The First Step is the Hardest - Popping the Question
You are finally ready to take your relationship to the next level and ask for her hand in marriage. It is the biggest step you’ve ever taken in your life, but it can be exhilarating and memorable if you take the time to plan it carefully.
First, have a ring!
This seems like it would be intuitive to anyone who is about to ask for their girlfriend’s hand in marriage, but you would be surprised at how many prospective grooms leave this number out of the proposal equation. The easy part about buying a ring in today’s matrimonial climate is that the sky is the limit when it comes to style, material and gemstones.
Today’s savvy couples are looking beyond gold and silver to platinum, mixed metals, iridium and even stainless steel. Appropriate stones run the gamut from the timeless diamond to precious and even semi-precious gemstones. If you are not sure what the love of your life will prefer, look to her lifestyle to help target your selection.
An active, athletic woman may prefer a hard-wearing platinum ring in a flat design that will not snag and catch on clothing, while a more traditional woman may prefer the standard gold-and-diamond combination that has set hearts pounding since Archduke Maximillian of Austria became betrothed to Mary of Burgundy in 1477.
Know the answer before you ask.
The proposal should come as a surprise (to her), but the answer to the question should be one you are confident of. Many a romantic proposal has been derailed by an unsure betrothed-to-be. Don’t put her in a position to be indecisive or feel pressured to say “yes”.
If you aren’t sure that she’ll consent, then you need to wait a little longer. In the meantime, try to tune in to some signs that she may be thinking marriage. Does she talk about a shared future or children? Does she nudge you when others talk about marriage? Does she read wedding magazines or look at rings online? If you still are unsure, ask a trusted friend or confidant to find out discretely for you.
Don’t forget her dad.
What? You aren’t marrying her parents, right? Why do they have to be involved one of the most intimate moments of your life? Ask anyone who has been married for a few years and you will find that you are, in fact, marrying the family as well as the girl.
And what better way to honor them (and cement your relationship) than to ask her father for her hand. This needn’t be a nerve-wracking formal interview--you can invite him to join you for drinks, a casual lunch, a ballgame or a round of golf and discuss it in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. Of course, if you wish to be very traditional you can always just be direct, yet polite. Meeting him face-to-face at home is quite acceptable if you are well prepared.
This is probably the best policy if the two of you have never met. Practice what you wish to say when you ask his permission and prepare to field questions he will be sure to have.
Practice makes perfect.
Practice isn’t just for baseball or the clarinet.To avoid embarrassing faux pas either while talking to her father or proposing to your beloved herself, make sure you know what you want to say and you’ve practiced saying it.
The pressure to have everything go perfectly can be very stress-provoking and can cause problems for even the most accomplished Romeo. If you’re well-rehearsed, you will have the confidence to shrug off those last minute jitters and focus on the moment.
You’ve heard about it. The proposal where everyone in Yankee stadium shouted “Will You Marry Me?” Or the one where the pre-movie advertising was a photo of the groom-to-be holding a “Marry Me” sign. The room filled with roses. The ring in the champagne glass.
Those all work, but to really show your intended how much she means to you, get to know what moves her, specifically. Maybe she is a huge Yankees fan, in which case that first suggestion would be fine. But if she is shy and just attends baseball games for your benefit, perhaps you’d be better served with a romantic dinner for two.
Point is, a successful and memorable proposal means letting her know you pay attention to her likes and dislikes and you’ve taken the time to know who she really is as a person. That fact will be more meaningful to her than a whole stadium full of roses.
You’ve planned it out, written it down, practiced it until you can say it in your sleep. Now relax and let it all unfold. Chances are no matter what interruptions, obstacles or glitches arise on your special day, she will only have eyes for you.
Did You Know?
There are many ways in which to propose marriage, but the Irish have two very well known proposals which read:
"Would you like to be buried with my people?"
"Would you like to hang your washing next to mine."
It is interesting to note that one seems more likely to be asked by a man to a woman and the other from a woman to a man.
In Ireland the last day of the old year is thought specially lucky for weddings. Childermas Day or Holy Innocents is, on the contrary, a very unlucky one.
Most Celtic ceremonies were held during one of four major festivals: Beltane (May), Lughnasadh (August), Samhain (November) and Imbolc (February).
Copyright Celtic Rings Ltd. 2012