If you’re a fan of winging it, you should probably read this. And if you’re the ultimate planner, it will definitely help you too. Feel free to argue, but this is how long we think you should spend planning your proposal, and what major benchmarks you should reach along the way. Follow this, and you **should** have a flawless plan ready to execute by the time P-Day (Proposal Day) arrives.
1 year+ ahead of the proposal: Determine what your budget is for the engagement ring, and start saving. You may need to do this more than one year in advance depending on your salary and the kind of engagement ring she wants. Also start thinking about how, where, and when you want to pop the question. It’s never too early to plan!
8 months ahead: After four months (or more) of saving, it’s time for a budget check-up. Take a look at how your savings are progressing and adjust your budget/saving habits if necessary to get to that ‘magic number’. Look out for clues pointing to what kind of engagement ring she wants, then take a look online to see if any similar styles match your budget. Just remember; if you buy from a jewelry store rather than online, prices will be slightly higher.
6 months ahead: Start seriously looking for that engagement ring. Read up on the 4Cs, nail down your budget, have at least some idea of what kind of ring you’re looking for. Then find a couple of reputable jewelry stores and pay them a visit. Don’t worry – nobody expects you to find the perfect ring right off the bat. There’s no need to rush.
4 months ahead: Start thinking more seriously about the proposal itself. If she wants something especially elaborate or romantic, get moving on the plan. Enlist any helpers needed and map out how you want the whole day to go. Choose what time of day you’ll get down on one knee (morning, afternoon, evening) and what you’ll do before and after. And don’t forget about narrowing down those engagement ring choices….
2 months ahead: Pick ‘the’ ring, and request any modifications – there’s plenty of wiggle room left in the timeline, so you can be sure you’ll have the finished piece ready in time. If you’re doing a romantic dinner or weekend getaway as part of your proposal, make those reservations now. And above all else, make sure those big chunks of cash you’re spending are concealed from your other half. If she accidentally figures out what’s happening, all that planning will go to waste!
1 month ahead: The engagement ring should be ready by now. Pick it up from the jewelry store and hide it somewhere 100% secure – or better yet, leave it at the store for safekeeping (with the jeweler’s permission). If you have helpers enlisted for the proposal, give them a full briefing of how the event will – hopefully – go down. Perfect the cover story you’ll tell your other half, then lay the groundwork for implementing it; i.e. ‘hey I booked us two tickets to the theatre on x date, and I thought we could go to dinner afterwards?’
2 weeks ahead: Reconfirm any reservations you made. Figure out any last little details about the proposal plan. If she’s a traditional bride-to-be, now is the time to pay a visit to her father/parents to ask for their blessing. Again, have a watertight cover story for this – you don’t want to let the cat out of the bag at the last hurdle!
1 week ahead: Time to think logistics. Check the weather, look out for any events happening that may affect your plans. Plan what route and means of transport you’ll take to the proposal location. Finalise the schedule. And, most importantly, come up with a back-up plan in case it all goes wrong… but don’t worry, it won’t.
The day before: Firstly, STAY CALM. All of the hard work is done. You may find it impossible to do so, but try your best to relax. Choose your outfit for the proposal – make sure it’s clean and ironed! – and spend some time thinking about what you want to say when you actually ask that big question. Oh, and even if you’re freaking out try to act normal around your bride-to-be.
The day of: Honestly, we can’t really help you with this one. Just do it. You won’t regret it. It will be awesome. She will say yes. You have nothing to worry about.
Afterwards: Before you announce your happy news to the world, take a couple of minutes to enjoy this life changing moment together – just the two of you. Then pop that champagne, take those selfies, make those phone calls, and enjoy the rollercoaster ride of congratulations, wedding planning, and saying ‘I do’.