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So you've found the love of your life, you know all of the things you should know about each other before you get married, and you're ready announce it to the world. But first, you have to pop the question. That can be exciting and exhilarating, but it can also be nerve-wracking. Where do you even start? This advice will help you best prepare for a marriage proposal, so you can start the next chapter of your life with the person you love.
Make it personal.
This amazing moment is all about your love, your relationship, and the person you're going to spend the rest of your life with. Your proposal should reflect that.
There are a lot of ways to make sure your proposal has all the sentimentality and personalization you want. You should make a list of important moments, milestones, places and things in your relationship that you might want to consider as you prepare for a marriage proposal. You might think about taking him or her to the place you first met or where you had your first kiss. You could also try to incorporate a favorite song, movie, or inside joke.
It might be tempting to get your ideas from other people's successful proposal stories, but when deciding how to propose it's more important to make it your own. That way, when you pop the question, your partner will feel all the more special.
You also want to consider your partner’s schedule. If you know your girlfriend is always exhausted after a day at work, you should consider planning your proposal on a day she has off, or even in the morning before work. Or if your boyfriend always visits his mom on Fridays, you don’t want to ask him to bail on his other interests and obligations for you.
Pick the right location.
One of the most important decisions to make as you prepare for a marriage proposal is where to do it. There are a lot of factors you want to consider. As I mentioned earlier, you might want to choose a place with a lot of significance to you and your partner, such as the restaurant you had your first date at, or at a park where you spent a lot of time together. But there are other factors to consider, too.
It’s important to remember that your proposal is all about your partner, so you want to make sure he or she will be comfortable, making this a wholly positive memory for the two of you. For example, even if you are an outgoing person who loves grand gestures, if your partner is more introverted, you may want to choose a private or quiet location. Romantic as it may seem, having a flash mob at your proposal could make many people uncomfortable, and that’s the last thing you want to do when you pop the question. So before you decide where and how to propose, think about your partner’s likely reaction, if he or she would feel embarrassed or overwhelmed, and make sure your proposal will bring your partner nothing but joy.
When picking your location, you want to also consider the weather. Even the most well-planned proposal can go wrong if you weren’t prepared for sudden storms and rains. If you’re wanting to propose at an outside location, you should do a couple of things: first, check the weather report and pick a day that should be nice. Second, even if the weather report says clear skies, be prepared with an alternative. It might be wise to have an indoor back-up location, just in case.
Which leads me to the next thing you want to do as you prepare for a wedding proposal: be flexible and don’t over-plan. In your excitement (or nervousness!), you might be tempted to plan every detail to a T, leaving your proposal at the hands of uncontrollable factors.
Weather is one such factor, which you should plan for by having a back-up location or time. Another uncontrollable factor is timing—if your partner sometimes works late, or gets called away, you might want to plan a proposal that can be moved or rescheduled if need be.
And of course, you want to be flexible about the proposal itself. Sure, you want to say exactly the right things with exactly the right delivery, but memorizing a script can only hurt you by making your speech sound rehearsed and mechanical. Think about the main ideas and points you want to make when you pop the question, and feel free to consider a rough structure for the big moment, but don’t write yourself a script—you want your words to come from the heart, not your memory. Even if you stutter or forget something you wanted to say, an unrehearsed speech will be much more heartfelt and meaningful than a perfectly-delivered but robotic oration.
Keep the secret.
Part of the reason you want to stay flexible about your proposal is so that you can keep it all under wraps. The more you have to juggle, and the more you have to get exactly right, the more that might go wrong and ruin the surprise.
To prepare for a marriage proposal, you also have to prepare a cover story. You want to get your partner to the right location at the right time without tipping him or her off. There are plenty of excuses you can use, even something as simple as suggesting a fancy night out. But it’s not just the proposal itself you have to worry about—you want to make sure your partner doesn’t get wise while you’re trying to settle all the details and get ready.
Keep the ring box hidden somewhere safe, where you know he or she will never accidentally find it (so, if you do combined laundry, not the sock drawer!). If you have to go anywhere or set anything up beforehand, you should do so at a time when you can be sure your partner won’t notice. This might be as easy as making your plans while he or she is at work, but you may also need to enlist friends or family to distract the lucky person, taking him or her out for a while so you can get ready.
Relax! (But put your best foot forward.)
You don’t have to go all-out with flash mobs or hired orchestras, but you do want to put thought and effort into making your proposal special. You don’t want to treat it as otherwise any other day—so skip the jeans and opt for a tie, dress, or otherwise classy look for this important occasion. Proposing is a big step, and a big moment in your life, and you want to reflect that serious nature in the way you present yourself.
That said, this event is ultimately about you, your partner, and your love—not your clothes or fancy restaurants. So focus on your relationship, and let the joy of the occasion guide you. After you propose, you'll have a slew of things to do before getting married, so make sure to take time to enjoy the moment.