Should You Get Engaged in Front of Your Family?

Photo by Annmarie Swift Photography

Whether you anticipate being on the receiving end of a proposal this holiday season or are planning on popping the question yourself, you may be weighing whether this auspicious occasion should occur in front of others, namely family.

But before you plan to answer yes to the sounds of your family's cheers or get down on bended knee as your loved ones look on, you have a lot to consider. You must first think of your partner and his or her needs, advises Bela Gandhi, relationship expert and founder of Smart Dating Academy.

You may love the idea of stealing attention away from your coolest cousins at this year's holiday party, but your partner may picture a less public proposal. Weigh what your partner will love with your own needs to see what will work best for both your personalities. Of course, you have to consider each family's dynamics, too.

Ask yourself how your families feel about your relationship before you take it to the next step in front of their approving or disapproving eyes. "Make sure the family is happy with your union," advises Gandhi, "because you don't want a rotten apple spoiling your engagement joy with a sourpuss face or nasty comments."

But an unsupportive relative or two isn't the only thing to consider when it comes to your family. "If your family isn't the kind to be enthusiastic or if they tend to be cold, proposing in front of them won't be fun," says Gandhi. "If no matter what you say or do for the proposal, you think your family will judge or find fault with it, don't put yourself through that stress."

While you may think you want to share this moment with the people you love most, remember: By proposing in front of family, "you get no alone time to enjoy the moment," says Gandhi, "and believe me, it's a moment you'll remember forever." If you need even the smallest amount of alone time to process the moment, consider a private proposal followed by an organized after-party, where your family can join in on the joyous occasion.

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