How To: Have A (Relatively) Hitchless Proposal
HEY GUYS! Yes, you!
This is mainly written for you of the male gender, for whether or not you & your S.O. follow traditional gender roles, guys still propose a whopping 95% of the time! That means unless you've already talked about otherwise, it's on you, dude!
Are you thinking about popping the question to your boo? Want to know how you should do it so that it's all that she's ever imagined, not the most embarrassing day of her life? (Okay, we all know that that's pretty unlikely to happen, but for the sake of argument ;-)
You've come to the right place! Consider this your End-All Guide to All Things Proposal.
1. Talk About It
Yes, I know it sounds completely unromantic, and maybe even a little bit counterintuitive, but I guarantee it's one way to minimize any potential mess-ups. And if you're careful about how you word it, you won't necessarily clue her into anything.
Us gals also love to talk about our hopes and dreams, so channel your inner spy and listen closely anytime you hear anything about rings, photographers, favorite locations, favorite seasons, etc. She might not even be talking to you; she could be telling a friend or coworker! You can ask her best friend questions, but unless you completely trust her to keep a secret, stick to inconspicuous questions, like "Hey, what would you say is Sarah's favorite restaurant?" If you love her enough to want to propose to her, trust me, she's worth listening to and studying.
Before my husband, Josh, proposed to me, I remember pretty clearly talking about what I wanted on one of our dates. He outright asked me, "What are your expectations for a proposal?" We both knew it was still a few months off (we're the old fashioned type and wanted a blessing from my parents), but he said it helped tremendously because he had time to set it up and make it memorable. We talked about what kind of ring I wanted, what kind of location I wanted (I didn't want it to be somewhere super public!), if I wanted it photographed, who I was okay with being there or not.
2. Scout Out Your Location
What might be completely empty on a Tuesday evening might be super packed on a Saturday afternoon! So scouting it out beforehand is super important. Research and make sure there aren't going to be any events there on your chosen day. If it's outdoors, do you have contingencies in place in case there is inclement weather? Could you change it to somewhere close by, or do you need a totally different location?
If your gal wants the proposal photographed, you have a totally different set of concerns you need to keep an eye out for. Photographers have to work with light, so making sure there is adequate lighting is #1 priority. You'll also need to discuss with your photographer where they should hide and where to take pictures from. Watch the background! From one angle it could be sweet & romantic; another you might have a dumpster or a bald guy picking his nose. Your photographer should be able to help you with this - if you have the opportunity to scout it out together, they will be able to point out anything that might not look good in pictures and be able to help you come up with a perfect angle.
And don't forget to get reservations if you're going out to dinner!
3. Write Down & Memorize Your Proposal
Seriously, write out exactly what you're going to say. As soon as your knee hits the ground, you are going to freeze and everything you had rehearsed is going to fly out the window. Having one or two key words from your proposal can jog your memory and will make it easier. Another thing is we can totally tell when you threw something together last minute or if you seriously took the time to write out a heartfelt proposal.
It doesn't have to be super lengthy, but to stand out, it should be more than just a "Will you marry me?" Josh drafted what he wanted to say, finalized it, then wrote out everything on index cards and highlighted words that he wanted to place emphasis on. Some things I remember from his proposal: he used my full name, he talked a little about reasons why he wanted to marry me, why he thought we'd be a good couple, and he talked about our future together. It was the sweetest thing I've ever heard, and a memory I'll always treasure.
Another benefit to having a written proposal is that honestly, at the same exact time that your knee hits the ground and you freeze, our brain goes into hyper mode. "OH MY GOSH, HE's PROPOSING!!!!!! OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH!!! Wait, do I still look good? Is my hair in place? I knew I should have topped up my lipstick! Oh, gosh, now I'm going to cry. It's so beautiful! Oh! Don't forget to say yes!!! YES!!!!"
Yeah...we're not so great at paying attention to exactly what you're saying in the moment. But if you have it written down so we can read it later, we're going to totally brag on you to our friends & family about the epic proposal you did! I intend to frame Josh's proposal and hang it in our bedroom.
4. Plan Post-Proposal
Yay! You're engaged, your brand new fiancee is thrilled with her ring, you didn't forget your lines. Now what do you do?
This is going to obviously vary by what is important to you and your new fiancee. Since Josh already had a photographer there for his proposal, we went ahead and did our engagement photos right away. Then we went out for dinner (don't ask what I ordered, lol), then we went and told our families, as that was what high priority for us.
Sometimes nerves are such that eating is out of the question, but I would suggest planning on doing something together afterwards just the two of you. Even just going for a walk or heading back to your place for a celebratory drink will allow you both time to process. Talk right away about when and where you're going to announce your news to the world. She might want to just post a ring selfie on Instagram, but maybe she wants to call people individually first, or post a picture of you proposing from the photographer. There are as many ways to announce the news as there are to propose, that's for sure!
But remember, THE most important thing when you're preparing to propose is
1. Don't forget or lose the ring (no duh, right?)
2. Relax and have fun.
You're about to start the journey of a lifetime with the woman you love. What could be more exciting than that!?
I hope you found this helpful, and let me know in the comments if there is anything you would add! Ladies, if you're hoping your man is going to propose soon, perhaps sending this article to him will give him a boost in the right direction ;)