The Perfect Way to Propose to Your Girlfriend!
Hanging over the head of every guy in a long-term relationship is that bloody question, and scarier still the prospect of what comes beyond.
Marriage is a huge deal and a lot of work. But the moment at which you promise to marry someone is one that will be recounted at dinner parties and family gatherings for literally the entire duration of your marriage. It helps to put a bit of thought into it.
With YouTube taking the insides of people’s living rooms and making them the domain of million-view success stories, it’s no surprise that epic, extravagant proposals take off in a huge way online. Never mind the importance placed upon popping the question up to the point the Internet swaggered onto the scene, the expectations have now been jacked up to ridiculous levels.
Breathe easy. Not every fiancée is expecting to go viral. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of fun with the moment and the memory of it can last just as long without a flash mob or video footage.
A few things to bear in mind:
- Be sure you want to get married
- Make marriage an open conversation
- Make sure it’s personal
- Timing is everything
- Plan accordingly
I’ll take you through each step, but it’s certainly more than just a relationship status update on Facebook.
Be sure you want to get married
It shouldn’t come as any surprise to you that many marriages start for the wrong reasons, and that’s why a solid percentage (20-32%, dependent on age range, according to the Office for National Statistics [ONA]) don’t last beyond the 15th anniversary.
Make sure that you are marrying them because you truly love them, and want to build a family together. Too many people end up married to someone who is ‘good enough’ or because their friends were getting married. Even more are pushed into it by overzealous girlfriends they cannot admit fall short of what’s right for them.
Cobble together a pros and cons chart. Ask your friends what they think of her. You are thinking of taking a giant step; make sure it’s for the right girl and the right reasons.
Don’t become a statistic.
Make marriage an open conversation
A lot of guys think that proposing has to be a big surprise, a huge romantic bolt from the blue. And the question itself? Sure. But if you’re asking someone to marry you, knowing that they’re on the same page is key.
Maybe you already live together (you probably should) or you’ve got a kid together. Maybe you don’t, but you’ve been together for a long time and it feels right. Either way, even if you don’t want to outright say it, you should be looking for signs that the future – your whole future, potentially – is something that you are already building together.
It’s also a good way to dodge that crushing ‘no’ that plagues so many rom-coms and nightmares alike. Plus, if you two aren’t in the same place, and that is becoming apparent, it’s a good way of knowing where you stand and taking action.
Maybe she’s going out all the time and only wants to hang out with you once a week, or hasn’t yet invited you to meet her family. That’s all fine, but if you’re invested enough in her to be considering The Big Move, you might want to rethink if it isn’t coming back your way.
If you’re not open about your perspective on partnership at the outset, you’re hardly going to be headed towards a successful marriage.
Make sure it’s personal
By now, you’ve seen hundreds of extravagant proposals online, featuring string sections and flash mobs and dancers. Unless you think your other half is going to appreciate it – and some people genuinely do – it’s a lot to pull together for an outcome that, if you’re a keeper, is ultimately going to be the same however you stage it.
At the same time, it’s a special moment, and it deserves your full attention. A full-fledged relationship is more than just courtship. It’s a robust and deep-rooted friendship that comes with the requisite level of in-jokes and shared experiences. You should also know everything she likes and appreciates.
So hiding a ring in the cake, or popping the question at a restaurant, might be just adequate. But she’s not going to be talking about it for years to come. And her friends will turn their noses up, whether it’s their business or not.
You should do it somewhere special to both of you. Make sure it’s an environment in which you both feel comfortable and relaxed.
Likewise, if you have a shared passion, bring that into play. There was a couple who rap battled together featured in these very pages toward the end of 2014, and Adam ‘Mos Prob’ Felman’s proposal with an extended, personalised spoken word piece at the end of their tag-team battle went hugely viral. More importantly, the way he popped the question got a resounding, tearful ‘yes’ and a venue full of whooping onlookers.
It worked because, disregarding the event’s public nature, he took a platform the two of them loved and turned it on its head at the end of a battle they had been planning and writing for months. This made it all the more surprising, as they had both been actively engaged in battling and he kept it a secret.
Timing is everything
This part will ultimately sort itself out with the right planning. If you’re bringing other people in, either to film or participate, make sure they’re in position and being as surreptitious as possible. Only initiate whatever you’re doing when you are centred and calm, and everything is ready.
Where possible, try to keep it between the two of you. It’s such a precious moment, and even if you have it filmed you should keep the camera and its operator well-hidden.
There was a viral story recently about a gentleman called Jason Schoffman, who rented out an art gallery having mocked up Disney pictures of himself and his partner. Each picture was a cartoon version of them, posing somewhere they had visited – locations deeply personal to them. She didn’t notice they were even in the pictures until she found him at the end, on one knee.
It’s a great proposal because it was still a grand gesture, but he stayed calm and waited until the very end after she had enjoyed the exhibition. You have to let the atmosphere build up, especially if you’re already having a great afternoon somewhere special to both of you.
The grander the proposal, the more planning is required, naturally. You can’t just throw money at it and hope it goes away. If you’re whisking her away somewhere, make sure any travel is booked, and spend a little extra to start your voyage at a comfortable time of day, especially if you are planning to be somewhere at a certain time.
You will be feeling every conceivable emotion, so you have to remove as much stress as you can before the day.
A lot of money often ends up going into proposals, but that isn’t the point and it doesn’t have to be that way. It doesn’t hurt, but use your planning time to really know your limits.
There’s no point frittering away a grand on a full orchestra to soundtrack your big moment if you then can’t afford a wedding band. Weddings and marriages are some of the most expensive things you can engage in, no pun intended. Be romantic. Don’t be a fool.
If you’re going to spend money, do it getting to somewhere important in your joint narrative in a comfortable way.
It’s more important to think about what makes her tick. If she’s a private person, keep the whole thing between the two of you somewhere isolated and beautiful, and research possible locations. If it’s near, say, where you met but somewhere new and peaceful and more representative of the calmer, steadier state of your relationship, it marks the start of a new exciting chapter in sight of where you’ve been.
If she loves being the centre of attention, that’s where the bigger guns are required.
Regarding what to say, simply speak to her honestly. Tell her how you feel, what you love about her, how you fell in love with her. You don’t need a 32-bar poetic love letter like the aforementioned battle rapper. Simply tell her why you want to be with her forever and ask her to marry you. However big the setup, this has to be you talking straight to her as honest lovers.
Ultimately, there is no right way, place or time to propose. What’s more important is holding down a healthy, loving, mutual marriage. If you’re asking her to be with you forever, you know her inside out by now. Open communication is always the way to gauge how the next steps will play out, be that marriage, babies or more.
In short: show her you love her in a way you know she will appreciate, ask her forthright to be with you forever, and focus on what’s next.