He liked it so he put a ring on it: five things to consider before you propose to your boyfriend

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Once the search is over and you’ve met the man of your dreams, your thoughts might be turning to the perfect way to propose to him. Now that gay marriage and same-sex partnerships are legal in over 29 countries, the number of gay couples choosing to tie the knot continues to rise each year.

If you’re at this stage and wondering “how can I propose to my boyfriend?”, read on for the five things you need to think about before you can plan the perfect proposal for him.

Have you actually talked about proposing to your boyfriend?

It’s rare that a marriage proposal comes completely out of the blue, as most couples will have discussed their views and thoughts about marriage, especially in a gay relationship. But before you ask your boyfriend to marry you, you do need to be sure that marriage is what he wants. For some men, especially gay men, the idea of marriage can come bound up with all kinds of ideas around conventions, and may not be something that he wants to embark on. And while surprising your partner with a proposal can be an amazingly romantic gesture, it could backfire if marriage is something he really isn’t comfortable with. Make sure you’ve had the marriage chat before you start planning your perfect gay proposal!

What kind of proposal does your boyfriend actually want?

Remember: it’s all about him, not you. There are lots of things to consider when planning how to propose to your boyfriend including the location, the date and, most importantly, how you actually choose to pop the question.

Many couples take advantage of holidays throughout the year as lovely milestone days for proposals – Valentine’s Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve continue to be popular for popping the question, while birthdays and anniversaries are always special.

For some men, their perfect proposal will be when they’re curled up on the sofa enjoying their takeaway and a favourite TV show. For others, this once-in-a-lifetime moment needs to be marked with a unique and epic proposal that’s totally Instagram-worthy! Think your boyfriend is the latter type? You’ll definitely want to read our next tip.

Do you want to use a proposal planner?

If you want to go the extra mile with the proposal for your boyfriend but are feeling a bit daunted on how exactly to go about this, it’s time to get in touch with a proposal planner. A relatively new addition to the wedding scene, proposal planners are on hand to bring your ideas – no matter how big, dramatic or ever so slightly bonkers – into glorious life.

Emily Andrew is a professional proposal planner based in the UK, and facilitates a number of proposals every year, including many from the LGBTQ community. “A recent favourite was where the proposal took place at dusk on a beach,” she reveals. “The couple was surrounded by candlelight, flowers and balloons and the tide was lapping around their feet. Afterwards they enjoyed a mini-break in a converted windmill which added even more romance and uniqueness!”

It can feel daunting to plan a gay proposal, especially if it’s an extravagant one with lots of elements to co-ordinate. Using a proposal planner, however, can ensure all these details are taken care of, meaning you just have to ask the question at the right moment!

Do you want a double proposal?

When it comes to weddings, most societal traditions are associated with heterosexual norms, and even in the 2020s it’s most commonly the man who proposes to the woman. So how does a gay couple navigate this and decide who’s the proposer and proposee?

The answer that many gay couples have come up with is the double proposal. This beautiful idea is something that’s emerged from the LGBTQ community since the legalisation of same-sex marriage. Also called a partnership proposal, a double proposal is where both of you propose, either on the same day or at a different time.

A double proposal can be empowering, taking away any burden or preconception about who should be doing the proposing and celebrating the true equality of your partnership.

There are several ways you can do a double proposal for men. If you’ve already discussed marriage – see point one – you’ll probably know whether your boyfriend wants to be proposed to or would prefer doing the proposing himself. It could be that you both want to be involved in planning your proposal and will ask each other at the same time. Or you could decide that you both want to plan a proposal for the other, and the timing of each will be a lovely surprise.

Of course, double proposals can happen completely by accident, as this video shows!

Do you want to give your boyfriend an engagement ring?

As we’ve already discussed, the LGBTQ community forges its own traditions when it comes to marriage, and although engagement rings are traditionally given by a man to a woman, many gay men do exchange engagement rings. According to wedding website The Knot, spending on engagement rings by gay men continues to increase, with the average ring in the US now costing $5,719.

There are so many gorgeous ring designs for men out there, ranging from simple metal bands to rings set with diamonds or other precious stones. If your taste is similar to your boyfriend’s and you both want to wear a ring, opt for a matching pair.

Not sure about your boyfriend’s taste when it comes to ring design? Get a temporary proposal ring for the actual proposal and then pick out the main engagement ring together.

Of course, you don’t have to give a ring at all. Other jewellery such as a necklace or brooch can have just as much meaning. If jewellery isn’t for you, why not buy a truly special painting or piece of art? Or for the ultimate in commitment, there’s always a tattoo!

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