Don’t lose hope. The proposal can be as big or as small as you want to make it and the amount you spend or the size of the crowd that witnesses it has no bearing how great it is. In fact, some people prefer to keep the moment private. Tailor the proposal to suit the girl.
1. The public proposal
The internet is awash with big, grand proposals that draw a crowd (and a few hundred thousand hits) and tug at the heart strings. If you’ve got the imagination and the organisational fortitude, feel free to have a crack. One thing to be aware of, however, is that there’s a fine line between a public declaration of love and public humiliation. If she’s not an out-going, centre-of-attention type, the humiliation is hers; if you’re not reasonably certain that she will accept the proposal, it will be yours. When you’re on the JumboTron at the football game, everybody’s gonna notice.
2. The intimate proposal
A proposal doesn’t have to become a viral YouTube sensation to be memorable. In fact, if she’s the shy, retiring type an over-the-top public spectacle may stick in her memory for all the wrong reasons. You want to give her a giddy rush of romance, not leave her standing there mortified as a flash mob of cheerleaders chants her name. Whisk her off to a mountain cabin or private poolside villa for a few days where it can be just the two of you—after all, that’s who the proposal is about. There’s no need to have an audience… and you’re free to, ahem, consummate the engagement immediately.
3. The au naturale
Aah, the great outdoors. What’s not to love? A stunning beach or breathtaking sunset are the kind of things that feature right at the top of the romance handbook and for damn good reason. A ‘will you marry me’ scrawled in the snow or sand, a ring hidden in an oyster shell—for many gals it beats dining at the best table at the most expensive restaurant you’ve never been to before. Mother Nature, in all her wisdom, is quite adept at supplying locations full of beauty, romance and privacy. And even if it’s not a spot that has significance to you as a couple, it soon will.
4. The comic proposal
Some girls don’t dig romance. It’s true. They think the whole flowers-and-chocolates thing is a bit of a crock. Which is a little inconsiderate because it goes against everything guys are led to believe about women and makes it really hard to sweep her off her feet. Rather than get sappy, be funny. Take the seriousness out of things and latch the proposal onto another event like a birthday or Halloween (a little fancy dress goes a long way to lighten the mood). Or take a tongue-in-cheek approach with the most clichéd proposal going: bad flowers (carnations with baby’s breath?) and heart-shaped chocolates. It may not make her cry but it will make her smile.
5. The sleeping beauty
One way around the whole quandary of what to say and when to say it is to do it while she’s asleep—slip a ring on her finger after she’s drifted off to dreamland. Granted, you’d want to be pretty sure she’s a heavy sleeper to pull it off, but she’s guaranteed to start her day on a high when she wakes up to find herself the proud owner of a diamond ring. Not to be used as a copout for having to make a speech: you’ll still want to have some words ready to go when she wakes. She may be wearing the ring but you need to actually ASK the question, too.
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