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Proposal Checklist - 7 Things You Must Do Before Popping the Question (Infographic)

This is it. This is the one. This is the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with.

Maybe you’ve been together for years, or maybe you have only been dating for a short time. Either way, if you are considering how to ask them to marry you (and not “if”), your planning process for the proposal starts now.

There are a lot of options for how make a marriage proposal, and finding just the right way to ask the love of your life to share the rest of their life with you can be a challenging task.

As with many important events in life, attention to the small details is important; however, your primary focus should be this: a successful proposal celebrates your relationship now with a focus on your future together.

This means knowing what aspects and details of your girlfriend’s personality and interests are most important to them and to you so that you can make the proposal meaningful and memorable. Should you involve her family or pets in some way? What kind of ring would she like best? Is there a particular day of the year that is significant? Should it be a public event or a private one?

All of these questions need to be addressed before you can move forward with your proposal plan. Nobody wants their proposal to fall flat, but in order to ensure success, you need to carefully weigh your options and make informed choices well ahead of the big day.

To make this often difficult process easier, check out these helpful tips on what to do before you propose.

1. Let the Family in on Your Proposal

While not everyone is close with their family, bringing her immediate family or close friend in on the proposal is always a smart decision. It allows the people who have known her the longest to celebrate your proposed union with you, and it shows respect for the relationships and love between the people who matter most to her. Granted, the more people who know about the proposal, the more likely the secret is to get out, but including family and close friends shows that you intend to become a part of their future as well. (Article Continues Below)

2. Gather Advice About The Ring

This is the part of the proposal process that requires some discretion and cunning. While some couples may have already talked about significant jewelry and preferences, more than likely this is not the case. If the element of surprise is important for your proposal, then you will need some allies in your little conspiracy: namely, her mom, close friends, and best friend. They can speak to what she does and does not like regarding ring styles, and of course your motivation for asking will make it easier for them to be more forthcoming and still keep it a secret from your fiance-to-be.

3. Plan Where You Will Hide The Ring

This is way more important than you might think, and it is vital to pulling off that perfect surprise proposal. Make sure you don’t leave the box in some obvious place where she could stumble across it doing laundry or cleaning, such as your dresser drawer or in your nightstand. You might think she’d have no reason to venture into either hiding place, but everyday life is full of variables you for which you cannot account. She may have a perfectly legitimate reason as simple as looking for a phone charger in your bedside, or maybe she needs to borrow a clean pair of socks from your top dresser drawer. In any case, play it safe: hide the ring in an old shoe box in the back of your closet or in the back of a filing cabinet that you keep locked. Also, for the day of your proposal, make sure you put the ring box in an inside jacket or coat pocket. She will spot that ring box in the pocket of your jeans in a hot second.

4. Scout Your Location with Care

Focus on spaces that fit your proposal. A fountain or gazebo in the park is great for public proposals, but not so great for intimate moments. By the same token, a seat at a cafe or quiet corner of a community rose garden make perfect locations for more intimate proposal plans. Depending on your future fiancee’s personality and sentimentality, you may also want to choose a place that is significant to your relationship, such as where you first met, her favorite restaurant, or where you went for your first date. If she is more outdoorsy and adventurous, take her hiking and have a picnic waiting at the end of the trail. Is she into yoga? Schedule a private class for just you two. Integrating her interests or significant places goes a long way to making your proposal a celebration of her and your relationship together, so it is best of focus on these locations first when planning the spot to propose.

5. Timing is Everything

As stealthily as you can, make sure that her schedule is free for your proposal date. Check with friends regularly in case she makes last minute plans, or take a peek at her work schedule to make sure that she isn’t on the books to work late on that particular day.After you propose, she is going to want to spend time with you, so you need to make sure that she can do that without having to compromising her work or social commitments.

6. Rehearse Your Proposal

You don’t need to hire a speechwriter or agonize over your precise wording for days on end before proposing, but some planning for what you are going to say to ask for her hand in marriage is important. This should not be a source of anxiety for your, and you shouldn’t feel like you have to write it down either. However, a little forethought regarding how you plan to express how much she means to you and how much you want your relationship to become committed and permanent, the happier she will be. Finding words about your feelings shouldn’t be too hard given that you plan to spend the rest of your life with her.

7. Don’t Forget To Celebrate!

Plan ahead to celebrate your engagement if all goes well. Make a reservation at your favorite place, or hide a bottle of champagne somewhere convenient to your proposal location so you can toast your future happiness. Also, and this is very important, be sure to tell your close family and friends before posting your news and photos on social media. After you celebrate your good news, you can start posting away via your favorite social networks. Sharing your joy with others near and far is important for you and for your friends and family, as the many people who know you most likely want to wish you well and congratulate you, so make sure you have plans to do that in place before your pop the question.

Planning the Perfect Proposal

While the course of true love may never run smooth, that doesn’t mean that your proposal has to suffer a similar fate. A carefully planned, wholehearted, and thoughtful proposal will have all the details ironed out well before the actual day you ask her to marry you. Involving her family, getting advice about the perfect ring, planning your hiding place, finding the perfect spot, and making sure you fit everything into her schedule, and then making plans for after you propose to celebrate may seem like an overwhelming amount of events to plan for, if you tackle them each one at a time you will find it becomes a labor of love and not an arduous chore.

When you propose marriage, you are extending to her the greatest and most sincere “I love you” that you can offer another human being. You are asking her to join with you in belonging to each other for the rest of your lives, to possibly having children and raising them together, and to growing old together (or refusing to grow old together) many years from now. You want to make sure that how, when, and where you ask her this very important question suits you both perfectly, and that it becomes the culmination of your lives together to date. You want to make it a moment to cherish forever, and to do that, you need to make sure that you plan out these seven Must-Dos together very carefully.

However, no amount of planning or preparation can really determine how wonderful or wearisome your proposal turns out to be. As important as it is to be practical about your proposal plans, make sure you listen to and follow your heart as well. Nobody knows her better than you, and you know your relationship inside and out.

Otherwise, you wouldn’t even have contemplated the idea of proposing in the first place. Listen to what your heart tells you even as you make your plans for asking her to be your wife, and you will soon find that all those little details and personal touches fall into place. Good luck, and best wishes as you take this next step into your future together with the love of your life.

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