How to Propose in a Restaurant

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You're ready to propose to your special someone, and want to do it at a location that is meaningful to both of you. The restaurant at which you had your first date might be an option, or you might choose a shared long-time favorite. The restaurant might be able to add special touches, such as a personalized menu stamped with the date or "Will you marry me?" written in frosting on a favorite dessert. A little creativity and planning can help ensure a memorable evening.

Consider your plan before you propose in a restaurant. Not everyone is comfortable with sharing such an intimate and important moment with others. If your partner is typically shy or self-conscious in front of strangers, skip the restaurant and plan a more private proposal. If you do opt for a restaurant proposal, be realistic about the likely outcome. Unless you are completely sure that the proposal will be both welcomed and accepted, steer clear of proposing at a restaurant, or any other public venue: The last thing you want is for either or both of you to be caught off-guard or publicly embarrassed.

Contact the restaurant manager in advance. Ensure the restaurant is willing to reserve a table and host your special evening. Discuss with the manager any special requests you have for your romantic tableau -- flowers, music, specific food items -- and ensure the restaurant can accommodate them. This is particularly important if restaurant personnel are expected to be part of the proposal -- if they will prepare a special menu, dessert or drink, for instance. Consider requesting a sheltered or partially private table to avoid disturbing others and to provide yourselves with some privacy to enjoy your big evening.

Go to the restaurant early on the day of the planned proposal to finalize all the details with the manager. If you want special flowers or wine, bring them ahead of time so they are ready to go that evening. Ask to see the table so you know the location and setting is what you want. Review with the manager any special food or beverage requests to avoid issues such as not having your partner's favorite seafood item or the bartender not knowing how to make your special drink. If you want a restaurant staff member to take pictures of the proposal, show him exactly how to use your camera and describe the kinds of shots you want.

Pick up your partner at a predetermined time and then arrive to the restaurant on time. Enjoy a leisurely evening and don't rush through your drinks or meal. When you're ready to propose, make sure restaurant personnel know it's time and are available to take pictures, start your preselected music, or serve a special dessert or drink. Graciously acknowledge any applause or words of congratulations from restaurant staff and patrons.