How to propose: by a guy who proposed

I feel like I should start this article with a disclaimer. Every wedding proposal is completely valid, and I am no expert on love by any means. I only wish to provide helpful hints to the needy and inspiration to the lost. The only person who knows the right way to propose is you. Also, even though I am a guy, this article applies to both men and women. Go get that guy (or girl) of your dreams, ladies!

With that being said, let’s f__ing do this:

I know it’s scary. As a matter of fact, it’s most likely going to be an event that causes more anxiety than the time that alien burst out of that guy’s stomach. There’s a lot of preparation riding on a single moment that will likely change your life forever (hopefully for the better.)  But don’t get discouraged: 98% of all proposals end in success (in a study I just made up). The point I’m trying to make is that it is scary and it does take a bit of effort to make it special. But, once you get over that, it should be smooth sailing and absolutely exciting.

If you’re like me you probably started this whole process by deciding you love someone enough to fart in front of them and laugh about it. You love them so much you can laugh at farts together for the rest of your beautiful lives. The one thing I truly believe in when it comes to love is that you have to be completely comfortable with who you are before you can be completely devoted to your special someone. I’m a nerd, and my lady is okay with listening to my rants on how Han shot first. Perfection.

The next step is a big one. And by big, I mean it’s sparkly and expensive and will take patience to find. It’s time to buy the ring. This is hands-down the most time-consuming part of the whole process. I must have looked at over five hundred rings before I settled on the perfect one. There are just too many choices and it gets confusing. You can spend all day looking at ring styles and settings, only to realize there are just as many variations on the stone.

Luckily, there’s this interwebs thing on my computer that tells me things I don’t already know. I started my search by deciding on a stone. My lady loves diamonds. Just loves them. Always talks about them. Lucky for me, diamonds are the most sought after and expensive of all engagement stone choices. Unfortunately, there are a lot of places out there that like to confuse you on the facts of diamonds, so here are a few pointers:

Always buy a diamond that comes with a certification. This should include the carat weight, shape, measurements, color, clarity, cut, and possibly a laser inscription registry number to match your diamond. Make sure you are spending the right dough on the right diamond.

Be wary of fake diamonds. Stones such as moissanite can be an inexpensive and absolutely beautiful substitute for diamonds but make sure that’s what you are paying for. Some dealers like to confuse these stones with synthetic diamonds and they are not the same either in price or in composition.

If you love diamonds but you want to make sure they’re conflict-free, there are many dealers who present conflict-free certification for every diamond. Dealers such as even have a checklist for things to look for.

Also, understand that diamonds aren’t the only choice. But, if you do decide to go with gemstones, you’re on your own. There are too many choices to get into right now. The best advice I can offer is to make sure your special someone isn’t set on diamonds.  Don’t know what stone they prefer?  Try asking their friends or family.  Most of the time he or she will give away what stones appeal most to them.  If that never happens try starting with their favorite color and going from there. Some chicks just love diamonds.

So, how, where, when?  The next step is planning the event of the century. This is where you should let your imagination run wild. But be careful your grand plans don’t cause the proposal to be too complicated. The last thing you want is to worry whether or not the yacht will get you to the opera on time.


Here are a few do’s:

Talk to their parents. It is respectful to the family and your soon-to-be in-laws will LOVE you for it. I even involved them in the preparations, which they are usually thrilled to do.

Make it personal. If your significant other loves the ocean, maybe do it at the beach. If he or she loves the ocean but hates sand, consider the aquarium. The event should be tailored to be special: choose a spot that means a lot to your sweetheart or is special to the both of you.

Tell them why you love them. Saying “I love you. You should marry me” doesn’t quite cut it. Think about what you’ll say beforehand. It also helps to try it out loud a few times. You’ll know when it’s perfect.

Drop to one knee. This is on a case-by-case basis. However, kneeling or having your special someone sit with you helps to change the mood from happy skipping time to super-duper serious.

Tell everyone afterwards. People like to know. In fact, the better your story, the more people with get all gooey and jealous. That’s the goal, people.


But just like there are things you should do, there are more things you really, really shouldn’t do.

No sports arenas. I’m making an assumption here, but guys: sports are probably your thing. You probably dragged her to that game. You’re probably a little drunk. All-around bad idea.

Avoid hiding the ring in food. There are plenty of accounts where the ring either chokes your sweetheart or ends up covered in spit and chocolate. If you spent as much as I did on a ring, you won’t let this happen.

Don’t do it in a crowd. Proposals should be one-on-one. I’m not saying there can’t be a few people around, but kneeling in the middle of a concert just ends up with your face surrounded by the junk of complete strangers.  Also, yelling your well planned words of love probably wouldn’t sound quite the same. Try to have enough space.

Don’t automatically expect a yes right away. It’s a huge decision for the both of you. His or her heart might say yes, but the immediate conscious mind might need a minute to process everything. Sometimes, it’s nice to just savor the moment.

The last bit of advice I can give you is to expect for something in your plans to go wrong. Murphy’s Law applies to proposals more than anything else. I thought my plans were waterproof. During my proposal, it was my idea to sneak out of our camping tent in the morning before Nicole had woken up and set up the proposal. But no, Nicole woke up before me. Not only that, she insisted she come with me to go to the bathroom (which was my quick-thinking idea to get out of the tent.) Suddenly, I had no way of sneakily preparing everything I had planned in the last three months. So what did I do? I put on my pants extra slow. She had to go to the bathroom and I didn’t. She got so impatient that she took off without me. Boom, problem solved. I snuck out, prepared the area, proposed to that lady, the planets aligned, the heavens opened, and I was able to write this article.

Expect the unexpected people, and good luck.

Photo by Meaghan Morrison

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