Engagement Photography

How to plan an unforgettable marriage proposal

Congratulations! You’ve found the love of your life, and you’re ready to take the next big step in your relationship – get married! But before you can say “I do,” one very important event needs to happen, the marriage proposal. It goes without saying that planning a proposal can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, especially when you want to create an unforgettable moment for your partner, which is why I have put together this article. As an experienced wedding photographer, I work with couples all the time and have witnessed many extraordinary events. Therefore, I know just what makes for an incredible moment.

Man down on one knee and proposing to his girlfriend on the steps of the Petit Palais in front of the golden gates.

In this blog post, I’ll be sharing:

  • The things to consider when planning a marriage proposal
  • A step-by-step guide for planning the perfect proposal
  • TOP TIPS for an unforgettable proposal
  • Some unique proposal Ideas

Things to consider when planning a marriage proposal

Seeking your partner’s parent’s permission

When asking for your partner’s hand in marriage, it’s important to consider asking their parents for their blessing. It may seem like an old-fashioned wedding tradition, but taking the time to speak with your partner’s father and/or mother shows respect for their family and their values. It also allows you to build a stronger relationship with your future in-laws.

Man holding his fiance's hand in his showing of the engagement ring.

How to choose the engagement ring

The key to choosing an engagement ring is considering your partner’s style and preferences. Before you hit the jewelry stores, take notice of the type of jewelry your partner already owns and loves to wear. Does she/he adore statement pieces with lots of sparkle, or do they prefer classic, understated styles? Additionally, pay attention to the type of metal they like and wear the most, whether yellow gold, rose gold, or platinum. Finally, it’s a great idea to enlist the help of a trusted family member or friend of your partner’s. They might be able to offer valuable insights that you hadn’t considered. With some forethought and trusted advice, you’ll be sure to find the perfect engagement ring that your partner will cherish forever.

Macro photo of a blingy diamond ring.

When to propose?

Choosing the right time of year to pop the question can add an extra layer of sentimentality to an already special moment. So, if you’re looking for the perfect time to propose, you may consider choosing an anniversary, Christmas, or birthday – as these occasions offer a built-in opportunity for a memorable celebration. However, ultimately, it’s important to remember that the right time to propose is when you feel ready and confident in your decision. So, whatever time of year you decide to propose, make sure it’s a moment that feels true to your relationship.

Lady showing her hand with her engagement ring on it.

Public or Private Proposal?

Whether you should make your marriage proposal public or private is a personal choice. Some people may like the idea of a grand gesture in a public setting with family members present – whereas others may prefer a more private and intimate moment to share with just their significant other. Whether you opt for a private or public proposal ultimately comes down to what feels right for you and your partner.

Engagement portrait of a bride and groom-to-be sat and smiling at each other.

Step-by-Step Guide for Planning the Perfect Proposal

Step 1: Choose the Perfect Setting

When it comes to popping the question, location is everything. Finding a special place that holds meaning for you and your loved one is important. Maybe it’s your favorite restaurant where you had a romantic dinner for your first date, the beach where you took your first vacation together, the cozy woodland trail where you first fell in love, or you may prefer to do it after watching your favorite movie in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
If you decide to pop the question at a meaningful location outside, just ensure you have all your bases covered. One of the most important logistics to consider is the weather, as you don’t want to be caught in a thunderstorm or cold temperatures when you’re trying to ask the love of your life to marry you! So, make sure you have a backup plan in case the weather isn’t cooperating.

Engagement portrait in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Step 2: Pay Attention to Details that Are Meaningful to Her

For a truly successful proposal, make it as personalized as possible. Consider your girlfriend’s / boyfriend’s interests & hobbies and if there is a way you can incorporate them into the special moment. Do you have pets – an engagement ring on a dog or cat’s collar can be a great way of proposing. Perhaps you have some shared inside jokes that only the two of you know; if so, you may wish to incorporate them into the big moment to add an extra level of fun. Remember to plan your outfit choice accordingly, and make sure you have a beautiful ring box to house that perfect engagement ring.

Dog sitting with an engagement ring on his nose.

Step 3: Set the Mood with the Right Atmosphere

The right atmosphere can set the mood for a magical moment you and your partner will remember forever. So how can you achieve this? Start by thinking about what your partner loves, whether that be flowers, candles, love notes, or a box of chocolates. These little touches can add a personal element to the marriage proposal and make it feel extra special. Music can also impact the mood of the moment in a big way, so does your girlfriend/boyfriend have a favorite song? Or is there a special song that holds a particular meaning to both of you – think about the sort of music that can set the tone for the occasion.

Bottle of Miss Dior perfume with candles in the background.

Step 4: Make a Heartfelt Speech

Asking the person you love to spend the rest of their life with you is a big moment, so speaking from the heart is essential when you do. Talk about your love story, how you met, when you knew they were the one, and your favorite times together. Take a little time before the proposal to practice what you’ll say so that when the moment arrives, you can feel confident knowing that you’re expressing exactly what you want to say.

TOP TIPS for an unforgettable proposal

Consider hiring a professional proposal planner

Getting down on one knee and asking your partner to spend their life with you can be one of the most nerve-wracking moments you’ll ever experience. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming! If you need help coming up with ideas or figuring out where to start, consider reaching out to a professional proposal planner. Like a wedding planner or party planner, these experts specialize in helping couples & clients bring their vision to life by creating an experience you will treasure forever.

A wedding planner arranging the table

Have a professional photographer capture the proposal

Your wedding proposal is a moment that you will cherish forever. That’s why you should consider hiring a professional proposal photographer to capture the moment and ensure you have the memories captured in photos.

A professional proposal photographer will discreetly photograph the proposal from a distance, allowing you both to enjoy the moment without any distractions. They will then spend time with you afterward to capture some engagement photos.

Man proposes to his girlfriend on the Avenues des Camoens in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

When you pop the question, it is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and this special moment and the reactions that follow deserve to be documented. I would love to be considered if you are looking for a professional proposal photographer to capture your big moment. Discover more about my couple’s portrait sessions HERE.

Consider a destination wedding proposal

Are you looking for the perfect wedding proposal idea that will sweep your significant other off their feet? Well, why not combine romance with a vacation or adventure and opt for a destination wedding proposal? A vacation spot such as Paris, Venice, or Lake Como would be ideal for a romantic proposal.

Engagement portrait of a couple walking hand in hand in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Remember the engagement ring!

After all the effort put into planning the perfect moment, you want to ensure the ring is safe and sound until the big day arrives. I always recommend keeping the ring in a secure spot, like a safe or lockbox, to prevent any last-minute stress. But remember not to forget the engagement ring for the big moment and keep it secure until the proposal.

A large diamond engagement ring in a jewelry box.

Unique Proposal Ideas

There are so many ways to pop the question, so choosing the perfect proposal idea that suits both of your personalities is essential. If a classic proposal isn’t for you, here is a list of some alternative & unique proposal ideas for you to consider:

  • Hire a Hot Air Balloon, Helicopter, or Yacht
  • Flash Mob
  • Fortune Cookie
  • Engagement Ring (scavenger) hunt
  • Puzzle Game
  • Funfair
  • Write a Song
Engagement portrait of a couple in front of a yacht on the Amalfi Coast.

In Summary

I hope this informative guide will help you plan an unforgettable marriage proposal. There are certainly a few things you need to consider when planning a marriage proposal, including whether you should be seeking your partner’s parent’s permission, picking out the perfect engagement ring, choosing a meaningful setting, setting a romantic atmosphere, and making a sincere speech. Remember also to think about what elements will make your fiance-to-be feel special and what time of year would be good for the proposal.
If you need help, you can always enlist help from a family member, friend, or proposal planner, and make sure you get the moment captured by a professional proposal photographer so you can re-live the moment through beautiful photographs.

Silhouette of a couple in front of the Louvre museum glass pyramid.

Once your plans are underway, get in touch to discuss capturing the moment on camera. As a professional proposal photographer, I know exactly how to document the occasion. I am a destination photographer, so I can travel to your location- whether atop the Eiffel Tower in Paris, on a gondola in Venice, or at the Ritz in London!

All the best of luck…bring on the wedding!

Portrait of a couple in each others arms, smiling at the camera.

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