Getting ready to pop the big question, but feeling a bit lost about how to propose? You have the engagement ring, already tailored to your partner’s ring size, and the possibilities for the perfect proposal story are swirling in your head. Perhaps you have a few marriage proposal ideas already. A rose-petaled scavenger hunt through your home? A special moment beneath the twinkle of a Christmas tree? Whatever the scenario may be, our top tip is to stay true to your unique relationship.
Resist the urge to follow fleeting fads; your wedding proposal deserves to be as one-of-a-kind as your love. “Proposals are so forever that I don’t like to see trends overtake them,” says Emily Forrest Skurnik, head of communications at Zola. But nor must they rely on dated conventions: “It’s not always a man proposing to a woman. When we think about a proposal, it’s always someone getting down on one knee, and my biggest tip is, you don’t have to do those things if it’s not right for you. You just don’t.”
Entering the engagement season, typically between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, Vogue is here with a guide on how to propose, authentically, from selecting the perfect setting to the proposal speech.
Do ensure you’re on the same page
First and foremost, have all essential conversations about your future. If family is important to your significant other, consider talking to their loved ones beforehand.
Surprise proposals are becoming less common, with couples often spending several years together before marriage. According to The Knot’s 2021 Jewelry and Engagement study, more than half of couples have lived together, owned a pet, and discussed important topics like political affiliations, finances, and having children before getting engaged. Forrest says that 89% of couples begin their wedding planning process before they’re officially engaged, referring to an upcoming Zola report.
Put simply, your partner shouldn’t be caught completely off guard by your proposal timing, but the execution is open to personal touches and surprises.
Don’t overthink it
In our era of Bachelor-style and Instagram proposals, the pressure to make a grand gesture can be overwhelming. But, keep it manageable and focused on the emotional connection between you and your S.O. Your proposal doesn’t have to be on a hot air balloon in Paris or a picturesque beach in the Maldives—unless your person has explicitly expressed that preference. In that case, disregard everything you just read.
Do personalize the proposal
Plan what you want to say beyond the standard, “Will you marry me?” Think bullet points, though. You don’t want to sound too robotic or be profusely sweating because you forgot the script. Another approach: pen a sweet letter to read aloud that your better half can later hold onto as a keepsake.