How to plan the perfect proposal

Discover how to plan a memorable marriage proposal, from choosing the perfect engagement ring to deciding where to propose.

A young couple smile as the man slips an engagement ring onto the woman's finger.

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How to plan the perfect proposal

Ah, love is in the air! You’ve found ‘the one’, the person who makes your heart skip a beat, the yin to your yang. Congratulations, you’re ready to take the next step and propose! 

But before you drop to one knee, there are a few things you need to consider to make this moment unforgettable. Here are five things to remember when planning your special marriage proposal.

Close up of a man's hands holding an open ring box containing a diamond engagement ring. The Eiffel Tower can be seen in the background

Pick a romantic venue

Location, location, location! Where you propose can set the tone for the entire occasion, so choose somewhere with sentimental value to you and your partner or a place known for its romantic ambience. Think Paris, Venice, or maybe New York City!

But don’t worry if you can’t afford to travel to a far-off location. A cosy cabin in winter or a favourite local spot can be just as romantic. The key is to create a memorable atmosphere that makes your partner feel special and loved.

For example, if your partner loves Dublin, you could arrange a weekend there and spend the weekend exploring the city, listening to music in Irish pubs and indulging in a pint or two of the black stuff. Then as the sun begins to set, you go for a walk along the River Liffey, get down on one knee and ask the love of your life to marry you. The backdrop of the river and the twinkling lights of the city is a combination that will make it a moment you’ll never forget.

Buy the engagement ring in advance

Once you’ve decided on the location, it’s time to choose the perfect engagement ring. You don’t have to go for a simple solitaire diamond; there are lots of different gemstones, cuts and settings to consider. Buying an engagement ring can be overwhelming, so don’t let it stress you out. If you take your time, do your research and visit a reputable jeweller, you’re sure to find the perfect ring to suit your partner’s style and personality.

The alternative is to wait until after the proposal and make an occasion out of choosing the engagement ring together. You need to be sure that your partner will love their ring, so this can be the safer option. Plus, it gives you an excellent excuse for another weekend away!

If you go for the second option, you might like to have a stand-in ring to use for the actual proposal. Something like a candy ring or a ring made out of tin foil would be cute.

Close-up of a man's hand holding a woman's hand, the woman is wearing a diamond engagement ring

Plan a surprise

The element of surprise can make your proposal even more unique, so think about your partner’s likes and dislikes and plan a surprise they’ll never forget. This could be as simple as a treasure hunt that leads to a final envelope with the proposal written on a note inside or as elaborate as a flash mob. 

But whatever you decide, make sure it’s something that your partner will enjoy. And if they’re the sort of person who hates surprises, keep your proposal simple and personal – a surprise will make it memorable for the wrong reasons.

Take a photo to remember the occasion

You’ll want to remember this moment for the rest of your life, so don’t forget to take a photo. It doesn’t have to be a professional photo, although a professional engagement picture is a lovely memento. Taking a selfie will do the trick as effectively; just make sure you capture the joy and excitement on your partner’s face.

You could also ask a passer-by to take a photo of you, which can make a lovely memento of the occasion. Many people would be all too happy to get involved in such a wonderful occasion. Or if you propose in a bar or restaurant, the staff will surely be glad to help.  

An autumn marriage proposal surrounded by trees and autumn leaves. A man and a woman are looking excitedly at the open ring box he is holding.

Be yourself

Lastly, be yourself – don’t try to be someone you’re not! Your partner loves you for who you are, flaws and all, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to create the perfect Instagram-worthy proposal. 

The main thing is that you and your partner are starting a new stage of your life together, and the proposal is something you’ll be asked about over and over again. You’ll love sharing this story with people; putting a little extra thought and preparation into it will create a truly memorable proposal.

Good luck with your proposal!