A Guide to proposing like a pro

A Guide to proposing like a pro

Proposing like a pro shouldn't imply that you have tried, failed, and eventually mastered the art of proposing. That is because there simply aren't enough men/women willing to hear that many proposals before calling it quits. All jokes aside, being a master at proposing implies that you have learned from the amazing things other proposers have done for their engagements. It also means that you have taken it upon yourself to learn from the mistakes of others before attempting to do the real thing. Here in this article, we will be share with you some amazing, creative, and even witty ideas to better equip yourself for when it's time to propose. Feel free to either use any of the ideas that are brought up or to make a spin-off of one of them. The goal of this article is to inspire you and help you come up with ideas before you hastily fall to one knee.

Make it a surprise!

Engagements are loads more memorable when they are done as surprises. Even if your partner is not big into surprises, proposals are usually the exception. Your engagement should be planned out in a way that catches your partner by surprise. If the proposal is too obvious your partner will see it coming from miles away and his/her reaction won’t be as grand. The look on someone's face when they have unexpectedly been proposed to makes for epic photos and it even enhances the raw emotions sprung on by the moment. We've noticed that the most emotional responses that come out of the proposee are when they are caught by surprise. Surprises make the moment 10 times better, trust us.

Make your engagement personal… please.

This is a proposal topic that we can't stress enough. When planning your proposal know that you should tie some sort of personal investment into the act (Like the ring wasn't an investment enough, amirite?.) What we mean is that instead of simply drawing marry me on the sand, dropping down to one knee, and blinking your pretty eyes, plan a way to make some aspect of the surprise meaningful to both of you. With some thinking, you can find a way to incorporate meaningful mementos into your proposals, such as important pictures, jewelry, or even the first jacket they let you to borrow on your first date. Make the proposal personal, so that you can enhance the adorableness and memorability of your engagement.

One way to guarantee a personal proposal is by giving yourself this rule: “If my proposal would work for marrying any other random person scratch the idea.” In other words, if your proposal idea doesn't incorporate some personal connections to you and your loved ones' relationship it won't be as powerful. Trust us, you don’t want to formulate a cookie-cutter proposal that you could “reuse”. The goal is to come up with ideas that are much too unique to recycle. Luckily, with all the inside jokes and the funny memories you two have shared, you should have no problem making it personal.

Some ideas to make the proposal more personal:

  • Video montage after the proposal
  • Having someone play your “relationship” song.
  • Incorporating humor that only you and your partner would understand.
  • Choosing a specific gemstone that tells a story about your relationship

Plan a short and sweet “speech”

The last thing you want is to present an extended 2-minute essay as soon as you propose. Your loved one already knows how much you care simply by presenting the ring. If you plan a speech if at all, make it short. we've seen many super successful and unique proposals with little to no words spoken. Your “speech” could be something quick like simply saying “will you marry me”, or something spicier like “will you marry me and make me the happiest person on the planet.” Notice how both of these options are short and sweet. Long speeches tend to create awkward silences that seem to last an eternity, especially when all your partner wants to do is put the ring on and hug you. Plus, not everyone is good at memorizing speeches, so make it short so that you and your partner can embrace and share the moment. Most likely your partner's heart is pounding, and their head is most likely clouded by excitement, so give both of you a break and just say a quick word or two. Please… just save the long speech for your vows.

To take your proposal up a notch you could also spend some time and think of a way to make your one or two-sentence phrase more personal. As mentioned before adding a personal touch to a proposal does wonders. So why not find a way to say “will you marry me” but with a special word or phrase that you and your partner exclusively share. Maybe you and your partner are doctors and thus you propose with the phrase, “will you marry me and make me the happiest man in the world, together we can cure anything, like my aching heart that is dying to marry you.” This phrase needs work, but it has potential and it's definitely more interesting than simply saying “will you marry me”. Again, there is nothing wrong with saying “will you marry me” it's a great default that works every time.

Dressing up for the big moment

Before we discuss some ideas for your proposal its first important to discuss attire. It's almost guaranteed that your partner wants to look nice for their proposal shots, but how do you get them to dress nicely without being suspicious? Well, the answer is with white lies. Don’t worry we aren't going to break our partner's trust; we just need to stretch the truth a little. One great way to get your partner dressed is to say, “Hey honey, we are going to have pictures taken tonight.” More often than not the thought of having your picture taken usually will be an incentive for your partner to get dressed up nicely. Especially nowadays when social media presence is a necessity for most people. Another way you can do this is by saying you feel like dressing up tonight. Usually, your partner will want to match your style and dress up nicely as well. They wouldn’t want to let you have all the fun dressing up. Yet another way you can approach this is by being more direct. You can plan a real photoshoot near the location where you want to propose. This way your partner looks their absolute best, and you can give them an excuse to go to the location of your choice.

Proposal ideas to inspire you

Often a little inspiration can go a long way when planning a marriage proposal. Below is a formulated list of some ideas to help set a spark an idea. Feel free to use any of the ideas from the list below, expand upon them, or make them into something new and personal.

  • Using local events or productions: Some public performances, like ones in malls during the holiday season, are a great way to incorporate your proposal into. For one thing, they are usually free. Secondly, they are a great excuse to get your significant other dressed up and out of the house.
  • Making your proposal into an interactive game: if your partner likes puzzles or solving problems there are so many ways to incorporate a personal touch into your proposal and make it fun. For one you could order a custom puzzle online that spells out will you marry me or an image of your choice that can lead to you proposing. (one idea that we thought of is to propose at an escape room, maybe take her there and have her solve a mystery that leads to your ring and proposal.)
  • Rehearse a dance: Practice a dance with your significant other and then plan to propose right at the end of it. This will make the moment very special and should catch your partner off guard.
  • Plan to give your partner the bride's bouquet at someone else's wedding ceremony: When the bride throughs her bouquet behind her back plan a way to make sure your partner catches the flowers and then you can propose right after she catches it. This one is risky as you don’t want to steal the thunder away from the newlywed couple. Use at your own risk.
  • Movie Swap: Plan to watch a movie with your partner but swap the movie out with footage of you and your future fiancé and all the memories you have shared in the past. After the video ends you can propose. However, they might be too excited to watch the real movie after the proposal.
  • Message in a bottle: This idea has so many variations and can be unique if you allow it to be. It's also probably one of my absolute favorites. All you have to do is pre-plant a message in a bottle on a beach somewhere and “randomly” stumble upon it later in the day with your partner. This way your future fiancé is surprised to find the bottle but when they read the contents, they will even be more surprised as the contents will say something like “will you marry me”. Before they can react, you will already be on one knee with the diamond ring.
  • Classic Airport or Train proposal: Surprise your partner when they are leaving to go somewhere or at an unexpected time. For example, if your partner is planning on leaving town you can disguise yourself as a doorman and propose on the spot. Maybe you can even arrange to go with them on their trip somehow. A lot of movies use this trope, you know the one where the guy sprints to the airport before his true love boards her flight. Yeah, that one.
  • Big will you marry me signs: this one speaks for itself but there are so many creative ways to display marry me signs.
    • Example 1: you can order giant letters to display “marry me” on the ground of a park somewhere, and maybe you can schedule a helicopter ride over the park. Then you can propose in the helicopter, it would make for a great memory.
    • Example 2: Spell “marry me” but with candles and have them walk through the candles and try to figure out what they spell. This one is more interactive, and you can pair it with different ideas listed in this article quite nicely.
    • Example 3: Spray painting “marry me” at a graffiti park where you have permission to spray paint a wall. You can make it even more interactive by handing her a paint can and having her check yes next to the graffiti art.
  • Include animals in the proposal: Dolphins, birds, dogs, etc
  • Hire a personal chef for the proposal. There are a dozen of ways to approach this, many of which include the chef displaying the ring on the food in a creative way.
  • Using live music: You can incorporate musicians into your proposal in many ways. One idea we had would be to have a “random” musical group play at a restaurant and then you could join in on the song and then propose afterwards. Even if you don’t play an instrument, simply picking up a cowbell or triangle isn't hard, and it makes the proposal adorable and fun.
  • Holiday gift swap: one idea we had would be that you play a game like a white elephant exchange but rig it so your fiancé gets the ring somehow. There are many ways to approach this so it's up to you how you execute it.
  • Easter egg hunt: hide the ring inside a golden egg, the rest is self-explanatory.

These are just a few ideas in the infinite number of ideas you could come up with. When you propose keep in mind that it should be very very special, so no matter what you choose it will be a memorable and heartwarming experience.

Proposal locations to inspire you

Below are some locations/places you could stage your proposal. Again, feel free to use anything listed or expand upon them as you wish.

  • At the top of a Ferris wheel: this one always works, make sure you pick a nice day out too, and maybe time it with the sunset as well.
  • Rent out a fun local attraction after hours: Examples include amusement parks, castles, rock climbing gyms, indoor skydiving, etc.
  • Hot air balloons: Most likely your partner or you have never been on a hot-air balloon, so it makes the experiences surprising right off the bat. Not only that but the view is exceptional, especially with all the other balloons that sprinkle the sky.
  • Propose in a photobooth: If you take your partner on a date and take them to a photo booth you can pop the question right before the photos go off. This is a cute way of getting practically free photography of the precious moment and also in a mostly private way. Make sure to do a test run before you bring them to the photo booth.
  • Underwater proposal: Take your fiancé scuba diving or free diving in a crystal blue ocean at a resort and pop the question underwater. Be sure you have practiced beforehand as you don’t want to lose the ring in the water. You could even be on the extra-safe side and use a mock ring underwater, this way if you lose the fake ring, you have the real ring safe on dry land.
  • Where you had your first date: Proposing at the site of your first date is an adorable way to add a personal touch to the engagement location. The emotional moment will be empowered by nostalgia.

Staging a photographer and/or videographer

Proposing is usually a one-and-done deal, there typically aren’t any do-overs. So, it's vital to make sure you have someone on standby who will film the proposal. It's important to capture the moment on film as you and your family will be able to look back on this precious moment for centuries to come, or for as long as the video file is saved. Back up your photos!

Below are some pro tips on photographing your precious proposal.

The Perfect Angles.

There are two very important angles to film when it comes to engagements. These angles are so important you will surely regret not using them.

  • The reaction shot: This first angle is of the proposee’s initial reaction to the proposal. The camera should be oriented in a way that shows the full body and face reaction of the person being proposed to. The pure emotions that spawn from this moment are too priceless to miss out on so be sure to get this angle perfected. Also, make sure your cameraman is skilled enough to track the proposee’s reaction, some proposee’s go wild.
  • Perpendicular to the proposal: This is another necessary camera angle that will truly show off the beauty of the moment. Have your cameraman film your entire proposal where they can see the side profile of yourself on one knee and well as your partner. This shot is perfect because it makes for a gorgeous, silhouetted shape of the classic knee proposal and also shows off the shock on the proposee’s face. To make this shot extra special you need to make sure the photo is taken with both of you placed center-bottom of the frame where you can see all the scenery around you.

Pro tips to make sure the videos and photos go smoothly

  • Get two people to film your proposal: This may sound like too much but it's far from it. Having not one but 2 people film your proposal allows for less camera failure and less human error. Depending on how you propose more photographers are usually better. One of the main benefits of having 2 photographers is that one person can record video and audio while the other takes still photos. If you only had one person filming, they would have to quickly switch from still photos to video recording mid-proposal. Even though a lot of cameras nowadays can do both at once, it's still a lot easier to designate both of them to different people.
  • Stay on your knee!: when having your proposal filmed, especially if it's a quick proposal, make sure to stay on your knee for as long as possible. The longer you are on one knee the more time your photographers have to get the right shot and film the right angles. Obviously, don’t stay on one knee for so long that it gets awkward, it's more important to do what feels right at the moment. However, still, attempt to keep that knee bent until you can't wait any longer to give them a big hug and kiss.
  • What if you don’t have a cameraperson?: If there is no way you can get someone to film your proposal in your specific scenario then you can always stage a camera yourself. It's not too difficult to go to the location beforehand and sneak a camera in a bush somewhere. The angle of the photo and video won't be as great, but it should still get the job done. Additionally, you can buy some remote photography devices to remotely take photos on your phone. Apple Watches™ can actually be paired with your iPhone™ to work as a remote to take photos. But there are also some scenarios that are almost impossible to have a photographer involved, like if you propose while skydiving with your partner. That's where a Go Pro™ comes in.
  • Pay attention to the background scenery: When having your proposal filmed it's vital to have the background be as picturesque as possible. If you're proposing at Disney for example, is it better to have the castle in the background of the proposal or is it better to have a crowd of random people standing behind you? Think about it beforehand, if you don’t you might have unnecessary background action that you didn't want in your memory. I've seen a good bit of proposals ruined by childish photobombers. Look it up on the web, most photobombed proposals are hilarious to watch.
  • Time of day: this one goes hand in hand with knowing your scenery. You can totally upgrade your proposal photos simply by paying closer attention to the time of day. Sunrise, for example, is a great photogenic time for your proposal photos and even has some other added benefits. Proposing at sunrise instead of sunset allows for fewer people to possibly get in the background of your shot and allows you to spend a whole extra day together as an engaged couple. Have you ever thought of it that way? Plus, strong midday lighting causes so much glare that it could ruin a shot. So, pay attention to the weather and see if it's a cloudy day or not. Cloudy days are perfect for proposals.
  • Get footage of the whole day leading up to the engagement: This is a great way to capture the engagement in a way that tells a story. Everyone loves a good love story with a little bit of suspense so why not film your own.

Include a post-engagement interview.

Right after the height of the engagement have one of your videographers ask you and your new fiancé some quick questions about how you feel. Since a lot of your family members probably won't be there right after the proposal, it's a great way to capture the emotions and document how you both felt in the moment. The adrenaline and blood will be pumping during such an exhilarating moment and will result in some adorable responses by the couple.

Some questions to have your videographer ask include…

  • How excited are you?
  • What does it feel like to wear the ring?
  • Did you expect to be proposed to today?
  • When is the wedding?

Make sure the questions are short and sweet, we don’t want anything complicated.

You are ready!

Now that you know so much about making your proposal as memorable and special as it can be, all that is left to do is to execute the mission. You're a pro now so go out there and get ‘em tiger!

Oh, and don’t forget about the ring! If you have made it this far without the ring you might need to backtrack a little and read our engagement ring article. Now you can go get ‘em, for real this time, and with a Dunkin’s Diamond’s ring in your pocket.