So, you’ve decided she’s a keeper and you’ve decided to pop the question. It’s time to come up with a plan to make sure it’s a moment you’ll both remember for all the right reasons.
I’m going to assume at this point that the two of you have talked about the future and you’re already near certain she’ll say yes (if you haven’t then I’d recommend you put your plans on hold and have that chat before you take the plunge).
Although spontaneous proposals can sometimes be wildly romantic, most of them probably fall short of what the people involved expected and that’s why properly planning this part of your journey to marriage is so important.
I have a friend who put no thought into his proposal and although he got the answer he wanted (in the end) his wife now regularly tells people the story of what’s become known as The Most Unromantic Wedding Proposal in The History of The Universe.
You really don’t want to be that guy, believe me.
Here, then, is my guide to the perfect proposal, and we’re going to start in the most obvious place.
Task #1: Get an engagement ring
This is harder than it seems. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, the only way you’re going to guarantee she loves the ring you give her is to let her choose it for herself. That means popping the question with an inexpensive temporary ring.
The truth, though, is that most guys don’t want to do that because they think it suggests a lack of thought or care. So, if you’re going to insist on picking the ring then do your homework.
Take photographs of her existing jewellery, including shots of her wearing it if possible. If you can, get a photo of her hands and ring finger. Look at Pinterest and other online sites for similar jewellery to get ideas and themes and print out or bookmark those images.
Then collect all of that information together and make an appointment to come and see me and I can find stones and bands that will suit her taste and look fabulous on her hand.
Task #2: Tell her family
This is really important, especially if she’s given even the slightest indication that you should. Yes, it’s old-fashioned. Yes, it’s a bit cheesy. But it also allows her family to prepare financially, if they’re expecting to contribute to the cost of the wedding.
Task #3: Get help
You’re a guy and all guys think they can do everything themselves. It’s time to face facts – we can’t, and this isn’t the time to be trying to prove your machismo.
Unless you’re planning a very simple proposal – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – you’re going to need to enlist the help of others.
Top of the list are her family and close friends (don’t worry – if they really are her friends, they’ll keep your secret). But you may also need to get suppliers on board – a venue if you need access to somewhere special, a photographer, perhaps. Maybe caterers.
With this small army, you can ensure all the logistics are sorted and her friends can run interference to make sure she doesn’t tip to your plan.
Task #4: Plan the moment
Now you’ve got the help you need, come up with a plan for how the moment is going to work and the jobs that need to be done to achieve that.
Where will you propose? How do you plan to get her to that location without her working out what’s going on? Will others be there (friends, family, photographer etc.)? Will there be a celebration somewhere else afterwards?
Get a timeline sorted and make sure every part of the puzzle, including transport, has been thought through.
Task #5: Write it down and learn it!
You’ve invested a lot of time and a considerable amount of money in this moment – don’t ruin it by making the actual words you say a stumbling jumble of mumbled mutterings.
Spend time on this part; write it down and learn it – then rehearse it until you can say it as though you’re doing it on the fly.
Task #6: Go with the flow
Sometimes life just happens to people. You envisage proposing in the deepening sunlight of a summer afternoon, life gives you eleven degrees and torrential rain. You planned a proposal as Big Ben strikes midnight, life gives you a taxi in a traffic jam as the bell starts to toll.
Be prepared for the unprepared and have a back-up plan in case things do go awry.
Task #7: Don’t forget Task #1!
If you’re planning the big question, I’d be very happy to be part of your story. Why not get in touch and see how I can help you to make your proposal perfect.