With Thanksgiving swiftly approaching, I happily await family togetherness, the Drumstick Dash 5K my sister-in-law and I walk each year, and (thanks to my sweet man) the anniversary of the day he proposed to me. ~smile~
Shortly before we were to become engaged, Eric asked me to keep my ring finger free – something which was surprisingly hard for me since I always had a ring of some kind on both hands. Just before Thanksgiving, I caved and put my LU class ring on my ring finger. We were going home to see Mom and Dad and I wanted them to see me wearing the ring they so kindly purchased for me. At some point in our drive there, Eric noticed the bling on my hand and seemed a bit hurt. “Why is it such a big deal to him? It is not like we are getting engaged anytime soon,” I thought to myself.
Well, myself was wrong. ~smile~ Not twenty-four hours later, my sweet Eric was kneeling on a beach blanket asking me to be his bride. It was a precious moment for me, but the end of much planning on his part. From the flowers, to the words, to the location, he thought of every detail. As a surprise from God, a Dalmatian ran up to us just moments after Eric popped the question. Being the doggie people we are, it was the perfect end to a perfect proposal. ~smile~
Though his proposal was unforgettable, it was not exceedingly elaborate. In fact, it was quite simple – beautifully simple. There was not a lot of fuss and feathers, but the important elements were there. He knew I did not want a public proposal. He knew I had always envisioned a water proposal; and, knowing me, he picked my favorite body of water – the Atlantic Ocean – home to some of my happiest memories.
So much emphasis is placed on proposals, especially now that we live in socially-connected world. John Crist hit the nail on the head in his humorous Millennial Marriage Proposal video: there is now considerable pressure to ask your sweetheart to marry you in the most magnificent way possible.
Years ago, I asked my mom, “How did Dad propose to you?” She thought about it and said, “I don’t think he did. I think we just decided to get married.” The thought of a proposal–less engagement blew my young mind. But, my grandparents had a similar experience. Having just come home from World War II, my grandpa asked my grandma, “You want to get married?” After years of writing and receiving letters from overseas, she absolutely did want to marry him. So, he asked her dad who said, “It’s up to your mom,” who proceeded to give them a lecture on the permanency of marriage which grandma remembered for the remainder of her life. My grandparents were married 47 years until his death in 1993 and my parents celebrated their 44th anniversary in August, thus proving the proposal does not a marriage make.
So, Eric and I want to alleviate your pressure a bit. Guys, your proposal is about you and the one you hope to make your wife. Ladies, his proposal to you is about both you and him. And how it is carried out does not need to meet the approval of the masses. If you choose to make it larger than life, do so because you honestly believe it is what she would want. No one else’s expectations need to play into your special moment. Besides, you will get plenty of opinions and unsolicited advice about your wedding. No need to start early!
Instead of it being an anxiety-ridden, pressure-packed experience, we want your proposal to be a precious memory. So, keep these thoughts in mind as you pray and prepare.
- Focus on her. Not trends. Several years back, Eric and I researched hundreds of wedding proposal videos so we could feature our favorites on our website. Almost comically, we listened to the same song repeatedly from one video to the next. It was as if couples could not get engaged that year without that specific song (which thankfully I have finally forgotten!) Then, there was flash mob season. As impressive as these proposals were, most people do not have a clue how to organize one (myself included)! Though it can be educational to watch videos of other proposals, it can become overwhelming if you watch too many. Ultimately, she wants a proposal which is personal to her. The more information you store away about her, your relationship, and your special moments, the easier it will be to piece together a special proposal.
- It is okay to ask for help. Most people are more than happy to help the people they love enjoy a fantastic proposal experience. In our case, Eric’s dad put my engagement ring together using the diamond from Eric’s mom’s ring. So, not only do I love my ring because Eric designed and gave it to me, but I also love it because I will always have a part of his mom with me (who passed away before I could meet her). Some people hire planners to help with proposals. Proposal planning is an amazing service if you want to use it! If not, it is okay to ask friends and family to help you pull off details. You do not have to be in charge of every single aspect.
- Do not forget about your well-being. If you are stressed, exhausted, sweaty (unless you propose on a hike or at the top of a mountain), or disheveled, your issues can overshadow the most awesome of proposals. Sleep as much as you possibly can the night before the big day. Focus on looking good and smelling good. Good hygiene in a man is of the utmost importance to most women. Spray yourself with her favorite cologne. If it has been a while, get your hair trimmed. The little extra effort you put into yourself will not be wasted energy. ~smile~ And, if you feel confident, it will come across in the proposal!
- Remember the bigger you make it, the more chances there are for something to go wrong. If you have a specific proposal in mind with many moving parts, be sure a dress rehearsal. If your proposal does not have to be a production, it is better for your peace of mind to keep it casual. If receiving an unexpected call or her needing (or your needing) to the bathroom would throw off the entire event, decide if you are comfortable taking the chance of something derailing your plans.
- No matter what happens during the day leading up to the proposal, keep a sense of humor. During your life together, you will encounter many curve balls. Start laughing at life now. If you get angry or worked up, it will negatively color the proposal. Keep smiling. If she is not feeling well, is stressed out about something, or is going through something difficult, consider postponing the proposal until you can both be fully in the moment.
- It is okay (and wise) to discuss getting married before the proposal. Before Eric met me, he almost proposed to another woman. He got the ring and was planning to pop the question when some extremely concerning compatibility differences rose to the surface. It became quickly clear that he could not spend his life with her and they broke up shortly thereafter – surprisingly amicably. When he and I became serious, he sat me down one Saturday afternoon and said, “I love you and I can see us getting married next summer.” As sweet as it was, I wondered why he told me he wanted to marry me before asking me to marry him. So, he reminded me of his previous relationship, and said, “After that experience, I decided I wanted to be wiser the next time I considered marriage.” Little did we know, a few years later we would start a business helping couples prepare for marriage before their engagements – hence the name PreEngaged. It may not seem as romantic to talk about marriage before the proposal, but we think it is unbelievably important to dive deep and work through any issues before I and many others can attest to the fact that it is much harder to remain objective about your relationship once the ring is on the finger. The more confident you are about the relationship, the more confident you can be when you propose!
- Have plans after the proposal. You need time to bask in the joy of the moment, but having nothing to follow such a momentous occasion may feel like a letdown. Whether it is as simple as an afternoon marathon of her favorite romantic movies, a game night, an engagement party with friends, or a fancy dinner, be sure to follow up your engagement with something memorable and fun. Keep the good times rolling and take plenty of pictures – and not for Instagram, but for yourselves.
Simple can be magical. When it comes down to it, love magnifies every good deed. When a woman loves a man, she is blown away by his sincerity, his attention to details, and the deep affection in his eyes. You do not have to spend a lot of money to show her how much you want her.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Valentine’s Days are coming quickly. ‘Tis the season for many proposals. Spend time studying the one you love. What does she like? What makes her face light up? Do you see a theme running through her most beloved memories? Put the pieces together and incorporate them into a simple and unforgettable proposal.
We are excited for you!
Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!’ – Robert Browning
How will you propose to the woman of your dreams?