Proposals have become a very important part of the beginning of the marriage process. From the pressures of social media to the millions of "how did he ask?!" questions she'll get after, the pressure is on to make it rememberable and unique.
Throughout the years some of my guy friends have realized that I am a planner and giddy about love and have asked me for advice on what to do for their girlfriend's birthday or eventually... how to plan their proposal! As a wedding photographer, I've found I've been asked for my input more and more, so I figured... BLOG POST!
Strictly speaking, from a photographer's standpoint, my sole concerns are the lighting and the backdrop. From a professional and a friend's standpoint, I'd love to help you with any other questions you have about how to plan the perfect proposal. If you want to go HUGE, there are actually proposal planners out there and I'd recommend using them if it's within your budget. But if you simply want some good hearted female advice, you've come to the right place. Here are some general tips. If you want to get specific with me, feel free to contact me.
Make it Personal The best way to make your proposal unique, is to make it special to the two of you. What does she like? What have you both always wanted to do, but were unable to plan for it? For example: have you both been saying you want to Kayak to the Boston Harbor Islands, but haven't gotten around to it yet? Maybe she's always wanted to go to a Downton Abbey themed ball and you couldn't bring yourself to do it before (I digress-I've got Downton Abbey on the mind since the finale was last night!). The point is, even if you go with one of the current proposal fads, try to make it personal to you as a couple.
Timing In terms of length of your relationship or where it falls in relation to other major life events.. that's up to you to decide what's best. I've included this section to let you know it's OK to break free of the "Engagement Season" (December 24th-February 14th). What's funny is, that's probably the hardest time to get engaged logistically speaking, at least if you're in the north and wanting to get married in the spring, summer or the fall. That leaves you 4-9 months to plan a wedding. That's tight and it will be difficult to find a venue for a Saturday wedding. Most couples I talk to after engagement season are pushed to the following year, making their engagement a year and a half at least. This can also be difficult to plan because you may change your mind on a few wedding details in that length of time.
Need I mention you're battling with all of your other friends' announcements on social media? :-P I digress...
Location, Location, Location Believe it or not, this is a large part of what girls think about, and every girl is different. I've met girls that have said they would want it to be just you and her in your home and girls that have wanted it to be the biggest public display of affection at Disney World. My only suggestion here is, figure out which type of girl you are in love with, and make sure the location has a meaning. Some ideas:
Where you first met First date location A place where you do your favorite hobby together A place you've always wanted to go as a couple Your home together A place that's special to her
The list goes on, you get the idea.
Document It Ok, I know what you're thinking. "Of course she says hire a professional photographer... she is one." It's more than that. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but the initial reason for an Engagement Session was to announce your engagement in the newspaper. Now we announce a proposal (sometimes) MOMENTS later on social media. Wouldn't it be nice to have a beautiful picture to make the announcement? Ok ok maybe that's me... but at the very least I can tell you she will be so happy if you at least have a friend or stranger video taping it or taking rapid fire pictures. That pure rush of emotion/joy/surprise/happiness will only happen once... It's important to have for a lifetime.
Involve Friends and Family Nothing makes a girls heart melt more than knowing you somehow involved the people closest to you both in the plan. Even if for some reason they can't be there in person, talking to them before hand is definitely the way to go.
Give it Thought The bottom line is no matter what you plan, if you put some time and effort into trying to make it the most special moment of your lives together so far, she won't be disappointed.