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So, you’re ready to get down on one knee and propose to the love of your life? Congratulations! That’s a huge step that you’re about to take in your relationship. Now, this is probably your first marriage proposal, so, understandably, you may not have a clue how to do it. Lucky for you, we’ve created a crash course in wedding proposals so that you can make yours one for the books.

Here is your essential marriage proposal guide.

When is the right time to propose?

I know it sounds like a cop-out, but when you know, you know. There’s no established rule for when you should propose, so just follow your heart (more times than not it’ll lead you in the right direction). For some couples it takes years, even decades, to tie the knot, but for others it takes weeks. Don’t let your friends’ and relatives’ opinions lead you astray, this is a decision you should be making on your own (or if you don’t mind spoiling the surprise, with your partner).

Are there certain times I should avoid when proposing?

Absolutely, there are times you should not propose marriage. If your partner is stressed, anxious, angry, grieving or even slightly out of sorts, you should save getting down on one knee for later. You don’t want your wedding proposal to be tied to any negativity, so aim for a time when your partner is in good spirits.

Where should I get down on one knee?

Where and how you propose is a pretty personal decision. While some people love the idea of a whirlwind trip to Paris complete with a marriage proposal in front of the Eiffel Tower, that’s definitely not for everyone. Is your S.O. a total homebody? Do it in your flat after you’ve shared a takeaway from their favourite restaurant. Are they totally in tune with nature? Head to the countryside and do a bit of hiking before you pop the question. The aim of the game is finding a place to propose uniquely suited to your partner, so let their interests be your guide.

Who should I invite to the proposal?

Most people don’t have any names on their marriage proposal guest list because it’s such a personal event. However, there are exceptions to this. If you and your partner are extremely close with your families or share the same best friends, consider getting them in on the action (Kanye did it for Kim and it worked out magically). Pro tip: whether or not you invite members of your inner circle, you may want to bring a photographer along to capture the moment. Remember, you’ll want to set them up in an out-of-sight location before it all goes down so that your partner doesn’t get suspicious.

Princess Bride Photography
Princess Bride Photography

How do I choose the perfect engagement ring?

Your partner will probably be rocking the ring you give them every day, so you want them to love it almost as much as they love you. If you have no clue what type of jewellery they’re into, you have a few options: purchase a placeholder ring and allow them to pick out their own at a later date, bring their BFF or mum when you go engagement ring shopping or ask them for help (if you’re not looking to surprise them with your marriage proposal).

What do I say when I propose?

The last thing you want is for your wedding proposal speech to sound like it’s been stolen from a movie script. If you’re not a natural wordsmith, writing your speech can be tricky, but trust me, all your hard work will pay off in the end. Start by penning a few drafts (they don’t have to be amazing) and go from there. If you’re really stuck, ask a friend to help you out. Sometimes all you need is a little encouragement to get you started on the right path.

What comes after the marriage proposal?

Once they’ve said yes and have slipped that shiny new thing onto their ring finger, it’s time to celebrate. Start by announcing your engagement, and, if you really love a good soiree, throwing an engagement party. After that, it’s time for your wedding planning journey to begin!

Find engagement rings and wedding bands on WeddingWire »