April 10 2014 Thursday at 01:43 PM

So You've Decided to Propose - Taking the Next Step

You’ve found the right girl and you’ve made up your mind. Soon you hope to be embarking on a grand new journey with the love of your life. Before you pop that question though, there are a few small details to iron out first. Here’s a brief look at the in’s and out’s of marriage proposals.

Make Sure the Time is Right

Before you get down on bended knee and propose, it’s always a good idea to ensure the answer from your lady love is going to be an enthusiastic “yes” and not…something else. That means testing the waters—talking to her about marriage and getting married, and not blindsiding her with a proposal that’s completely out of left field. Make sure you’re both ready for such a big commitment. Make sure you agree about the big life issues like children, religion, money, etc. (Or work out any differences to a satisfactory conclusion.) Some guys make the mistake of proposing too soon. That can be just as bad as waiting too long. Timing is crucial.

Get the Ring Right

In the hit 2000 film What Women Want, when Mel Gibson is helping his daughter prepare for her high school prom, Helen Hunt tells him to remember, “the prom is about the dress.” In a similar way, to a great extent, the proposal is about the ring. Get that right, and you have an excellent chance of hitting a home run with your lady. The trick is getting the ring she wants, and women can be pretty picky in that department. Whole books have been written about selecting the perfect ring, but here are a few tips. Find out what she wants in a ring. Does she want a gold band? White gold or yellow gold? Platinum? What shape of diamond does she prefer? Does she like them round, princess cut, or oval? Before you get serious about buying a diamond, become acquainted with the 4 C’s, as developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The 4 C’s refer to carat, clarity, color, and cut. The best way to get it all right is to ask your lady what she wants—but that could ruin the surprise element which is part of our next  section. Try to be a little sneaky and ask her mother, sister, or best friend for some guidance—if they can keep a secret. Just keep in mind you only get one chance to make a first impression with the ring so it needs to be right. Do your homework.

Keep it Romantic

You may think the traditional rituals of the proposal are a little old fashioned, but little things do mean a lot. Your lady will probably appreciate romantic touches like being surprised with a proposal in a romantic location. Your getting down on one knee is always a nice touch too, and she’ll probably be disappointed if you don’t—even if she says otherwise. Some things to avoid would be the cliche of proposing at a sports event (remember, this is about her, not you). Generally speaking, proposing anywhere in public is a bad idea. It puts a lot of pressure on her, and takes the focus off of you two and puts it on the crowd’s reaction. If you get your timing right, do your homework on the ring, and keep the proposal romantic—you’re well on your way to making a memory you will both cherish forever.