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Planning a Proposal?

Updated: Feb 20, 2022

So you’ve decided to propose! You want to get hitched. Tie the knot. Whatever you want to call it, the process of getting engaged can seem a bit daunting, but it really needn’t be.

A piece of white paper with the words Will You Marry Me handwritten in black ink

One of the fantastic things about being a Wedding Celebrant is that I get to hear all my couples’ stories about how they met, how their relationship developed and, of course, how the proposal happened (and then can include the story of this unique moment in their wedding ceremony, if they wish!)

From designing a treasure hunt with a ring at the end, to a simple conversation with another newly-engaged couple which went something along the lines of:

Newly-engaged couple: “Well, seeing as you have so many ideas for our wedding, why don’t you start planning your own?”

Partner 1: “Actually, why don’t we?”

Partner 2: “You’re right - let’s do it!”

(They're getting married in July!)

The important thing is that the proposal should be right for both of you: whether it's a romantic dinner, arranging a flash mob, or popping the question after an episode of your favourite TV show!

Get down on one knee?

This is one of those traditions that you either love or hate and, if you hate it, then simply don’t do it! Your partner isn’t going to refuse to marry you just because you didn’t go down on one knee, and should know you well enough to realise that if you did, it just isn’t you!

If you love the idea of the grand, romantic gesture then absolutely go for it - and be prepared for plenty of attention if you’re doing it in a public place!

Young man on one knee surrounded by rose petals, proposing to his girlfriend in a public park, with a Will You Marry Me? sign on a nearby bridge, and a crowd of people watching

Make it Personal

Some of the loveliest proposal stories I’ve heard include really personal touches, which make it absolutely obvious why your partner would want to marry you. Simple things such as booking their favourite restaurant, or somewhere they’ve always wanted to go; proposing in the place where you first met/had your first date; giving them a small gift, with a little something special hidden inside. You get the idea.

Close up picture of a woman wearing an engagement ring and drinking from a mug with the caption "Does this make me look engaged?"

Make a Day of It

Maybe you’ve planned a special day out for another reason - why not let the day’s events lead up to the proposal! It needn’t even be a grand event, something as simple as a picnic in your favourite spot, or a walk in your favourite place, or on your favourite beach could be the perfect setting for the two of you.

Smiling newly engaged young couple with a romantic picnic on a stony beach

Include the Family

You might like to consider letting your families on the secret. Nowadays, most people don’t ask their future father-in-law’s permission, but you could score serious brownie points by including him, and the rest of the family, in your planning.

That said, a public proposal isn’t for everyone but, if it's right for the two of you, then it can be a great way for everyone to hear the news at the same time!

Young man on one knee proposing to his girlfriend at a casual brunch in front of family who are cheering and raising their arms as their dog looks on

Sharing the news can be overwhelming so, again, a celebratory meal with family and friends could be the way to go. You can choose whether to let them know the reason in advance, or make an announcement during the meal. Either way, it will give everyone an opportunity to share in your excitement (and, perhaps, practice throwing some confetti around!) and ask all those burning questions - especially, of course: “Have you set the date, yet?”

Happy young couple and their friends sitting at a table outside laid with a celebratory meal surrounded by fairy lights and confetti in the air

Ask the Experts

If you’re thinking about a proposal over dinner, or whilst staying in a hotel, let the staff know! They’ll be only too happy to help you make the occasion even more special.

I know of one chap who had taken his partner to a lovely hotel, and asked the waiter to put the engagement ring in a glass of champagne to be served with dinner. The hotel staff knew they could do better than that, and they arranged for the couple to be served dinner in a private dining space (actually a glorious little chapel) filled with candles - amazing, and hats off to the team at Bailiffscourt Hotel for organising such a memorable evening.

Outdoor table set for romantic dinner at dusk with canopy of fairy lights above and round lanterns hanging over the table

Photo credit: Lightbox Studios

So, go for it! Choose a way that suits you both and enjoy the moment, because you'll both be telling the story of how it happened for a very long time!

Excited young newly engaged couple smiling at the camera, the woman being carried on the man's back and holding a red flower

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