When to propose?

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Alongside the question of how to propose, another question we get asked a lot is when to propose. How do you know when to propose? How old do you have to be to propose? How soon is too soon to propose? These are all worries that we see pop up time and time again, and, luckily for you, it’s our job as proposal planners to help answer them.

Maybe you’ve already got the ring, and you’re worried about jumping the gun. Maybe, you’ve not made any plans, but you’re worried your partner is growing restless. Or maybe, you just want reassurance that what you’re doing is right, and that you’ve picked the best time to propose. Whichever is true for you, we’re here to help guide you through when to propose.

How soon is too soon to propose?

We’re suckers for romance here – of course we are, we’re proposal planners – and so we often get asked “How soon is too soon to propose?” The truthful response is that there isn’t a straight black and white answer. There’s no one universal standard of when you should propose, and so there’s no definitive answer to how soon is too soon to propose. It may be a cliche, but everyone’s relationship is unique, and so therefore are their respective timelines! However, as far as advice goes, we know that’s not the most helpful thing to take away, so here’s a better way to look at it.

Instead of asking yourself “How soon is too soon to propose?”, ask yourself – “How do you know when you’re ready to propose?” This immediately gets rid of any external expectations, any worries that you’re acting out of the ordinary or moving too fast, and refocuses the question of what matters: you and your relationship.

So, how do you know when to propose? There are a few key things to consider when you’re working out whether you’re ready.

The first is: how well do you know your partner? You don’t need to know their time of birth to the exact minute or their entire astrology chart off by heart, but being at a stage where you feel like you really know them well is a must to be ready for a proposal.

Another question to ask yourself is – can you imagine spending the rest of your life with them? If you close your eyes and imagine the future – are they part of it? If your instinctive dreams for the rest of your life include them centre stage, then that’s also a really good sign that you may be ready to propose.

It’s also really important to consider what your partner’s dreams for the future are. It might not be the most fun chat for the dinner table, but having had frank, open, honest conversations about your life vision is a good indicator for when to propose. Have they entrusted you with their bigger picture wants and needs, on topics such as career goals, and whether they see themselves starting a family or not? Again, knowing these things about each other is a good indication that you’re both on the same page.

How old do you have to be to propose?

Unlike the question of how soon is too soon to propose, there is a concrete answer to the question “How old do you have to be to propose?” – and the answer is, of legal marrying age, at least!

After that, the question ‘how old do you have to be to propose?” becomes “At what stage should I propose?”  This means the decision is based more on life stage, rather than your age. This is a natural extension of the questions you asked yourself above, with a few more specifics thrown in. If you’re open and honest about your financial situation, both solo and shared, that’s an excellent sign that you’re heading towards potential proposal territory. For some people, this may come at 6 months; for some people, this may come at 6 years. Plus, for some people, this might come at 22, or 62!

Another thing to consider is your preferred length of engagement. For example, if you know you want a long engagement, it may be perfectly ok to get engaged as a marker of your intent, before you actually have the means to pay for the wedding you really dream of. But if you know you’d prefer a shorter engagement, proposing before you’re financially ready can just add stress and tension to a relationship. The average engagement is around 15 months, with most engagements lasting 1 to 3 years – but, again, there are no hard and fast rules on this. There’s no ‘right’ age to get engaged, just as there’s no right age to get married.

Can you wait too long to propose?

This is another question we see crop up a lot. On the flipside of “How soon is too soon to propose?”, you have the worry “Can you wait too long to propose?”

The answer is, in short: yes, but don’t be alarmed! Firstly, let us point out, there’s a difference between taking the time you need, and waiting too long. The former is what you need to do, ensuring your decision isn’t rushed and you don’t regret it further down the line.

On the other hand, the question of “Can you wait too long to propose?” is more dependent on your partner, and what they want. Of course, they have to respect your needs, but it’s a two way street: and this is why the conversations we mentioned above are so key to have. If you haven’t had explicit conversations with your partner about their visions for the future, including whenabouts they imagine getting engaged, married, and so forth, it can be hard to gauge what their expectations are, and know how to act accordingly.

This worry commonly crops up in conversations where partners are so focused on getting the perfect proposal that they stall and stall doing it. This is where we can come in, as proposal planners, to completely take the stress out of planning their dream proposal and helping you make it happen.

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