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How to pop the question

Updated on June 12, 2013

Will you marry me?

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So the time has come when you feel ready to take the plunge and take your relationship a bit further by asking the big question, "will you marry me?" Will you follow tradition and ask the father for his daughter's hand in marriage? Would that make her blush and hug you or would it actually infuriate her? Sometimes it's good to follow tradition, sometimes you need to realise that times have changed and we've all moved on.

Some proposals are planned for months in advance, some are spontaneous outbursts, some are down on one knee, others are done by telephone, but they all have a nervous person delivering them, hoping and praying that the answer will be “yes”. A proposal is just one tiny little question that says “I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Yes, just you”.

A proposal is not a light-hearted gesture. It might be delivered in a flippant or flamboyant way, but it is an affirmation of a decision of total commitment to spend the rest of your lives together. It is a public declaration of your love for each other, with all your friends and family supporting you.

There will be times when things go well, times when they don’t. There will be times when there is a need for patience, understanding and forgiveness, tolerance and support. When you put forward the proposal, you know this. But you also know that there’ll be enough laughter and friendship to get you through it, to commit to one another; you know you’re soul-mates, even when you’ve argued and despaired, you know that you have the strength to get over the hurdles together. Those frustrated outbursts only make you stronger.

Sometimes, your loyalty may be tested and that isn’t easy. There might be money-worries or relationship problems that just don’t seem to go away. With time and understanding, those problems will get less and you’ll learn to appreciate the things that really matter, which can literally be as simple as a stroll through the park, holding hands and not having to say very much.

Getting married is a big decision. Sometimes the cost of the wedding day puts people off and they invest their time and money in homes and furniture, cars or clothes.

A simple ceremony need not be expensive. Share the day with those closest and enjoy a good meal and good company. Time will eventually take its toll on all of us; will you look back and say “I wish I’d had a bigger sofa”.

A diamond ring is a special treat, but many proposals are made on a sunny day in a meadow and a daisy-chain ring. Diamond rings can wait.

There is a tradition that in a leap year on the 29th February, girls are traditionally allowed to present a proposal of marriage to their loved ones. This is a rare chance for girls tired of waiting for the question to be asked, to just take the bull by the horns and just come right out and say what needs to be said. In this age of equality, is it really right to expect him to ask the question - are more girls proposing marriage?

So, if you’re feeling brave, how are you going to do it? You could just tweet or FB them and drop your heavy hints. Make a video on You Tube. Send a bottle of champagne to the work place with your question on the label. If you’re feeling flush, do something extravagant like hiring a sports car for the day, hire a stretch limo to go to the restaurant, go hot air ballooning, zorbing, paintballing or choose another adventure sport. Pack a picnic with their favourite foods and head for the countryside or the beach. Go rowing on the lake. Go to a restaurant or fancy hotel and book the best table or room with the 4 poster bed. Get tickets to see your favourite band. Go to the theatre, cinema, or get a romantic DVD. Go to the beach and write the words in big letters in the sand. Order your grocery shop to be delivered with the finest foods, champagne, chocolates and pop your question over dinner. Leave a secret message in their shoe, on the bathroom mirror or on the TV screen.

You might decide to make a very public display of the proposal so the crowd will get involved and cheer, or you might want it to be a very private occasion. The same may be true of the wedding itself, the cost can mean a small private intimate ceremony suits you better than a flamboyant occasion, for others it can be the best excuse to get all of your friends and family together to start your married life together in style.

When it comes to asking the question though, it doesn’t really matter how you ask; just do it.

Will you marry me?

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