How To Propose

How to propose is one of the toughest struggles guys go through. There's so much pressure on getting it right but in the end, all you really need to do is keep a few things in mind and follow YOUR heart.

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Your Proposal is ALL About Her

This will never be as special to you as it is to her, no matter how much of a romantic fool you are. So make sure you approach the whole thing from her point of view and not yours.

She'll giggle with her friends and tell her family all about the proposal and how dreamy it was. She'll share the event with her future children and grandchildren highlighting how special it was....No pressure! :-)

So, the first step of figuring out how to propose is all about customizing the proposal so that she knows it's personal and tailored to her. It's important that she sees that you took the time and made the effort to make it special. We can't all do as this guy did but we can aspire to come pretty close!

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A Perfect Proposal Is All In The Timing

There's a ton of excitement immediately after you get engaged. Announcements, congratulations and small celebrations abound. You'll also both be a little distracted thinking about the nuptials and your future life together, so it's important to think about how to propose and also when to propose. If it's a busy time for her at work or at school postpone your proposal until after things cool down so that she can truly savor and enjoy getting engaged.

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Public Display Or Private Time

You know her better than anyone else at this point. What kind of proposal would she prefer? The "Jumbo-Tron" at the local sports arena or an intimate evening for two?

When thinking about how to propose, think about how she reacts in public situations and what her favorite date was. Did she love it when you were both the center of attention riding mechanical bulls at your local hangout or does she prefer quiet walks in the countryside while holding hands and listening to the sounds of nature? How about evenings spent with close family and friends playing games and talking up a storm?

By thinking back on your relationship and what she's really enjoyed while you've been dating will give you the clues you need to figure out whether to go public or private with your proposal.

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Thanks For The Memories

Girls gush and love to dish about romantic events in their lives. Think about capturing your proposal on video. Set up your cam on auto-record or have a friend secretly tape the event. She'll be dazed by your proposal and will want to remember every single second of it, so having it on tape for her is always a good thing! Or if kept a secret, the video makes a wonderfully romantic anniversary gift for some time in the future.

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Simple Proposals Are Sometimes Best

"Go big or go home" may work great for some but it isn't always the best route to take. The more elaborate the scheme the more chances for things to go wrong. The most important part of your proposal is heartfelt sentiment so don't get all worked up concocting some crazy plan if that's just not the type of guy you are. Go with what feels right for the both of you and don't be afraid of simplicity.

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X Marks The Spot

We've covered the 'when' of how to propose now we need to consider the 'where'. think about all the places you've been together or where you've dreamed of going. What has the most meaning for the two of you? Think about where you went on your first date? Where you first declared your love for one another? Your favorite restaurant? Give it some thought and you'll come up with the perfect spot!

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It's ALL In The Details

Making your proposal special is all in the details, and details require planning. Cover your bases and think about all the details that will make your proposal that much more special. Even the simplest proposal will be so much better if you pay attention to the details.

If you plan on doing it in a restaurant, let the staff know beforehand so that they reserve the best table for you and are extra attentive. Arrange to have her favorite flowers on the table (which you can take home as a memento) and have a friend set up a romantic scene at home while you guys are out with a chilled bottle of champagne and another bouquet of flowers. Needless to say, this isn't a time to stop for gas so make sure your tank is full and other incidentals are taken car of. How to propose and making it special is really about the details.

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Ask Her Parents For Their Blessing

Asking her father or parents for her hand in marriage is an old tradition that many no longer subscribe to for too many reasons to mention here. However, for some girls (and many parents) it shows a level of respect and maturity and many brides-to-be think it's charming.

If you feel that this is something that would be appropriate for you and your situation we recommend that you ask for their blessing rather than permission to marry. It keeps up the old tradition, demonstrates the same integrity but doesn't position their daughter as a piece of property.

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Yep... The Engagement Ring

Thinking of proposing without a ring? You can't, it's a key part of the ritual! We've dedicated many pages of this site to engagement rings and figuring out how to choose the right one, so we won't go on about it here. Just know that without a ring, even if it's a plastic one that came out of a bubble gum machine, it really isn't a proposal.

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Don't Worry, Be Happy!

Don't let the process of figuring out how to propose get you all tied up in knots. You found the one! So, give yourself time and put thought into it and you'll come up with the perfect proposal.

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Want to see how all these elements work together? One of our readers (Dori) wrote in to tell us about her perfect proposal. Her man took the time to go through all these steps to figure out how to propose to Dori—his Dori, the girl he knows and loves. It may not be perfect for everyone, but it was perfect for her—and that's the whole point!

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Dori's Perfect Proposal
The perfect diamond ring, some Louboutin black pumps, an Herve Leger dress and a romantic dinner for two at Chicago's finest restaurant.... Just a few of Dori's favorite things!

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Thinking about how to propose should be fun and exciting. Whether you choose to go all out publicly or set up a romantic dinner at home what will make it special is that you're starting a new life together and that you've put some thought into how you want that life to begin.

So.... Enjoy it and Congratulations!