7 Do’s (and Some Don’ts) of Marriage Proposals

7 Do's (and Some Don'ts) of Marriage Proposals

Proposing is (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime event. Whereas the wedding day is generally regarded as the bride’s day to shine, the marriage proposal is where the groom really gets a chance to show off their creativity and thoughtfulness. Or lack of in some cases.

Indeed, marriage proposals are not limited to hetero relationships, but as to who proposes in a same-sex marriage is more personal to the couple.

Proposals are one of the most important moments of your life. Whether you’re planning an elaborate proposal or a simple one, and it matters not if it’s for a boy or girl, you want to progress your everlasting love and propose a union in the best way possible.

There are several dos and don’ts you should follow to ensure a memorable moment that they will never forget. Here are a few basics to keep in mind when getting ready to pop the question to your beloved:


Get Down on One Knee

Some traditions are important, and the one-knee proposal tops the list. Even an alternative, unromantic girl or boy still wants to have their proposal on one knee. This is a key element that can’t be missed.

Have a Ring

Whether it’s the ring you looked at together months ago, a diamond that the sister or bestie helped select or even a Haribo ring as a symbolic gesture (not to be recommended), having some kind of holding engagement band to slip on the finger is crucial.

It just does not have the same magic without it. The gesture can seem knee-jerk rather than impromptu and spontaneous.

a marriage proposal by the effiel tower in Paris
Paris is considered one of the most romantic places to propose

Be Romantic

You’ll have to trust us on this, an unromantic proposal can result in being rejected or taken as not serious. It’s actually the main reason proposals are ejected. Put it this way, it will be the biggest moment of your marriage, talked about for a lifetime as well as in the wedding speech. No one wants to retell a story of an onion ring and a cold takeaway.

Romance is defined as a feeling of excitement associated with Flove and could relate to past places meaningful to your relationship or romantic cities  (think Paris, Brugges, Venice, or Berlin).

Of course, romance is personal to you both, so somewhere more local would be more meaningful and a surprise.

Make it a surprise marriage proposal

Chances are your partner can read you like a book. If you suddenly suggest a romantic weekend getaway out of the blue they’ll know exactly what is coming. It’ll take a little wind out of your sails and she won’t have that truly surprised reaction to make it special.

Time it Right

That may seem like an obvious statement, but it’s true: if you ask someone to marry you at the wrong time, they might actually think twice about saying yes. Also, consider if you are both ready for the commitment of getting married and at the right stage in your relationship.

Know the woman you’re asking

If they don’t like surprises, don’t ask them to marry you during a crowded party or with a public audience. If they prefer a more intimate and romantic style, plan the proposal around that type of setting.

Consider what happens after “Yes.” 

If you propose on a weekday morning you won’t have time to celebrate and call your loved ones and still make it to work on time. And most bosses won’t give you a free day off because you got engaged. Before selecting the day and time, consider the commitments you’ll both have after they say yes.

Create their dream proposal, not yours 

Just because you are a die-hard football fan does not mean you should propose to your loved one on the pitch during half-time. Make a list of the things that they love and incorporate those elements into creating the dream marriage proposal.

7 Do's (and Some Don'ts) of Marriage Proposals


Be a cliché

Dinner at a restaurant where the ring is delivered with dessert, or a proposal package at a local hotel. Both are clichéd, and you might want more creative ways to propose. Don’t fall into the trap of these generic proposals. Plan your marriage proposal so that they will be proud to tell all their friends and family.

Joke around

It may have been funny when Jim jokingly proposed to Pam on The Office. But in real life, joking about popping the question will undoubtedly result in a painfully awkward moment. When you’re asking someone to spend the rest of their life with you, make sure they know you’re serious. And if you are joking, bear in mind feelings will be hurt if you try and back-track.

Be longwinded

Even the most experienced public speaker would forget their line when they’re proposing. Plan to keep your words short and simple, yet meaningful. It will help reduce your stress and ensure that you say what you intend to.

Tell everyone beforehand

Besides one or two trusted buddies and possibly parents, don’t tell all of your friends and family before you’re going to propose. Many surprise engagements have been ruined thanks to someone’s slip of the tongue. Keep things to yourself and in the end, it’ll be more fun to break the news to your family and friends together.

Get offended if they decline or stall

There could be many reasons while they don’t squeal in delight and shout their acceptance. It might not necessarily be that they don’t match the depth of your feelings, there could be other factors at play including family issues, religion, or others.

In fact, a study showed that the most common reasons for turning down a marriage proposal according to Time magazine were related to the proposal and not to who was the one on a bended knee.

  1. Unromantic proposal setting (67%)
  2. Poor ring choice (53%)
  3. Bad wording of the proposal (51%)
  4. Lack of trust in the relationship (39%)
  5. Scared of the commitment (36%)

What is a marriage proposal?

A marriage proposal is when one person asks for another’s hand in marriage, usually after they have been in a stage of courtship or relationship or in some cases after an arrangement for marriage. An acceptance is considered a promise of later marriage and considers them engaged to be married.

The history of popping the question

Those whimsical romance lovers won’t be happy, historically marriage was more about money, political gain and lust. The tradition of asking for someone’s hand in marriage was so the bride’s father could set the dowry to give parental consent. The young ladies (or girls in some cases) were basically sold to much older men.

Kings used this to create allegiances through Royal intermarriages, such as Charles II and Catherine of Braganza, with the English King getting a dowry of Portuguese Colonies and trading privileges.

Henry VIII as an example, was 49 when he married Catherine Howard who was just 17 at the time in a bid to bear a male heir. And Cleopatra married two of her brothers.

Gender roles in proposals

While tradition in the UK and Finland has been that a woman can propose to a man on a leap year on the 29th of February, it is becoming more commonplace in modern times. As a reigning monarch, that Queen Victoria proposed to Prince Albert (her cousin incidentally) in October 1839.

In recent years there has been the long-overdue acceptance and legality of same-sex marriages and non-defined gender roles in society.



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