Step-By-Step Guide to Marriage Proposals

Man Proposing on One Knee to Woman

Planning to ask your partner to marry you but not quite sure how to go about it? David Atkinson from Silver Groves gives you the low down on how to propose like a pro in this handy guest post proposal guide.

Popping the question to your significant other can be a pretty daunting prospect but can also be one of the best experiences of your life. You’ll probably have some idea in your head from Hollywood’s slew of romantic comedies and YouTube’s viral stars of proposals that involve food, pranks and extravagant spectacles. But it’s fair to say, it’s probably best to avoid these in favour of something personal to you as a couple.

So what should you do? Fear not! We’ve put together a step by step guide to help you propose to your partner and hear them say that sought after, three-letter word: “Yes”.

Make Sure You’re Ready

Before you even consider proposing, you need to make sure you’re ready to make the biggest commitment you’ll ever make. Whether you believe in the concept of “The One” or not, you need to ensure your partner is the right person for you. 

Think about the reasons why you want to get married and why you specifically want to marry your significant other. Follow the natural progression leading up to marriage. Introduce them to friends and family, spend a significant amount of time together and live together. Gone are the days of waiting to move in until after marriage, so make the most of it.

When you feel you’re completely compatible and there’s no one you’d rather spend your life with, that’s the right time to propose.

Know What Your Partner Will Say

Your proposal should be a surprise but the fact that you want to get married shouldn’t be. Speak to your partner and make sure you’re both on the same page about marriage and where you are in your relationship. You can keep the conversation casual while finding out how they feel.

Listen out for hints they make about marriage. These are a clear indicator that it’s the right time for them. If they feel you’ve been waiting too long, these will likely become more common and hard to miss.

There’s no guaranteed way of getting your “Yes,” but you should be pretty certain that’s what your partner is going to say. Following this step is particularly important if you haven’t been together for a long time. 

Once you have made the decision to propose, it’s time to move on with the exciting part – the planning.

Man proposing with engagement ring

Get Their Ring Size

If you’ve never worn rings, you might not be aware that they come in different sizes. (Flashback to the first Christmas I was looking to get my now-wife a ring and was made to feel very stupid by a jeweller – thankfully I found out before I was looking for the engagement ring!) You’ll need to know their size before you order the ring and keep in mind that guessing rarely works out.

Thankfully, there are a few different techniques you can use to get it right:

  • Firstly, drop it into everyday conversation. If you can think of a natural way of doing this, it will be your best option. 
  • Secondly, enlist the help of their bestie. Friends talk, especially if weddings are on the cards so use them to find out the size.
  • Thirdly, if they’re a heavy sleeper, tie a piece of string around their finger to measure. Even better, find somewhere that offers free ring sizes and use that.
  • If they happen to wear a ring on the opposite finger, borrow that to find out the size. Be aware; if a ring is worn on the same finger of the other hand, the size will be slightly different depending on which is their dominant hand. Dominant hands are slightly bigger.

The worst-case scenario, the ring can be resized or exchanged but this isn’t ideal. Do your best to find out the correct measurement to help create the perfect experience. 

Find the Perfect Ring

In the ideal world, you and your partner will be completely in sync and you’ll be able to pick out their perfect ring with ease. In reality, you’re more likely going to be completely baffled by the huge number of styles and colours available.

To start, set the budget of how much you’re looking to spend. Traditionally, it was said you should spend three month’s salary on the ring. This was then dropped to one month’s salary to try and keep up with modern times. Really, you can spend whatever is viable for you. Don’t bankrupt yourself before you even get engaged as it’s likely going to cost you a lot more paying for a wedding.

Once you’ve set your budget, look around online and in person to try to find a ring that suits their style. Pinterest and similar sites are great for inspiration.

If you’re really struggling for ideas, you can again speak to a close friend or family member for help. They’ll likely be more than happy to help you choose. Just make sure they won’t give the secret away to anyone.

In some instances, your partner may prefer to choose their own ring. If you think this is the case, buy either a cheap ring for appearances or something special as a symbol for the engagement.

Engagement Ring on Woman's Hand

Ask for Permission

The tradition of asking for the father’s permission before proposing isn’t as common as it once was. However, it’s a nice custom that’s sure to impress your future in-laws. It doesn’t even have to be your partner’s father. Choose the member of the family they’re closest to and ask them.

It’s not 100% necessary to ask for permission, just do what will make your partner happy. If they’re from a traditional family, it’s probably best but a more liberal family likely won’t be as bothered.

Choose the How, When & Where

Now comes the three big decisions – how, when and where you are going to propose.

For the when, you have a choice of a special date such as an anniversary, a holiday like Valentine’s Day, Christmas Eve or Day (surprisingly, these are two of the most common days people get engaged) or a day without any real significance. There are pros and cons to each of these options, however, I’m inclined to suggest choosing a random day and making it special. Just make sure you’re off work the next day so you can celebrate and spend some time together.

In terms of the where, choose a place that’s special to you as a couple, or simply a beautiful destination. It can be on a beach when you’re on holiday, the place you went for your first date or a location where you have happy memories. If you are going for somewhere that involves travel, especially flying, make sure to pack your ring somewhere safe and subtle. Try not to go through security next to each other so if your bag is searched, the ring won’t be seen.

Finally, you need to choose how you’ll ask. Depending on you and your partner, you’ll have to pick between a private proposal or a public spectacle. If they’re outgoing and like to be the center of attention, a public proposal is a great option but if they’re more of an introvert, private will be best. From here, choose exactly how you’ll ask. Writing in the sky, a flash mob, with friends and family holding signs or the simple down on one knee. The decision is up to you.

No matter what kind of proposal you choose, get creative and make sure it’s right for you as a couple.

Man Proposing to Woman by the sea

Get the Details Right

Once you make the big decisions, you should have a think about the smaller details. Consider things like whether you’ll go down on one knee, what you’re going to say, your outfit etc.

Think about whether you want a photographer there to capture the moment from afar. This can commemorate the event but can be a little much for anyone who doesn’t like a fuss.

Spend time polishing your proposal, tailoring it to you as a couple.

Arrange a Celebration

After you propose, you’ll likely want to spend some time together as a couple, then let your friends or family know. Arranging a time to tell them and celebrate the good news the same day or a couple of days after can be a great experience.

I proposed mid-afternoon in a different city to where we live. Later on that evening, some friends of ours got the train over and met us for a meal, thinking we were just going for a few drinks. We then had the enjoyment of surprising our friends with the news and celebrating as a group.

Practice What You’ll Say

Unless you want to get down on one knee only to realise you have no idea what you’re actually going to say, practice your little spiel. You’re likely going to be a bundle of nerves, so planning a brief speech and going through it a few times will help ensure it flows properly. Keep it short and from the heart!

It’s worth punctuating the proposal with the actual words “Will you marry me?” at the end. Your partner will likely be in shock and the actual words can help bring them back to earth to answer the question.

Marry Me? Question in Sand

Pop the Question

Once you’ve done all of the preparation, there’s just one thing left to do: pop the big question. Be confident and try to say everything you planned to say. Most of all, enjoy it and try to remember the details. The proposal will likely be over in seconds and it’s easy to miss out on the finer aspects.

Author Bio

This post was contributed by David Atkinson from Silver Groves, a retailer of beautiful silver anniversary gifts.

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