According to Sarah Glick, proposal planner with Brilliant Event Planning in New York City, unforgettable proposals all boil down to two things: an element of surprise, and adequate planning. So whether you are planning a rooftop dinner with a champagne toast or a in-the-woods hiking adventure, you will whisk your beloved away as long as you catch her—or him!—off guard, and show you put thought into your plan. But to get a little more specific, Glick is here to offer five dos and don'ts that will take your proposal over-the-top.
1. Don't show up empty-handed.
No proposal is complete without a symbol to seal the deal. "Don't propose empty handed," warns Glick. "The ring seals the deal and makes it feel real." But if you're not ready to commit to a band, or plan to pick out the perfect stone with your partner, you can "use a loaner ring from the jeweler that the real ring is going to come from," suggests Glick, "or propose with something entirely different, like a shoe, Sex and the City-style."
2. Do think about timing.
If you've purchased a ring, it may feel as if that band is burning a hole in your pocket. "Once you get the ring, you will be excited and desperate to propose as soon as possible," commiserates Glick, who still urges you to hit pause until you can plan the perfect proposal. "Don't rush into things," she says. "Wait until there aren't crazy work deadlines or plans that could interfere with your proposal. You don't want to feel like you can't bask in the afterglow of being engaged."
3. Do write it down.
Even the best, most-epic speeches fall short when the speaker forgets the clinching line. "In the moment you propose, you will be nervous and excited," explains Glick. "It's easy to forget all the things you want to say." One way to guarantee you won't stutter through your speech is to write it down, but we're not talking about a notecard. "Find a way to incorporate what you want to be sure to say into the proposal itself," Glick says, "whether it's a traditional love letter or a more modern runner or book."
4. Don't forget to dress up.
Says Glick, "You don't need to be wearing black-tie, but you probably won't want to have a photo of the two you both wearing your sweatpants for your proposal." Truth. So set yourself up for an epic moment by wearing your favorite outfit and sending off your soon-to-be spouse to get ready on the sly. "Make sure that the decoy leading up to the proposal is something that would necessitate the two of you looking nicely put together," Glick says. "For example, maybe you're going to a friend's birthday dinner or a lounge for pre-dinner cocktails."
5. Do capture the moment.
When your unforgettable proposal is over, you may want images to help you relive that epic moment. "Proposal photography is a huge trend right now, and it's become essential to capture the moment," says Glick. "But if you don't want a professional photographer, try setting up a GoPro or asking a friend to secretly snap the moment." We bet your friends would be more than happy to oblige.