Hey fellas! I typically write with brides in mind, but today this one is for you! Or maybe it’s for your girl who just sent this to you or tagged you, but nonetheless, I’m here to help you out today!
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and we all know as cliche as it may be, some of you will pop the question. She wont care what day of the year it is in that moment, so go for it. To help you out I’ve put together a few things to take care of before you ask for your lady’s hand in marriage. There’s so much to be done to prepare (I know, you’re thinking you bought the ring and you’re good – um, no) and this perspective is written from a wedding photographer and a former bride herself! So read this post carefully and check off your list so that you’re as prepared as possible and your moment is as magical as she deserves for it to be!
- Premarital Counseling – Yeah I just threw that out there and we’re starting with the big dogs! I know, I know, I thought it was a little strange too when my then boyfriend now husband suggested it before we got engaged. I always assumed you got engaged first then did premarital. His words to me made perfect sense and honestly made me appreciate him even more for protecting me. He explained, “Why would I ask you to be my wife, just to go through premarital, us see red flags, and then call off an engagement to our friends and family?” It’s SO true! Calling off an engagement is hard! We’ve walked friends through it and it can get intense and messy. It’s public and potentially hurtful to family members who have already invested into the wedding. The couple feels the burden of deposits and plane tickets being bought, when really their only concern should be their marriage, not an event. So do yourself some good and join a premarital group, sit down a few times with a pastor and his wife, or grab coffee with a role model couple and hash out that hard stuff! Get real, be honest, and invest more into your marriage from the start than you do your wedding!
- Talk It Over with Friends and Family – Your closest friends and family members know you and your future fiance best. They may be able to offer input into what would be special to your girl, or have an idea that you haven’t thought of yet. It’s hard to think straight when you’re so stinkin’ excited and emotionally involved! Include your friends and family members to help you out and offer good insight. This would also be a good time to make the traditional gesture of asking her dad for permission.
- Plan the Details – You have to plan these things! Some of the best executed engagements I’ve shot have been thoroughly planned out! One time I was even given a spreadsheet! There are so many moving parts to a proposal that you need to plan as much as you can, but accept that things may go wrong. My husband hired a carriage ride for our engagement that didn’t show. As a photographer now, I think it’s absolutely unacceptable, but then I didn’t care. He was disappointed but the fact that I was beaming allowed him to let it go and enjoy the night. You wont be able to control everything, but here are some things you can:
- Make sure she has her nails done. Even if it’s a sister date the week before, make sure they look good. She’s going to want to show off her ring as soon as possible, don’t let her fingernails slow her down!
- Where: plan exactly where you’ll get down on one knee. Maybe it’s where you had your first date, or a romantic location. Wherever it is go there at the time of day you plan to propose and walk thru and check it out. Make sure it’s exactly what you’re imagining. Bridges and bodies of water are beautiful, but haven’t we seen enough YouTube videos of the ring going in for a swim?! Keep your surroundings in mind!
- The ring: I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but you never know! You have two types of brides, the one who wants one particular ring and will send you the link, and the one who wants you to surprise her (although we know she has one in mind!). It’s risky and scary, but this is why talking it over with friends and family can be helpful. I was the “surprise me” girl but my roommate knew what style I liked and what size my finger was. When my husband talked things over with her, she was able to lead him in the right direction! It was so perfect that I never even had to get my ring sized!
- The photographer: Here’s where I come in! Plan for a photographer to be there hiding in the bushes capturing it all! Your fiance is going to be completely surprised and her head will be spinning! She’s going to be so excited and everything will happen so fast! There’s nothing better than laying in your bed the next night staring at your ring and flipping through pictures from the day! The photographer can benefit you too. He or she can help you in planning the location and the time of day according to romantic lighting! We just see the sun different that the rest of you, so you can trust us with that detail!
- Plan the Alibi – Regardless if you plan a whole scavenger hunt, or get down on one knee during a casual date, you’ll need an alibi leading up to that moment. Again, this is where friends and family can come in and can be extremely helpful. I’ve been part of engagements where you have to “swing by someone’s house real quick”, or I’ve had to take them out to dinner while everyone else was setting up the scene and waiting! Rather you need distracting for a full day or a couple hours, think about your alibi thoroughly and make sure everyone’s on the same page and communicating the same thing to your girl. The last thing you want is her finding out what’s happening from someone else!
- Plan the After Party: This will look different for everyone. Some of you will have a few dozen friends and family members hiding behind a door waiting to pop out, while others will continue the night just together. Neither is the right or wrong way, just plan for the night not to end right away. This is going to be the most exciting night for both of you, regardless of who you decide to share it with, you’re not going to want it to end. You may plan a huge party or a dinner for two. It doesn’t matter what you decide to do, just make sure it’s what will make your newly fiance feel thought of and special!
Well there you go guys. I’m convinced if you follow this guide you’ll be set up for success when you get down on one knee! This is a huge moment for both of you and it deserves planning and preparation. And as always, I’d love to be there to capture it all, so feel free to slide into my inbox and let’s get this proposal planned!