How to make a decent proposal

editorial image

Asking for “the one’s” hand in matrimony can be just as memorable and important as the big day itself. And, although a marriage proposal is less likely to come as a bolt from the blue these days, it is still one of the most shared stories of the whole wedding saga that many of us can’t help but retell again and again.

In fact, “how did you do it” tends to be the first thing asked by the friends and family of a newly engaged couple, and ever more lavish proposals have become incredibly popular in recent years.

So much so that professional proposal planners are now on hand to advise on how best to ask for someone’s hand. They are brimming with creative ideas for those looking to seal the deal and can hone in on what is really important to the person preparing to bend the knee and their beloved.

While anyone planning on proposing will usually talk to friends and family to make sure they do it right, having a professional on board calms the nerves and hopefully ensures that the proposal is the enjoyable – and memorable – experience it ought to be for both parties.

Unfortunately, such valuable advice does not come cheap and a proposal planner’s services can cost from £1,000 upwards. However, getting this this once-in-a-lifetime moment right is – after all – priceless.

The process is straightforward, says Tiffany Wright, founder and planner at London-based The One Romance, which plans imaginative proposals across the world.

Having organised more than 2,000 down-on-one-knee moments of truth, Wright says: “A proposal planner literally takes away all of the stress of planning your proposal.

“We think about and solve things that you probably don’t even think about – for example, what if it rains during your beach proposal? Do you have to get a permit to have fireworks? What do I actually say when I propose?”

Many wedding specialists have been offering this service for years, but it is now coming into the mainstream thanks largely to people’s devotion to social media.

A current trend is extravagant themes that can be applied to the wedding proposal and –
hopefully – the sunsequent marriage ceremony. This might mean using the same music or musicians for both events or filming the proposal for showing on the big day.

Wright says: “We recently planned a proposal for over £100,000, which included hiring out a private castle, a personalised firework display spelling out ‘marry me’, a speedboat and private jet as well as a flash mob of 100 dancers – it was incredible.”

But planners are not just there for big, ostentatious proposals. Whether it is something flamboyant or simple and intimate, these professionals go out of their way to get to know what is important to each couple. This often includes an initial Q&A session; the findings from which can be useful for anyone lacking in ideas.

The planner will then unveil their bespoke proposal ideas and go through each one in detail with the client to achieve the perfect proposal for them. However, for would-be weds on a budget, most planners offer standard proposal packages which can be tweaked for individual wishes.

A planner will tend to have their own lists of approved venues, locations and photographers, and will be on call in case of any unplanned disasters on the day itself.

Wright recalls: “We recently had a proposal planned on a beach in Italy. It rained on the day, but it wasn’t an issue in the end, though we had a back up venue in a cliff face which we had filled with candles, lanterns, fairy lights. It still had the view of the beach and, in my opinion, was even more romantic.”

Whatever the size, style and method employed, planners help to get the proposal right, ensuring it is the most romantic moment possible.

Wright concludes: “It is that intimate moment between two people where one says ‘I can’t imagine my life without you’.”

Some cheap and cheerful ideas

Treasure hunt with a twist

Create a fun and memorable day trip based around some of your most meaningful places as a couple. A series of clues can guide your other half through a journey of your relationship – for example, stopping at where you met or the venue for your first date. The hunt can be serious or quirky, big or small, and could lead to a stunning conclusion.

Baby steps with puppy love

A personalised baby top saying “marry me?” is an adorable and – fingers crossed – irresistible proposal idea which ropes in your bundle of joy, should you have one. For those with four-legged friends, jumpers and collar tags with a similar message are also hard to resist.

Book a place in their heart

Find a book that’s close to their heart and read their reaction when they come across a special message written inside, or better yet an engagement ring rested on an appropriate page. It could be the next exciting chapter in your lives together.

Freedom of the outdoors

Scotland is blessed with beautiful scenery – and all for free – so why not plan a day out to pop the question? Picnic in a secluded spot by a romantic feature, such as a waterfall or the banks of a loch, before offering the ring. Remember to pack flutes and champagne for when they inevitably say yes.

Engage with history

Scotland has a wealth of stunning fairytale castles which could easily star in a romantic novel. Take Eilean Donan Castle, which dates back to the 13th-century, and its breathtaking views. Go down on one knee at dusk and the sunset will provide a incredible backdrop to an incredibly romantic scene.