Knowing how to get engaged involves more than planning a romantic proposal or buying an engagement ring. Couples who plan how to move their relationship to the next level will feel confident about their engagement and ready to commit to everything that simple question represents.
Before Getting Engaged
Careful planning long before popping the question can help a marriage proposal go smoothly without making either individual uncomfortable or uncertain. While not every proposal is the same and each couple should find their own way to get engaged, these steps can be a guideline for soon-to-be engaged couples.
The first thing a couple should do when they are considering marriage is to determine whether or not they are ready to get engaged. If they are the right age to get engaged (and this differs for every couple), they also need to decide if they are ready to make a lifelong commitment. Can they build a life together? Is this person that someone special for a matrimonial partnership? Each individual needs to ask themselves these types of questions when deciding on an engagement.
Before a ring is exchanged and promises are made, a couple should discuss the commitment they are considering. Both individuals must be ready for marital responsibilities, including financial concerns, family relationships, domestic chores, and other obligations. By discussing different aspects of marriage long before becoming engaged, a couple can understand each other's preferences and will know what to expect from their union.
This is also the time when a young man may want to discuss his plans with his bride-to-be's father, asking his permission to seek her hand in marriage. While this may be an antiquated tradition, it shows respect and appreciation to future in-laws.
Planning the Proposal
Planning the marriage proposal takes time, patience, and attention to detail. First, the type of proposal must be decided: is a romantic question the best? Is a marriage proposal poem appropriate for your relationship? For some couples, holiday proposals are treasured and memorable, but other couples may prefer a more exotic vacation proposal.
Choosing the Ring
Only after the couple has decided that engagement is right for them should they begin to consider choosing an engagement ring. In some cases, couples choose the ring together, while in others the bride-to-be may hint about her preferences but let her groom-to-be make the final choice. No matter how the ring is eventually chosen, couples should consider:
- Engagement ring prices, including their available budget for the ring
- Engagement ring designs, including types of metals, diamond shapes, and carat sizes
- Whether or not an heirloom engagement ring is appropriate or desirable
- Stone type: Most couples opt for traditional diamond rings, but non-diamond engagement rings can be lovely alternatives.
Selecting the Location
Where the proposal happens sets the mood for the question, whether it is bright and refreshing, surrounded by family and friends in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere, or in an intimate, romantic locale. Choosing where to propose can be tricky.
Common venues include:
- A family gathering such as a holiday dinner or reunion
- Special restaurant, often with live music or candlelight
- Outdoors under the stars, on a beach, or in a garden
- At a significant location such as where the first date or introductions took place
Public or Private Setting
Proposing can be public or private. A public proposal involves popping the question in front of others and taking the risk that the answer may be negative before all those witnesses. A private proposal can be more somber or just as lively as any crowded venue, depending on who is involved with the question (enlisting a waiter or staff member to present the ring, for example).
Most couples opt for private proposals and announce their engagement to family and friends later, though couples that are deeply involved with one another's families may enjoy the spotlight of a public proposal.
Choosing the Right Time
The date of the proposal can lend additional significance to the event, but the best date is the one that feels right to the couple.
Common proposal ideas for different dates include:
- Valentine's Day
- The anniversary of a first date or introduction
- A birthday
- After a momentous event such as a graduation or move
- Christmas, New Year's Eve, or other major holidays
No matter which date is chosen, it will inevitably become another special day to the couple. Because of this, some couples choose to avoid obvious dates (holidays, birthdays, etc.) that may overshadow the beginning of the engagement.
The Proposal Itself
Planning is an important part of getting ready to propose to the love of your life, but the main event is the actual proposal.
Asking the Question
The shortest step of how to get engaged is asking the question itself. In just a few seconds, the emotions of the moment are laid bare while a response is anticipated. If the couple is ready to get engaged and the moment has been properly and carefully planned, asking this most important question will be a natural way to express the love shared between two caring individuals. The interminable moments before "yes" can be nerve-wracking and may seem interminable, but nothing compares to the joy of hearing that cherished answer.
Savor the Moment
One step couples often overlook when they get engaged is savoring the moment for themselves. After the question is asked and answered, the couple may want to take a few moments -- or even a day or two -- to privately enjoy their new status. While hiding an engagement is not generally wise (their joy will be very obvious, even if the couple tries to hide it), it can be kept private for a short period of time while the couple commits themselves to one another. This may be the time for a romantic getaway, a reenactment of a first date or kiss, or just a quiet time to discuss how best to let everyone know the happy news.
After the Proposal
Once you've gotten engaged, it will be time to share your happiness with family and friends and to celebrate the fact that you've found that special someone that you want to share your life with.
Announcing the Engagement
Sharing engagement announcements is a critical part of getting engaged. Ideally, a couple should notify their parents first, followed by close family members such as siblings, grandparents, and any relatives they are close to as well as very close friends. Formal announcements, such as newspaper engagement announcements or other printed announcements, should be distributed after the personal announcements have been shared.
Celebrating the Engagement
As more people learn of the engagement, celebrating the moment is more important. A couple may receive engagement cards or be the guests of honor at an engagement party to celebrate their new betrothed relationship. This is also the time for couples to consider engagement portraits to capture the joy they're experiencing.
Celebrate Your Unique Relationship
Knowing how to get engaged in a clear, step-by-step way can help couples progress toward this relationship milestone smoothly and easily. No matter how they get engaged, however, it is important to remember that every couple is unique and different, and their considerations for engagement will be different than anyone else's. Above all, if there is love, trust, honor, and commitment in their relationship, the engagment will be a step that leads to their happily ever after.