you and know something is up.
It’s important that you know in advance what you are going to say. Don’t think you’ll be able to just wing it– even if you know she’ll say yes, you might be too nervous to think clearly and express everything you want to say.
Don’t forget the details! If you’re proposing in a restaurant and want to hide it in her champagne glass, arrive early and work it out with your server. If you’re decorating her apartment, stay in touch with her throughout the day to make sure she doesn’t surprise you by coming home early.
Finally: relax and enjoy. You only get to propose once, and it should be a wonderful experience for both of you. If something goes wrong, try not to sweat it; worst-case scenario, it’ll be a great story to tell the grandkids!
This article is contributed by Frank Fisher.