Popping the Question? Tips for an Unforgettable Proposal

It’s the holiday season, which we in the wedding business refer to as “engagement season.” And it makes sense – it’s a time of year devoted to being thankful for the many blessings in our lives, appreciating our loved ones, and spreading joy – a perfect time to let your better half know you love them and want to share a lifetime of happiness with them.

But enough sentiment. Let’s be honest – proposing is a terrifying, gut-wrenching, sweat-inducing, tongue-tying experience for even the most confident out there. There’s a lot riding on that moment, and it’s enough to send anyone running for the prescription strength deodorant at Target. The key to getting through it without passing out? Be prepared. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.

Prepare your talking points in advance. I’m not saying your proposal should be stiff, read from a cue card, or an exercise in oratory. But this is not the time to ‘wing it.’ Your emotions (and your boo’s), and your nerves will be on overdrive – a recipe for suddenly finding yourself speechless. So map out the critical things you want to say beforehand, and keep it simple by limiting yourself to three to five main points. The most important thing? Keep it heartfelt.

Make it personal. You might have the impression from movies that a proposal has to be over-the-top. But what makes a proposal really special is when you make it personal. This is the moment you are committing to continue building a life together, and it should be meaningful to your unique relationship. Think about moments in your relationship that were special and pull inspiration from those. Are you travel buffs? Do you have a favorite hiking spot? Are you both obsessed with a particular movie? You get the picture. (Don’t believe me? This tip comes straight from my hubby who planned a perfect proposal if I do say so myself).

Have someone take pictures. This is a moment you will both want to remember forever. What better way to do so than to have a photographer ready? Is a professional photographer not in your price range? Ask a close friend or family member you can trust to keep your secret, or plan ahead with the staff if you are going somewhere like a restaurant. The important thing is to not let the picture taking be intrusive and ruin the moment, so you’ll definitely need to plan in advance and set expectations with your photographer.

Keep it a secret. Just like a surprise party, nothing can kill the vibe more than someone who knows what you’re up to. So plan ahead and think of something your partner can’t say no to (and will hopefully be excited about), and bring in an accomplice if necessary. But try to keep the number of people who know the details to a minimum to minimize the risk of someone slipping up and ruining the surprise.

Have a backup plan ready. Just like I advise couples who want an outdoor wedding, have a backup plan. Mother Nature does not care that you’ve planned every detail down to perfection. If you wake up on the big day to a snowstorm or torrential downpours, you need a plan b.

There’s no wrong way to propose. Every couple is unique, which means every proposal will be unique. Only you know what is fitting for your relationship and you should trust yourself. At the end of the day what matters most is that your partner knows you love them and want to spend the rest of your life with them. And remember – deep breaths. You can do this!

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hi, there! I'm jamie

I’m Jamie – designer, planner, writer, recovering political junkie, and fur mom to two rescued Boston terrier pups – Blossom and Lucy. A born and raised DC girl, my husband lured me away from the city to quieter Southern Maryland where he’s an engineer for the Navy.  I can’t wait to hear your story and find out how I can help make your wedding day dreams come true!

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