Like most things wedding-related, proposals have got a little out of hand. In fact, they’ve become their very own billion-dollar industry. In 2018, it was reported that one of the world’s most expensive engagements involved an exclusive hire of Disneyland Paris, a private jet for 40 guests, taking over all the screens in Times Square, a fake arrest and, finally, a trip to Niagara Falls. It cost £800,000 – and is many women’s idea of hell.
So, if you're planning to pop the question, how do you get it right? Though much of the event should be about things that are special to you as a couple, there are a few scenarios almost every woman would rather you avoid. We’ve opened our little black books and spoken to the women who know best. Here’s what they had to say…
Choose your moment
“Don’t do it on Valentine’s Day. Or Christmas. Or New Year’s Eve. Or my birthday.”
This was a sentiment we heard from almost every woman we spoke to. Look, we know you might think it makes sense to propose on a day already marked out as an occasion in the calendar – but, frankly, it’s just too obvious. Christmas? A cop out because you didn’t know what to give her as a gift. Her birthday? Ditto. And, Valentine’s Day? Don’t even get us started on the lack of thought that goes into selecting the universal day of love to propose.
Instead, pick a completely innocuous time and date. Holidays are good – perhaps do it over lunch at a local café rather than during a candlelit dinner at a fancy restaurant. Equally, a nondescript Tuesday night or a sedate Sunday morning are brilliant because she’ll never see it coming – and surprise is really what you’re going for here.
Think carefully about location
“If someone proposed to me at the top of the Eiffel Tower, I think I’d have to reject them out of principle.”
It may sound extreme, but, again, it was an opinion we heard more often than not from our panel. Also on the banned list: a beach at sunset, The Shard, the Spanish Steps, in Rome, and the Magic Kingdom, in Disney World. See the connection here? They’ve all been done a million times and, most importantly, have nothing to do with your relationship (probably).
Again, if you’re going for the surprise element, then choosing an unexpected location is key. And, unexpected usually doesn’t mean expensive or out of the ordinary. In fact, the memory will probably be far more special if you propose at the brunch spot you’ve been going to for years – even just over coffee, perhaps on a Saturday morning in bed, can lend it that modest, down-home feel.
Don’t hide the ring
“Sticking it in a glass of Champagne or a piece of cake is really just a waste of good food.”
The ladies have a fair point with this one, as, apparently, one of the big proposal trends in the last half-decade-or-so includes putting a (likely very expensive and difficult to clean) engagement ring in an avocado or, rather bizarrely, a cheeseburger. Call us uptight, but we can’t imagine any woman in the world being excited at the prospect of wearing a diamond covered in melted Monterey Jack and Wagyu grease. It’s lazy, unhygienic and you’re running the risk she won’t realise – no great love story ever started with the Heimlich manoeuvre.
Do not, ever, propose on social media
“A text, Tweet or Facebook post are not the way to my heart.”
Less a cliché than a worrying sign of where humanity is heading – it is never acceptable to slide into someone’s DMs with a marriage proposal. Scarily, this has been going on practically since the inception of Twitter (now X), but, even if she does say yes, think of the precedent you’re setting. What’s next – Facebook Live the ceremony? Documenting the birth of your first child on Instagram Reels? No, sorry, but if you can’t be bothered to propose in person, then, perhaps, you shouldn’t be proposing at all.
Now we’ve got that sorted, here are the best places to buy a bespoke engagement ring in London...
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