Popping the Question: Creating the Story of a Lifetime
When it comes to weddings, brides spend months planning, shopping, agonizing over details, and waiting with anticipation for that one special day. The same can be said for the groom about planning the proposal. While some guys prefer spur of the moment proposals, popping the question usually takes weeks, if not months of planning, picking out the ring, and finding the perfect setting to make her say “Yes!”. If you’re thinking about asking the most important question of your life, there are several factors to consider: personality, timing, setting, aftermath, and of course, The Ring.
Before you even start planning a proposal, the most important thing is that you know your bride. If she hates surprises, don’t plan an elaborate and public display. On the other hand, if she is outgoing and loves attention, go for it! If you’re not so sure, try getting answers by subtly mentioning you’d like to plan a surprise birthday party for a friend, and ask if she thinks that would be a good idea. Chances are, her reaction will tell you if she would enjoy something like this for herself. Of course, you could always ask her parents, as well. It is tradition, after all, to ask the bride’s father and/or parents for their blessing before you propose. This signifies the seriousness of your intentions and is always a classy move. Even if you don’t know her parents well, this will help break the ice and allow them to see you in a positive light.
For timing, it’s all in the details. If you know your bride has a high-pressure meeting at work, unwelcome social obligations, or is generally stressed-out, hold off on the proposal. While getting engaged is a happy event, popping the question during a difficult time can cause your bride to feel thrown, and not be able to properly think it through. Once you have The Ring, look at an entire calendar month, preferably one with few obligations and current plans. Then try to narrow your timing down to one week, or one of two weekends. This allows for flexibility if something comes up that could jeopardize your timing. Putting all of your hopes and plans into one specific day, dinner, or event could lead to running the surprise and cause disappointment for you both.
The setting for your proposal should always have some meaning to you as a couple. Whether you choose to propose in your own home, the restaurant where you had your first date, or a romantic landmark, it should hold significance to both of you. Choosing the setting will also be easier to figure out once you know your bride’s personality and decide on your timing. Once you establish your bride’s preference over public or private proposals, your options are easy to narrow down. Your home, a quiet spot on the beach, or in a park, are great places for private proposals. These spots create an intimate setting for couples who want to relish this special moment uninterrupted. Restaurants, family gatherings, and amusement parks are popular spots for public proposals where all of the attention can be on the bride. The round of applause from onlookers at her acceptance of the proposal is a great way to create a special moment for your outgoing bride.
No matter when, where, or how you propose, there should always be a plan for what to do after she says “Yes”. A new trend is the “Engagement Moon”, or whisking your new fiancé away for a short vacation to celebrate being betrothed. Think a two hour drive or one hour flight at most, for a long weekend or something that can be planned without ruining the surprise by asking her to change her work schedule. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive (you just bought a diamond ring, after all), but can be a wonderful surprise, especially if you plan a private or more simple proposal. If a weekend getaway is not in the cards, try preparing a nice dinner at home, making a reservation, or taking her to see family and friends that are waiting to gush over the good news. Having family and friends waiting in the wings to surprise your bride is another special touch for a gal that loves being the center of attention.
Last, but not least, possibly the most important element of the proposal: The Ring. The first thing you need to know when shopping for an engagement ring, is if you even need to shop at all! Find out from family if there is an heirloom ring that she is hoping to receive for her own engagement. Offering a family ring holds incredible significance and saves a lot of money that could be used for an Engagement Moon or the wedding costs. You may also have an heirloom ring in your family, too, so check before you buy. Whether you and your bride to be have discussed the thought of marriage or not, you should be able to get a good idea of which style of ring would best suit her. Take a look at the jewelry she wears regularly- is it bold, simple, or edgy? Does she wear more silver, or gold? For an easy-going girl, a classic, round cut solitaire in white gold may be the perfect way to go. If your bride is a glamorous fashionista, you may need to do a bit more research. Walk past a jewelry store and see if she points anything out. If she has a Pintrest account, snoop through her boards to see if she has pinned any engagement rings. You can always consult with professionals and other friends that have been married, too.
The most important thing to remember when planning a proposal is that no matter how much time you have, the amount of money you can spend, or where it happens, is that it all comes from the heart. Get down on one knee, and tell her why you want to spend the rest of your life with her. That alone will create a beautiful story that you will both enjoy telling for the rest of your lives. Have a camera ready to snap a picture of the ring on her finger, and relax! Now that you’re engaged, the hard part is over, and the wedding planning is up to your bride!