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10 Steps to the Perfect Proposal

Engagement season is just around the corner, so today’s post is for those that are thinking of popping the question in the next few months. And if you’re the one hoping for a ring soon, go ahead and forward this on to someone who might need some tips...Because today we’re talking about the 10 steps to a perfect proposal. Let’s get right into it!

  1. Make sure the timing is right. This first step has a couple different meanings, most importantly, have you both discussed being ready for marriage? While you may know you’ve found the right person, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are ready for that big step. Make sure you’ve had that conversation together to ensure you’re on the same page before moving on to the next steps. The second meaning for this step is that you want to make sure the timing of the actual proposal is right. Generally speaking, you don’t want to overshadow anyone else’s important day, so unless you know they are game for it, maybe don’t propose at another wedding, or other big celebration.

  2. Talk to your fiancé’s parents. While the tradition of “asking for the father’s permission” is definitely old school, the gesture is still really important to some families. You’ll likely know whether this is something that your future in laws will find important or not, but if you’re unsure, I would recommend you take this step before asking the big questions. You don’t have to look at is as asking for permission, but more asking for their blessing, or just simply letting them know that you intend to propose. Just including them in the process is going to go a long way, and you may also need someone in the know to help you pull off the surprise!

  3. Be ready with a ring, even if it’s a temporary one. If you don’t feel comfortable making such a big purchase as an engagement ring without getting your partners input, you can purchase a “placeholder” ring that can be exchanged if needed afterwards. Make sure to ask this question before you purchase, however, most jewelers will have options for you as long as they are not customized. And you’ll likely have shaky hands going into the big moment, so ensure that you have a safe spot to tuck it away. If you’re worried about the shape of a ring box giving away the surprise, check out for a great way to keep it a secret

  4. Know you audience/future finance - This is a VERY important step, as it’s easy to get caught up in others proposal stories and feel like you need to top it. Now, maybe your partner is someone that expects a very elaborate and public proposal, but if they hate being the center of attention, putting them up on a Jumbotron at a big game is probably not the best route to go. When planning out how you want to ask the big question, think about what kind of moment would be special to them, not what might make the best story. If they love the spotlight, or a great Instagramable moment, then go big and make it photo-worthy. If you’re homebodies and prefer to keep to yourselves, a romantic moment at home, or a dinner for just the two of you, might be the best option. And if you’re not sure, you can ask! I think people generally feel like it has to be a complete surprise, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking if they’ve thought about what the perfect proposal would be for them. If you don’t want to be the one to ask directly, recruit one of their friends to try to get some info out of them, those conversations may come more naturally, and not give the surprise away.

  5. Hire a photographer, or if that’s not in your budget, have a friend capture the moment. It’s such a special moment, having images or a video to watch back will be something you’re grateful for. And if you’re planning on a fully private moment with just the two of you, you can set up your phone to record the moment to watch back later.

  6. If you are having pictures taken, make sure your plan for the proposal includes a reason why your partner would get dressed up. If hair, makeup, and nails are important to your future fiancé, chances are they are going to be bummed if you propose when they aren’t ready for it. Try to think of something that feels normal for your routine. The benefit of engagement season falling over the holidays is that there are many great opportunities for a reason to dress up!

  7. Generally speaking, the less people that know the better. Now, I know that we’ve already discussed getting family and friends involved before hand, but be selective about how and when you ask people to be involved. Of course, if you’re worried that they can’t keep a secret, you should avoid getting them involved. Ultimately though, while a surprise proposal is usually preferred, even if your partner knows the moment is coming, that won’t make it any less special for them.

  8. Practice what you want to say and do ahead of time. The words said in the proposal tend to be overshadowed by the set up of the actual event, but it’s actually one of the most important components of the proposal. Make sure to put lots of thought into what you want to say. Ideally it’s more than just a quick “Will you marry me?”, but if that’s all you can get out in the excitement of the day, that’s fine! I also encourage you to think about whether you plan to get down on one knee or not. It’s an important gesture for some, but certainly not for all. I will say that if you are going to get down on one knee and you have a someone taking pictures, stay down there for a bit so they can make sure to get that important shot!

  9. Celebrate! Think about what you plan to do right after the big moment. If you’re at home, have a bottle of champagne ready to pop while you’re calling all your friends and family. If you’ll be out for the night, let the restaurant know of your plans when you make reservations so they can be ready to celebrate with you. If you’re planning on having family and friends involved, they can be waiting at a restaurant or someones home to celebrate with you after the big moment.

  10. And finally, bring on a professional planner and florist to help you pull it off, if you plan on going big. Having event pros that can help set everything up and make sure everything is ready for you will make things so much easier for you. You’ll already have a ton on your mind that day, so not having to worry about setting up, lighting candles, or cuing musicians will be a huge help. Most wedding planners will be able to help with something like this, even if they don’t have an actual proposal package listed. They can also help you find the right location, photographer, and other vendors that you will need for the big moment.

There you have it, the 10 steps to take for the perfect proposal! Now I definitely want to hear from you. Are you planning on proposing? Head on over to the Wedding Planning Collective Facebook Group and share with us what your plans are. It’s a private group, we promise not to blow the surprise!

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