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How to pop the question in the 21st century

January 11, 2019


“Will you marry me?”
Ah the most romantically anticipated words to ever be said in a relationship, besides “I love you” and “What do you want to eat?”

But those four little words come with so many emotions. So much excitement. So much planning!

We get it. You have finally found the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. All you want is for your significant other to be happy and take this moment to make him/her your family. Of course, asking someone to marry you is daunting. You have both talked about marriage countless times. You know what the answer will be. But coming up with the right way to ask the big question can be challenging.

Don’t worry. We’re here to help. There is no wrong way to ask your special someone to marry you. Everyone’s story is so unique and different. And your engagement should be too. Here are some tips to help make your proposal even more unforgettable.

Make it meaningful

If there is ever a time for getting sentimental, this is it. Think back on all the significant moments in your relationship. Take your love back to where you first met, first date, first kiss, first said, “I love you!,” or where you first talked about getting married. Do something you both love. Share a favorite view, stroll, hobby, food, game, song, movie, etc. Creatively draw on these special details. The point is, a successful and memorable proposal means letting your significant other know you remember those significant moments and that you have taken the time to know who he/she really is as a person. That attention to detail will be more meaningful than a room full of puppies (Well it will be a close tie since, I mean, who doesn’t love puppies). Not only will you have a thoughtful proposal story to tell your friends and family about, but you start your engagement off doing something you both love to do too.

Public or private proposal?

Consider the type of person your significant other is; not everyone wants to be in the spotlight, while some may dream of elaborate gestures and big displays. Has he/she always dreamed of having his/her family there for the big moment? Or why settle when you can have both? Have your own private, intimate proposal then plan to meet with your family and friends after the proposal to celebrate.
(Pro tip: If you decide to include family and friends then you won’t have to spend (what seems like) never-ending hours of individually calling everyone and repeating “how-you-proposed” stories later. Woohoo!)

If you are unsure what your significant other prefers then it’s time to subtly start asking. Scroll through social media or YouTube for proposal examples. Act like you have just come across them on your social feed, and see how your significant other responds to different scenarios. You can also ask close friends and family for their opinion.
(Pro tip: Remember to clear your search history and delete all messages so that your significant other doesn’t figure out the surprise. If you get caught, don’t stress about it. Look on the bright side, now you openly talk about each other’s ideas. He/she is the one you’re trying to impress, after all. Go about it as you would handle discussing Christmas gifts for each other; how you talk about all the things you want for Christmas but the surprise is which gift you’ll actually receive. You can bounce ideas and opinions off of each other the same way but the surprise will be how and when the proposal will actually happen.)

Location, location, location

When selecting a location for popping the question, consider finding a place that will always be there (i.e.: a historical monument, an outdoor location, a vacation destination, etc.). The idea that you can always return to that magical spot (even when you’re old and gray) is an amazing one.
(Pro tip: ALWAYS have a backup plan! Thinking a proposal on the top of a mountain after a hike? Or a proposal on the beach? Or in front of the Eiffel Tower at sunset? Any outdoor setting is always breathtaking… until Mother Nature decides to greet you that day to dark skies and stormy conditions. Consider having a few indoor spaces or other backup plans in your back pocket in case the weather does not cooperate. And know what to do in case of traffic or if your significant other (or even family and friends) arrives later or even earlier than expected. This is the most common issue when it comes to proposals and especially as you plan your wedding day.)


Hire a photographer and / or videographer to capture the big moment

I can’t stress this enough! There will be so much happening on this day that you and your significant other are guaranteed to miss or even forget a lot of the special moment; from the heartfelt details you worked hard on including to the speech (yes, the speech!) you put so much thought in preparing.
When my husband proposed to me, he planned for us to do a “styled photoshoot” (which we often do). It was so believable that when he got down on one knee and started his speech, I was trying to figure out whether it was part of the shoot or if it was actually a real proposal. By the time I realized it was real, I completely missed the first part of his speech! I was so ecstatic about the proposal. But it wasn’t until I watched our engagement video that I turned into a blubbery mess of tears and laughter hearing his full speech, seeing all the well thought out details of the day, and of course my amazingly embarrassing reaction. That video is my most prized possession! I still watch it randomly… and yes, I still cry when I watch it. Guilty!

Don’t forget the follow-through

Everyone plans the proposal up to the point where your significant other (sorry, I mean fiance) says “Yes!” But so many people forget to think about what comes next. What happens after your significant other says yes (besides jumping up and down)?

“If you’re on vacation overseas, think ahead. Are you the bask in the moment type? Plan for dinner, drinks, and a nice romantic night stroll. Are you the adventurous type? Plan a fun adventure where you can build on all that newly-engaged excitement. Did you hire a photographer and/or videographer? Plan to go out and take more engagement photos/videos as a newly engaged couple to show off to the world.

Don’t Sweat It

The thing about proposals, much like any surprise, the fun in it is the possibility for the unexpected. If something unexpected ruins the moment, laugh it off and think of the hilarious story you’ll have to tell in the future. Although you want to be creative and original when planning your proposal, don’t forget what it’s all about — committing to spending the rest of your life with the one you love. Don’t let this get lost when things don’t go as planned. Be fully aware that what can go wrong, will go wrong. So the most important thing is simply that your proposal comes from your heart. At the end of the day, even if anything goes wrong, you have each other. That’s how you should determine a successful proposal.


By: Amber Rose Zubrod

Contributing Writer

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