Proposal DO's and DON'Ts

Don't believe everything you see in the movies or on TV.

A marriage proposal is an extremely memorable event in anyone's life, and screenwriters tend to turn this momentous occasion into a cliche time and time again.

This is your chance to be original!

Get your thinking cap on and take the proposal path less taken!

Follow these general guidelines if you so choose, but most importantly, go with what your heart and gut tell you.

After all, no one knows your future fiancé quite like you do!


1. Don't put the ring into her food or drink.

Marriage Proposal Ideas

Photo: Tracy Hebden

If she doesn't notice it, it is a choking hazard and a very embarrassing moment, especially at a public restaurant.

Just imagine her reciting your engagement story over and over to her friends and family.

She may laugh later, but it might not be so funny when it happens.

2. Don't propose publicly or steal someone else's spotlight.

Public Marriage Proposal Ideas

Unless your bride has an overwhelming desire to be in front of a large crowd at all times, they best proposals are done privately between the two of you.

So this means no sports games, loud restaurants, at someone else's wedding, in front of an audience, on TV, etc.

You may be a daredevil and love football games, but it might not be the best fit for your future bride-to-be.

3. Don't be a cliche.

Cliche Marriage Proposals

Take the time to really think about the best way to propose.

Don't proposal in front of the Eiffel Tower, on the London Eye, or at any known "engagement locations" unless it is something she has hinted at time and time again.

Remember, you want her to feel unique and special, and proposing at a location where everyone else has done the same may not be the best option.

4. Don't propose on a holiday or birthday.

Holiday Marriage Proposals

While it is hands down the most popular time to propose, avoid proposing during winter holidays like Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, or Valentine's day.

It isn't original, and sometimes it can come off as a cheapened proposal, which is absolutely not how you want it to come across.

If you get a great deal on a ring during this time, just wait until the holidays have passed, and then surprise her.

Birthdays are another popular proposal date.

While a proposal may be the best birthday gift ever, it is best to choose another date so she has another memorable anniversary date to remember.

5. Don't be this guy!

Fake Death Marriage Proposals


Remember the guy who faked his own death so that his future bride would "realize how empty her life would be" without him?

Yeah...don't do that.

For other "fake out" proposals that you under no circumstance should replicate click here.


1. Take the time to find the perfect ring.

Unique Proposal Ideas


These days, a ring usually comes with the proposal, so make sure you do your research and find something that she can love for a lifetime.

If you know your bride prefers to be involved in the choice, then by all means, get her involved.

Just be sure to make the proposal meaningful and sometime down the line when she isn't expecting it.

2. Write down a few words to say.

Romantic Proposal Ideas

You don't have to memorize it, but a proposal should include the reasons why you love your partner, what they mean to you, what your marriage will mean to you, and why they are the one for you!

Don't just utter the words "will you marry me?"

Practice this a few times in front of a mirror several times to get the hang of it, and calm your nerves.

3. Get creative.

While chocolate and roses are the obvious "romantic" gifts, they don't scream with originality.

Remember that your fiance will be repeating your engagement story over and over again, and it is worth it to make it as unique and fun to recite as possible!

This proposal isn't just about you, so focus on their interests just as much as yours.

What is their favorite movie?

Favorite hobby?

What have they always wanted to do, but never got the chance to?

One of my personal favorites from 2012 was this lip-dub proposal featured above!

4. Find a personal location to propose.

Creative Proposal Ideas

Where did you first meet?

What was your first date?

What is your partners favorite activity?

Favorite place to go?

Ask yourself some basic questions about your partner.

It can lead to some great ideas!

You both may love bowling and drinking White Russian cocktails a la The Big Lebowski, so maybe that is your answer.

Rent out an upscale bowling alley for the night for just the two of you!

Be sure to keep it original and classy though!

5. Make it a surprise.

Best Proposal Ideas: Make it a Surprise

Find a time when she isn't expecting it, and make sure she doesn't see the signs that it is happening!

For some more advice, be sure to read our article on "How to Ensure your Proposal Remains a Surprise."

6. Propose on bended knee.

Wedding Proposal Ideas

Photo: REX

Even if you're not what you'd call a traditional kind of guy (or gal!), this action speaks volumes.

It tells her how serious you are and how much this means to you as well.


1. Get her parent's permission.  

While we don't need our parents permission to marry, it is still considered a nice gesture to ask for their blessing.

This one is up to you!


Your proposal doesn't have to be over the top to be special.

But a moment like this only happens once in your life (hopefully), so take the time to create the perfect moment for the two of you.

We would love to hear your story...please share your proposal story with us below!