Asking someone to marry you is a big deal (as in a really, really big deal), and it’s totally normal to feel nervous—but being prepared is one of the best ways to ease those all-too-common pre-proposal nerves. Today, then, we’re offering up some helpful advice to ensure your engagement goes off without a single hitch—read on for our top pro tips for popping the question without having a panic attack (you’ve got this!).
Pro Tips for Popping the Question…Without Having a Panic Attack
1. Figure out the right moment
Even if you’re not typically someone who plans things out to a T or lives by your Google Calendar, you’ll want to consider timing before you pop the question. There are two major things to consider when it comes to timing out your proposal:
- Date & Time: This may mean planning for a specific date (an upcoming vacation, a holiday, or a date that’s important to you both) or it might mean planning for a certain time of year (i.e. asking her in the springtime because you want the trees in your favorite park to be in bloom) or a certain time of day (sunset).
- What your partner has going on in their life: The other important thing to think about is where your partner is in life. If there are specific goals she’s been clear she wants to accomplish (graduating from school or getting that promotion) before she even considers marriage, be respectful of that. You want to make sure your partner is in the right emotional and mental state to be asked. Avoid proposing when there is something stressful going on in their life—you want them to say “yes!” for the right reasons, after all.
PRO TIP: Be flexible. Whether it’s an unexpected loss or a sudden bout of the flu, if something suddenly comes up that rains on your planned proposal parade, don’t feel the need to force it. You want it to be a happy moment above all else—wait for the storm clouds to pass before you pop the most important question of both of your lives.
2. Finalize your plan
Your proposal is not the time to wing-in. No matter how charming rom-coms or Jim and Pam’s Office proposal may make impromptu engagements seem, the truth is they tend to look far more romantic on the big-screen than they are in real life. You want your partner to feel like you’ve put some serious thought into this moment. Start by checking out our go-to guide on how to propose. Then, take all of the following into account before you get on one knee:
- Where and when you’ll propose. Consider important events, weather, lighting, etc. If you’re proposing at a restaurant or venue, it might be helpful to call ahead to make sure there aren’t any events happening on-site that may interfere.
- What you’ll be doing and why. Keeping your proposal a complete surprise is all about having a solid backstory. If you’re taking her somewhere you wouldn’t normally go, make sure you have a story in place for why you’re headed there.
- How you’ll celebrate after. You know your partner best—so whether she’ll want an at-home celebration or something with friends is totally your call, but make sure you have something (anything!) planned. This isn’t an engagement party—rather, it’s just a simple celebration immediately following your engagement to make sure the rest of the day or night is memorable. This may mean a small gathering with friends who are waiting at a nearby bar, or it may mean taking her home where you have her favorite takeout and a great bottle of wine waiting.
- How you’ll capture the moment. Consider having a photographer out-of-site but nearby to snap professional shots of the special moment. (Here’s everything you need to know about hiring a proposal photographer.) We love Flytographer, who makes the whole process super easy!
- What you’ll say. Write your “script” and practice, practice, practice! The last thing you want to do is get on one knee only to find out a cat has your tongue and that you have no idea what to say to your future wife or husband.
3. Pop the question
When it comes time to actually do the damn thing, there are a few simple things to keep in mind. First, take a deep breath—your nerves will likely be through-the-roof, but it’s so important you calm yourself down before you begin. Next, don’t rush through your proposal. Take it slow and make sure you say everything you want to say. And finally, don’t rush their answer! Once your partner sees you on your knee, she’ll likely be as nervous as you are—which may mean she needs a little extra time to process what’s happening.
Ready to move on to the next step? Check out our top tips for what to do after you’re engaged here!