This is an era of a commitment phobic and ghosting generation where finding a suitable lifelong partner is not set on a silver platter. So if you somehow managed to find everlasting love, congratulations. Whether you are childhood friends, high school sweethearts, met through a mutual friend on campus, or through social media, you are among the lucky few and it is about time you put a ring on it.
Proposals can be a lot of pressure, don’t you think? Imagine not knowing how your partner takes your proposal, so you are left to wonder; will he or she say yes? Is it the correct timing? How soon is too soon anyway?
But worry not, we are here to put your fears to rest. Today we have compiled a short list on everything you need to know before and while proposing for either men or women. And yes, it is the 21st century, women can propose too. But first, here is a brief history of marriage proposals.
History of Marriage Proposals
Traditionally, most marriages were arranged because they were seen as a legal transaction. Dowry arrangements were made and accepted into the bride’s family. The woman had little to no say about the matter. This implies that the bride and groom were mostly strangers bound to live the rest of their lives together.
As time marched on, industrialization changed people’s perspective on marriage. People no longer viewed marriage as a political and financial or legal transaction but as an individual decision towards happiness. During this age of proposals, a man who fell helplessly in love with a woman would first seek the permission and blessing from the woman’s father.
The man would get down on one knee while proposing to his lover as an act of devotion and admiration to his woman. He would then present her an engagement ring as a symbol of his love, dedication, and a promise of future marriage.
In Scotland, Finland, and England, a woman was only allowed to propose to her lover precisely on 29th February of a leap year. In fact, if a man were to reject this proposal in Finland, he was obliged to buy the woman enough clothes as compensation. How fascinating, right?
Fast forward to the 21st century, notions of what a proposal ‘should be’ are slowly getting re-structured. Some couples have conversations about marriage before the proposal while others prefer the element of surprise. Proposals are now a big show stopping event as most people use it to show off their romance and creativity.
When is a Good Time to Propose?
How can you tell it is the right time to propose? How soon is too soon? Below are a few factors to look into for you to weigh out whether your timing is perfect or rushed.
- Are you past the romantic “honeymoon” phase? During this lovey-dovey phase, one’s mind is clouded with the illusion of love. You can barely see any red flags no matter how hard they screamed in your face. We do not advise getting engaged during this phase because you are yet to know each other’s true colours.
- How well do you get along? Lately, it does not matter how long you have known each other to get engaged. Most people lack common relationship goals and expectations despite years together. If you and your lover see eye to eye, why not go for it?
- Have you had conversations about having a future together? Most people tend to be commitment phobic and will spend years with someone only to disappoint them So talk about your future and seek your partner’s opinion about marriage to be sure you want the same end goal.
Proposal Tips for Both Men and Women
Planning a proposal can be overwhelming and confusing yet most people want it to be absolutely perfect and memorable. Are you wondering how you can plan for the perfect marriage proposal? Below are a few tips.
- Make Sure You are on the Same Page
Talk about marriage with your partner prior to the proposal. Find out whether your partner is all about marriage or against it. Do not beat around the bush, be direct. Talk about marriage, your opinions, and expectations so you both know what you are getting into. If you are a bit shy about bringing up this crucial topic, you can start off by asking your partner’s opinion about a friend that recently got engaged or ask for their opinion on a wedding you both visited.
2. Let the Family Know Your Intentions
Have a chat with your partner’s parents about your plans to propose to their child. Even though most people consider this “old-fashioned” it is important and shows that you respect them. If your partner has a close relationship with his or her family, it would be nice to let them in on your plans.
3. Buy the Ring in Advance
An engagement ring is a must have accessory while proposing. If you are trying to figure out what kind of ring your partner would love, take a sneak peek at your lover’s jewelry wish list or ask his or her friends for help. However, engagement rings can be costly, you need to save in advance. Browse through different online jewelry stores to find one with the best offer.
4. Have a Photographer to be On Standby
A picture is worth a thousand words. Whether you ask your friend to take pictures or hire a photographer, pictures are priceless because they capture raw moments. Especially when the proposal is a surprise. In a scenario when you have a private and intimate proposal, you can opt to have an impromptu engagement photo shoot.
5. Consider Whether to Do it Publicly or Private
Most people tend to overlook this proposal detail. Different people are wired differently and as much as it is flattering to propose in a public setting, some people may take offence. Some people thrive in being the spotlight but others like being invincible and private.
Consider your partner’s personality and preferences to determine whether you propose privately or publicly. If you are unsure, compile different YouTube proposals and social feeds, pretend you just bumped into them then listen and watch out for your sweetheart’s reaction.
When it comes to choosing the ideal location, preferably go for a place that will always be there so you can go back even when you are old and gray. From an outdoor picnic to a fancy restaurant dinner, choose a location that is in tune with your budget.
7. Have a Bulletproof Backstory
If you insist on having an element of surprise, hide the engagement ring, develop a decoy story, and do not let the secret slip. Make up a foolproof story, one that your partner will not notice you are playing a trick on them.
But also, ensure that whatever story you come up with, your lover is dressed to the occasion. Imagine the embarrassment he or she would have to endure if they showed up under dressed to plan some fancy setting, to make up a good solid story.
8. Make it Meaningful and Get Personal
No matter how involving and overwhelming planning a proposal can be, do not lose sight of the bigger picture. You are taking big steps to being with the love of your life, be romantic and authentic to make it special. You can jot down to the highlights of your proposal to something you can recreate anniversaries to come.
When You Know You Know
At the end of the day, no man is an island. So, if you found someone you mutually want to spend the rest of your life with, you are definitely lucky. What are you waiting for? Get your affairs in order, plan that proposal, and shoot your shot.