The Perfect Marriage Proposal

Will you… Would you… Could you do me the greatest honour of reading this article on how to create the perfect marriage proposal? Because there’s more to asking someone to marry you than just buying a ring and getting your knee dirty. Here, Kate Taylor, match.com’s relationship expert, gives you the essential list of I Dos and I Don’ts…

I DO… Promise to make the proposal personal

The Eiffel Tower might be one of the most romantic places in the world, but if it means nothing to you as a couple, it might not hit the marriage proposal high-notes.
Instead, tailor the location to your time together. Did you discuss a specific place on one of your first dates that you’d both love to visit? That’d be great. Closer to home, did you first meet in a memorable location, or have an unforgettable early date somewhere magical? Try there. If money is really tight, think creatively: buy a postcard of the place you both adore, write ‘Will you marry me?’ on the back, post it to your sweetheart and be there when it arrives.

I DON’T… Think of a marriage proposal as a group-event

You might feel that your love is something to be celebrated among all your family and friends – and it is – but a proposal is a private moment. No dropping to one knee on Christmas Day while Grandma snoozes in her armchair opposite, saying, ‘What’s that?’ No proposing over a crowded lunch table on holiday. No dramatic half-time football match proposals over the tannoy. Why not? Because having an audience will make your beloved feel pressurised to say ‘yes’. You want their acceptance to feel natural and joyous, not forced and stilted. Slip away just the two of you, if you’re away with friends and can’t wait – five minutes on a beautiful balcony would be all that’s needed and you can go back in together and celebrate with everyone.

I DO… Want to get the timing right

And really, sooner is better than later. When you and your partner have discussed the subject of marriage and are both sure you’d love to get married, the clock starts ticking. Waiting for a proposal is agony – every dinner invitation from then on is secretly met with the thought, ‘Is this it?!’, every weekend break is a disappointment if you return home diamond-free. If you have to save up for a ring, warn your partner up-front. You’ll probably (happily!) find they’d be just as happy with a vintage ring, or something simpler than a 5-carat monster. And speaking of rings…

I DON’T… Plan to propose without a ring

It doesn’t have to be the ring, but you have to be proffering a ring. A joke one from a Christmas cracker will do, or one you’ve made out of Play-Do, even just a Hula-Hoop crisp… If you plan to shop for the ring together to ensure your partner gets something she loves, wonderful. But you can’t propose without one. Why not? Because it then starts to look like you hadn’t planned it, that you’ve proposed on impulse and might therefore change your mind. The perfect marriage proposal is like the imperfect crime: you MUST show premeditation, motive and romance forethought.

I DO… Swear to pay attention to hints about preferred styles of ring

As soon as she feels a marriage proposal is on its way, your partner will start leaving clues about the type of jewellery she likes. These will range from subtle – you might wake up one night to find your girlfriend whispering, ‘princess-cut, platinum band’ – to blatant, where she leaves jewellery catalogues festooned with Post-It notes in your briefcase. She might start wearing only gold jewellery and giving you meaningful looks, or start raving over her friend’s sapphire engagement ring. Listen to her. If you’re ever in the lucky situation where your partner just points out a ring she loves, nip back and buy it the same day.

I DON’T… Forget to think about the words of the proposal

The setting, the ring, the moment – these are all wonderful but the words you say when you ask your partner to marry you are what make it magical. If you feel you’ll get nervous or just burst into emotional tears when the moment comes, then write your ideal marriage proposal speech into a romantic card that your partner can keep and re-read forever. Ahhh.