Getting engaged: the proposal p1
Getting down on one knee, taking out the ring (you hope) she’ll like and asking that big question. It’s probably one of the simplest questions you’ll ever ask, after all if you’re at this point you’ve got a pretty good idea she’s going to say yes and if you aren’t certain then you might not be ready just yet. Johnnie Cochran, the late great lawyer, always said never ask a question you don’t know the answer to. By the time your knee is bending and you are reaching into your pocket you should already have had at least a few conversations about the future, what you both want and where you see the future holding for you individually and together.
So you have tested the waters, talked about the future and know she will say yes when you pop the important question; now it is time to start planning everything from choosing and buying the ring itself, to thinking about where and how you will propose to her and what you’ll do with the rest of your day. I might get back up off that knee before we look at all this.
First things first: Asking her parents
Okay it may not be the 1950’s or even the ’80’s anymore but talking to your fiancee to be’s father (and mother) is still a nice touch, It lets them know you value them and their opinion. It isn’t seen as a requisite in the twenty-first century world but come on, it’s still a lovely tradition and by this point you have already decided you’re going to pop the question so it’s nice to have someone to talk to about it.
“Try not to pick a very public place where you will both be on show”
The big decision: Buying the ring
IMAGE BY LORI L. STALTERI
This in itself is probably one of the biggest decisions you are going to make in the whole process from here until you are married. Aside from the significance of it as an engagement ring and a symbol of your union, it’s also a piece of jewelry she’ll be wearing for the rest of her life. Think carefully here.
There are so many styles to choose from it’s almost a nightmare. There’s gold, white gold and platinum for the ring itself. Which you choose will to a degree be dictated by your budget. Gold is at one end of the scale and platinum the other. As with the diamond itself I went by the motto – buy the best you can. Higher grade metals such as platinum wear better over time which is something to think about but does it fit with the jewelry she usually wears? If not then go with what will fit.
“Will you marry me?”
The diamond. There are 4 things to think about cut, clarity, colour and carat. If you are just looking for the first time these 4 terms will mean very little, well you going to get to know them pretty quickly as you choose the diamond for her ring. You can find a good guide to all this here.
Setting the scene: location, location, location
IMAGE JEROEN BENNINK
Where you choose to propose is almost as important as either the ring you give her or the way you ask. I chose a quiet part of the Canal St Martin in Paris. Not everyone can whisk their loved one away on a romantic city break, I was very lucky to be able to do so. The main things to consider are choosing a location which is quiet and a little secluded. Try not to pick a very public place where you will both be on show and she will be put under pressure. Yes I did it in the open on a bridge over the canal, so there was the chance of being interrupted but I waited for a quiet moment when no one else was around.
IMAGE DAVID MCSPADDEN
Set the scene. If you are proposing later in the day, make sure you have set the day before hand. Gradually build up through the day to the main event itself by making the day as relaxing but as special as you can. She may feel under a little pressure when you ask the question so make sure your loved one is in the right frame of mind before your knee hits the ground.
“Never ask a question you don’t know the answer to”
Popping the question
IMAGE VICTOR GRIGAS
You talked to her parents days, weeks or even months ago. Careful planning has gone into crafting an unforgettable day with the perfect moment for the proposal. You agonised over rings before finally choosing one and its box has been burning a hole in your pocket for hours. There’s nothing left to do other than ask the question. If only you’d planned what to say!
I think a lot of us just seem to go with “will you marry me?” By the time comes you might think it will go in slow motion, like a sepia coloured scene in a movie from yesteryear. For me it all went in a bit of a blur, neither of us can remember the actual words I uttered when I was down there, only that they must have been good enough for her to say yes!
Make sure you have set the scene, that your fiancee in relaxed and and a good mood, that you have the ring to hand and have thought about what you are going to say. Then go for it!
Coming up next, the 10 worst ways to propose.
Read more on getting engaged and wedding planning here