The answer to this question may appear simple at first, however, depending on what type of marriage proposal you have planned for your engagement, there are very different steps you should follow when planning and executing your proposal. A checklist for the engagement process may seem unromantic, but with a clear plan as to what needs to be done beforehand, and what you will need on your big day, you can save yourself unnecessary stress and fully prepare for the moment.
Don’t worry – making a beautiful proposal is not magic and, unless you have your heart set on a flash mob with a hundred participants, it doesn’t require outstanding organisational skills.
Decide on the place and time
The first step to consider is when and where you want to propose. During a romantic dinner in a fancy restaurant? At sunset on a beach while on holiday? Something rather classic and intimate at home? At a big party among friends, family, and relatives?
There are thousands of different ways to ask your sweetheart or loved one to marry you, and each requires different preparation. You don’t necessarily have to be specific – even a spontaneous proposal can be wonderful if made at the right time, however, if you have an engagement at a very specific location in mind, start planning well in advance. This is especially true when travel, accommodation, etc. has to be booked.
Finding the engagement ring
A central part of any traditional proposal is the diamond engagement ring. Nowadays, the selection is more diverse than ever, from the classic solitaire ring with a single sparkling diamond, to designer rings with multiple stones, in unusual shapes and colours.
Allow yourself time for the search, for while finding a beautiful ring is not difficult, you can quickly find yourself paying more than necessary. Compare the offers of local jewellers with those of online jewellers. The latter often have a leaner corporate structure, buying diamonds from as close to the source as possible, and can thus offer the same quality at a lower price than a small, local jewellery store or a large chain.
It pays to compare and, thanks to rating portals, you can quickly assess what personal experiences other customers have had with a provider. Always pay attention to a seller’s reputation on rating portals. Individually verified reviews from real customers on portals such as Trustpilot should always be afforded greater emphasis than, for example, reviews on Google or various aggregators, where anyone can post a rating.
Are you finding the selection overwhelming? Don’t make buying the ring a science, it should please your future fiancée or fiancé, match their style and other jewellery, and be recognisable as an engagement ring. The traditional 1-carat solitaire ring is a very safe and popular choice for a reason – it’s simple, beautiful, and the quintessential engagement ring.
How does a marriage proposal work?
To clear up a common misunderstanding right away: a marriage proposal and an engagement are basically synonyms, for when a marriage proposal is accepted, you are automatically and immediately engaged. Aside from the proposal and the acceptance of the proposal, no other steps, registrations or deeds are required; the engagement is simply a promise between two people.
Traditionally, one of the partners – even today, this is usually the man – gets down on one knee, with one knee bent and the other on the ground, and proposes to his or her sweetheart. But it doesn’t have to be this way, for although many women wouldn’t dare to take the initiative, the majority of men would be perfectly happy to be on the receiving end of a proposal.
The next step consists of presenting the ring in a presentable jewellery box, which is held open. If you don’t have a box, this intermediate step can be skipped. Then comes the most important part of the engagement process. The ring is placed onto the ring finger of the left hand, of course, not your own. In German-speaking countries, Switzerland represents an exception, with the engagement ring traditionally worn on the ring finger of the right hand. At the same time, you ask the question of all questions “Will you marry me?” or “Will you be my wife/husband?”.
The exact wording is up to you. As soon as you take the knee, your counterpart will immediately know what is happening and will be eagerly awaiting the question. Interjecting with a rambling speech about how you came to know one another, your love, and your relationship is awkward at this stage. Don’t exaggerate the tension, be brief and get to the point quickly.
Wait for the answer before standing up again and hopefully kissing and falling into one another’s arms, overjoyed. The answer is as important as the question, only with a “Yes” is the engagement complete.
What happens after the marriage proposal?
The proposal is made, has been accepted, and you are engaged. Congratulations! What follows after that is not set in stone. In a restaurant, it is customary to propose before the actual meal, before dining in peace and spending time reminiscing.
If you want to immediately inform your family and friends via WhatsApp, you can of course do so when you get home, however, you should ask your fiancé or fiancée beforehand. In restaurants, using a smartphone unless it is an emergency is still a faux pas that is tolerated, but should be avoided.
The next step for an increasing number of couples is the engagement party, which is usually scheduled a short time after the engagement. This is a new trend, and you aren’t obliged to host a party, but it is a nice opportunity to celebrate together with the people who are dear and important to you.
Last but not least: after the wedding comes the lead-up to the marriage. Depending on how quickly you want to make your promise a reality, the months after the proposal are a good time to start planning your dream wedding. You don’t have to rush into anything, an engagement has no time limit, and you can allow yourself the chance to relax together and enjoy being “engaged” for a while.