Planning a Marriage Proposal – Top tips for before and after you propose

Most will plan a marriage proposal thinking 'how should I propose?' and 'will she say yes?' But it's also important to think about 'what comes next?' The last thing you want after the perfect marriage proposal is a flop of evening where you end up awkwardly going home to a quiet night in front of the TV.

Hands putting on an engagement ring

Our top tips will help answer the important proposal questions already floating around your head and our ideas can help you plan a proposal from before the beginning to after the end.

When does she think is the best time for a marriage proposal?

Valentine's Day, according to a survey of over 10,000 people. However, if you're not feeling enamoured by the day of love then there are plenty of other occasions that are considered to be very romantic when popping the question.

Chart showing the best day of the year to propose - Valentine's Day

Does the marriage proposal need to be a surprise?

No it doesn't have to be but we believe that a surprise marriage proposal is the best kind. Even if you have talked about getting engaged, and you know she's going to say yes, a proposal that surprises her will be remembered for years.

Planning the proposal in advance is the best way to make sure she is surprised on the day, unless you're also planning on surprising yourself and proposing spontaneously. We would recommend the the former as it will ensure that proposal spark will last for hours and you will have a great story to tell anyone who asks.

Woman being proposed to

Will she want a public marriage proposal?

There are an unlimited number of ways that you can propose to your other half, a lot of them are fun, imaginative and include not only you and her, but family, friends and sometimes even total strangers. Yet an important thing to consider is will she want them there?

If the answer is yes then go all out and maybe even organise a flash mob to help you do the deed but if the answer is no then it might be best to plan a proposal that is more intimate. If you have no idea what she might like then there's no shame in playing it safe.

Playing it safe proposal ideas

Woman wearing an engagement ring and holding hands with her fiance

Not a girly meal out

If you don't know whether your other half would want a public proposal then this is a great idea but you'll need to be in secret contact with friends and family for it to work!

Planning the marriage proposal: Get her friends to organise a 'girly' meal – somewhere nice that she'll need to get dressed up for. Then tell family and friends which night you are planning to propose and that there will be a surprise party for her in the evening – you can even give them party decorations and food to bring over on the night. Store a fancy outfit of your own in another room when she is not home.

During and after the proposal: While she is getting ready you change into the fancy outfit in another room. Once she is ready call her through into the room you are in and propose to her. You'll also need to discretely text family members after the proposal to tell them she said yes and that the party is a-go.

This proposal offers intimacy during the proposal and the excitement of sharing the news with family and friends straight afterwards. The rolling arrival of well wishers and the party will also give you both a proposal buzz that will last all evening. A perfect before and after proposal idea!

Tip: This one can be used any night of the year but works especially well on Valentines Day, the day before her Birthday or Christmas Eve (especially as the party can run into the early hours of the next day!).

A picture's worth a thousand words

Planning the marriage proposal: Buy a couple's photo experience. Tell your other half that you won the experience day in a competition online. If possible contact the company you bought the photo experience from to ask if they can send you a 'congratulations winner' letter – this is probably best done through social media channels or customer services. Warn the photographer that you will be proposing.

During and after the proposal: Get dressed up for your couples photo shoot and whilst there propose to her and get the photographer to capture the moment. Afterwards whisk her away to a restaurant and celebrate your first meal as an engaged couple.

Private proposal ideas

man with bunch of flowers and engagement ring proposing to a woman

The Great Outdoors

Is there a place that means a lot to the two of you that's outdoors (and not very public), or somewhere in the countryside that you know is beautiful or that she's always wanted to go? If there is this can be a wonderful place to propose.

Planning the marriage proposal: Organise a day out one weekend, or whenever you both have a day off, and plan to explore the great outdoors. Buy a spectacular picnic and pack a picnic rug – this is not the time for a crowded picnic area. Pray the rain stays away (if you live in Britain pray extra hard).

During and after the proposal: While walking be on the lookout for somewhere with a spectacular view or the perfect place for a picnic. When you find that place, say you have to tie you shoe, drop down onto one knee and then propose to her. Afterwards you can sit down and have that amazing romantic picnic together.

Tip #1: If this is the first time you've been to this place then make sure you comment about how this beautiful spot is 'your place' together – it'll melt her heart.

Tip #2: If it is too cold to have a picnic outside or it's raining then a picnic in the car can be just as enjoyable and will create a great story!

Surrounded by memories

If she's not one for a lot of public attention but loves anything romantic then this proposal idea will still make the evening amazingly special.

Planning the marriage proposal: Book the afternoon off work – you'll need it. Print out lots (and lots) of pictures of you two as a couple, holiday snaps, places you went together, gather any keepsakes you may have such as cinema tickets or trinkets from holidays and hand-write short love notes. Buy cello-tape, string and fake petals, maybe some candles – you get the idea.

On the day: While she is at work or just out of the house for a definite amount of hours, decorate whichever room you usually eat in with all of the pictures and mementos – go crazy, hang them from the ceiling, tape them to the walls, get creative. Order home-delivery take-out food from her favourite restaurant and arrange for it to arrive at a certain time.

During and after the proposal: When she gets home take her to the decorated room and propose to her. She can spend the evening looking at all the amazing mementos, pictures and notes and, on top of that, neither of you will have to cook! A great way to spread that proposal love across the entire evening.

Public proposal ideas

Man down on one knee proposing to a woman

Family get-together

Planning the marriage proposal: Book a big table at a local bar or restaurant and invite your friends and family to the meal. Invite your girlfriend for a quiet 'date night' meal at said restaurant but tell her the table is booked for half an hour later than the time you tell everyone else.

On the day: Tell your girlfriend that you are running late and that you will have to meet her there – or whatever excuse you need to get her to arrive on her own! Make sure everyone arrives earlier than your other half.

During and after the proposal: Get four friends/family members to hold signs a few metres apart that say 'her name' 'will' 'you' 'marry' and then stand outside the restaurant with the ring. When she gets close enough drop down on one knee and say 'me'. Then everyone can go inside and have a lovely meal and congratulate the two of you on your engagement!

Party hard

This one is not for the faint of heart and is definitely best at a prearranged event or party - however doing this at someone else's wedding is poor taste - don't say we didn't warn you!

Planning the marriage proposal: Buy a ring and make sure there's a party or gathering going on where you're family and friends will be there. Tell said family and friends that you're planning to propose and arrange for them to bring 'congratulations' and 'engagement' decorations to the party as well as a bottle of champagne. Also arrange for somewhere to stash these decorations until AFTER you have proposed!

During and after the proposal: Go to the party/gathering together. When you feel like it's the perfect time, drop down on one knee, pull out the ring and propose to her. After the proposal has taken place get friends and family members to bring out the decorations and champagne and celebrate throughout the party.

Tip: This proposal is designed to have all eyes on you or her so pick your moment carefully – if the party is on her birthday do it just after she's blown out the candles on her cake, on Christmas do it just before you all sit down to dinner or on New Year's Eve do it just after you've counted down to midnight – you get the idea.

Plenty more marriage proposal ideas

You don't need to just use our proposal ideas, there are plenty out there you can chose from or make one up that is completely your own. However, we want to highlight that while the marriage proposal is by far the most important thing to happen, it's also useful to think of what will happen afterwards.

It's all well and good proposing to your other half at a fancy restaurant during desert but are you just going to go home afterwards? Or you can organise some people to sing your proposal to her in the street but where do you go from there?

If you can find one couple that doesn't have a 'proposal story' we'll be amazed. So when you're thinking of how yours will be told don't let it end with, “...then he proposed and we went home.” make it something memorable.

And if you're looking for engagement decorations or gifts then we have a huge selection of personalised engagement gifts that will act as keepsakes long after the day is over.SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

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