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What an exhilarating journey ahead. You’re in love and ready to pop the question. It’s a moment in your life that you’ll remember forever. Pictures of it will be in albums. Memories of it will pop up on your Facebook every year, and your partner will be changed forever by it. That’s a lot of pressure!

A marriage proposal is a big deal, and we know you don’t want to mess it up. As an award winning party planner in DC, Dallas, and Los Angeles, we’ve got some wisdom when it comes to orchestrating a surprise event. Follow these nine tips and tricks for nailing your marriage proposal.

1. Make Sure They’ll Say Yes.

Let’s not leave it up to chance. Marriage is a huge decision. Make sure to talk about it with your partner before deciding to propose. You should both be ready and 100% committed before planning a proposal. You don’t want to ask your partner before they are ready, and you don’t want them to feel pressure to say yes. Sometimes conversations like this are hard to have, but they are necessary to make sure you’re both on the same page. Plus, imagine how much more nervous you’ll be if you’re uncertain what their answer will be.

2. Talk to their Family

It’s always courteous to get the blessing of family. Of course, this depends on everyone’s circumstances, but if your partner is close with their family, it might be nice to clue them in on what will happen so they can be aware and involved. If your partner has mentioned getting permission from their family in any way, then it’s a simple step that could mean the world to them. That doesn’t mean their family owns them in any way; it just shows your level of respect for your partner and their loved ones.

3. Purchase the Bling

Don’t forget the hardware. Talk with your partner about what type of ring they’d like to sport on their ring finger for the rest of their life. Do a little research on the three c’s (cut, clarity, and carat), and don’t forget to ask for their ring size. If it’s a surprise, then do some investigating by checking a ring they wear often. Ask them what styles they love. Snoop on their Pinterest. Ask their friends for help. Make sure to work with trusted jewelers who have good reputations and reviews. Putting some time into the ring purchase will be well worth it when you see the look on their face when you open that box.

4. Be Creative

You know your partner best. Now use that power to think up the perfect proposal. Do they want it to be a massive production, or would they be more comfortable with an intimate moment between just the two of you? Do you think they’d be excited about having friends and family involved? Maybe you could incorporate a place that means a lot to the two of you. Are they a sucker for sunsets? Think about little details that will make the moment that much more perfect.

5. Rehearse Your Backstory

Your partner can’t know what is going on, or it will ruin the surprise. It’s all for a good cause. Think about what you will tell them and make sure the details remain the same every time. You’ve worked hard; don’t ruin the surprise now. Keep your story straight and throw them off a bit. Unexpected surprises are the best kind.

6. Have a Secret Photographer

If you have a photographer hiding out to capture that particular moment in time, your partner will thank you for years to come. Maybe that means hiring a professional, or perhaps it means asking your tech-savvy friend who you can trust to snap at just the right moment. Whether you opt for a pro or not, asking someone to be in charge of documenting this spectacular moment is very important.

7. Bring Note Cards

Nerves may be running high, and often when we are nervous, we draw a complete blank. Even if you’ve rehearsed your speech a million times in advance, we still recommend bringing some notes just in case. Make it memorable and romantic. Make it sincere and unique. Oh… and don’t forget to pop the question at the end of it.

8. Go with the Flow and Don’t Rush

Since it’s a surprise, there may need to be some flexibility on your part. It’s Ok to make minor adjustments along the way. The end goal remains the same no matter how many small details change along the journey. Don’t rush it to match up every detail. Make sure the moment feels right and that your other half is in the right headspace for a proposal.

9. Plan for Afterward

The moment was perfect. Now, let it continue with a celebration among friends or a reservation at their favorite restaurant. Maybe some champagne under the stars or a candlelit picnic. Make sure to make plans for after the proposal to continue the celebration. Your partner will appreciate celebrating the moment, allowing them to soak it up. It will also be the perfect chance for your photographer to take more pictures while you finally relax.

We love a good proposal, and so will your partner if you put some creativity into it and take these proper steps. It’s natural to be nervous, but that is part of the fun. Remember, the best part of the proposal is YOU. Good luck, you got this! And keep our wedding and micro wedding planning team in mind for all of the exciting events ahead.