How to Propose to Your Partner


Spring 2024

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If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve made one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make; choosing who you want to spend your life with. Congratulations! 

But choosing who to marry is just the first of many important decisions you’ll have to make before proposing to your partner. But fear not, Elixuer is here to help you figure out how to pop the question to your partner so you can start your forever together in the best way possible.

The Ring

The engagement ring is a symbol of your relationship and commitment that your partner will wear every day for the rest of their life, so you want them to love it. You can get a sense of their taste in jewellery by looking at pieces they own, talking to their friends and family, and taking note of any hint they drop. Or, you can ask them directly. 

Including your partner in the process won’t ruin the surprise of the actual proposal; rather, it can build excitement. Talking to your partner about the ring prior to the proposal might reveal information like the specific type of band or gem they want if it’s not a diamond. It may also be wise to discuss the price range for the ring to manage everyone’s expectations. 

Next, find out your partner’s ring size. Again, you can just ask. But if you need to do it covertly, you can bring a piece of jewellery they wear regularly (and note which finger it goes on) to a jeweller or mark how far it fits on your finger. Alternatively, most jewellers can approximate ring size based on a person’s height and weight. 

Consider investing in insurance or a place to keep the ring hidden and safe until it’s time to propose.

What to Say

While writing and memorizing an entire speech is unnecessary, take some time to think about what you’d like to say and prepare some notes for your proposal. If you keep a draft on your phone, you can refer to it on the day, but it’s best not to read from the screen. There will almost certainly be some ad-libbing, and that’s okay. The key is to be genuine, make your partner feel loved, and let them know how excited you are to embark on this journey together. 

Some tried and true things to mention during your proposal: your partner’s best qualities, revealing the moment you knew they were “the one”, or waxing poetic about how they make you feel. 

Picking a Place

One of the first things to consider when it comes to picking a place to propose is how public it is going to be. Would your partner prefer a flash mob, a kitchen proposal, or something in between? 

Think about how much control you can exert over the space as well as details like foot traffic lighting and which time of day or year. “Golden hour” a.k.a. dawn and dusk are popular proposal times because the lighting is great for photographs. You may have to do some reconnaissance. You can also pick somewhere that’s significant to you both, like where you had your first date. 

The Diversion

The best proposals are built on convincing lies. To avoid giving the surprise away, come up with a diversion to throw your partner off-track. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate ruse, just something to convince them that they need to dress up for the occasion. You and your partner will probably want to wear something fancier than sweatpants when you’re celebrating your relationship.

You might want to include friends and family in the surprise, but keep in mind that the more people who know, the harder it is to keep the secret. Some good excuses that typically work are telling them you’re helping a friend with a portfolio by participating in a photoshoot, or telling them you’re going out to an event, like a dinner or going to a musical.

Speaking of which, hiring a photographer to capture the moment is a good idea to consider. You’ll want to document the moment and capture emotions like the surprise and joy,and share them in the future. If possible, find someone with experience shooting surprise proposals who will know how to get great shots while remaining discreet. They might also have advice or recommendations on how to streamline the proposal process. You can take full advantage of having a photographer on hand by doing a spontaneous engagement photoshoot on the same day.

Marcus Medford | Contributing Writer

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