The Moment – a wedding special

8-step guide to ensure your partner says yes to the marriage proposal

Fiancé discusses the dos and don’ts of popping the question and getting your loved one to agree to marriage

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2016, 12:18pm
UPDATED : Friday, 05 May, 2017, 2:49pm

So, you’re ready to pop the question … but you don’t know what, where or even how to do it. As a fresh fiancé, these are my dos and don’ts of any self-respecting proposal.

Don’t: Ask unless you’re sure

It’s not the 1800s. You don’t need to shower eligible young singletons with proposals, with no idea if they’ll leap into your arms or out of the window. In these enlightened, modern times, you should be certain that your intended is going to say yes before you even think about popping the question. If you’re not sure … it’s too soon.

Do: Try to nail the ring

If you know your partner well enough to propose to her, then hopefully you also know her well enough to have an idea of her taste in jewellery. When it comes to engagement rings there’s a host of options to choose from – diamond, other gem or synthetic stone? What cut? What carat? What metal? – but nothing feels as good as getting it right first time, and gifting her a ring she falls in love with. A good jeweller will be able to provide plenty of guidance, as will her close friends. But at the end of the day, it’s down to you and where you think her tastes lie.

You’ll also want to try to determine her ring size, so that when you slide it onto her finger it actually goes on – and stays on. This isn’t as easy as it looks, as you will find her existing rings vary wildly in size. Try subtly to measure (or borrow) the one that fits the best.

Do: Ask for a blessing

Asking for permission from the father of the bride is an older custom that might give offence to the modern, independent woman – but no one’s going to object if you ask both of her parents for their blessing instead. And given that they’re your future in-laws, it seems like a good idea to start off on the right foot. Take mum and dad out to dinner and pop the question to them first.

Do: Know your lady

With luck, you know her best. And that means you’ll know what she likes. Does she like to be surrounded by her friends? Then you might want to propose at a surprise party in her honour. Is she the quieter type? Pick a beautiful, secluded spot. Is she a true extrovert? Propose at a major concert or sporting event, in front of thousands. But you’d better be pretty certain before you pop the question at the Rugby Sevens.

Do: Pick your time

Heading on a holiday to a beautiful tropical destination? It might be time to pack a ring. Then again, if you’re backpacking around Russia and you’ve just had to push a truck out of an icy ravine, she might not be in the mood. In Hong Kong for the foreseeable future? This city is full of amazing spots to propose. No matter where you are, if circumstances make it too awkward to propose – then drop the ring box back into your pocket and wait for the next opportunity to present itself.

Don’t: Call it off because you’re nervous

Asking someone to spend the rest of their life with you is a nervous prospect. But just because you’re feeling a yawning pit of dread in your stomach, it doesn’t mean she’s going to laugh in your face. Ask yourself: are the weird vibes you’re getting from her, or from you because you’re terrified? Chances are, it’s the latter. Soldier on.

Don’t: Overplan

The more things that are dependent on precise timing, the more that can go wrong. Unless you’re organising a large-scale flash mob proposal, be prepared to be a little fluid and go with what happens.

That way you’ll find it all the easier to pick the precise best time and place. When the moment feels right … grab it and drop to one knee.

Don’t: Forget social media

So you’re newly affianced? Congratulations. But remember: a proposal doesn’t exist unless it’s on Facebook and Instagram. Call your family first – and then post that perfect shot and wait for the likes to roll in.