15 tips for nailing the proposal

You have been struck by cupid’s arrow and know you have found the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. If marriage is something you both hold dear to your hearts… you will need to get through the proposal to take another step in the direction.

Easy, right? If only it was. There is a lot of nervous anticipation associated with proposals, but remember there is no need to pile the pressure on. Chances are, you have spoken about marriage once or twice before, so you will know whether your partner is ready to take your relationship to the next level.

With all of that sorted, you will need to be armed with some tips for nailing the proposal, so it’s lucky we have them for your here. 15 of them, in fact!


Propose to the family first

It might seem old fashioned, but if your partner is very family-orientated, then asking for their blessing will give you major brownie points… not only with your partner when they find out you went the extra mile, but also with your future in-laws for the sign of respect.

Get sentimental

Even if you are not usually the type to wear their heart on their sleeve, one of the best tips for nailing a marriage proposal is to make it meaningful. Take some time to think about how your relationship has developed, the memories you have made, the places where you have shared super special moments, and the things that make your partner one-of-a-kind.

Incorporating any or all of these elements into your proposal will mean it will be as unique as your partner is and they will know you have put in the effort.

Forget about trends

If there is a sudden surge of people proposing with rings inside bath bombs, (note: totally made-up with high probability of the outcome being a ring going down the plug hole…) resist the temptation to jump on the bandwagon.

What might be trendy now will quickly become a past fad (think flash mob proposals…) and your proposal story will not have the same romantic vibe when you tell your story in the future. It will start something like, “Well, I saw this thing on You Tube…”

Location, location, location

Try to pick a proposal location that will always be there and that you can visit again as many times as you want to in the future. While you may have met at a certain bar or restaurant, just remember that venues do come and go as the years pass.

While you can incorporate the venue into some part of your day/evening together, look at other possibilities that might better stand the test of time.


Public vs private

Whether you include friends, family, or an audience of complete strangers should be dictated entirely by the personality of your beloved. If you are an outgoing enjoy the spotlight, but your partner is more reserved, then a big, flashy, and very public proposal could go very wrong if you ultimately make them feel uncomfortable.

If in doubt, play it safe and go for something more intimate. They’ve been with you for this long, so logic would say they must enjoy your company! Private is always your best bet if you are looking for something more intimate.

Secure a snapper

There is something so heartwarming about proposal photos. That moment of surprise followed by pure joy and excitement is something you can never recreate, so it’s a great idea to hire a photographer to capture these memories.

Professionals will know how to position themselves discreetly and perfectly to get the shots that you will treasure forever. Of course, this is only possible if you have planned to be at a certain spot for the proposal, but it is totally possible to have a photographer hidden away at the right place and time.

It’s all in the decoy

If your ideal proposal involves getting your partner out of the house dressed in something other than the post-work house pants and t-shirt, you will need to come up with a little white lie. While we absolutely don’t condone keeping secrets and lying to your partner, proposals are somewhat an exception to the rule.
Think of something your partner would be excited to go to, like a nice dinner with friends or family they haven’t seen in a long time, you have tickets to an exclusive event, or you have been invited to a cocktail party and you’d like them to come along.

Can you keep a secret?

Proposal plans should be strictly on need-to-know basis. The more people who are in on your plans, the more chances you will have of someone accidentally slipping up and giving it all away.
There is every chance you will be able to pull off your proposal by yourself, but if you do need some help along the way, be careful whose help you enlist and ensure they can keep a lid on their excitement until you have pulled off the proposal.

Timing is important

We’re not talking about perfect timing, but minimising the chance of catching your partner at the wrong time if you can avoid it. If your partner works out on their way home from work, avoid popping the question with a romantic rose petal scenario when they walk through the door all sweaty and in need of a shower. You know, simple things like that.

Some wedding industry insiders also recommend aiming for a proposal closer to the start of your day or evening together, rather than waiting until the very end of what you have planned. This is for two reasons – it will mean you aren’t wired with nerves the entire time and you can relax, and your partner will be able to enjoy the rest of your day or evening together in newly-engaged bliss and is able to show off the ring to anyone and everyone who will look without having to wait until the next day.

Have a Plan B

There are so many sweet proposal ideas that will melt your partner’s heart, but no matter how much you’d like your proposal to play out a certain way, always have a Plan B under your hat.

Why? Because Mother Nature, for one, can be fickle at times and your dream of a romantic stroll along the beach where you surf together, or a picnic among the flowers at the botanic gardens could become a washout without a lot of notice. An indoor alternative is always good to keep in mind.

You should also consider time buffers in case there is a lot of traffic around, making it harder to get to where you need to be.

Don’t piggyback

Proposals at other people’s special events is not cool. Just don’t do it. Your proposal is about the two of you and should be the only special occasion unfolding at the time.

Look the part

Read related: How to arrange the perfect proposal

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