Before you get down on one knee and ask the object of your affections to share the rest of her life with you, there are a lot of things to consider. The movies make it look easy. Boy buys ring. Boy gets down on one knee. Girl says yes. And if something does go wrong, Hollywood always finds a way to make everyone live happily ever after just as if everything had gone off without a hitch.
The Do-It-Yourself Proposal
Hiring a wedding proposal planner can cost thousands of dollars – sometimes as much as or more than the wedding itself if you’re forced to work with a lower budget. While it’s reassuring to have someone take care of all the logistics, pick out what you should wear, and help you rehearse the big question, these are all things you can do with the help of a friend or family member who you can trust to keep mum until the big day.
Regardless of how you plan to propose, there are some definite Do’s and Don’ts that could make or break the big moment. While this is only a partial list, and anyone who has their own engagement story to tell can undoubtedly add more, it certainly covers the major points.
Surprise her. Don’t be afraid to use decoys to throw her off track. Get her best friend involved – if you’re sure the best friend won’t spill the beans. Keep everything as secret as possible so that when the big moment arrives, it’s the big moment that she’s always dreamed it would be.
Make it all about her. Sure, the engagement is something for both of you. But you probably aren’t the one who has dreamed about this moment since your childhood. You’re her handsome prince who is making the moment happen, so be sure to take into account her favorite colors, flowers, movies, songs, and other things she likes.
Take pictures and video. If possible, get a trusted friend or family member to take pictures or, even better, get video of the big event. Between your nerves and the excitement, chances that afterwards you’ll have trouble recalling exactly what you said.
Be traditional. Get down on one knee, and have the ring in a box. It’s traditional. It’s romantic. It’s completely sappy. And chances are, it’s exactly what she has dreamed of happening her entire life. Even if you want to go shopping for the ring together, have something like a pair of diamond earring studs in the box to commemorate the big day.
Be creative. Just because you’re getting down on one knee and opening the ring box doesn’t mean you can’t add a little creativity. However, use common sense. Don’t be like the unfortunate subject of one YouTube video. He attached the ring to a helium balloon, and then watched in dismay as it escaped his grasp and floated up, up, up and away.
Make sure she’ll say yes. The last thing you want is to get your future bride on the Jumbotron at a sporting event or in front of a flash mob only to get a negative reply. Discuss your future plans ahead of time and make sure that you’re both on the same page. In addition to saving you from planning something for nothing, it could also save you a ton of embarrassment and regret.
Personalize the Ring
It doesn’t matter how many times you practice what you want to say during your proposal, there is always the chance that emotions will take over. If this happens you’re likely to be left down on one knee, stammering out the biggest question of your personal life. It’s important to have the right words somewhere – so why not on the ring itself?
Engraving a favorite quote, Bible verse or religious phrase, the date you proposed, or even your and your bride’s initials on the inside of the engagement ring makes the moment even more personal – especially if her answer is “Yes!” Order any engraving in plenty of time. On the off chance that the engraver misspells something, there will be enough leeway for them to make a second attempt.
Another idea is to split a quote in half and have the first part engraved on the engagement ring and the other half engraved on the wedding band. For instance, a family friend used his bride’s favorite Robert Browning quote during both the proposal and while designing the ring. The inside of the engagement ring reads, “Grow old with me!” while the inside of the wedding band promises, “The best is yet to be.”