How to Get Engaged: Step-by-Step Plan to Start Your Journey to Forever

Navigating how to get engaged might feel overwhelming in the moment, but we'll walk you through it so you feel confident popping the question.

Updated December 7, 2023
couple on boat getting engaged
Are you ready for marriage?

Deciding that you want to pop the question to your partner is a huge moment and the first in many steps to getting engaged. Learning about the engagement process can help you find ways to make the proposal extra special and even make early wedding planning go more smoothly. Find out what every couple should know about how to get engaged before saying, "I do." 

Planning an Engagement

When people fall in love and know they've met the one, it's natural to start dreaming about a future together. Yet before couples get engaged, they should ensure they're both ready for marriage and have compatible life goals. The right timing can make all the difference in planning a happy engagement.

Need to Know

What does it mean to be engaged? It means that you've both decided you want to get married and are committed to each other, but you're not married yet. 

1. Determine if You're Both Ready for Marriage

Before proposing, it's important to discuss marriage with your partner to find out if you're both ready for it. Marriage readiness is about love, commitment, and a decision to merge two lives into one family. A couple can be very in love and committed to a life together, but one person could prefer to wait to get engaged until the future, like when they've finished school or are more financially stable. 

2. Discuss Future Life and Family Goals

Couples who are considering a lifelong commitment should discuss their individual future goals and expectations of marriage. This information can help each partner determine if the other is ready for a marriage proposal. Discussions about the expectations of married life can also help couples determine how to merge their individual goals into family goals. Married life discussions should cover topics including:

  • Finances
  • Career aspirations
  • Values
  • Whether either wants children
  • Parenting styles
  • Lifestyle expectations

3. Plan the Marriage Proposal

proposal in a field

Once the timing feels right, you're ready to start planning the marriage proposal. Whether this is something you want to do as a surprise or an event that you plan together, the key is that you're both on the same page. There are dozens of unique and special proposal ideas you can consider.

  • Engagement Poems: Propose with poetry. Include a classic love poem or a modern engagement poem in the proposal, or write an engagement poem for the love of your life.
  • Family Proposals: Ask for your partner's hand in marriage during a family gathering as a way to welcome them into their future family. This can be particularly special when both families are present.  
  • Holiday Proposals: Propose during a holiday such as Christmas, Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve, or a birthday.
  • Creative Proposals: If the traditional proposal methods don't seem right, research creative proposals. There are tons of creative ways to propose that range from skywriting to spelling out the proposal in flower petals. 
Fast Fact

Traditionally, a person would ask their partner's parents for their hand in marriage before proposing. You certainly don't have to do this, but a lot of people still choose to as a way to honor traditions. 

4. Consider the Ring

You can choose to buy an engagement ring prior to the proposal or wait to shop for a ring with your fiancée instead. There's really no right or wrong way to approach this. It's all about what feels best for you.

A lot of people will wait so they can feel confident knowing that their partner is getting the ring style and size they truly want. On the other hand, designing or picking out a special ring is a gesture your love might appreciate. Family heirloom rings are another meaningful option. 

Helpful Hack

Not into the symbolism of an engagement ring? Try a modern engagement ring alternative to show your commitment. 

5. Pop the Big Question

One of the last steps in getting engaged is the actual marriage proposal. When the proposal is accepted, the happy couple is officially engaged, and it's time to announce it to family, friends, and the public. 

6. Announce the Engagement

The final engagement step is announcing the engagement. Traditionally, the couple tells both sets of parents first, then grandparents, siblings, extended family, and friends, but there are no hard and fast rules today. Tell whoever you're closest to whenever it feels right. It's also perfectly fine to enjoy the news as a couple for as long as you'd like before telling anyone else. 

After verbally telling their loved ones about the engagement, a lot of couples choose to announce the engagement to extended family and friends through a number of methods. Announcement methods include:

  • Announcing the engagement at a party
  • Posting the news on social media
  • Sending out formal announcements
  • Telling people by FaceTime or email

Enjoy the Journey of Getting Engaged

Understanding the steps in getting engaged can help couples figure out how to plan their engagement. Yes, modern couples can get engaged in any way they want, but engagement steps can still serve as helpful roadmaps depending on what you'd like your engagement to include. However you choose to go about it, make sure you take in the joy of the occasion. 

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How to Get Engaged: Step-by-Step Plan to Start Your Journey to Forever