In modern society, men being the only ones allowed to propose is an old throwback to times gone by. Traditionally, of course, men had to be the ones to ask the question because they were the ones with the rights — however, we’re thankfully past those days now!
With that in mind, the answer to the question “Can a woman propose to a man?” is a very simple hell to the yes – we love to see women doing the proposing too. But don’t worry: our guide to how to propose to a man goes into more helpful detail than just that!
Can a woman propose to a man?
As long as you’re of age and consenting, anyone can propose to anyone – thankfully, the outdated laws that only gave men the privilege have long gone.
What remains now is more of a societal expectation that men will traditionally do the proposing in a heterosexual relationship. Fortunately, though, this is changing too: in a study by Glamour, a huge 70% of the men they interviewed said they’d be happy to be asked instead of doing the asking. So not only can a woman propose to a man, but a lot of men would like them too!
What’s different about women proposing to men?
In short: nothing, really! In years gone by, the first piece of advice on how to propose to a man might have been ‘wait for a leap year’, a throwback to Bachelor’s Day — or Ladies’ Privilege — which permitted women to propose to men only on 29th February after an old Irish tale involving St Patrick and St Bridget. However, as women proposing becomes more and more common, the novelty of this particular date is becoming less and less necessary.
How to propose to a man
Make sure you’re on the same page
No matter who’s doing the asking, we always stress the importance of knowing that you and your partner are on the same page. Do you know how they feel about marriage and what they see for their future? Do you know if they feel ready for it? And also, would your partner be comfortable with you proposing to them? Do you know how they’d feel about you taking the role of the proposal?
Personalise your proposal
Instead of thinking about how to propose to a man in general, we think it’s more useful to ask yourself how you should propose to yours in particular. That is to say: what kind of proposal would your partner like? Would they love something adventurous and epic, or something lower-key and more intimate? Would they like it in front of people, or would they like it to be a more private affair? Would they like it somewhere fancy, or would they love nothing more than being asked the question whilst at home, sat on the sofa?
The most important thing to do is to plan a proposal that feels right to you and your partner, rather than one that looks impressive to the outside but doesn’t quite fit you as a couple. (Of course, it’s totally possible to have a proposal that looks good and feels right – that’s where we come in! Here are some ideas to get you started.)
Organise the ring
This step also requires a bit more thinking when deciding how to propose to a man, than when it’s the other way round. Unlike wedding rings, which both parties traditionally wear, it’s customary for only the person being proposed to to wear an engagement ring.
But why should they get all the fun?! Maybe you want to propose with an engagement ring, but you also want to wear one too – in that case, why not get rings that go together?
Ask for the blessing of their loved ones
Of course, nobody needs to ask anybody’s parents for permission to marry any more – we’re people, not property after all – but it’s still a nice gesture and a mark of respect to ask their loved ones for their blessing before you pop the question.
Practice what you’re going to say
Your proposal speech doesn’t have to be a War and Peace style epic – it just has to be from the heart, and contain the magic question. (For more info on what to say when you propose, check out our guide here .) But whatever you’re going to say, we always recommend that people practice it beforehand – it gives you one less thing to stress about on the day.
Over and above everything else, the best thing to remember when planning how to propose to a man is to be yourself. Sometimes when doing something that goes against the norm, it can be really easy to tie yourself up in knots trying to balance other people’s opinions and expectations; but really the best thing to do is to just focus on being yourself. Over and above you being a woman proposing to a man, you’re you proposing to a man – that’s much more important when planning how to do it!