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Marriage Proposal Dos and Don'ts

Tips for the Perfect Marriage Proposal - Asking Your Girlfriend to Marry You

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Before your big marriage proposal, you're sure to be nervous, and wonder if you're doing it in the right way. Before you get down on one knee, read these dos and don'ts of marriage proposals.

Do:

Do Test the Waters

Before you propose, the two of you should talk about the possibility of getting married. Make sure it's something that you both want, and agree on major issues such as children. You don't want her to be taken completely off guard, as such a proposal is almost certainly guaranteed to elicit only a hesitating yes, if not a, "I'll have to think about it." Here's a helpful article from the marriage guides at About.com

Do Make it a Surprise

Even though you have discussed getting married, the marriage proposal itself should still be a surprise. Find a moment and a way that she won't be suspecting.

Do Be Prepared

Saying, "Will you marry me?" is a huge deal, and one that leaves many proposers completely tongue-tied. So practice! It might feel silly, but say the words out loud a few times. You might also write down exactly what you're going to say, to make sure you come off as smooth and confident.

Do Find The Right Engagement Ring

Since wearing an engagement ring is a lifetime commitment, make sure it's the right style. You might find an opportunity to window shop for rings when you are walking past a store, or bring it up in conversation. You can also ask her mother or best friend to help choose the ring. Read this article about engagement rings before shopping.

Do Know if She Wants to Pick the Engagement Ring

Most brides want their proposal to include an engagement ring, but others are very particular about their jewelry, and want to be part of the buying/designing process.

Do Talk to Her Parents

We've come a long way from when women were property who needed their father's permission, yet, there is still something nice and respectful about asking for the parents' blessing.

Do Pick a Personal Spot

Think about your favorite romantic places -- choose a meaningful spot to pop the question. It could be as simple as in your living room, or as complicated as whisking her away for a weekend in Paris. Just don't ask her in a supermarket aisle!

Do Be Creative

Incorporate your personality, favorite things, foods etc. into the proposal. Make it memorable rather than a cookie cutter proposal.

Do Drop to One Knee

It's not 1950, but there is something so charming and romantic about a man on one knee asking the love of his life to marry him. Even if you're not a traditional guy, it will add to the seriousness and lovingness of the proposal.

Do Tell Her Why You Want to Marry Her

Don't just utter those 4 little words, tell her why she's the one for you, what marriage means to you, and what your hopes for the future are. You might say something like "My life has never and could never be the same after I met you. You've made me more joyful, more stable, and more inspired. I can't picture the rest of my life without you by my side. Will you do me the honor of marrying me?"

Do Share the News

Take a moment to reflect on your engagement, but bring along a cell phone or calling card for sharing the good news.

Don't:

Don't Make it Public

If script-writers are to be believed, every wedding proposal takes place in front of a thousand people. But unless she's said she wants a splashy proposal, make it intimate and personal thing. Most brides would prefer to have that magical moment be just the two of you – after all, you've got the rest of your lives to tell other people about your marriage but you've only got one engagement moment.

Don't Hide the Engagement Ring in Food

I hate to say it, (as I'm sure there are some readers who were planning to do just this) but hiding the engagement ring in food is a tired idea. It's been in a thousand movies and TV shows, and you won't win any points for creativity. Even worse, you may end your romantic proposal with a trip to the emergency room or the dentist.

Don't Propose at a Sports Game

Games are loud and chaotic events. Even if she is the biggest sports fan you ever knew, the arena doesn't allow you to have any of the reflection and focus that making such a momentous decision deserves.

Don't Do it in Front of Her Family

While your families will merge with your wedding, it is not their decision to do so. Proposals in front of family have an added level of stress that you don't need. Take this moment to be just the two of you; don't worry, you can call everyone immediately afterward.

Don't Make it Too Complicated

While it's good to be creative with your proposal, it is important to keep the focus on what's important: the proposal itself. If you are worrying about whether or not the limousine will get to the balloon ride in time, you're worrying about the wrong thing.

Don't Propose Too Early in the Relationship

When you're in the first flush of love, it's hard not to do impetuous and foolish things. Yet waiting until your relationship is stable will only strengthen your marriage. Make sure you really know each other, and what each other wants from a marriage before you commit to it for the rest of your lives.

Don't Expect Her to Say Yes Immediately

You're asking someone to spend the rest of their life with you – an extremely important decision. Just because you've asked, doesn't mean she is ready to say yes. If your sweetheart says maybe, take it in stride and give her some time to consider the proposal. After all, you wouldn’t want this amazing person to marry every Tom, Dick and Harry who asked her, would you?
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