Are you getting ready to pop the question to the person you love? Congratulations! It’s a big moment, and a little preparation will go a long way. Sure, saying a variation of “Will you marry me?” is the most important part, but there’s a lot more to it. We turned to Holly Blum, expert speechwriter, word whisperer, and owner of A Speech to Remember, to help us break down what to say when proposing.
Meet the Expert
Holly Blum is an expert speechwriter and word whisperer. She owns A Speech to Remember, where she coaches clients in public speaking.
“When it’s time to propose, emotions are riding high,” Blum says. “You want it to be a moment you and your future spouse remember for all of the right reasons.” Here are the five things you can’t forget when crafting an unforgettable proposal.
Think It Through
“Before you write anything down, really think about what you want to say,” Blum says. Take a trip down memory lane, reflecting on your relationship and your love story. “Remember how you met and fell in love, and relive your happiest memories. Pinpoint the things that really make your relationship work,” she says. “Ask yourself what you love and respect most about your partner, and how your lives together have evolved.” Use these memories and characteristics to jump-start the writing process.
Build Up to It
Your nerves may get the best of you, but don’t cut to the chase. “My favorite way to set up a proposal is to start with a story or anecdote that captures the essence of your relationship,” Blum says. “It could be the moment you realized you were in love or a funny story that always makes you both laugh. Pick something that communicates what makes your relationship unique. Whatever you choose, make it count.”
A personal story will also keep your proposal from sounding generic, making it really authentic to the two of you.
Write It Down—and Practice
Just like a toast at a wedding, put all your words down on paper. “Many people think they will know what they want to say in the moment, but winging it can go awry,” Blum says. Instead, take the time to put it all in order and on paper and then read it out loud until it starts to sound less rehearsed and more conversational. “This is a big moment in your life, and you don’t want to flub your words,” she says. “Take time to practice in front of a mirror and make sure you sound heartfelt yet polished.”
“No matter how much you practice in advance, it’s hard to prepare for the emotions of the day,” Blum says. “If you’re overcome with emotions, just roll with it. You can’t go wrong with speaking from the heart, and showing your vulnerability will make the moment even more beautiful.”
There are a few proposal traditions that are worth considering. “Has your partner ever mentioned wanting you to ask for his or her hand in marriage? If so, make sure you do it,” Blum says. “And when the time comes, get down on one knee, with the ring box in your hand, and actually say ‘Will you marry me?’ followed by your intended’s name.”