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Marry Me! A Guide to Getting Engaged

Updated on August 16, 2010
Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom is a keen observer of life. She shares her personal experiences and opinions in helpful and often amusing ways.

Turn Your Girlfriend Into a Bride!

So you're thinking about popping the question. The question is, how, when, and where should you do it? Getting engaged is a big step in any relationship. The actual marriage proposal is a big deal, too, for single ladies from Eve in the garden to Beyonce today.

It's a moment she will remember, for better or worse, 'til death do you part.

This hub is Part I of a series on planning the perfect wedding. Today we will address the issue of approach, date, place and timing of the marriage proposal.

Planning for Spontaneity

If you and your lady friend have been together for awhile, she's more than likely expecting you to propose. Note: If you're dating a woman who does not believe in the institution of marriage, or if you, yourself, do not believe in marriage, this does not apply. You really don't need to be reading this hub. But then again, it might come in handy someday if you change your mind or meet someone else!

Proposal 101: The Desired Outcome

The challenge for you, Mr. Proposer, is to plan the actual marriage proposal so that when you actually say the words, "_____(insert her name here), will you marry me?" she's either

a) Taken completely by surprise, or

b) Gratified that her suspicions were correct


c) Says "Yes!" and not "Hell no!"

Only you know which approach will work best with your fiancee-to-be.

Not funny!
Not funny!

Traditional, Novel, or Outrageous

The next decision is a big one, not be taken lightly. Should you go with a traditionally romantic opportunity, or dream up a proposal that's uniquely yours?

Let's start with the Traditional Marriage Proposal

Many engagement occur on Valentine's Day. That only makes sense, as it's the one day of the year 100% devoted to love and romance. Hard to go wrong with Valentine's Day. A dozen roses, a bottle of bubbly, and Cupid's arrow will shoot right through her heart!

Other popular holidays are Christmas and Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. In fact, more people get engaged in December than any other month.  

Personally, I think Thanksgiving is way underrated in this regard. What could possibly be more romantic than saying, "Honey, I'm so thankful you're in my life that I want to make it permanent. " Okay. Maybe it needs a little something extra. Pumpkin pie -- with a diamond hidden in the whipped cream, perhaps? Or how about the Fourth of July? The perfect way to convince your little firecracker life together will always be full of fireworks. It's possible!

Another popular choice is the proposee's birthday. It has its merits, definitely. But don't think you're gonna get away with "only " a 2-carat ring. I don't care if it is from Jarod, you'll still need to recognize the birthday separately!!

Real Life Example of a Novel Proposal

This proposal happens to be my own story. I was not expecting it -- which made it all the better for me. Even though it occurred on my birthday weekend, I was not suspicious when my then boyfriend invited me away to the Timber Cove Lodge on the Sonoma Coast. We'd been there before and always had a fun time.

We arrived and went rock climbing, but my boyfriend was acting really weird. He didn't want to rock climb for more than about 10 minutes. He suggested we go to the bar. I really wanted to keep rock climbing, but whatever.

We had a couple of drinks (liquid courage, I later found out). Then he suggested we go back to the room. The Timber Cove rooms feature full-sized hot tubs (not just spa tubs) in the rooms.

This is all in the middle of the day, mind you.

We floated around in the bubbles for a bit, and he still seemed oddly nervous. Still, I was clueless as to what was about to go down.

His actual proposal was, "I don't know how to say this, so I'm just going to say it. Will you be my wife?" 

He gave me a beautiful Celtic knot ring (more on the issue of diamond engagement rings in the next installment). And then confessed that he'd called my dad the week before to ask his permission (nice old fashioned touch).

For me, it couldn't have been more perfect.

See how easy it is???

The Novel Marriage Proposal

The Novel Marriage proposal takes elements of the Traditional Marriage Proposal but personalizes them in some way.

For example, let her think you're going to propose on New Year's Eve, but then surprise her and get engaged on Boxing Day (that's December 26th). I'm not suggesting you fake her out or anything. Just add an element of surprise and individuality.

A quick caveat on anticipated dates vs. actual dates. Surprising your honey by proposing earlier than expected is good. Surprising your honey by not proposing when she's expecting it is not good. Trust me on this one -- I've lived it!

Novel Marriage Proposal approaches can include, but are in no way limited to:

Place. Take her away on a romantic vacation. Or on a carriage ride around Central Park. Or a picnic in the mountains. Or to your favorite corner bistro. Or back to the place you met, had your first kiss, etc.

Date and Time. When you're in love, every day's a good day to get engaged! Take your pick -- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Seven choices just waiting to be made the most memorable in your lives together (thusfar, of course).

If you're going for theelement of surprise, a weekday is probably less obvious than Friday or Saturday night. If you're spiritually inclined, how about aligning your engagement with the sabbath or holy day associated with your faith?

As for time of day, sunset is traditional. Sunrise is novel. Over dinner is traditional. Over popcorn at the movies or sno cones at the park is novel.

You get the idea.

I don't THINK so!
I don't THINK so!
You talking to ME?
You talking to ME?
Obviously they do not live in California
Obviously they do not live in California

The Outrageous Marriage Proposal

What separates the truly Outrageous Marriage Proposal from the Novel Marriage Proposal? Degree of audacity, that's what!

The Outrageous Marriage Proposal goes way above and/or way beyond the simple "Here-I-am-down-on-one-knee-giving-you-this-diamond-ring-will-you-marry-me-please?"

I divided this category into two sub-categories: Private and Public.

Private Outrageous Marriage Proposals involve only the boyfriend and girlfriend (or could certainly be boyfriend and boyfriend or girlfriend and girlfriend -- don't mean to exclude anyone). The actual engagement occurs during a shared but extreme activity. This is often a sport of some sort. Examples include:

Bungee jumping


Skiing or Snowboarding


Scuba diving

Hot air ballooning

Summiting the peak of Mt. McKinley

At the shooting range

On the 18th hole

Climbing a ropes course

Running a marathon

 At someone else's wedding

At a funeral

While your girlfriend is in labor

The Public Outrageous Marriage Proposal

In my opinion -- and I admit, it's just that, my opinion -- any public proposal is by definition outrageous. Yes, I'll probably get some flak for that statement. So be it.

I find public proposals bizarre (to say the least). Now that I think about it, I shouldn't, really. I mean heck, being engaged is something to be proud of. What's the first thing couples do after getting engaged? They tell everyone they know!

But the actual moment of commitment carries an element of risk. Why would any self-respecting proposer risk being rejected in front of hundreds or thousands or even millions of people?

And yet, public proposals persist. And in many different forms. Here are a few:

The plane pulling a banner -- or skywriting the proposal

The scoreboard at the big game (bonus when the camera finds the happy couple and zooms in on them kissing)

On television as the "awwww" moment designed to leave not a dry eye in the house. I recently saw a show on fire department recruits and what they go through to become firefighters. The graduation ceremony culminated in a public proposal. Thankfully, the woman said "yes."

On billboards (If that were my fiancé I'd rather he put the cash into a bigger diamond ring:-)

In this day of impersonal communication, I've no doubt proposals via email, text, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter have already occurred. Skype I can see -- for example, if one party is deployed overseas. But "wl u mry me?" on your smart phone? Doesn't exactly make one feel special, does it?

She's gonna be the happiest girlfriend on earth

This poor guy... not so much!

You and Engagement

Have you ever proposed to someone?

See results

Have you ever been proposed to?

See results

If yes, was your proposal

See results

Stay Tuned for Diamonds Are Forever

In our next hub we will discuss engagement rings. Hope you'll join me!


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    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 

      5 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      What a great read for us hopeless romantics, thumbs up and shared, love it.

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Exciting post. Well done

    • Escobana profile image


      6 years ago from Valencia

      Loved your Hub! I would actually be the type for something public and outrageous but then again I'm not the one proposing.

      As long as it is something romantic and sincere, it can be very private too. Your Hub brings all those butterflies back again for the mere fact that finding love in itself is such a beautiful thing!

      Loved to read it! Shared and voted up!

    • jeyaramd profile image


      7 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

      You have a great sense of humor. Enjoyed the hub immensely.

    • thesingernurse profile image

      Tina Siuagan 

      7 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Voted up for a very entertaining hub. I think I would love that outrageous marriage proposal. :)

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Ha ha, Dawn! Serial engagement sounds good to me! Great memories of the proposal really help get you (me) through the tough times in marriage!

      Thanks for visiting. BTW, I loved your comment in the forum today about sex reducing snarkiness. Sometimes I forget -- the best medicine!

    • dawnM profile image

      Dawn Michael 

      8 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

      oh gosh, now I want to get married all over again and again and again, just so that I can properly be proposed great read!

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hey Jess! Great to see you! Thanks for visiting, you old romantic you:-). MM

    • Jess Killmenow profile image

      Jess Killmenow 

      8 years ago from Nowheresville, Eastern United States

      Thank you for this lovely, romantic experience. :)

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi heart4theword. I hope you mean the POSITIVE (Disneyland) video. The other one was just painful to watch.

      The Internet is chock full of interesting (insert any definition of "interesting" you wish) tidbits. And the funny thing is, they are soooo easy to find! Scary!!!

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. MM

    • heart4theword profile image


      8 years ago from hub

      That video was quite creative, that was an interesting find Mighty Mom.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Congratulations! Love to hear of romantic stories. Seven years = good luck. May you be married for 70:-)! MM

    • Loreva13 profile image

      Lorenzo M Vasquez III 

      8 years ago from El Paso, TX

      Great hub Mighty Mom, I myself recently proposal to my girlfriend of 7 years. I took the novel approach and it worked out great!

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Great quote, 2besure! I should include your "Give her a sotry she can tell the kids over and over" in the hub!

      LOVE IT! MM

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Great ideas! Getting engages is such an important moment in a girl's like. Guys, take and little time and though and make it memorable for her! Give her a story she can tell the kids over and over.

    • killrats profile image


      8 years ago from Cape town South Africa

      Hi , just stopped by for a read, glad I did will be following

      It was a good read.

    • drpastorcarlotta profile image

      Pastor Dr. Carlotta Boles 

      8 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

      Memories, memories, memories!! GREAT HUB!

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi LeslieAdrienne -- Thanks!

      My Digest (Misty) -- If you are anticipating someone popping the question soon, I hope it happens for ya!

      Thanks for visiting. MM

    • My Digest profile image

      My Digest 

      8 years ago

      This is getting me excited. Perhaps I'm just a romantic at heart..thanks for this!


    • LeslieAdrienne profile image

      Leslie A. Shields 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Funny, engaging and informative.

      Thanks Mighty

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      I believe there are hubs devoted to women asking men.

      These days it seems anything goes! Especially the new trend -- have the baby first, get married (maybe) after. IDK about that one!

      Wishing love for your daughters is what a mother should do, isn't it? The form that that love takes (unless it's dangerous or unhealthy) shouldn't matter.

      I will probably do some research on how many guys propose with rings vs. how many couples shop together.

      That subject is next up in my series. I'm not a very fast hubber (spend too much time blowing off steam in the gosh-darned forums)!

      BTW, 25 years is testament to the fact that the proposal is minor compared to the commitment! Congratulations. That's pretty cool. MM

    • Storytellersrus profile image


      8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      I did not experience this. We just sort of agreed it was time. I think a romantic proposal would be great, but alas, I have 25 years saying it isn't required, lol.

      I wonder... is it the same these days? With women asking guys out and sharing costs and sharing apartments and sharing pretty much everything, is there a place for a woman to ask a man or is that way too outrageous? How have things changed, if they have? I know my daughters dream of romantic proposals and I wish it for them. And rings and... well, LOVE! So, how liberated am I, anyway? Not, lol.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Poor guy. I just wanted the floor to swallow him up. Poor girl, too. She was rendered speechless. I mean, she could have said SOMETHING to ease the guy's pain!

      Ouch! Women can be cruel. But men can be dense, too!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image


      8 years ago from Michigan

      Mighty Mom - What a nice Hub! I particularly enjoyed the musical proposal... the other one... maybe he should have thought that one out a little more. :-(

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Ha ha! I hear ya, Susie Duzy. We can always satisfy our maternal instincts with pets, can't we! And I love weddings, too!!! MM

    • SUSIE DUZY profile image


      8 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

      Good Hub, but I was married once and that was enough. Now my kids are grown and the last thing I need in my life is someone to have to take care of. However, I do love weddings.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      How cute and nervous was he, HH? Care to share (I promise I won't tell him -- I know Hubbys can be funny about that kinda stuff). Thanks for visiting. MM

    • HappyHer profile image

      Tracy Morrow 

      8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      What a cute hub. It reminds me of how cute and nervous my husband was when he proposed.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thank you kingkhan. More hubs on marriage to follow. Hope you're stop back and read again! MM

    • kingkhan78 profile image


      8 years ago

      very Amazing topic in hub page about marriage ceremony

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      You said no the first time and he asked you again? Wow! Must have been meant to be! But I have a hard time thinking of you as a dork:-)

      Valeriebelew -- You never know when you will be in the market:-)

    • valeriebelew profile image


      8 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      Can't say I'm actually in the market, but it was an interesting topic. (:v

    • bayareagreatthing profile image


      8 years ago from Bay Area California

      What a great hub! It brought back memories of my husbands proposal...poor thing...I said no the first time he asked. What a dork I was :)

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thanks kaltopsyd. The story/romance gets better. He's a sweetie! Glad you liked the hub. I think it helps to personalize rather than just have dry "how to" info. Could be why I make so little money on HP. Hehe.

    • kaltopsyd profile image


      8 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      Aww, your husband's proposal was so simple and sweet. Can it get any better than that? hehe. Lovely Hub!

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thanks NN! Yes, the proposal was quite memorable. More memorable engagements moments to be revealed in future installments of the series:-)! Thanks for visiting. MM

    • profile image

      Nancy's Niche 

      8 years ago

      Great article, fun and videos! I rather liked your proposal very unique!

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      A ha! Now I see who the real romantics are on Hub Pages!!

      Even though it's supposed to be a guide for the proposer (typically the GUY) I guess it's also helpful for the proposee to help manage your expectations and maybe understand what he's going through.

      I'm only bummed that my capsules refuse to save the supporting videos -- gotta figure out what's wrong.

      Thanks, all, for sharing your comments and proposal stories. Ain't love (with or without matrimony) grand? MM

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Aw, Mighty Mom-I loved your story! These poor guys are so silly when thinking of proposing, they always act strangely! Don't get me wrong, though, I would act the same way, I'm sure.

      Great idea for a series!

    • jayb23 profile image


      8 years ago from India

      Amazing hub MM. Just loved it. You have given me enough ideas and the pros and cons of different ways of proposing from a female perspective. Bookmarked it

    • hawkdad73 profile image


      8 years ago from Riverside, Iowa

      Even though my marriage proposal was anything but conventional (more on the novel side)and our marriage is anything but conventional, I enjoyed this Hub. I have always been a fan of the unconventional, outrageous proposal.

      This was great hub. I look forward to the next one.

    • lmmartin profile image


      8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      How about, "Lynda I love you so much, I'll even come up to this place and live in the ice and snow?? Like it? -- that's my husband's proposal. Considering it was me, my two kids and Canada as a package deal, the New Orleans boy must have really been in love. At least, twenty years later he's still around.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      I wish I could believe in this institution. Alas, I have caught my limit. Thanks Mom!

    • michelle.dragon99 profile image


      8 years ago

      wow..i guess no girl will say no with this "step-by-step guide":)....however love to know these tips, it helps....can show it to my bf, then he will know what to do then:)

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Ah, Pepe! I really should link to your classic hub on wedding dresses. All in good time -- gotta get through the rings first!

      Good to see you back in action. The cabana has been so lonely....

      Off to bed now to dream of carats:-).

      xxoo, MM

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      I am looking forward to my son getting married, too! Although he is only 18 so I hope it won't be for at least a few more years:-)!

      Thanks for visiting and I'm glad this made you happy!

      I'm enjoying thinking about the whole engagement/wedding planning thing. Good memories for me (a retread got married again in mid-life!).

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      8 years ago from St. Louis

      But, how can I when you are already taken? My fave is to propose at the shooting range. That way, if she says no...well, you get the picture. Lot's of great information...if you're interested in that sort of thing. Love ya, Pepe!

    • msorensson profile image


      8 years ago

      I looove it..:-)

      Thank you. It reminded me of once was and will never be again, but I love weddings..of family and friends.

      For the most part, they are happy occasions. I am looking forward to the time when my son will get married and I get to have grandchildren to play with.

      Thank you. The hub is all of the above and it made me happy.


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