Asking someone to marry you is one of the biggest steps you'll ever take. While some people may resort to giant billboards, stadium declarations or popping the question at a party, an at-home wedding proposal is a thoughtful, sensitive and intimate way to express your love without making your intended feel embarrassed or put on the spot. With some imagination and a respectful awareness of what constitutes good timing, this special moment can become a lasting memory.
An at-home dinner for two is a romantic backdrop for a wedding proposal because a familiar setting is often the last place anyone will expect a major surprise. Instead of risking an emergency trip to the doctor or dentist as a result of trying to hide your ring in soup, mashed potatoes or a beverage, however, consider the following ideas:
Pick up Chinese takeout and ask the restaurant to give you an empty container in which to insert the ring box. A variation on this is to put the ring box in with the fortune cookies.
Prepare some finger-food appetizers and place the ring in the center of the platter atop a cut-out heart.
Send your beloved to the refrigerator to take a pair of chilled flutes out of the freezer; the ring will be in one of them.
Create a slide show or video of your favorite moments. Most computers have a built-in program called Windows MovieMaker that allows you to drag and drop audio and video components into a timeline and incorporate transitional effects such as dissolves, wipes, keyholes and flips. Save your finished product on a DVD -- along with an ending title card that says "Marry Me" -- and insert it in your DVD player when your beloved isn't looking. A casual, "Hey, let's see if anything is on TV" cues up the sweet surprise of a lifetime.
Leave your honey a series of rhymed notes that will lead to various hiding places around the house where you have placed small gifts and more clues. The "treasures" can be chocolate, a glass of wine, a favorite photo, a bottle of bubble bath or anything else your imagination conjures. Make sure the last clue sends your beloved to the farthest distance from your actual proposal site so that you will have time to light candles, put on romantic music and be happily waiting with your ring.
Compose and play an original song to pop your question. If you don't play a musical instrument, consider writing your own words to an existing instrumental and singing it. The important thing to remember is that you don't have to have a great voice to pull this proposal off; what your beloved is going to hear and appreciate is that you took the time to prepare it and aren't afraid to look silly in the name of love. If live singing is simply too terrifying for you, consider simply reading your revised lyrics as the music plays. And if you're a ham at heart, entertain your paramour with a lip-synched performance of a favorite love song and top it off by dropping to one knee.