What Is the Proper Way to Ask a Woman to Marry You?

by Alana Vye

Marriage proposals are intimate events. Still, a lot of planning often goes into them and they can be highly creative or even elaborate. Most of all, men look to make their proposals unique as well as heartfelt. There are many elements to plan, such as the ring, the location, whether you'll ask her parents first and what exactly you'll say -- other than "will you marry me?" of course.

The Ring

Unless your bride-to-be has strictly told you there's to be no ring, you need to find the perfect jewel for her to make your proposal complete. Go to jewelry stores or browse online to see what's available and then think about what might suit her, recommends Sarah Rose, jewelry specialist for online jeweler James Allen. Also considering asking her friends or family for recommendations. As for how much to spend, the rule is two months' salary. Still, you can trim the budget by shopping online or buying the stone and setting separately. The latter helps you decide exactly how much you want to spend on each. Finally, you need to find her ring size -- borrow one of her rings to take to the jeweler or take a ring sizer home to covertly measure. Don't forget to delete your browsing history and hide the ring well to keep the proposal a surprise!

The Location

Don't be tempted to ask your girlfriend how she'd like to be proposed to -- the element of surprise is crucial. According to wedding website The Knot, 90 percent of women want to be surprised by the proposal and don't want to help plan it. Time to come up with a plan! If you're thinking restaurant, consider this finding by The Knot's survey: over 50 percent of women don't want to be proposed to in a restaurant. The survey revealed that ladies overwhelmingly prefer to be proposed to on holidays, where you had your first date or at a landmark. At home was also suggested, but at yours, not a friend's or parent's. Wedding planner Crystal Adair-Benning suggests that romance is the key and that women want to be swept off their feet.

Asking Her Parents

Asking for her father's permission might sound rather old-fashioned, but The Knot's survey revealed that 81 percent of women think it's necessary or at least a nice gesture. Twenty-two percent think mom should be asked as well. Only 19 percent of women didn't like the idea. Unless you're certain she wouldn't want you to, it's probably a good idea to ask. Call if you're far away but if they're in the area, drop by or take them out for a meal. Tell them that you love your girlfriend and want to ask to marry her.

In the Moment

You've done the planning, you have the ring, and now the moment is finally here. Don your nice duds for the occasion. You might also want to have a back-up plan in case she gets sick, you're both running late, or anything else goes awry. Remember to get down on bent knee -- The Knot found that almost 90 percent of women want men to propose on one knee. Then reel off your prepared speech, whether it's a poem or a song or something else that feels meaningful to you. It's best to have something written ahead of time in case you're derailed by nervousness. Just remember to finish with the words "will you marry me?"

About the Author

Alana Vye is a Canadian writer living abroad. She had a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Toronto and has worked in online marketing and publicity. She's also an avid traveler who has visited Asia, Europe and Central America.

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