How to Propose: Tips & Advice from a Marriage Proposal Expert

“Will you marry me?” is one of the most important questions you’ll ask or be asked in your life. As an expert in planning dream marriage proposals, I’ve found that there are a few basic do’s and don’ts that apply to any marriage proposal.  Whether it’s a private sail for two along the Charles, or a romantic balcony proposal in a Newport mansion, follow these top engagement tips to have your perfect marriage proposal:

  1. DO have a ring. It seems like a no brainer, but these days many couples in the Boston area are shopping for the engagement ring together.  If you’re a traditionalist and don’t want to ruin the surprise by taking her shopping before the proposal, propose with a placeholder ring such as a toy or candy ring and enjoy picking out her engagement ring together after she says yes!

  2. DO prepare and plan. Even the simplest marriage proposal plan can be thrown off by an earlier-than-expected arrival, T delays, or bad weather. Regardless of how you plan to propose, be sure to prepare for even the smallest detail to go wrong.

  3. DO document it. Proposing at home? Set up your computer’s webcam to secretly record your proposal. Have a friend with an iPhone or a Flipcam? Have him film your proposal paparazzi-style. Or, splurge on a professional photographer and/or videographer to capture the moment to share with friends & family at your engagement party.

  4. DON’T tell everyone beforehand. It’s tempting to share the finer details of your proposal with your friends and family before you pop the question. But, resist this temptation! The more people you tell, the more likely it is that word will get back to her and ruin your surprise.

  5. DON’T forget the aftermath.  If you propose on a Thursday morning before work, she’ll have to run out the door to get to her early meeting and you won’t be able to bask in the glow of being engaged. Or, if you pop the question in Bora Bora and you have no international cell phone plan, you won’t be able to share the news without spending big bucks on phone bills. Think ahead and ensure that you have time to enjoy your first few moments of being engaged.


Sarah Pease, The Proposal Planner ™ is the foremost expert on marriage proposals and is the pioneer of Marriage Proposal Planning. Sarah is the founder of Brilliant Event Planning and Proposal Ideas, and has designed and produced dream engagements for countless lucky couples from across the world.