Popping the question is such a FUN & unique moment in life, and it’s important that you are as prepared as possible as you begin the process! Outside of the basics – asking her parents for permission, designing the ring, picking a date, etc. – here are a few steps I recommend for how to pull off the perfect proposal!
ONE: Determine how much of a surprise you want to pull off.
After shooting almost two dozen proposals, I’ve figured out that there are a few pieces to the puzzle that can make the moment a HUGE surprise. If that emotion or shock is important to you or to your girlfriend, then here are some of the best tips I share with my guys who want the extra “wow factor”:
TWO: How private do you want the moment to be?
A lot of families want to watch the proposal happen. Everyone is going to have a different opinion on this, but if you or your girlfriend would not be comfortable with others watching, would rather enjoy the moment just the two of you, or if it makes you more nervous, then stay true to that and don’t feel bad about telling someone you’d prefer to keep the moment private. Part of having a photographer there is to relive the moment with loved ones through the images, so don’t fret if you’re getting pressure from parents or siblings and aren’t sure what to do. There are also people who don’t mind parents watching, or would love to share that moment together, as long as they are out of sight! This works well too, and I have shot proposals with both situations. As an outside party, I’m there to make sure that everything runs smoothly leading up to the proposal and I capture the moment as it happens, giving you & your fiancé the space and privacy you need before continuing the celebration with others!
THREE: Take your time as you prepare to reflect on what is special to her and to your relationship. Then, incorporate a few of those details to add a little something extra. (Rose petals, a letter, an heirloom ring box, candles, flowers, framed pictures, etc.).
A little can go a long way. See the proposals linked above for some inspiration! Breana & Will’s proposal felt 10x more romantic and picture-worthy with the rose petals on the dock. Most people don’t realize how something as small as this would add so much to the moment & the images! Sometimes, it’s easier to keep it simple too, so feel free to chat with me once we’ve worked through your location and setup details.
FOUR: Decide between a small celebration with family and your closest friends, or a huge after-party with everyone you love!
Or neither! Obviously this is totally up to you two and what you think will be the best fit. I’ve experienced both with clients, and I generally recommend a bit of time between when you’re down on one knee & when the celebration begins. It can be an adrenaline rush, so it never hurts to have time to let it sink in & celebrate – just the two of you – before being joined by others.
FIVE: Take your time.
It’s a moment that should be enjoyed, lived fully, and celebrated! Even if there are nerves or jitters, try to take a breath and take it all in – including the anticipation. You’ll never get those few minutes back! It will fly by!!
SIX: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN B.
And be willing to go with the flow! There could be anything from a change in the weather forecast to an unexpected construction zone or event that puts a wrench in your plans! We’ll talk about all the possibilities and options during our location scout (which is another HUGE element to the planning process!) Keep in mind, there’s not a whole lot that is easily controlled other than our reaction to these road blocks, so it’s best to have something set in place as a backup and to be okay with things changing at the last minute!
Regardless of what happens, this is going to be THE most exciting day! It’s going to be a story worth sharing, and at the end of it, you know you’ll have your best friend by your side FOREVER! Need help with the planning process? Click HERE!