Planning a proposal can be a daunting task: After all, it’s one of the most important moments of your and your spouse-to-be’s lives. Whether you’re just beginning to consider popping the question or already have the ring stashed away, here are some of our top tips for planning an unforgettable proposal.

Have a Plan

Don’t wing it! While spontaneous proposals can be romantic, they can sometimes come off as slapdash or as if you don’t care very much about the moment. Your special someone deserves to feel exactly that: Special! By all means, hold on to that ring until you feel the moment is right, but do put some thought into how you’ll pop the question, including what you’ll say once you’re down on one knee.

And speaking of the ring: While some couples choose to select a ring together before or after the proposal, others prefer to have a surprise ring in-hand when the moment arrives. Know which option your beloved would prefer and plan accordingly. No one actually wants to be proposed to with a Ring Pop or twist-tie, no matter how many times they insist it’s cute and quirky!

Talk About It

This may seem counterintuitive — shouldn’t the proposal be a surprise? — but it’s important to know a few things about your partner before deciding when, where and how to pop the question.

You should know what their preferences are for a proposal: Would they love a splashy public proposal, or does the thought of getting engaged in front of hundreds of people make them want to run and hide? Would they appreciate having it happen in front of their family, or is an intimate proposal with just the two of you more their style?

If you haven’t already talked about these things, now might be a good time to start fishing. You don’t have to be outright with your intentions, though: Pull up a TikTok of an over-the-top, highly-produced proposal and casually ask them what they think. You’ll quickly start getting a vibe for their engagement opinions and preferences!

Make It Meaningful

No one grows up dreaming of a cookie-cutter proposal! Even if you’re not the sentimental or emotional type, this is 100% the time to tap into your inner hopeless romantic. Here are some ideas to get you started brainstorming unique, personalized details for your big moment:

  • Consider special locations from your relationship, like the restaurant you ate at on your first date, the spot you shared your first kiss, or the destination of your first trip together.
  • Tap into your favorites as a couple, like a favorite movie, song, book or shared interest.
  • Get your furry babies involved by having your dog or cat (or whatever pet you parent together!) present the ring or be present for the proposal.
  • Plan a trip you’ve always dreamed of taking together — but don’t make it obvious that it’s going to be a big trip in more ways than one!
  • Have your friends and family take part in the proposal, if that’s something you both would be comfortable with. If you know your other half would be okay with a public proposal, consider popping the question at a family gathering or holiday party. Mix it up by having them stage a flash mob, or surprise your loved one on a seemingly normal hike or vacation.

Capture the Moment

Consider arranging for a professional photographer to covertly take photos of your proposal. They can hang out at the proposal spot out of your intended’s sight and capture the exact moment you get down on one knee. You’ll be glad to have these photos to share with friends and family when you’re ready to announce your news, and you can even spin the proposal into an on-the-spot engagement session, provided you pre-arrange it with your photographer.

Have a Backup Plan

Don’t let your perfect proposal plans get crushed by bad weather, traffic or any other less-than-romantic circumstance! Have a backup plan (and maybe a backup plan to your backup plan!) in your pocket day-of, just in case.

If you’re planning an outdoor proposal, have a few indoor locations around that same area in mind on the chance that Mother Nature decides not to play nice. Have a plan for those little inconveniences that may pop up, like your partner being delayed by traffic, a meeting that ran late, or even arriving earlier than you’d anticipated.

If you have your heart set on a seriously unforgettable proposal, you may need to mentally prepare yourself for postponing or rescheduling your proposal if a wrench gets thrown in your plans. Maybe you’d hoped to ask the question while on your annual vacation, but the trip gets cancelled. Perhaps you’d planned to propose on the Jumboton at your favorite team’s next game, but the date gets rained out. Be prepared to reschedule or totally reimagine your proposal if you truly want to find the perfect moment and exceed your partner’s wildest expectation!

Follow Your Heart, Not Your Head

The moment is here — now is the time to speak from your heart and say something meaningful before asking that all-important question. Don’t recite something you’ve memorized like a kid in a holiday pageant, and don’t go for a flat, unpersonalized “Will you marry me?” with no lead-up or emotion. As we mentioned above, it’s important to have a plan — but don’t mistake a plan for a script. You both want the proposal to be special and specific to you and your relationship, so think about why you want to spend the rest of your life with this person and incorporate those reasons into your moment.

If you have an idea of what you want to say, but are petrified at the thought of forgetting, it’s okay to write it all down. Just be sure to look at your partner and be in the moment with them as you pour your heart out!

Be Present & Don’t Sweat It

At the end of the day, having a “perfect” proposal isn’t the end-all, be-all. The best proposals are deeply personal to the couple, equal parts planning and spontaneity, intention and serendipity. If something goes awry and derails your plans, the best thing you can do is laugh it off — it’ll be a great story to tell your friends and family later! You and your future spouse will both be happiest if you’re simply in the moment together, totally focused on your love and the bright, beautiful future ahead. Relax, take a deep breath, and remember that this is the start of an incredible adventure with your best friend!

After the Proposal

After the ring is on their finger and the champagne has been popped, congratulations: You’ve got a wedding to plan! At the Heritage Center, we’d love to be a part of your extraordinary love story. Our expert wedding planners have helped hundreds of couples create their perfect wedding day at our stunning event center. Contact us today for more information about weddings at the Heritage Center or to connect with one of our dedicated planners. We can’t wait to hear from you!