What to Say When Proposing—Besides the Obvious
You want your proposal to be meaningful and memorable, with words that express all of the emotion in your heart, but how do you make sure you know out what to say when you're in the moment? By being prepared. When you have to make a work presentation, you wouldn't think of winging it, right? A proposal is no different, even though it's much more personal. It should be revealing and sincere, with a beginning, middle, and end. Look over our suggestions of what topics to include in your own "will you marry me" moment, then customize the script. The more you think ahead to what you want to say, the more relaxed you'll feel when the big get-on-your-knee day arrives.
Sound like yourself.
If your words are too rehearsed, clichéd, or make it seem like they're coming from someone else's mouth, you'll come off as insincere or robotic. Memorize the key points you want to make, then follow a loose script spoken in a natural tone.
Go with the emotional flow.
It's okay to choke up while proposing; if you're tearing up, your partner likely will be, too. Whether or not they've seen this vulnerable side of you before, they'll love you for it.
Offer some historical perspective of your feelings.
You could begin your proposal speech by telling them how you felt when you two first met or you realized you were in love with them. Take a cue from Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, who told Maria he first started loving her, "when you sat on that ridiculous pine cone." When did that "a ha" moment hit you? It could be quirky or quiet, like when you were away together for the weekend reading side by side on lawn chairs, and you looked over at them and knew they were the one.
Say what you love most about them.
Next, pick their best qualities and how much you appreciate them. Are they generous to others with their time and love? Patient and fair-minded? Or do you love them for their sharp mind and wit?
Tell them how they've changed your life for the better.
Have you become more confident, kinder, or responsible as your relationship has grown? What is it about their persona or way of life that has greatly impacted yours? Now's the time to praise them for the positive influence they've had on you.
Talk about the future.
Marriage is a pledge to spend the rest of your lives together. Say something about your vision of the years ahead—does it involve kids, sharing adventures, gaining a deeper love?
End with the famous four words.
Everything you plan to say up until now should lead to you asking them to be your forever partner. As you near the finale, get down on one knee to pop the big Q. "Will you marry me?" is a nicely worded question that gets to the point—no need to improve on perfection. Then wait for them to say "yes!"