Proposal Etiquette: How to Pop the Question the Right Way

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So you’ve got the engagement ring and you’re all set to plan your proposal. Before you pop the question, here are a few etiquette tips you should definitely consider…

Don’t Steal Someone Else’s Thunder

Getting engaged is a huge milestone in yours and your other half’s life. It deserves an occasion all on its own! Plus, proposals also have a habit of attracting a LOT of attention from well wishers, as you’ll soon find out. So if you’re even considering proposing at someone else’s similarly major milestone event – a big birthday party, for example – please don’t! If you or your partner is the one celebrating the birthday, that’s another thing entirely. But if it’s a family member or a friend and you’re not directly involved in the proceedings, it’s best not to steal the limelight.

Keep it Under Wraps

Part of the joy surrounding an engagement is the thrill of seeing everyone’s reactions when you tell them the good news. Even if you’ve discussed getting engaged as a couple already, there’s no need for anyone else to know just yet – it’s nobody’s business but yours after all. If you’re planning a surprise proposal then keeping quiet about the whole thing is of vital importance too – not only do you need to avoid someone accidentally ruining the surprise by letting something slip, but keeping everyone (and we mean EVERYONE) in the dark makes it all the more exciting.

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Respect Traditions

If your bride is traditional, then respect proposal traditions; i.e. buy the classic diamond ring and get down on one knee! If there are particular customs involved with engagements in whatever culture she comes from, follow these too. One particularly contentious subject in this area is asking the bride’s father/parents for permission to propose. Some believe it unnecessary and archaic in this day and age, while others believe it shows respect and gets the family involved in an otherwise ‘couples only’ moment. There’s no right or wrong answer, but the best advice is to do whatever you think the bride and her family would want you to do.   

Don’t Come Empty-Handed

Let’s be honest. Many women daydream about getting engaged, and the symbolism and surprise of receiving an engagement ring is almost always a part of that daydream. Anyone who wants to wear an engagement ring one day has spent time thinking about what kind of design they would like, and maybe even how they would like to receive it. And while there’s a lot to be said for impromptu proposals – they’re super romantic and guaranteed to be memorable – we recommend having a ring first if at all possible. Unless your bride has specifically said she doesn’t mind, or that she’d rather pick it out herself.

Think About What She Wants

Marriage is all about compromise, and if you’re the one doing the proposing, it makes sense that you should consider how your better half would like to be proposed to. You may want to just get it out of the way and start planning your lives together, but she may prefer to have a little more romance injected into the occasion first (in fact she probably does). Try to make it personal, say some nice words, and make her feel loved. If she has a favourite place or a favourite food, work that into your proposal.

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Make it Heartfelt

Your proposal doesn’t have to be a momentous occasion with a big romantic gesture like a hot air balloon ride or a fireworks display. We can guarantee that no matter how much of a hopeless romantic your lady love is, what will matter to her the most is that your proposal is heartfelt and sincere. If that means organising a public flashmob, fine – but if it’s something simple like breakfast in bed or just asking the question with no flourishes whatsoever, that’s perfect too – as long as your question comes from the heart, the rest is the just the icing on the cake.

Wait for the Right Time

There’s a lot of truth to the old saying ‘the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry’. No matter how much meticulous planning you’ve put into your big proposal moment, there will be a hitch somewhere along the way – trust us. It may be minor, or it may not. If it’s something really huge and unavoidable, there’s no harm in pushing the plan back and waiting for the right time. It’s better to do it right, and if it can’t be done right at that moment in time, then wait until it can.