Asking someone to spend forever with you is no small decision. And once you’ve determined that your partner is important to the marriage and you’re ready to take the plunge yourself, planning how you’re going to answer the question deserves considerable attention as well. The moment should be personal and authentic, which can mean it will be significantly different from what you’ve seen in the movies or on Instagram.

So how do you make a marriage proposal special without looking out of date? Beyond prioritizing what your partner will appreciate the most at the moment, there are certain missteps and clichés to be avoided in order for things to run smoothly. For help, we turned to experts Alysha Jeney and Michele Velazquez. Read on for their overview of the top guessing mistakes to avoid and what to do for them.

Meet the expert

  • Alysha Jeney is a Certified Relationship Therapist and Founder of Modern Love Counseling. She is based in the Denver area.
  • Michele Velazquez is the co-founder of The Heart Bandits, a boutique wedding proposal planning service based in Southern California.

Don’t make it a total surprise.

First and foremost: your partner should never suspect that a marriage proposal is on the horizon. Marriage is a major commitment, and both members of a couple should be fully engaged before the question is formally asked. It takes several conversations about what a future will look like together. “Make sure you both communicate extensively on values, ‘marriage’ ideas, child planning, finances, and expectations,” Jeney explains.

Once you’ve discussed the idea of ​​marriage, the actual proposal will seem more special if it comes at an unexpected time, but don’t let the idea of ​​surprising your partner completely by surprise dominate your plans. According to Velazquez, having a rhythm to digest what’s going on before it happens makes the moment even more special.

“One of the most important parts of a proposal is the moment right before you get engaged, where you’re like, ‘Oh my God, is that it? Is this really happening. ? ‘”, explains Velazquez. “Feeling these butterflies is actually a really good thing, and you can almost feel cheated without them.”

So take your partner up a candlelit walkway or organize a scavenger hunt to the place of the final proposition. Building the anticipation will give your partner time to savor the experience, which will lead to deeper memories of the occasion down the line.

Don’t ignore your partner’s wishes.

While social media may have normalized high-production proposals involving flash mobs and surprise trips to Paris, this approach isn’t for everyone – and it’s important to prioritize what your partner will want versus what will get the most likes on the gram.

“Romance isn’t about grandiose gestures to show your love for each other,” Jeney recalls. “It’s a matter of thought.” Meaning: While your partner will be more embarrassed than euphoric by a major display, it won’t do any of you – nor provide a solid basis of respect for their wishes – to ignore their preferences.

You will want to look at the wardrobe through the same lens and use it to inform your proposal plans. “One of the first questions we ask clients is what their partner would like to look like on their engagement day,” says Velazquez.

If you want to suggest a hike or some other outdoor activity, but yoga pants and sneakers don’t match what your partner imagined in the big moment, then Velazquez adds, he probably is. better to rethink your strategy.

With that said, if you’re more of a attention-seeker but your partner is more reserved, there are ways to make sure you both experience the proposition you’ve always dreamed of. “A specific conversation about the marriage proposal and boundaries needs to be engaged from the start,” advises Jeney. “Realize why your partner likes or dislikes attention, discuss any insecurities or your expectations, and then come to a compromise that feels genuine while taking the other’s feelings into account. It could mean a private proposition followed by a larger gathering immediately after the fact, or believing that your partner will create a moment for you to shine or commemorate the occasion later. (Like, say, with a special toast at your engagement party.)

Don’t memorize a great speech.

“A lot of customers will come up with these beautiful and amazing things that they want to say to their partner,” says Velazquez. “But in the moment they freeze, forget everything they’ve planned and just let go ‘Will you marry me?’” That’s why she advises clients to plan loosely around three key points to the place :

  1. Which led to this moment.
  2. Why you can’t live without your partner.
  3. Popping the actual question.

By following this framework, there is less pressure to achieve a perfectly correct speech, but you are still sure to say something romantic, meaningful and substantial. Jeney completely agrees with the approach. “Just speak from your vulnerable heart,” she adds.

Do not hide the ring in food or drink.

No matter what you saw in old movies or heard in your parents’ big time stories, you do. not want to drop the ring in a glass of champagne or hide it in dessert. “It’s unhygienic and it’s risky,” says Velazquez, who notes that you could easily lose the ring, or your partner could end up accidentally swallowing it. Besides, even in the best of cases, who wants to wipe off such an important piece of jewelry before slipping it on their finger?

Remember to budget extra for your friends and family.

The costs involved in a proposal, even beyond the engagement ring, can add up quickly. This is especially true if you plan to surprise your partner with a reunion of friends and family immediately after the fact. “People who include their families tend to use part of their budget to entertain families,” says Velazquez, who notes that champagne, food and space for the gathering can quickly eat away at allotted funds.

“I always ask: do you want to spend more than fifty percent of your budget on entertaining people, or do you want to make the proposal you are trying hard to make to your partner and then throw an engagement party later?” With so many wedding-related events leading up to the main event, there will be plenty of opportunities to celebrate with your loved ones, so it’s perfectly okay to make this moment just for the two of you.

Do not combine it with another occasion.

Christmas Day has traditionally been the most popular day to get engaged, but Velazquez strongly advises against proposing during a time already marked by another holiday or special occasion. “Proposal day should really be a standalone event,” she says. “It is [your partner] and their timing. If you resume activities unrelated to the proposal, like opening gifts or sitting down for a big family meal, immediately after that happens, the special of the occasion will be swallowed up sooner than it should. to be. You’ll also have limited private time to savor the moment like the two of you.


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