proposal in front of Old Main

Top Marriage Proposal Tips

Are you planning a proposal and ready to get down on one knee? It’s scary and a lot I know. There are so many things to consider and so many things that could go wrong. It’s ok!  Here are the Top Marriage Proposal Tips to get you headed towards an unforgettable proposal. Enjoy!

Top Marriage Proposal Tips

I tried to put the tips in an order that made since, but some of them can be done in a different order. For example, you might know the location before the date or you might ask for help right at the beginning. Make sure you read through all of the tips because I think each one can really make or break your proposal.

1. Have the Marriage talk at some point

Before you jump headfirst into planning your proposal, make sure you have talked at some point about marriage. The last thing I want is people to get engaged without really thinking things through.

couple hugging and laughing

If the other person hasn’t talked about it yet, bring it up yourself. Talk about what marriage means to you and your thoughts on it. What does a happy marriage look like to each of you?How does the other person feel?

2. Ask Parents’ Permission

I know this seems really old-fashion, but it’s still something people do, and I think it’s a good idea. They will be your in-laws, and that’s a tough enough relationship as is. You don’t want to start off on the wrong foot with them.

emotional dance with father at wedding

Going to them in person would be the best way to do that, but I know it might not be possible. Some people live far away, and people are concerned right now with Covid and interacting and traveling. If you can’t see them in person, call them or do something like a Zoom call.

3. Ask for Help

Like I already said, the whole proposal thing can be overwhelming and tough. It’s a good idea to ask others for opinions or help. Go to the best friend or parent and ask for help. They will know your future fiancé really well and have insights that you wouldn’t, and they could help with all the next steps.

bride with friends

One quick thing to point out. When you tell people you plan on proposing, that means more people know the secret. Choose who you ask for help wisely. Don’t pick someone that tends to give things away.

4. Pick a special time

Don’t just randomly decide to propose one day. You need to think carefully about the date, and make sure it is special and works with everything you have planned.

The first thing is to pick a day that is special. We are coming up on proposal season. In the next four months, close to 40% of proposals happen. Why? There are a ton of holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and of course, Valentine’s Day.

proposal on Old Main

You can choose to go with one of these big holidays, but there are other ways to make the date special as well. You could choose an important date in your relationship like your first date or kiss. You could propose on your parents’ anniversary. Maybe you could just choose a date that sounds cool like April 3rd, 2021 (4-3-21).

The other thing to consider is how the date will affect everything else. Can you pick a day in the middle of the week or will it need to be a weekend? Do you want to propose outside? Then, you might want to pick a warmer time of year. Is the location open year round? Think about all of these things before picking the wedding proposal date.

5. Pick a special location

Just like the date, you want to make sure you pick a special location to propose. You might start off with picking the date or you might start with the location, but both will affect each other.

Start off by making a list of all the places that are special to the two of you. Here are some common ones.

  • First date
  • First fell in love or said it
  • Most romantic place you know
  • fiancé’s childhood home
  • Your First Home together
  • Favorite place to go
  • Favorite restaurant
  • Where you first met
  • Vacation Destination
  • Sporting or Other Event
  • Place with Natural Beauty
  • Family Gathering

We already mentioned this above, but make sure your location is available when you want to propose. Make sure there isn’t something already happening there. Also, for most places, check to see if you need permission or a permit to use the area.

view of valley engagement photos

6. Get the Perfect Engagement Ring

For many people, this might be the hardest step. Buying an engagement ring is big. First, that’s when the commitment is real. Two, it’s a lot of money to spend, and you want to make sure you are doing it right. This is the engagement ring your husband or wife will wear forever. You want him or her to love it.

Don’t be afraid to ask about the style of ring. If you two have talked about marriage a few times, feel free to ask what he or she wants. If not, go to a friend or family member. I bet they will have some idea of what to get. Still struggling? Talk to someone at the jewelry store or jeweler. They are experts!

Once you have the style, you’ll need to get the right ring size. Again, you could ask, or you could sneak off with a ring to find the right size.

wedding rings on custom box

7. Plan and Practice what you are going to say

The date and location are important, but nothing is more important than what you say during the marriage proposal. Make sure you plan it all out and practice beforehand.

Work on writing out exactly what you want to say during the proposal. Talk about your feelings and what you love about the other person. Talk about your past and your future. Then, of course, you have to actually ask the person to marry you.

There isn’t a set length of how long you should talk. I think that will depend on your relationship and how well you can keep it together. Some people will talk for a good two minutes, and others will jump straight into the proposal because they are getting emotional.

Whatever you decide to say, practice it and practice it some more. Practice it by yourself and maybe even have someone stand in for a run through. The more times you practice it, the smoother it will go during the real proposal.

8. Keep it a Surprise Proposal

My favorite part of wedding proposals is seeing the reaction when someone is truly not expecting it. It is so important to keep the proposal a surprise.

There are a few things to do to keep your fiancé from finding out. One, try to keep the people that know your plan to a small group or wait to tell most of them until it’s almost time. People wouldn’t ruin the surprise on purpose, but accidents do happen.

Two, keep any evidence out of common areas. Don’t have the ring at your house or any paperwork. Don’t have emails on your phone about your plans. Communicate with people about it in a separate email address or do it all through phone calls.

Three, don’t act strange. Anything out of the ordinary will arouse suspicion. Don’t act nervous and don’t plan to do something that you normally wouldn’t do.

9. Set Up a Fake Backstory

One of the hardest things is getting your fiancé to the location. How can you do it without being weird? Here are some suggestions for activities or ways to get them there.

engagement photos at bar

  • date night or anniversary dinner
  • party for someone else
  • family photo session
  • won a photo session
  • vacation
  • taking dogs on a walk
  • shopping trip with friends
  • girls night out
  • visiting a new store or location

10. Dress Up

Proposing is a big step, so it’s important that both of you look nice. There will most likely be photos before and after the proposal, and you won’t want to share them if you are in sweatpants and she isn’t wearing makeup.

As I said before, try not to do anything too out of the ordinary. Dress up, but don’t wear something you’d never wear. You can always come up with an excuse to dress up. You could go out to eat or a play or have a photo session.

11. Capture it with professional photos/video

This is a big moment in your lives and you want to remember it. You want to see the reaction, the smile, the tears, and be able to share them with others.

reaction to marriage proposal

Yes, you can always have someone use a cell phone, but the quality is nowhere near what a professional photographer can do. A professional photographer will know where to be to get a good shot, a longer lens to get closer, and overall, the photos will be higher quality.

12. Invite Family and Friends

Marriage is the bringing together of two people but also two families. Often, family and friends want to be there for the proposal.

The first question is do you want other people there? Some people don’t like crowds and want the proposal to be private. If that’s the case, just keep it the two of you. On the other hand, if you know family and friends are super important, invite them.

Another thing to consider is where will these people hide. Does your location have enough space for a lot of people or a few? You don’t want people to be seen, so make sure you think about that before inviting everyone.

13. Make it a celebration

I love being a wedding photographer because it is a time of celebration and joy. Everyone is happy and the emotions are high. The same thing should happen after the proposal.

wedding party celebrating

Have some sort of celebration planned for afterward. You could go out on a date, the two of you, or you could have a room rented and all your friends waiting. Whatever you do, make it a good time!

14. Keep the Ring Safe

I’m sure we’ve all heard the horror stories of people losing the ring. I think there was even a commercial about it at one time. The guy put the ring in the champagne, and for some reason the girl poured it out down the sink with the ring.

The point is you paid a lot for that ring, so you need to take steps to make sure it is safe. Think about how you are going to hide the ring until the big moment and present it. I think it’s best to keep it on you, so you know it’s safe. Yes, the ring box might be bulky and hard to hide in pants pocket, but it’s safer than having the ring floating in your pocket.  Putting it in things is just asking for something crazy to happen.

Another thing to consider is the location and any dangers like water or sand. I think I saw a video once of the guy dropping the ring and it fell through a crack and was gone. So sad.

15. Backup plan and Be Flexible

Often, in life, things don’t go exactly as planned. Make sure to have some form of backup plan in case something goes wrong.

Where will you go if your original location doesn’t work out? What will you do if the weather is bad? What if someone that is helping gets sick and can’t help?

Go through all the steps of proposing and think about what could possibly go wrong. Then, come up with a way to fix it. Most likely nothing will go wrong, but it’s good to be safe.

16. Don’t Forget Your Permits or Permission

Did you know that some places don’t really like having people do photographer or things that interrupt their normal business? There are several different types of locations that either require a permit or permission to do some kind of event or photography. I read a crazy story about a couple doing a pop up wedding ceremony in a coffee place without talking to the business! That’s so inconsiderate and they are lucky it didn’t get shut down. Before you assume you can use a location, find out what you can and cannot do.

17. Don’t Rush the Proposal

After reading all of those tips, I’m sure you see that there is a lot involved with popping the question. One little slip up and things go bad. That’s why it’s important to not rush the proposal. Trying to plan and pull off a proposal in a week is a huge mistake. Take your time, go through all the steps, and make sure you feel prepared. I promise your future spouse would rather wait a few extra weeks than have a rushed proposal.

Having the Perfect Marriage Proposal

Wowzers! I know that was a lot of stuff. Told you planning a marriage proposal can be overwhelming. Now, though, you have a good idea of all the things involved and some tips on how to deal with it. Looking for some unique marriage proposal ideas? Check out these ideas. I hope your proposal goes wonderfully, and if you need any help, feel free to reach out!

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