Asking someone to marry you is a big deal and it’s normal to feel nervous but being prepared is one of the best ways to ease those all-too-common pre-proposal nerves.
1. Figure Out The Right Moment
Even if you’re not typically someone who plans things out to a T or lives by your Google Calendar, you’ll want to consider timing before you pop the question. There are two critical things to consider when it comes to timing out your proposal:
Date & Time: This may mean planning for a specific date (an upcoming vacation, a holiday, or a date that’s important to you both), or it might mean planning for a particular time of year (asking her in the springtime because you want the trees in your favorite park to be in bloom), or a specific time of day (sunrise or sunset).
What your partner has going on in their life: The other important thing to think about is where your partner is in life. If there are specific goals she’s been clear she wants to accomplish (graduating from school or getting a promotion) before she even considers marriage, be respectful of that. You want to make sure your partner is in the right emotional and mental state to be asked. Avoid proposing when there is something stressful going on in their life, you want them to say “yes!” for the right reasons.
Be flexible. If something suddenly comes up that rains on your planned proposal, don’t feel the need to force it. You want it to be a happy moment above all else, wait for the storm clouds to pass before you pop the most important question of both of your lives.
2. Finalize Your Plan
Your proposal is not the time to wing it. No matter how charming rom-com proposals may make impromptu engagements seem, the truth is they tend to look far more romantic on the big-screen than they are in real life. You want your partner to feel like you’ve put some serious thought into this moment. Take all of the following into account before you get on one knee:
Where and when you’ll propose. Consider important events, weather, lighting, etc. If you’re proposing at a restaurant or venue, it might be helpful to call ahead to make sure there aren’t any events happening that may interfere.
What you’ll be doing and why. Keeping your proposal a complete surprise is all about having a solid backstory. If you’re taking her somewhere you wouldn’t usually go, make sure you have a story in place for why you’re headed there.
How you’ll celebrate after. You know your partner best so whether she’ll want an at-home celebration or something with family and friends is your call, but make sure you have something, anything planned. This isn’t an engagement party instead it’s a simple celebration immediately following your engagement to make sure the rest of the day or night is memorable. This may mean a small gathering with family and friends who are waiting at a nearby location or it may mean taking her home where you have her favorite takeout and a great bottle of wine waiting.
How you’ll capture the moment. Consider having a photographer out-of-site, but nearby to snap professional shots of the special moment.
What you’ll say. Write your “script” and practice, practice, practice! The last thing you want to do is get on one knee only to find out a cat has your tongue and you have no idea what to say to your future partner.
3. Pop The Question
First, take a deep breath, your nerves will likely be through-the-roof, but it’s so essential you calm down before you begin. Next, don’t rush through your proposal. Take it slow and make sure you say everything you want to say. And finally, don’t rush their answer! Once your partner sees you on your knee, she’ll likely be as nervous as you are which may mean she needs a little extra time to process what’s happening.
Remember—if your partner has hinted at certain things they would love in a proposal, make sure to incorporate those. This comes down to listening; the moment must be captured on camera, hire a professional photographer; if they hate being the center of attention, don’t propose in front of a giant crowd. PRO TIP: If your partner is a manicure junkie, make sure they’ve had their nails done before you pop the question, but don’t make it obvious. There’s nothing worse than a chipped manicure holding you back from posting the ring photo you’re dying to share!