1. Talk to her family
Tradition says you have to ask her parents for her hand in marriage. If your partner would appreciate this, maybe it's a good idea to make the gesture. If it's not important to her, it's still thoughtful to include her family on the engagement. No matter what, you should make sure both of your families are informed on your plan. The proposal should be a surprise to her, not necessarily to her mother!
2. Find a special location
Was your first date special? Or the place you met? If you don't have any sentimental locations, make a new one. The most important thing is to plan something that will be special to her. Everyone is different. She may love having a proposal at her family's Christmas with all of her loved ones around. Maybe she would appreciate something more understated and private. Would she like a huge gesture at a football game or a quiet conversation on a random day? Think about your partner's personality and plan something that fits your relationship.
3. Get the perfect ring
As obvious as this sounds, it's easy to over-simplify the ring buying process. There's more to it than just choosing between a silver and gold band. What diamond cut are you choosing? Princess, brilliant, cushion, oval, marquis, etc. How many carats can you afford? What style will fit your partner's taste? It's not as easy as it seems! First things first, educate yourself on diamonds. Check out this blog to understand the "4 C's" of shopping for a diamond. When you choose a ring, don't skimp on the insurance! Make sure you have an airtight plan to get your ring insured.
4. Hire a photographer
Having a photographer capture this special moment will allow you guys cherish it forever. Most likely, your partner will be too surprised and excited to take in every detail. If you're able to have it photographed, she'll always be able to look back on the day and remember. This is easiest if you propose in a public place, where a photographer can be waiting and blending in with the rest of the crowd. If you're asking her at the end of a beautiful hike, have the photographer already waiting for you at the top! Having pictures from this moment will make sure that this day will never be forgotten.
6. Plan a special celebration right after she says yes!
She says yes. Then what? It's common to have an "engagement party" immediately after the proposal. Your family and closest friends would all be there to surprise her and celebrate your future. If you would prefer something quieter and more private, make reservations at a special restuarant or plan a fun outing. Don't let the excitement of the day dwindle!
Planning a proposal isn't a piece of (wedding) cake. There's a lot of coordinating that happens ahead of time! Make sure your proposal is a day that you will both remember forever so you and your fiancée can live happily ever after.