Not to freak you out, but if you’re getting ready to get down on one knee, you’re about to ask one of the most important questions of your life. You’ve chosen from thousands of eligible partners (and, of course, engagement rings) and found your perfect match. Trust us, that was the hard part! But you want to make sure you think through the entire proposal process to ensure that you crush it from the one-knee speech to the post-proposal toast to guarantee she says “yes.”
Do: Make Sure You’re on the Same Page
As obvious as it sounds, don’t ask her to marry you if you aren’t already 100 percent sure she’ll say yes. The fact of the matter is that, while the surprise and fanfare of the proposal are fun and entertaining, marriage is a massive decision that should be made between two people without pressure from either party. Planning a big proposal and investing in an expensive ring is not the right move unless you have both explicitly stated that is what you want. If she’s traditional or religious, make sure to have a talk with her parents beforehand as well.
Do: Remain Calm
Know you’re making the right move? Great! Now don’t panic. It’s one of the biggest days of your life so, naturally, you want everything to be perfect. But don’t stress too much. Sure, some things could go wrong, but chances are your spouse-to-be will give you a resounding “yes” and you’ll be on your way to the celebratory dinner in no time. The key to remaining calm is to prepare. Make sure you have a well-rehearsed speech and that all the little details are ironed out beforehand.
Do: Make Sure She Loves the Ring
The engagement ring is probably the most expensive piece of jewelry you’ll ever buy, so you want to make sure she loves it enough to wear it every day for the rest of her life. There are so many choices to consider when selecting the ring, from stone shapes to diamond engagement ring settings, so you’ll want to try your best to get an idea of what she wants before popping the question. If you aren’t sure of her style but want her to have a hand in the design, you might want to consider proposing with a semi mount ring setting — a setting without a center stone — so she can customize it with you later.
Don’t: Forget the Insurance
One more quick tip about the ring: Make sure it is insured soon after you buy it. This is especially important if you plan to propose in an active environment or around water (we’ve all seen those terrifying videos of proposals gone wrong). It’s a good idea to protect your investment as soon as it’s in your possession, like the minute you drive off the lot. You might even want to get it insured before you officially pick it up from the jeweler.
Do: Hire a Photographer
Even if your photographer is just a close friend with their cell phone hiding in the bushes, make sure there’s someone there to capture the moment you get on one knee. If you prefer a more intimate proposal, hire a photographer she wouldn’t recognize and ask them to hang out from afar to ensure that they don’t ruin the surprise or kill the mood. If you want to go all out, you might even consider hiring a videographer for the occasion.
Don’t: Assume She Wants an Audience
Big, crowded engagements may have been huge a few years ago — remember all those flash mobs? — but these days, it’s all about the personalized and intimate. While there is something exciting about having all your friends and family involved, know that this is not how many people envision their proposal, and that’s OK. If your partner is on the shy or reserved end, make sure you keep the proposal just between the two of you (and maybe a sneaky photographer) so you don’t overwhelm her.
Do: Clear It with the Venue
If you plan to get engaged in a place of business, be sure to let the venue know beforehand so they can help you coordinate everything. Restaurants, bars and theme parks are used to helping people propose, so they may be able to assist with a good table or a few special touches. You can call ahead and have flowers or a special dessert waiting to make the day even more memorable. If you want to get engaged at a park or another public place, have a friend go set things up before you arrive.
Do: Make Sure She’s Ready for Photos
If your future fiancé likes a little glitz and glam — or at least prefers to tidy up before photos — try to propose in a situation where she’s already dressed up and may even have her nails done. The fact of the matter is that engagements come with a ton of photographic fanfare, and she may not want a ton of pictures taken if she doesn’t look and feel her best.
Don’t: Forget the After Party
After she finally says yes, you’re going to feel an immense sense of relief and you’ll want to celebrate in some special way. It’s not a bad idea to have friends and family waiting at a location nearby for a group celebration, but it’s totally fine if your post-proposal is just the two of you. Just make sure you have some celebratory staples, like a bottle of champagne and a special dessert, waiting in the wings.
Do: Enjoy Every Second
Our best piece of advice? Try your best to enjoy every single second of the proposal so you remember it for a lifetime. We know you will be nervous and thinking about a million different things, but this is one of the most special moments of your life, so you want to take deep breaths and breathe it all in! Chances are it’ll go off without a hitch!