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The Art of the Marriage Proposal

Traditions regarding the marriage proposal vary depending on country, period of history and culture, but one thing is certain; the way the question is asked can determine how the answer is given. While in the past the marriage proposal has been made by the man with ring in hand, there are many instances where the woman has popped the question, and today men are receiving engagement rings which make it even easier for both genders to make their proposal on equal footing.

Quite frequently in modern times, marriage proposals have made headlines for the unique manner in which they are made, such as when they are public events; written in the sky, broadcast at sports events or on a televised program. But historical records also show that many of the most romantic marriage proposals were made in the presence of family members or privately.

So how do you decide which way is best to ask one of the most important questions of your life? Although a proposal of marriage is best when it comes as a surprise, the idea of marriage should be discussed beforehand, especially today with more people choosing long-term relationships as opposed to the formalities of a marriage contract. If you both agree on the idea of a marriage contract, you need to have an understanding of how both of you feel about the major issues such as having children. Some couples also like the idea of a pre-nuptial agreement, but this is far from an accepted practice and it should be discussed as well.

Once you know that your partner is receptive to the idea of a formal marriage, the next question is which style of engagement ring will suit them best? Presenting an engagement ring when you ask the question: “Will you marry me?” is very important because it shows sincerity and commitment. Be sure to practice saying the phrase beforehand to avoid stumbling over your words.  You can take your cue for the engagement ring style from your partner’s preferences and fashion style. A trip to a jewelry store is also one way to get a better idea of the designs they prefer and can help you when it's time to choose the wedding ring.

With the ring purchased, the final piece of the puzzle is when and where will you propose? A public event can be a thrilling way to capture the moment your partner says “Yes!” if they are extroverted, but it’s a good idea to be sure they won’t be completely overwhelmed and left speechless too. On the other hand, creating a tender private moment for your partner to accept your ring can be the most memorable.