How to Propose; So Your Girlfriend Will Say Yes

"Here is all the information you need to plan the perfect proposal. Remember, this is a sweet, personal moment. Let her see your heart and your love for her."

written by Rachel Harris

You did it! You found your person. There was a time when you didn’t think you wanted or needed anyone else. Independence was your jam. Then one day, this amazing woman walked into your life.

She fits into your cracks and crevices, completing you in ways you didn’t know you needed. She brings a softness to the hard times in life. She makes you laugh till your face hurts. You want to protect her, hold her, and grow with her. You know she’s not perfect, but her quirks make her unique and all the more lovable. You cannot imagine your life without her.

You want to ask her to marry you, but you have no idea where to start, what to say, or what to do. We’ve got you! Keep reading for hot inspiration tips.

Should I propose?

This is the biggest concern of every man (or woman) who has ever asked the love of their life to marry them.  Ultimately, you are the only one who will know the answer to this question. There are some ways you can get more clarity on the subject.

  • Pay attention to the way she talks about marriage.  This sounds obvious, but you would not be wise to propose to a woman who hates the institution of marriage. Does she speak fondly of married couples or have an older married couple she admires?  Does she place a high value on commitment to one person (you)?
  • Check with her best friend and parents first. Hopefully you already have a meaningful relationship with her friends and family members. Her feelings on her future with you have likely been shared with her best friend and her parents. Let them know you’re interested in proposing. Even asking their permission first, will give you an idea of whether or not she will say yes.
  • Double-check your own heart. Do not propose marriage unless it’s something you want and will commit to. Do not propose to her because of social pressure, threats, or any feeling of obligation. Make sure you want to build a life together, be bored together, laugh together, grow old together.

How should I propose?

This is where things get exciting! The sky’s the limit. In some cases literally, the sky IS the limit. Did you know you can rent hot air balloons or have airplanes fly messages overhead? While these are pretty big, over-the-top examples, use your imagination and make this day personal. 

This is a day you will both be talking about for the rest of your life. She will have friends today, tomorrow, and forever who ask about your proposal. No pressure, right? 

Ultimately, you need to consider her personality, her likes, her dislikes, and the history of your relationship. Your proposal should be special and personal to you both. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Scavenger hunt. If she likes adventure, mystery, problem solving, and activities, this could be a sweet, fun option. Leave clues to locations where you have both created memories or have her collect thoughtful gifts or trinkets you’ve left for her. 
  • A mixed video or photo collage. Think of this as a modern version of a mixtape. This can be done pretty easily on your phone. Put together video clips of things you’ve done together. At the end, tell her you want to keep adding memories forever, then dive into your proposal speech. Or, make a printed photo book of you two and your memories together. The last picture can be the words “Marry Me”.  
  • The location of your first date or other milestone in your relationship. If you met at college, you could propose on campus somewhere special. Think of somewhere meaningful to your relationship. 
  • Gift her a spa day or manicure. Most women will want to show off their shiny new engagement ring to anyone who will look at it! She’ll appreciate the opportunity to have pretty nails to go with that beautiful ring you just gave her. 
  • A holiday like Valentine’s Day. You cannot go wrong with proposing on Valentine’s Day. Romance is in the air, hearts are everywhere, and you’ll never forget the date.
  • A beautiful backyard backdrop. This is a great option for a woman who’s most comfortable at home and values privacy. You can have a custom balloon backdrop or rent big, light-up signs. On a budget? String white twinkle lights around the yard or room and attach pictures of the two of you. 
  • A special public location. The Rodeo, a concert, or a sporting event are memorable locations for a woman who enjoys the glitter of it all. 

What should I say when I propose?

Plan ahead for this piece. You’d be surprised how your nerves may get the best of you. Having an idea of what you want to say and how you want to say it, will calm your nerves on the big day. 

And don’t worry, you do not have to have a memorized script. You don’t want to be robotic or mechanical. This should be heartfelt and honest. But it’s helpful to know the key points you’d like to remember to say. Here’s a fill in the blank script to help guide you. 

[Full name of your love], you are the most [a quality or qualities you love and admire about her: patient/ kind/ strong/ generous/ godly] woman I have ever met. These past [number of years/ months/ days you’ve been together] have been the [best/ most amazing] of my life. When I’m with you I know I’m [safe/home/loved]. I want to [spend the rest of my life with you/make sure you’re the happiest woman on earth/raise children with you/grow old together]. Will you marry me?

You can also integrate a meaningful phrase or quote. Bible passages, poems, or movie lines can hold shared sentimental value.

If she has kids, consider mentioning her children in your proposal. They’re a package deal with her; they’ve got a huge piece of her heart, and hopefully yours as well. 

Here are a few sweet sayings to add a personal touch and inspire your proposal speech:

  • Wherever you are, that’s where I belong.
  • I want to learn new pieces of you so I have more of you to fall in love with.
  • I love who I am with you.
  • Amazing things happen when 2 people are determined to do a good job of loving one another. 

What should I do during my proposal?

Consider hiring a photographer or videographer to capture this once-in-a-lifetime moment. Make sure you have a detailed conversation with them about your expectations. Ask the photographer for advice and suggestions. A professional photographer will know what time of day is best for lighting, where you should stand to get great shots, and so much more. 

Map out the drive to the location during the time you plan to propose. You don’t want to get caught in traffic or get lost on your way. 

Getting down on one knee is almost a must. Your speech can be done standing, but the “Will you marry me” part should be on one knee. Traditionally, the left knee is used for proposing because it was used in medieval times as a sign of respect. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter which one. See which knee is more comfortable ahead of time. Your dominant hand may be an important factor in what’s comfortable to you.

Where should I propose? 

There are almost limitless options here. Ask yourself these questions to help narrow down your search:

  • Where does she like to spend her free time? 
  • Where have you both made special memories?
  • Is there a place she has always wanted to visit?
  • Where can you propose and add personal touches?

Decorating the location of your proposal sight is a thoughtful touch! Lights, flowers, balloons, and signs can all be used to add magic to the atmosphere. But first, the bones and essence of the location needs to be personal. Here’s a list of suggestions:

  • Vineyard. Nature, wine, sophistication. What’s not to love?
  • Garden. The setting is sure to be picturesque and you don’t have to bring flowers.
  • Rodeo. Great for excitement, action, and the country girl at heart.
  • Park. Manicured grass, clean walk-ways, and tall trees feel enchanting. 
  • Rooftop. The city skyline, classy atmosphere, and breathtaking views are sure to entice.
  • Gazebo. The centerpiece of every romantic movie ever made! 

Reach out to locations and let them know what you’d like to do. Many places are very accommodating and more than willing to facilitate your needs. They might even help or offer suggestions based on previous proposals. 

It’s worth noting, some locations require permits for professional photographers. Call ahead to cover your bases!

Don’t do this during your proposal!

Ok, you know all the things you SHOULD do to prepare the perfect marriage proposal. What about what not to do? Here’s our list of things NOT to do:

  • Stress out too much. Not everything will go perfectly, but that’s ok. The little quirks, bumps, or stutters in your speech are endearing. They’re part of your charm and she already knows and loves them. Bloopers make for a great story and bring laughter to the situation. 
  • Propose at someone else’s wedding. It’s tacky.
  • Forget the ring. Or have it in a hard-to-reach pocket. DO keep it in the box; you’ll possibly be shaking and don’t want to drop or lose it. 
  • Make your speech too long. She just wants to say yes and kiss you already!
  • Hide the ring in food or drink. It’s a gross choking hazard.
  • Propose via text, email, phone or any way other than in-person. 
  • Forget to actually say “Will you marry me?” You’ve got to ask the question to get the “Yes!” you’re looking for. 

You’re all set

You’ve got all the information you need to plan the perfect proposal. Remember, this is a sweet, personal moment. Let her see your heart and your love for her. 

Check our list of vendors for locations, decorations, backdrops, transportation, flowers, and photographers. They’re all family to us. We know they will go above and beyond to help make your proposal one she won’t refuse.