So, you’ve met The One. Finally you feel complete and you know without doubt that you want to be with your soulmate for the rest of your life: you’re ready to propose.
All you have to do now is decide how you’re going to pop the question. With 1 in 4 brides-to-be reporting that they were disappointed with their marriage proposal, and both extravagant and failed proposals almost constantly featured by the Media, the pressure is greater than ever.
Fear not! Follow these seven simple steps and you are guarantees a stress-free “Yes!”
STEP 1: Elementary, my dear Watson
Did you ever play at being a detective when you were little? Well now’s your chance to recapture your inner child and do some serious sleuthing . We’re all different and for your proposal to be perfect it pays to take the time to investigate whether your partner is ready to take the next step in your relationship and what they find romantic.
Take note of their reaction to proposals on tv or within your circle of friends; were they horrified by that very public flash mob proposal on the news? Then yours should be private and intimate. Did they raise an eyebrow at a guy getting down on one knee? Tradition may not be their style – look deep into their eyes instead. Did they comment on your friend’s boyfriend didn’t speak to her parents in advance? Today it’s generally more a case of informing parents of your intent than asking permission but most people say they prefer this tradition to be upheld.
Make lists of your partner’s favourite things, the key details of your relationship (when and where you first met, kissed, told each other you loved that you were in love, etc) and – most importantly – the things that make you love them. These little details are the foundations upon which perfect proposals are built.
STEP 2: Time To Get Personal
Use your detective work and lists to piece together the key details of what makes your partner, and relationship, unique.
If you spent the first six months touring the country in a camper van then consider making a camper van a part of your proposal, even if that’s just including a card shaped like a camper van with your favourite memories of the trip written inside as part of the proposal.
Attention to detail will make your other half feel loved and incredibly special; a thoughtful proposal is the perfect proposal.
Forget what you think is ‘cool’: this is all about what will make your partner happy
Their dream proposal will reflect their interests, likes and special moments from your relationship.
STEP 3: Size Doesn’t Matter
The Media regularly bombards us with grand gesture proposals, featuring flash mobs and promises written in fire. After all, bigger is always better, right? Wrong. Whilst grand gesture proposals can be spectacular, some of the most romantic and memorable proposals are small and intimate.
One of my favourite proposals took place in the couple’s home and cost very little to organise but it featured the boyfriend’s favourite memories of their relationship, framed in vintage frames (she loved vintage) and arrows made of yellow tulips (her favourite flower) taking her on the trip down memory lane. The final frame was a mirror. When she looked in it, she heard her boyfriend say: “This will be my favourite memory of all.” She turned to find him holding out a ring. Their proposal was incredibly romantic and, most importantly, right for them.
Only go for the grand gesture if you’re sure your partner loves the limelight – it’s not the size that counts here, it really is what you do with it!
STEP 4: STICK TO A BUDGET
A great proposal doesn’t have to cost the earth but it’s important you establish your budget before you begin planning.
Don’t forget to factor in the cost of props and, if you want the moment immortalised, a photographer, or videographer, to take paparazzi-style shots.
Do some research and read reviews so that you can be sure you’re getting the most from your money; many websites now have directories of relevant businesses and Twitter can be an excellent resource – simply search for key terms, such as ‘proposal’ and the hashtag feature will throw up related businesses and events. You can even ask your followers for suggestions and retweets.
When it comes to the ring, spending two months’ salary is a myth perpetuated by diamond retailers: get the best diamond that you can afford, as it’s possible to upgrade the setting of an engagement ring but a diamond is an investment. Choose a metal that matches the colour of jewellery they usually wear – for example, choose platinum or white gold if they usually wear silver. If your research or knowledge of your partner tells you they’d prefer to choose their own ring, consider purchasing a placeholder ring for the actual proposal. This is a ring that can be worn on another finger after the proposal.
STEP 5: Location, Location, Location
Choosing the right location really is one of the most important aspects to get right – you don’t want one of the most important events of your life to be interrupted by a procession of schoolchildren or a jobs-worth asking you to ‘move along’.
If you’re not proposing at a place you can book, contact the owners and talk through your options. For example, some castles will allow the tower to be cordoned off for a short period of time for no charge if you speak to the staff in advance. Have a contingency plan in case of inclement weather, too.
Your location should ideally be somewhere memorable, perhaps somewhere with significance to your relationship. Is your partner obsessed with a certain film or book? Consider taking them to the location of her favourite scene.
STEP 6: Timing is Everything
A key element of the perfect proposal is surprise. For that reason, it’s generally best to avoid obvious dates such as Valentine’s Day, her birthday or Christmas.
Planning a proposal for an ordinary day will mean your partner is less likely to expect it and increase the anticipation; at some point they’re going to begin to wonder ‘is this it?’ and that’ll make the experience even more special. Some proposers have even booked a surprise day off work on their partner’s behalf; they go to work as normal and then get called away to the most amazing and memorable day of their life. What could be better than that?
So think carefully about when you’re going to pop the question; it’s almost as important as how you do it!
STEP 7: Say the Magic Words
Your partner could well have been dreaming of this moment for some time and, just as we’re accustomed to hearing in films and stories, these dreams will almost certainly contained the immortal words ‘Will you marry me?’
You don’t need to necessarily preface them with a long, elaborate speech where you pour out your soul but, for most, it wouldn’t be a proposal without them.
No matter how you choose to propose, ultimately we all just need to feel loved: show your partner how much they mean to you and your proposal will have been a success.