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How to Propose – Planning the Perfect Marriage Proposal

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So you like it and you wanna put a ring on it… Congratulations!

You already know where to buy an engagement ring and how to buy an engagement ring

But now the question become “how to propose” so he or she says YES and falls even deeper in love with you.

Now, this doesn’t have to be a stressful and uncertain experience like so many say it is!

We know it can be super nerve-wracking, but in this post we’re going to help you know if your partner is the right one, how to know if they’ll say “yes,” getting a ring, how and where to propose and more.

Read on in our ultimate guide on a stress free marriage proposal!

Still Need an Engagement Ring? Check out our head-to-head shootout on the best places to buy an engagement ring or design your own CUSTOM engagement ring today!

The Executive Ice Guide to a Stress Free Engagement Proposal

Marriage Proposal Tips

The best thing about a romantic relationship is the things we share with our partners. Anything that ignites that all familiar feeling of love and adoration is bound to make lasting memories.

In the lifetime of a relationship you’ll make many memories, but one will mostly likely stand out above the rest – your proposal.

It’s a story that will be told to family, friends and even strangers for so many years to come.

What Proposing Marriage Really Means

While love is the main motivator for people to propose and eventually marry, there’s actually more to it than just affection to your partner.

When you propose it means you want, and intend, to keep this person in your life for as long as you live. It means you feel safe and secure with them to the point that you don’t want to let them go.

You see your future in them – whether it’s raising a family, building a business or any other dreams that you might have. Either way, there’s no better way of letting them know just how much they mean to you than by planning a jaw-dropping proposal.

We want to help you do exactly that. We hope these priceless tips will come in handy as you prepare to pop the big question.

How to Know If She/He Is the Right One for You

How to Propose to Your GirlfriendIf you are thinking of proposing, then it’s more than likely that your partner is an amazing person that you feel safe and comfortable being around.

That said, it won’t hurt to go a step further and find out if they are, is in fact, the right one for you. If movies have taught us anything, it is that sometimes love just isn’t enough.

After all, this is the person you are planning to spend the rest of your life with, so it’s only fair for both of you to know if it’s actually a viable partnership considering all aspects.

Here are the main tell-tale signs that will help you know if you two are meant to be a lifelong couple:

There’s chemistry

It might sound like a cliché, but if he/she is the right one for you there will be chemistry. We are talking about mental and emotional attraction, compatible personalities, intense feelings of romance, and great physical connection.

They all work together to make you two perfectly compatible. This will be evident by the positivity in your relationship, from the laughter you share, the love feel towards one another, and mutual respect.

You share similar interests, goals, and values

If your partner’s likes, preferences, beliefs, and customs are similar to yours then that’s a positive sign; especially when it comes to the important stuff like whether you want kids, financial goals, religion, and where you’d like to live.

Be sure to have these deal breaker conversations before promising yourself to each other.

Of course not all your interests will be the same, but the more common ground you have, the higher the chances that he/she is perfect for you.

There’s little to no awkwardness

When it’s real, you will find it very easy to be yourself around your better half without either one of you feeling awkward or uneasy. You won’t feel the need to hide a certain side of you for fear of rejection or judgment.

You resolve issues

Everyone knows that relationships have their ups and downs. If you and your partner can solve relationship issues amicably, through compromise whenever they arise, then you have a very strong sign that he/she is the one.

You see them everywhere

The right man/woman for you will be in your head more often than it might be convenient.

You’re watching a movie and suddenly he/she pops into your head, a song comes on and it reminds you of a moment you had with him/her, you see a color and somehow you can trace it back to him/her. Is any of this sounding familiar?


Both of you will be open to learning from each other and also helping each other get to new heights in life, whether it’s at work, in business, or personal growth. A great partnership is on where each person supports the other.

More responsibility and less blaming

When you find the right one both of you will be willing to take responsibility for mistakes, rather than blaming the other person. Sometimes even when you’re not at fault.

How to Know IF They’ll Say “Yes!”

Proposing to a Girl or GuyYou’ve decided, you’re with the right person. Perfect. But are you at the stage in the relationship where you know they will say YES when you pop the big question?

Take some time to consider this. You wouldn’t want to pop the question and then be turned down after spending so much time, effort, and money choosing the perfect engagement ring and planning the perfect proposal.

So how do you know that they will say yes? Some partners will say it outright – ‘if you propose to me I will say yes.’ Others will even ask you if and when you are going to propose. Those are pretty clear signals that the answer will be a yes.

If your partner is open to taking the next step, you can try reading their tell-tale signs. There are plenty of them, these are just a few of the primary ones:

They are interested in marriage

If your partner has been positive, supportive, and receptive whenever you bring up the issue of marriage, then you have a green light. At times they might even talk about their marriage dreams and bring up childhood fantasies of the big day.

That should be an immediate clue that they are very comfortable with the whole idea of marriage, which of course starts with a proposal.

Are they committed to the relationship?

Hands in a Heart ShapeIs your partner still holding on to past baggage? Do they keep bringing up the ‘what ifs’ with regards to past relationships? Are they in constant touch with the ex?

If the answers are yes, then you probably should hold on to the ring for a while.

It’s highly likely they are not over past relationships yet, and that means they are not entirely committed to the current one. Just give them time and don’t forget to work on your relationship; show them that you are the right pick before you pop the question.

You share the same values and goals

Compatibility keeps fights and arguments away and helps to hold a relationship together. One way of knowing if you are compatible is by looking at the values and goals that you have in common.

  1. Do you both want kids?
  2. Do you share the same financial goals?
  3. Are your favorite neighborhoods similar in some way?

If you are always at butt heads when these subjects come up, chances are the relationship will not last, even if you do get married.  Take some time to examine your compatibility.

Nobody wants to invest their time, emotions and even resources on something that will not work. So if you two are compatible and on the same page about core relationship goals, then by all means, start shopping for a ring.

They like living with you

Romantic Marraige ProposalsOne of the surest ways to know if someone will say yes is to live under the same roof. Some people call it cohabiting, let’s call it a test drive.

If you can live together comfortably, and you can see they are happy living with you, then you have the biggest hint that they will be able do the same for as long as you two are alive.

They make an effort

Your partner is highly likely to say yes if he/she is willing to put in the work to ensure the relationship goes smoothly without threats, break ups, or ultimatums.

They tell friends

There’s always that close friend of your partner’s who will know his/her dreams and desires. It might be a good idea to quietly ask them if your partner talks about marriage and what his/her opinions are as far as getting married or proposed to are.

When Should You Pop The Big Question?

How to Get EngagedNow you already know that he/she is the right one for you, and you are sure he/she is going to say yes, but at what point in time should you pop the question?

Well, first of all, make sure you’ve picked the perfect engagement ring for your partner.

There is no fixed rule here, it all depends on how you both view marriage and the current state of your relationship.

Generally, most people consider proposing when their relationship has become serious enough to be taken to the next level. Now the question is, how do you know that it’s serious enough?

Well, apart from the assurance of exclusivity, if you know each other well and each of you has introduced the other one to your family and friends, then the relationship might be serious. Most people even switch from using ‘I’ to ‘we.’

You can also use other hints to determine that. For example, if you share financial responsibilities, take care of each other, set future goals together, and are in agreement about time and financial spending, then you have the green light. Such things show that you two have long term compatibility.

But it’s also important not to rush anything. While the right time may be a few months for some people, for others it may take years. Either way, there should be a clear mutual understanding that the relationship is future-oriented.

guide to proposing Do take into consideration when it makes financial sense to propose. More often than not a proposal will lead to marriage and living together as spouses.

So, while the two of you might have unquestionable love and compatibility, if you cannot sustain that life comfortably using the means you have then it’s probably wise to push the proposal off for a while.

Bear in mind that the way you do your groundwork will go a long way in influencing him/her to say YES. Butter them up a bit, spoil them with romantic gestures and compliments, or to a place they love.

In short, do whatever you have to do to turn up the intensity in the love and romance department. It is hard to say no to someone who treats you like royalty.

If you’ve just had an argument or disagreement – which is not unusual in a relationship – it’s probably wise to wait a bit, patch things up, and reassure them of your love and commitment before you introduce the ring.

Otherwise, they might turn you down, not because they don’t love you, but simply because there’s still some build up resentment or dissatisfaction.

Getting an Engagement Ring

How to Get EngagedAt the heart of a proposal is an engagement ring.

It’s important that the ring you choose signifies the start of your marriage in style. Luckily you are spoilt for choice, with so many amazing options, you can’t fail to get a perfect one for your partner.

There are a number of things to keep in mind while ring shopping.

Start off with a clear budget and knowing your partner’s ring size. From there, you can start the selection process. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but golden rings also make great alternatives.

Remember that you will have to choose the material, diamond shape, and the setting as well. Want to go fully-custom? Here’s a complete guide on how to design a custom engagement ring from start to finish.

Narrow down your options even further by choosing the carat, color, cut and clarity (popularly known as the 4Cs of Diamonds).

When choosing the cut, remember to consider stone size. Each cut looks best with a particular size and setting.

Always remember, to get the very best ring, make sure you shop from a reputable jeweler, and always ask if you have questions.

Not sure where to buy the right? Here’s our head-to-head battle of the best place to buy engagement rings.

How and Where Should You Propose?

Marriage Proposal IdeasIf you know the time is right and you already have a ring, you can now start thinking of how and where to propose. Yikes.

There are so many things to consider; will you involve his/her family? What about friends? Would a public place make for a better proposal than a private spot? Or perhaps a proposal while on vacation makes more sense.

All those are viable options, and just as is the case with timing, the how and the where largely depends on the various dynamics of your relationship. As a rule of thumb, it never hurts to make a plan based on things that relate to your individual personalities, or the experiences you’ve had as a couple.

Where to Propose

When it comes to the ‘where’ you need to really know what your significant other is comfortable with.

If he/she prefers shunning the public light, then make it a private affair. Other people thrive in a large social setting. If your man/woman is one of them, you may consider having a public proposal.

That’s just an overall guideline, now narrow it down to a specific location.

Try to think of something unique and fitting of the values and ideals that your relationship is based on. You could perhaps choose a spot that holds some special memory, or you can even spring a surprise at home.

If you are a creative person, you might even propose through a game or scavenger hunt.

Your options are almost limitless, but if you need some inspiration here are some suggestions to get the wheels turning:

  • The place where you first met.
  • The exact spot where you first said ‘I love you.’
  • The wedding venue in case you already have it in mind.
  • A public event, like a gig. Ask the organizers to slot you somewhere in the program and put on a romantic show for your proposal.
  • Your (the two of you) favorite date spot.
  • A romantic vacation destination.
  • On a lovely beach with a sandcastle.
  • At home, during or after some lovely wining and dining.
  • At their workplace.

How to Propose

Best Marriage ProposalsSo, now you have your location, how do you do it?

There is the conventional way – getting down on one knee and popping the question, with the perfect ring you bought in your hand. There are other ways like hanging the ring somewhere she can see it easily, putting it in a glass of wine, or having a chef put it in a cake, or in a meal (if you are sure your partner won’t swallow it accidentally).

The only hesitation with these methods is that they are not as personal as you holding the ring in your hand. Plus when you kneel you show a level of humility and genuine emotions that radiate love at its finest.

That said, it’s totally up to you to decide how you want to deliver the ring.

Time to put your creative side to work. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  1. For a public proposal, you can:
  • Have a choir or band turn up for a surprise performance.
  • Get a skywriter to write ‘will you marry me?’ in the sky.
  • Invite friends and family to your home and surprise your love with a proposal.
  1. If you choose to do it privately you can:
  • Send your lover on a treasure hunt where it ends with you proposing.
  • Plan a romantic getaway and propose while there.
  • Have a candle-lit dinner in a private corner at a hotel or restaurant.

Marriage Proposal GuideAgain, your options here are endless and only your imagination limits you. Whether it’s public or private, it is often a good idea to have someone with a photo or video camera nearby to record the proposal.

You definitely will want to have memories of the big day. Remember, if you are going to use a place outside your home you might have to pay for it or rent it for the duration of the proposal, so start planning in advance.

Ultimately the most important thing is to make him/her feel happy and loved, don’t forget to focus on your partner’s likes, interests, feelings, and preferences.

Should You Involve Others?

We’ve mentioned family and friends, and you’re probably wondering, is that a good idea?

Well yes… but it depends on the kind of message you want to send, and how comfortable you both are with his/her family and friends. The idea of having friends and family at the proposal makes a big statement – that you are not just taking this one person into your life, but also making room for his/her family and friends.

Since forever, it has been a tradition to ask for blessings from a partner’s parents (particularly when it’s a man proposing to a woman) as a sign of respect and courtesy.

The practice is still much alive today, and is in fact, a way of welcoming new family. Including the most important people in his/her life in your plans shows your commitment not only to him/her but also their family.

You can extend the same to close friends; especially if you need their help planning a surprise proposal.

There are many ways of involving family and friends. Other than the actual planning, they can help you to hold the ‘will you marry me’ signs, flowers, dancing and singing, planning a surprise party, or distracting your intended.

“Wow” Them with the Proposal of Their Dreams

Propose to Girlfriend or BoyfriendThe mere idea of a proposal is a big deal, no question about that.

The question is how do you stand out and sets yours apart? What makes your plan so special, memorable and worth cherishing to your soon-to-be fiancé?

There are many ways to wow your soon to be fiancé. If you somehow can find out their dream proposal, it will really help you plan around it.

Remember, if she is very shy then a public proposal might not be a good idea.

Try to get the information from family and close friends if you can. While there is absolutely nothing with proposing during dinner, you have to admit it is not overly unique.

Here are a few proposal ideas that will make yours different and jaw-dropping:

  • Spell the magic words somewhere when proposing – in the sand in a beach, the night sky, a score board during the game, the big screen at a gig, or wherever you can to catch them by surprise.
  • Have the ring in a small box and then put it in increasingly bigger boxes. That should spark some curiosity and intrigue as he/she opens each box. Start getting on one knee just as the last one is being opened.
  • Create a full page ad in her favorite newspaper and look for a way to ensure he/she sees it. Make a parallel face-to-face proposal as he/she reads the ad.
  • Go away to a romantic destination. A change in environment adds exotic spark and romance.
  • If he/she likes water activities, you can get creative by planning an underwater proposal while snorkeling or diving.
  • Include niceties like chocolates, flowers, and candles. These things never hurt.

What to Do If Things Go Wrong

Proposal DisastersNo matter how much effort and time you put into planning your proposal, there is always the slight possibility that one or few things might go wrong. The biggest of all is your partner saying ‘no.’

Unfortunately, no matter how sure you are about the relationship and the likelihood of getting a YES, always be aware this is a possibility. If you are mentally prepared, it won’t sting as much.

Depending on your proposal idea, there may be several people in the vicinity, and they will certainly hear the response. Try to remain cool and calm. If you panic you can easily worsen the situation and bring more attention and embarrassment in your direction.

Don’t get angry or aggressive. After all, it was an unexpected surprise, your partner may just need more time to process it. The best thing to do is get out of wherever you are, away from prying eyes, and talk things over. Listen to his/her side of the story, how they feel, and the reason why the response was a no.

Don’t take it as the end of the relationship. They may just need more time to get into a ‘marriage mood,’ which will give you more time to plan an even better proposal that will end with a yes. They might even end up surprising you one day with the big question.

Keeping it Stress Free

Getting MarriedThere you have it. All the things you need to consider if you’re about to ask someone to marry you. Proposing to your partner is serious business – but it doesn’t have to be stressful.

If you think about all the stuff we shared in this post, and are certain on everything you have no need to fear. Do your due diligence and ask yourself if you really should be proposing.

If the answer is yes, then you can comfortably plan the event and make it happen.

Of course, knowing how to propose doesn’t mean those butterflies in your stomach will stop. But embrace the feeling as a “good sign.” This is an exciting next step in your life’s journey. And nervousness is a natural feeling that accompanies growth and anything new/unfamiliar.

The opportunities and possibilities are just beginning. So be confident in your decision and your plan and JUST DO IT.

Good luck!

How to Propose