(Ladies, you totally have my permission to take this article and slip it under his pillow, forward it “anonymously” to his Inbox or otherwise creatively distribute to your guy if you are waiting on your proposal. I hold no responsibility for any possible negative reactions, but I will take total credit if he takes the hint and “gets it right!”).
A Decent Proposal – A Guide to Getting it Right
There are many ways to propose – some are subdued (like giving her the ring on a quiet Christmas morning), others are loud and raucous (jumbo-tron at the baseball game anyone?) and others still are sweet, elegant and romantic (candlelit dinner, roses… you get the idea). We had the privilege of documenting the proposal of our very dear friend Rebecca recently, which is what prompted us to write this article. It was sweet, tearful, and amazing – and most importantly her fiancée Dan totally got it right by planning out some incredible details. A surprise day at the spa, following by a limo ride to a swanky hotel for drinks before an elegant dinner (with several photographers hiding out in strategic spots around the lobby – yes, we totally had a blast sneaking around and capturing the moment like Hollywood paparazzi). You don’t have to spend a lot, or make it a day long event – just plan something that will be meaningful and fits your style as a couple.
There really is no “wrong” way to propose, that is, IF you take your time with the details and plan it out. The first thing to consider is her personality. Is she a quiet girl that would love for you to drop to your knee while on a late afternoon hike – or is she a major basketball fan who would love to have 50,000 people cheering on the two of you? It’s always best to think about her reaction and comfort level, not just some creative or crazy idea just for the heck of it.
A few things to consider:
- She might say “No”. Ok, ok, if she found a way to slip you this article, chances of a “no” are slim, BUT, if you think there is any chance that the answer might be anything other than a tearful, happy, jumping-up-and-down “Yes!” well, consider something private (do a YouTube search for “proposal rejections”, whether they are a hoax or the real deal, the reality is that they are PAINFUL to watch).
- Her definition of a “good idea” might not be yours. You bleed your team’s colors, you live and breathe their stats, and your loving girlfriend was awesome enough to buy you season tickets last year – she totally rocks. This doesn’t necessarily mean she wants to share this moment with millions of TV viewers nationwide. Or have the team mascot help with popping the question – again, just a thought.
- Consider asking the parents. I know, its 2010, this isn’t really necessary anymore, but that might make it just all that much more appreciated. Before my husband Paul proposed to me, he called my parents to ask for my hand – and I still get teary-eyed thinking about that. I know he would have asked me regardless of what they said (by the way, they VERY happily gave their blessing and then had to have no contact with me for the rest of day since they probably couldn’t have kept the secret!), but the fact that he took the time to make that call meant that he had respect for my family and knew that it would mean so much to me.
- A little planning goes a long way. Take your time with the details. All women love to know that you put some thought into it. You don’t have to do roses or candlelight specifically, but just a little something extra can take the moment from “Aw!” to “Wow!” And lets face it, the phone call to the parents, family and friends is so much more fun if there are some details or a great story to go with it.
- Have it documented. This isn’t for everyone (well, as photographers, we think it SHOULD be!), but having this moment documented by a photographer can be a very thoughtful option. Very few people have images of their engagement, and considering how momentous, and life-altering it can be, whynot? It can be as private as you like – just tell your photographer the time and place, and let them handle finding a hiding spot. Even if she does happen to spot the paparazzi, chances are the giddiness of the moment will have her smiling from ear to ear! And again, the story of your engagement gets even better if you have pictures!
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Even if it doesn’t go 100% according to plan – its ok – really, it is. You are getting engaged because you want to spend the rest of your lives together, and a lifetime is made up of many, many moments – some perfect, some not-so-perfect. So even if you drop the ring, break down into tears or fumble your words, this is one of those moments that truly defines the phrase: It is the thought that counts.