How to Propose

Asking someone to marry you is, hopefully, a once-in-a-lifetime event. So make sure you do it right.


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Everything you need to know about engagements, bridal showers, and weddings, whether you're the bride, the groom, or a guest.

You Will Need

  • Thoughtfulness
  • Inspiration
  • Preparedness
  • A ring
  • A romantic restaurant


  1. Step 1

    Make it about her

    Think about your intended. Is she shy or outgoing? Traditional or modern? Deeply private or borderline exhibitionist? Would she be touched if you asked her dad for her hand in marriage, or offended?

  2. Step 2

    Personalize it

    Consider ways you can make it personal, like proposing somewhere that is meaningful to her or to the relationship.

  3. You can’t go wrong proposing in a romantic restaurant over a candlelit dinner, according to one survey.

  4. Step 3

    Surprise her

    Propose when she’s not expecting it. Ninety percent of women polled said they want to be surprised, because that’s what makes an engagement memorable.

  5. If she’s expecting a proposal on a holiday, like Valentine’s Day or Christmas, do it a day or two early.

  6. Step 4

    Don't overplan

    Give some thought to how you can make the moment special, but don’t create such an elaborate scenario that it will all fall apart if one thing goes wrong.

  7. Step 5

    Plan what to say

    Plan out the gist of what you want to say. You don’t want to be reading from a piece of paper, but you don’t want to be stumbling over your words, either.

  8. Include a few specific things you love about her.

  9. Step 6

    Have a ring ready

    Have a ring of some kind to present, even if you’re planning to let her pick out her own engagement ring. It can be anything from a cigar band to a toy ring to a nice piece of jewelry you use as a placeholder.

  10. Step 7

    Get on bended knee

    Get down on one knee. Surveys show that this is the way an overwhelming majority of women want to receive a proposal.

  11. Step 8

    Ignore us

    Ignore all this advice and just propose when and where you feel like it. A spontaneous, sincere proposal can be the loveliest of all.

  12. According to Irish legend, St. Brigid struck a deal with St. Patrick to allow women to propose to men on Leap Day, the extra day tacked onto February every four years.