Save yourself money and be your own wedding planner. With our expert help you'll plan the wedding of your dreams just the way you want it. Here's the ultimate breakdown…
Written by Paula Jones Last updated: December 29, 2012
Before you take the plunge, take essential advice from the wedding experts at Confetti with the definitive guide to proposing. After all, it’ll be the most important question you’ll ever ask in life – so do the decent thing!
A – Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups
Planning is crucial, so never leave anything to chance. Make sure that prior to popping the question, there are no unresolved issues between you and your intended that could cast doubt into her mind.
B – Best things in life are free
Throwing cash at the proposal is all well and good, but it’s being thoughtful that will win the day. Remembering her favourite meal, wine, holiday location, view, music etc will mean a great deal to her. Just make sure you don’t get her details muddled up with your ex.
C – Champagne scenarios
Have a bottle of champagne ready to celebrate – it’s a nice touch. Remember that cider, lager, Blue Nun or Liebfraumilch (even if you have put it through the soda stream) won’t be quite the same.
D – Diamonds are forever… on your credit card
This is one item that she (theoretically) will be wearing for the rest of her life, so treat the cost as an investment and you’ll find you won’t resent it so much. If it’s horrible, she’ll only lose it ‘by accident’ down the waste disposal.
E – Each to their own
Do your own thing and don’t be pressured by friends or family if you seek advice on how to propose. Your father’s lunge over a plate of fish ‘n’ chips 30 years ago may have secured your mother, but by now you should have your own style.
F – Finally, it’s happened to me (I feel a song coming on)
Rule number one about proposing is: don’t ask if you’re not 100% certain. It’s much easier to keep your mouth shut now than to have to explain to each guest individually why you didn’t turn up on the big day. Also, changing your mind once you’ve asked her is just plain suicide.
G – Get me to the church sometime
The first question to follow your ‘Will you…?’ will be her ‘When?’, so give this some advance thought. Couples can be engaged for years, although the average engagement period is 12-18 months.
H – Happily every after…. yeah, right
Marriage is a long road; it takes compromise, patience and love. If she doesn’t like the ring, smile, don’t take it personally, fish the receipt from your wallet and resign yourself to endless weekends of, “ooh, but what about this one…?”
I – “I’ve never hated a man enough to give him his diamonds back”. (Zsa Zsa Gabor)
Make sure your partner understands she only gets to keep the ring if she marries you. A number of my friends have had their fingers burnt when the girl pulled out of the marriage proposal, followed by a shifty, “what ring?”
J – Just say no
If she’s dropping hints about getting engaged, but you’re not sure, just say no. If you don’t believe in forever, get a pre-nup, while you’re at it, get a life.
K - Keep your head when all about you are losing theirs
On hearing of your proposal, you will notice most girls break into a state of near hysteria – happy hysteria, generally. Be warned, this will continue up until the wedding day and for a few months beyond, to the extent that you will probably require therapy once it’s all over.
L – Laugh
If she says no – laugh – hysterically. Follow it by shouting out “Kidding!” or something. It might not work, but it’s worth a try to save face! You can cry later.
M – Marriage is an institution, so is Broadmoor
Don’t expect life to be easy – lets face it, you’ve spent your whole life practising being selfish. Try and do something special once a week that you haven’t done before that is just for her (and I don’t mean asking her to see your team play).
N – Never say never again
If she says no, remember it’s her loss. You never liked her anyway. Cash in the ring and go on a bender with the boys.
O – Of all the weddings in the world, she had to walk into mine
Make sure there is not another lady in your life lurking in the wings. Chances are, the moment you commit to one person, another will start showing interest. Make sure you get closure on all your exes.
P – Paris, New York, Milan… London Zoo? (location, location, location)
Don’t be dull, who wants to go to another wedding in a cute parish church? Put your foot down. How about London Zoo, Stamford Bridge or even Silverstone?!
Q - Quickies
With all the traditional wedding palaver, its little wonder Gretna does such a roaring trade. Quickies, as in sex, keep the spice alive. Get on a flight to Vegas and get it over with.
R – Rock of Gibraltar
The bigger the diamond, the longer she’ll put up with you. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
S – Stage fright
You may have planned on asking for her hand for months, but every time you get close to bending your knee, you lose the power of speech. Well, get a grip! Be brave and pull yourself together. March up, take her in your arms and ask her if she wants anything from the newsagents. If you can’t honestly get the words out, you are allowed to do it drunk.
T – To knee or not to knee, that is the question
U - Under no circumstances trust your best man
Worse than proposing is choosing your best man. Friendships soon plummet into playground politics and, ultimately, you just have to go with your gut instinct. Ask yourself this – which friend won’t leave you tied up naked on a ferry to Boulogne?
V – Vicar with attitude
More wedding than proposal, really, but here’s a book early tip: try and find a vicar with an equity card.
W – What is a secret? Something you only tell one person at a time
Best to pretend to be James Bond (any excuse). Don’t tell anyone, be that dark horse you’ve always wanted to be, keep it zipped. The only person that is allowed to know about the proposal before your partner should be her father (if he’s still alive).
X – X-Files (beware of ex-girlfriends)
‘Hearts will be breaking all over the world tonight’ (name that film). You getting hitched will doubtless cause some girl, somewhere, to sob into her pillow; unless you’re ugly and boring of course. Keep your head down. Now is not a good time to have second thoughts.
Y – You want a friend? Buy a dog
Dogs and other pets make excellent substitute babies. Take one step at a time, if the ‘f’ word is mentioned (family), pop down to Battersea – that should buy you some time.
Z – Zzzzzzz, make sure you choose the right moment
Bad timing - when she’s asleep, hung-over, tired or pre-menstrual. Good timing - while you’re on holiday, out of the old routine, in a place of natural beauty.
Find more great ideas on our Occasion pages!