5 Mistakes Men Make When Proposing


You would think proposing would be easy. What’s so hard about getting down on one knee and asking, “Will you marry me?” The problem is that proposing is so simple men can’t help but over-think and over-complicate the whole thing until they start doing some very silly things.  If you don’t want to be this guy who hid his fiancee’s engagement ring in a Wendy’s frosty (that she ate), learn from these five mistakes before you pop the question.

Getting the wrong ring

It’s 2018, if your girl hasn’t told you exactly which ring she’d like, check out her social media accounts and ask her family and friends. There are so many options available, you can’t wing it on your own. Browse rings here.

Proposing on an expected holiday

Don’t get us wrong, we love Christmas and Valentine’s Day, the 2 most popular days of the year for proposals. However, you can propose any other day of the year and chances are she will be even more surprise and it will make the proposal even more special. Yet, if the holidays are her favorite time of the year, go for it!

Forgetting her family

We know it’s a little old fashion, but it’s still preferred for men to ask the girlfriend’s family for permission before proposing. You don’t have to necessarily ask her father, but at least let someone in her immediate family know of your intentions of marriage. Here are some more tips on how to ask the father. Also when it comes to the proposal, your friends and family can be amazing assets to help you pick the ring and plan the perfect proposal.

Hiding the ring in weird places

Don’t hide the ring in her food! No, it’s not cute. And yes, she will go to the emergency room. In fact, don’t attempt to hide the ring anywhere unless it’s your pocket. These proposals might seem cute and unique, but they sometimes backfire. An engagement ring is too costly to be tossed carelessly in a glass of wine or baked into a cupcake. Be smart and avoid this mistake.

Telling her you’re “settling”

There is nothing romantic about hearing a long, drawn out speech about how “we’re not getting any younger, so I found you this ring…” Women want to hear that you want to spend the rest of your life with them, not that you’re settling because they twisted your arm about it. If these are your reasons for getting married, maybe you shouldn’t.

Thinking about proposing first? Check out our Propose Too Blog.

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Comments (67)


  1. Mags says:

    Actually, seeing as I’m not the property of my father, but an actual adult human being with rights and everything, I’d prefer my partner consult me first.

  2. Tiffany says:

    I don’t think my bf has any intention of asking my dad, but my dad told me recently he wants to be asked…so old school, but I love him anyway. Dad said at least to have the bf talk to him before we announce it to the world. I get it, he wants to know first and let future fi know it’s cool. The same week my mom told me she doesn’t care at all if he talks to her…my parents crack me up. Not like they haven’t already told me how much they love him and would be happy about us getting engaged, whenever that happens.

  3. Kara says:

    Actually, it is not old school for the man to ask the father (or family). The father is considered the “covering” that the daughter is under. For that matter, it shows complete respect and honor for the man to ask first. Just think, too, of how the family can joyfully allow that man into their lives as a new son/brother!

  4. Mandy says:

    I think a man should ask the womans father or closest father figure to her. I think its sweet, and romantic. Plus it shows that the man actually has some balls! If he can’t ask my father how the heck is he going to man up and ask me!

  5. Randy says:

    Hey Mags, ease up. Asking the father is simply a gesture that your family matters. You may not like it and that’s cool, but don’t state it like the guy is disrespecting you. It’s quite the opposite. No one thinks you are someone’s property.

    Tiffany, your dad wants one chance to make a point to your boyfriend. He’s unsure about something and he wants to get a word in, that’s all.

    My girlfriends father has three daughters, two who had bad marriages, and he is 70 now and has never been asked permission. I did it for him, and I know my girlfriend respects him so much she will love that I did that. It was a formality out of respect, not a necessity, we are adults and she is no one’s “property”.

    Mandy, I’m with you on the balls. It made a statement to him I’m man enough to stand on equal footing, and also serious about being right for his daughter for the long haul. Proposal is Tuesday in San Francisco!

  6. Ryan says:

    I recently asked my girlfriends father for his blessing. I was soo nervous and kept debating on whether or not I wanted to ask him. This conflict was due mostly to fear of being grilled with questions. I decided that it was best to ask for his blessing. The result: He asked a couple reasonable questions, stood up shook my hand and told me that he really respected me for coming to him first. He said he was proud to have me as a future son in law. Do it guys! Especially if want him to help pitch in for the wedding. This act will make him feel more involved in the wedding!

  7. Joseph says:

    I have a question,I been dateing my girlfriend for 1year 7month’s but the bad part is,she is 17 & Half and i just turned 20 years old.I been very scared of asking her dad for her hand in marriage.What are some good tip’s that i can use.i am really lost because i am buying the ring tomorrow and hopefully this saterdat is the day i can ask her to marry me

  8. fed-up says:

    We went to choose the ring and my partner handed it to me in the bag as we left the shop. I had to put it on my iwn finger. No meal or drinks to celebrate. Not a romantic, feeling bone in his body.

  9. elizabeth says:

    I have the most wonderful boyfriend in the world. We live together in our house however our engagement is now on hold due to money issues. I hate that he uses money as an excuse. He absolutely will not get married without a ring or even something that is smaller than he was planning on buying. Since we live together, it’s basically like we’re already married–it only needs to be official. I am 28 and excited to be a mom but am old-fashioned in respect that I believe we should be married first. Now the future (that we talk about frequently) is on hold due to this house we purchased.
    OK, end rant.

  10. alex says:

    To elizabeth – I thought I was reading pretty much about my life. We’ve been together for while and just bought a house. It has cost more than expected so everything is up in the air again. On top of that the boyfriend says he will only think about one thing at a time. At the moment work is too busy, once it calms down he can think about other things. Before that it was looking for a house, buying a new car, not enough money. He said he will propose when he can has the time. I know he will eventually but the need to have anything in place before hand drives me mad.

  11. Natalie says:

    My boyfriend recently proposed to me without a ring, and I accepted because I love him and want to spend the rest of my life with him. However, I was very disappointed that he didn’t give me a ring, but I tried not to reveal this. He told his friends in the UK (he is British) that he was planning to propose to me, several weeks before it happened. Now he wants to keep it a secret from everyone else. We are both over 50, and this will be the second marriage for each of us. I am very romantic and traditional, and having a ring would mean a lot to me. I think his idea of keeping it a secret for now is the reason why he didn’t present me with a ring, because then everyone would know. We don’t plan to get married until next year, after we both retire. Perhaps by then he will be ready to go ring shopping, but I am finding it hard to keep this to myself, so I have told a few famliy members and my closest friend. The first thing they said was “did he give you a ring?.” My answer was “no, but he gave me his heart.”

  12. andy says:

    So you people think i should ask her dad first out of respect and its old fashion, you do know this tradition comes from when you used to buy or offer a cow for the bride. i respect my future wife but i really don’t think i’m going to ask her father considering he thinks he hot stuff because he makes a bunch of money and is really good at his job assembling parts. before my future wife was in a car crash where she almost died he didn’t have anything to do with her and now he wants to buy her stuff and go out to lunch and stuff. and now that the debate about money is over her parents are trying to tell her how the spend it or invest it and I’m trying to inform her and let chose what to do with it. so im not asking him for three reasons hes disrespectful to her hes disrespectful to me and the tradition is based of buying your wife the the father

  13. Joe says:

    I’d agree with the father one in general, it’s respectful and shows you have the balls to ask. However, when the father(as in my case)takes no interest in his daughters life, it’s best to ignore him and just straight up propose. Some people don’t deserve to be respected.

  14. Craig says:

    Does this still apply if her father is not a very nice person, has made no effort with you at all in 3.5 years and acts more like a a horrible boss than a would be family member. Where do you draw the line ?

  15. Badger says:

    I personally see where Mags is coming from and understand her feelings. The tradition of asking the father’s permission stems from negotiating dowry during the days when marriage was every bit as much a financial transaction as it was a social one (if not more so, in many cases!). Young women were–literally and in the eyes of the law–the property of their fathers until such time as they became the property of their husbands. That is a fact that cannot be ignored, even though times have changed. While I know people today do not ask the father’s permission in the same way, that history grates on me and I don’t want any part of it.

    My family means the world to me and I love my parents dearly, but to me, the idea of my boyfriend asking anyone’s *permission* but my own is distasteful and archaic. For one thing, I don’t like that it removes the mother from the equation. My mom and dad raised and nurtured me as equal partners, and they both love me and care about my future. Leaving Mom out of the equation seems very wrong indeed! And what about his parents?

    Taking things a step further: I am fortunate that my parents love my boyfriend and have already accepted him as one of the family, but that’s not the case for everyone–and, contrary to all the songs and movies and popular opinion, it’s not always because the guy is a deadbeat and the nit-witted daughter has been too blinded by love to see it. It could be, for example, that the parents object because he is a different race or a different social class. Perhaps they always wanted their daughter to marry the son of some close family friends, but she went away to college and met someone. There are a million reasons. While you would hope that 1) the parents would honor her wishes and be openhearted toward her choice of a partner, and 2) that their saying no would not actually prevent this young woman from marrying the man she loves, why even open the door for the awkwardness of having the answer be “No!”?

    All that said: we want to honor the respectful side of this tradition. Our plan is simply to ask BOTH sets of our parents, mine and his, for their support of our decision to marry. We like this solution because everyone is included, respectful tradition is upheld, but no women are being marginalized (intentionally or otherwise). In essence, we would love their blessing, but we as consenting and mature adults have already made our decision regardless.

  16. jsfah says:

    I’ve always interpreted asking the parents for their daughter’s hand as asking for their blessing and not their permission.
    Of course, their blessing would put considerable weight on your and their daughter’s decision but intentions are what they are.
    If a man were to ask for my (yet to be born) daughter’s hand I’d expect for him to be assertive enough to qualify his intentions as genuine enough not to require my permission but respectful enough to ask for my blessing anyways.

  17. Anon says:

    My girlfriends father is a jackass, trust me…she would not want me asking him

  18. Jackie says:

    I have to say that I agree with all of these ideas. My father is not really part of my life, but my mother is my closest family and best friend. If my future husband didn’t ask her out of respect, I think I’d be disappointed. This is a time your parents have been waiting for, and dreading. I’m 26, but when my boyfriend talks to my mom, it will still mean she has to let another part of me go, and this eases the transition. Also, mom never wants to be the last to know about life decisions. I definitely agree on the no food thing, how terrible would the night be if you choked on, swallowed, or aspirated your little piece of forever? And I think there is something to be said about having a ring during a proposal. There were definitely times that I’d wished he wanted to marry me so badly he wouldn’t care whether he could afford the ring, or the “one” for me and propose anyway, after 4 years together. But, now that we’re more financially sound, I understand why he wanted to wait. He doesn’t want to settle on something subpar, he wants to know he’s investing in something that really represents how he feels about me, and that’s worth waiting for.

  19. Brooke says:

    My dad has been my rock my entire life. He has sacrificed so much to give me the comfortable and wonderful life I have now as an adult. Even though I am now an independent women who is more than capable of taking care of herself I still expect my boyfriend to ask for his blessing. My dad is still my go to for advice when it comes to every big decision or difficult situation I face and when I get married my husband will have to step up and be that guy. Knowing my dad thinks my now boyfriend can “fill his shoes” and be the number one man in my life means the world to me and I don’t think I could get married without knowing that. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 5 years and have started ring shopping and seriously talking about engagements and he knows how much that would mean to me and he has agreed it is very important because he respects my dad (almost) as much as I do. As for the ring – he keeps asking me what I want and I keep telling him I want it to mean as much to him as it does to me so I picked out about 5 traditional ring types I like and told him he can add or subtract anything he wants from what I’ve picked to make it as much his choice as it was mine. :)

  20. Justine says:

    I think making the family aware of your intentions is respectful assuming she values their input. If you don’t like her family but she loves them, later in life married or not you will all her to choose between you and her family. That never ends well when she loves them.

  21. lef says:

    I do believe having the families’ (notice the plural) approval is important. However, in my opinion, it’s also secondary. The primary concern should always be the person you intend to spend the rest of your life with. If she (or he) says yes, then you can proceed to the in-laws part. Going to them first is, as others have said, part of an archaic system where women were not treated as human beings. At this point it has certainly evolved past that, in much of the world, but it’s still kind of offensive. Had my husband gone to my parents first I would have felt like he cared more about their opinion than mine. Almost like he’s in it for the in-law benefits more than the wife. If the parents have an issue with their kid’s significant other, it needs to be addressed before the proposal part if at all possible. If they hold their silence all through the dating process then in my opinion it’s clearly not bad enough to believe the couple needs to be split apart, so they should just deal with it. I get along great with my in-laws, and my husband gets along with my parents, so it wasn’t as much of an issue. But if it was? I don’t know what’s worse: happily announcing your engagement to your family only to have them react negatively, or finding out somewhere down the road that they stopped it from happening at all. It’s a betrayal of trust to let it get that far.

  22. Ant says:

    Now opinions please… How about asking her to marry me on our 4 yr anniversary? Good idea or bad? It’s an expected holiday we celebrate and always go out of town for. Also her mother and her have a troubled relationship, should I still ask for her blessing although they don’t speak? Her brother is her closest family member, I wouldn’t mind asking him.

  23. Corey says:

    This is kind of stupid. Not every girl wants a ring, maybe they want something more sentimental. And although it’s like tradition, girls aren’t the property of their fathers. Plus, who says the man must propose to the woman? I’m not even going to mention how heteronormative this is either. Ugh. Also, hiding a ring could be very romantic so please just stop.

  24. Lyndsey says:

    My boyfriend and I have been talking about getting engaged soon. WE moved in together recently and things are going great. When we were talking about I mentioned how it was important to me that he talks to my dad. He gave the most interesting response. He told me that he had always planned on talking to my mom and dad, that he thinks its respectful and that if he is planning on becoming part of our family that he should be able to openly communicate with them. The surprising part was when he asked me to give him and his family the same respect and talk to his parents. I totally agree with this and think that things like this should be more of a two way street.

  25. Melissa says:

    My husband was going to propose to on Christmas but instead we were in the er all day with our disabled son. The day after when we settled back at home he yells from our son’s room hurry and get in here as I hear our son’s machines going crazy I ran into the room both my son and husband laughing. My husband then says to me I asked our son a very important question and he agrees I look over at my son and he has a huge smile. So confused I asked what did you ask him my husband then said we want to make our family complete but before we do that you need to agree to be my wife. I started to tear up I asked my son if it was true and he moved his hand (he has minimal purposeful movement in his hands,arms) to reveal my engagement ring.

  26. Tara says:

    I consider myself an independent woman. I’ve been free of my parents rules for quite a while now. But with that being said, I would like my boyfriend to ask my dad for his permission prior to asking for my hand. Granted, if my dad says no, I’d still expect a proposal. I find that asking is more out of respect as opposed to really asking for permission. I’m a grown woman in a progressive era who expects to make her own decisions. I’d also like to point out that I’m more picky than my own father so… I can’t see him saying “no” anyway.

  27. Josh says:

    I just recently got engaged back in June. My fiancé’s father was a deadbeat dad & her parents had divorced years ago. So instead, I asked her mom for permission (someone that had had to be like a mom & a dad). I know she would not have wanted me to ask her dad.

    It may have, in the past, a tradition on property, but I believe that now it’s a tradition on showing that you have respect for her family & if you are man enough to ask for permission, you will do anything for her.

  28. Priscilla says:

    My boyfriend hasn’t bought me a ring or talked to my father. Not talking to my father isn’t a big deal.I don’t talk to my dad that often. Having said that he could have done a lot better than” we have 2 kids, a house and mortgage so why don’t we make it legal” He could have done better

  29. Cami says:

    I get that this is a ploy. (This is a ring site, after all.) But it’s kind of ridiculous to say “DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT A PROPOSAL WITHOUT A RING.” Honestly, I think the only “Tip” for how to propose should be “Trust your gut.” My husband and I dated for 2+ years before he proposed. He didn’t have a ring and he didn’t ask my (single) mother. Both of our families had been waiting on the edge of their seats since I moved from big city Texas to small town Montana. They knew we were serious. He knew he didn’t need to ask permission. He also knows that I’m a strong, independent woman and that it wouldn’t matter what my mother said, I would have made my own choice. We had even talked about rings. He wanted to spend thousands on a ring. I didn’t want one at all. He knew if he picked out a huge, expensive ring, I would flip. (He’s the spender; I’m the saver.) So he proposed without a ring and we went to go pick one out together, I got an amethyst ring for 1/10 what he wanted to spend, so he saved some dough and got to put a ring on it and I got to feel special with my unique ring and satisfied that he didn’t the equivalent of a used car’s worth on a piece of jewelry that I’m bound to lose or destroy.

    Every couple is different. It’s ridiculous to pigeon hole people like this.

  30. Kyrstel Knightfire says:

    I don’t have a lot of family left. Honestly, I would prefer he skip this formality and go ahead and ask.
    As for engagement rings, I don’t care what style he gives me. It’s not the ring that matters. I am marrying an amazing man. And that is EXACTLY what matters! Oh how wonderful he is to me!
    Ladies, if the ring is what you are after, go buy it yourself. But if your man is of epic proportions in his Heart and Soul, then wear him! Wear him on your arm, on a date, wear him out, and show him off.
    Ring is nice. The person you want to spend your life with is worth Far More than a rock and metal trinket.

  31. Jess says:

    I am torn for myself because I truly think that it’s Noble for the man to ask the father, on the other hand my father is a blabber mouth and would tell me before the man got the chance to propose.
    So like I said I’m torn…

  32. Bay says:

    My boyfriend asked me to marry him without a ring because he wanted me to pick it out, in fact his exact words were “hey do you want a ring still?” We picked out the ring but we aren’t telling anyone until Christmas. (Okay my best friend knows!) Then he’ll actually “propose”. It’s my idea to wait until Christmas. I think it will be more romantic, and no he did not asked my dad because he already knew my dad was okay with it.

  33. Bri says:

    My boyfriend proposed with both our mothers present, both knowing he was going to propose. In this case, i would have preferred to know before our mothers and I also reccommend not having family present at that time! I was being recorded by his mother without my knowledge. it also felt very pressured. DO NOT propose with family present!!!

  34. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think fathers get to decide if their daughters can get married or not. It’s sexist and old fashioned. Why do they ask the father permission, but not the mother? Your future together is between you and your partner

  35. Chris says:

    My girlfriend has stated that she wants me to ask her father. Her father is indifferent from what I have observed and her mother despises the idea that we’re together, happy, and in love. She seems to have an issue with me being 15 years older, but we don’t see that it matters when we love each other and enjoy each others company so much. So, what if I ask her father and don’t get his blessing? How should that be handled? I don’t think that she would say know as marriage is something we have previously discussed and she wants.

  36. Anon says:

    The man should ask his girlfriend how she feels about asking her father. After all, you’re marrying her, not her dad. Personally, I think it’s archaic, sexist, and unnecessary — I’m not a piece of property, my father has no say in what I can and cannot do, and I don’t need another person’s permission or blessing to make my own decisions. I’ve made my feeling on the subject very clear to my boyfriend, and I fully expect him to ask me — and only me — when he is ready to propose.
    That being said, I understand that many women feel differently than I do. Because opinions are so varied on this topic — and often very strong — it would be wise of men to ask their girlfriends how they want it handled. And her opinion should be the one respected, not the wishes of her parents. You’re marrying her, not her parents, and you don’t want to start your journey towards marriage by ignoring your future wife in favor of people who ultimately should have no control over her or you.

  37. Tammie says:

    My husband asked my Daddy for his blessing before he proposed to me and this was my second marriage for both of us and we were nearly 40 years old… my first one lasted 20 years and ended horribly same as his first… And we never thought we would ever marry again until the Lord brought us together, and with our union my daughter got a Daddy that adores her and his children got a Mama that would fight the world for them since he has custody we are a very happy family… It made my Daddy’s day, and he said any man that can make my daughter that happy and take care of my girls like you do, yes you do have my full blessing to have her hand in marriage… But… I WILL NOT GIVE HER AWAY, IM WILLING TO SHARE HER WITH YOU….love being a Daddy’s girl…it’s just a old school respect thing… And a way the men welcome you to the family!

  38. Abi says:

    The only thing I disagree with is the ring. Yes if you’re going to buy one, consult, you don’t want to buy something that she doesn’t like, however, girls have gotten so damn greedy. A man is offering his life to you and all you care about is a hunk of carbon on a chunk of metal. That’s absolutely ridiculous. If a man who I loved proposed to me without a ring, I wouldn’t hesitate to say yes.

  39. Mike says:

    I think my situation is a little complicated. I want to marry my girlfriend of 7 years. We’ve lived together for most of that time. We have a 4 year old. We love each other and everything seems great. We decided when our child was born that I’d be a stay-at-home father and she would work. Her salary was a bit more than mine. How the heck do I get a ring that she deserves with her money? I know it’s really our money but she earns it. It just feels wrong to use the money she earned for a ring. Just in case you’re thinking I’m lazy and should get a job, our child is a special needs child who needs a tremendous amount of attention and my girlfriend works very long hours with no set days off. I take care of everything at home. I have to say I’d agree with asking her father first. Although, it’s easy for me because I’ve known himhim for long now.

  40. Meghan Haas says:

    My dad wanted to be asked, but my boyfriend didn’t want to ask for my hand in marriage because the tradition dates back to when women were property. Instead, my boyfriend asked for both of my parents’ blessing, because even if they said ‘no,’ we were going to get married anyway. Then, I asked his mom for her blessing. He was all she had left after his stepdad passed the month before. Now, I’m just waiting on the ring.

  41. Open Minded says:

    Why is the debate only about ‘asking permission’? I fully expect my boyfriend to talk to my parents before proposing to me, but not because I think that I’m being ‘given away’ or ‘sold’. He needs to discuss this huge decision with my parents, who are both so important to me. He needs to discuss it with his own parents as well. Marriage is not something that should be taken lightly. Ever. In my opinion, and I hope in my life, divorce is not an option. I think our parents are the exact people that we should talk to before taking a step that big. So, while I frown on the idea of being ‘sold’ by my father, I value both of my parents opinions and demand that they be informed before I will ever accept a man’s proposal of marriage.

    Well… Maybe not my mom. She’s the WORST secret keeper. I want to be surprised.

  42. Sara says:

    I just got proposed to. The weird thing about it is that we haven’t told his parents yet… I’m a bit nerves to because seeing how we do not live together or that i do not have a job right now… should i be very worried about this? I am over the moon happy that he asked me to marry him I said yes but should i be worried of what his parents say?

  43. admin says:

    Your parents can give their opinion but it’s a choice you both made. Engaged is not married yet and in this day and age people get married and have kids later. So you can have a long engagement until you both feel ready to finance a wedding and living together.

  44. Emily says:

    My husband asked my dad’s permission and immediately proposed to me in front of Daddy, Mom, and my younger sister while we were at the hospital. My daddy died two days later. My husband asking wasn’t so much about actually getting permission, but upholding the Southern standards both he and my dad grew up with. Knowing that we had my dad’s blessing and that it was also one of the last things he ever did made the proposal, while nontraditional, all the more special.

  45. ANDREA FOXX says:

    is it ok for a man ask her dad for permission for hand in marriages?

  46. Cassie says:

    My father was not around when I was growing up but I do have an older brother and my husband got my brothers telephone number from my foster parents and called him to ask his permission while he was deployed in Afghanistan. I was so honored.

  47. Laura says:

    I’ve always said, if a guy asks my father before me, it will be a no. The only permission he or I need to get marked is our own and asking my father is completely disrespectful to me.

  48. Dana says:

    As far as asking permission goes I do not have an older family member who deserves the honor of being asked. However I told my significant other that he does need to ask my oldest child( child from previous relationship) as he would be the one to give me away at our wedding. I know the proposal will happen soon as I picked my ring( he asked me to look at some to give him a better idea of what my dream ring would be needless to say I fell in love with one and he ended up getting me that one) and it’s been paid for. Only reason I haven’t actually received it is because he wants the proposal itself to be special for me as this would be my second marriage and my first one was nothing to be remembered.

  49. Rachel says:

    This is a tricky subject for any modern couple so I offer my solution to this: ask the father for a “blessing” not “permission” small but important difference to the modern day bride and traditional father

  50. Anony says:

    I think you should add to this list that he should not skip getting down on one knee to propose

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