The Do’s and Don’ts of Popping The Question





Who would your girlfriend want present at your marriage proposal? Just the two of you, her family and best friends, or perhaps a cheering crowd?  Really consider who she would want participating in your celebration. If involving family, holidays are fun; however, you might be competing with the busy holiday schedules. There is always the option of an intimate setting for the both of you, followed by a surprise engagement party with family and friends.


On a whole, most women prefer a proposal to take place in a private or semi-private setting. Just because you are a sports fanatic does not mean her idea of a proposal is at a Giants game facing an enormous crowd. If she loves the spotlight, is a die-hard fan, paints her face and never misses a single game, then go for it!


The location sets the mood. Choose a place significant in your relationship or one you can incorporate favorite memories together. However, do not get so caught up in the location that it stops you from thinking creatively. Start with “how” you’re going to propose rather than “where” you’re popping the question and the possibilities will increase ten fold.

For example, if you want to take her to a Broadway musical, think bigger than proposing on stage. One of our proposal clients used the musical’s playbill to ask his girlfriend to marry him with a photo and description of her inside; he explained all her “star” qualities as she was greeted with roses from strangers outside the theater.


If you aren’t typically “romantic,” don’t plan a special date out of the blue. She’ll have an appointment to get her nails done within the hour because it’s so obvious. Instead use her friend as a decoy so she is genuinely surprised.


Do not neglect the small details; they are the icing on the cake! Make your proposal about HER by incorporating HER favorite things and/or what SHE enjoys doing most with you. In other words, the only way to pop the question is to personalize the proposal to your relationship. Integrate specific moments that she wouldn’t expect you to remember, such what she ordered on your first date, and you’ll leave her on cloud nine.


Share your proposal idea and get a female’s opinion. Consult her friend, sister, mom, etc. If you are nervous a close friend or family member may spoil the surprise, this is where a proposal planner comes in handy.


Your proposal planner will be your best friend. She’ll help you avoid common proposal day anxiety because you’ll be confident that your plans are being executed flawlessly behind the scenes. If your girlfriend is running late, your proposal planner will make the calls and adjustments so you remain present and enjoy the special day. Your future fiancée will be grateful you hired a planner and made the effort to give her an unparalleled memory.


It’s simple. It’s one of the most important moments in your life so get it on film, camera or better, both! Plus, your girlfriend probably won’t remember half of the amazing things you say. If it’s on film you just have to click play.



Don’t place too much pressure on your proposal speech. Write a list of all the things you love about her and why you want her to be your wife. Choose a few to explain during your speech and save that list for her to read later. Extra points for you there!


You just spent a pretty penny on the engagement ring so use your personal resources. For example, do you have a friend that does professional videography or can put together an awesome photomontage? Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family to help you with small projects for the proposal that will ultimately save you money.





To be blunt, automatically rule out proposals via jumbotrons, fortune cookies, and over a “nice” dinner. If you are unsure on how to propose to your girlfriend, don’t settle because you would rather down play it than risk something going array. With a little thought and planning, you will go beyond the cliché ideas. If you get stuck, consult her girlfriends, mom, or a proposal planner.


Don’t wait until the week before to start thinking about your marriage proposal idea. Sure it can be done but it takes away from the special touches you COULD have included had you allotted yourself time to plan and prepare. If you don’t have a plan in place, and decide to wing it, chances are you will get flustered. You only do this once and she’s worth the effort.


Unfortunately we get wind of proposal stories where the guy implements what he thinks is cool rather than what she would appreciate. Think about her personality, her love language, her dreams, and you’ll start to cater the proposal to her desires rather than your own. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone just a bit.


When you start feeling overwhelmed or acting anxious around her, it’s time to enlist some help. You are keeping a big secret from the one person you usually tell everything to; therefore discuss the proposal with someone who can be your voice of reason and prevent you from blowing the surprise. Many women figure out it’s coming not because they are snooping around but their boyfriend starts acting differently.

I hope all you fiancés-to-be feel more prepared and excited to begin planning your proposal.

heather-vaughnHeather Vaughn


About Heather: Heather Vaughn is the Creator and President of The Yes Girls Events and Love, The Yes Girls.

Images: Photostock and Ambro

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Comments (8)


  1. Andy Koehn says:

    I think #3 under the “Don’ts” is probably my favorite one. There are a lot of ham’s out there…and they miss the real reason they’re asking a woman to marry them. (From experience.) It’s too bad too…because the less they try to make it about themselves…and more about her and the moment…them more they get the spotlight they so badly want. (Especially if it’s sincere.)

    Nice article, Heather. (Sincerely. I thinks it’s very, very good advice and we’ll be showing it to the young men that come in to buy an engagement ring.)

  2. Heather says:

    Thank you Andy! Glad you found it useful and I totally agree with you on #3! People always ooh and awe over the truly sincere and thoughtful proposals and the guy ends up looking like a romantic stud when he thinks about her and not himself. :)

  3. Marcel says:

    I like the summary of the dos and don’ts, particularly because it’s brief and to the point. About 3 weeks ago, my gf bluntly asked about my plans on marriage and kids. It’s the first time we spoke about it in “frank” terms. I told her that I would one day like to be married and see her in my life forever. But, I want our relationship to grow a bit more given that we’ve leaved in different states for one year of our year-and-a-half relationship. And

    That said, I was thinking of proposing to her and thought of the most unique and meaningful plan. I am going to do it in a few months (I don’t have the ring yet). I have one question. What is the best way of getting her ring size. She NEVER wears a ring on her ring figure, so I can’t use her rings to get an idea of what ring size. I can always guestimate, but I can’t imagine the worse thing about proposing and everything goes as planned, but the ring doesn’t fit. So, as of right now, that is my biggest worry. Any suggestions?

  4. admin says:

    You could ask her family and friends for help. While they are shopping together they could get her to try on jewelry, even just faux jewelry and get the size for you. Or you can negotiate with the jeweler that the ring can be re-sized . Most women are a size 6 finger but depending on how tall and curvy your GF is, the jeweler can estimate it for you. You can also take a larger size then you estimate . It is easy to re-size and women always like to feel that they are skinny. Lots of rings have to be re-sized after the proposal.

  5. Marcel says:

    I am researching about diamond rings and even spoke to a few retailers/jewelers. I learned that there are diamond rings in the market, which are created in a lab and help drive costs low. These engineered diamonds are apparently very hard to detect from the naked eye. My gf, and hopefully soon-to-be fiancée, told me she doesn’t want me to spend lots of money on a ring and doesn’t care for a diamond ring. While I believe her, and what she says is consistent with the person she is, I still want to get her something. My question is simply do you think I should consider getting a diamond ring that is either synthetic (partly real and partly engineered) or even completely engineered, or should I go for a real ring? Honestly, I can’t tell the difference. And does it really matter?

  6. Antonia says:

    As an actual girl who recently got engaged I am qualified to answer some of your questions. Getting an engineered diamond depends on the girl. If your girl is big into world causes and doesn’t want a blood diamond or wants to help save money for the wedding this can be a good idea. My engagement ring is an enhanced Dolores diamond and I love it. Ask her friends to see what they think because friends opinions on rings matter.
    I would buy the ring big if you cannot figure out her size. It is cheaper to have gold removed than to add it. Ask her friends to help. They will love helping plus they probably go shopping together anyways so it will happen in a more organic way.

  7. amber says:

    dont ever ask without a ring.

  8. Michael says:

    Heather, I’m going away with her in a month to a beach getaway; with her two close friends. It will be the off season so a bit chilly but i know we will all go to the beach for a short while just to see the beach. Its going to difficult to separate from them with out her thinking something is up. My plan was to be on the beach and have her friends take our picture. While in pose i was going to drop to a knee. I know this wont be completely private seeing her friends will be there. What do you think? suggestions? should it be completely private which might give away a total surprise? I dont want to come off like your #3 dont do.
    My idea was to grab a coffee early alone, but drive to beach and bury a small cooler with champagne/glass for later that day…

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