how to plan the perfect proposal

Has it really been a month since we got engaged? Wow, time flies! Then again, life did get quite busy right after our engagement - what with the end-of-semester projects, the campus closing for the holidays, Christmas, New Year's and everything else that filled up the past few weeks. But even though a month has passed, I couldn't resist sharing the story of Wildcat Guy's proposal. As he explained to me afterwards all that went into planning and preparing for that one lovely moment, I realized just how special it really was - and how lucky I really am. So here it is...

(based on the series of events related to me by my fiance):

First, the time of year is important. It is much easier for a guy to go on multiple shopping trips for a ring – with his parents, with his roommate, with his brother-in-law – without questions being asked if his girlfriend assumes he’s out shopping for an upcoming holiday like Christmas.

When he’s deciding what type of diamond to buy, downloading an iPhone app to better understand the four C’s of diamonds can be quite helpful, especially if he wants to purchase as high-quality a diamond as he can (one that ends up having the best color and the third best clarity). However, he should make sure he stores that app in a place his girlfriend won’t stumble into when she plays on his phone (as she sometimes does).

If he has no idea what size ring his girlfriend wears, but wants her to be able to wear the ring as soon as he gives it to her, he may need to resort to a little bit of sneaky behavior – such as looking through the rings in her jewelry box while she’s in the shower, and making an educated guess as to which rings fit on her ring finger.

Once he’s bought the ring, he should make sure not to leave the pretty red ring box on his living room table when she spends the night at his apartment the week before he proposes. Or if he makes that mistake, he should be alert enough to see it before his momentarily unobservant girlfriend does, so he can sequester her in the bathroom while he puts it away. (Did I mention that the time of year makes this type of behavior a little bit more sensible?)

In deciding where to propose, he should take advantage of his girlfriend’s enthusiasm for seeing the local sights by casually suggesting, a few weeks beforehand, the idea of seeing a local driving trail of holiday lights. She will love the idea (especially since she’s never been) and be excited about such a fun date. She may even ask if he wants to start the evening with dinner at a restaurant she really likes.

Unfortunately, when it comes to asking for her dad’s blessing, he’ll need to be a little bit flexible. Because that plan to ask during Thanksgiving at her parents’ house? That requires her to leave him alone with her dad for a sufficient amount of time? May not happen. Especially if she’s trying to be considerate and not make him feel abandoned. So he may have to make a special 4-hour round trip the day before he plans to propose to talk with her dad.

On the night of the proposal, as much as he wants to make sure his girlfriend wears something nice, he should fight the urge to suggest that to her, or to express too much concern as they are leaving his apartment that she didn’t bring a coat on such a cold night – because that would be a giveaway that something unusual could happen. Additionally, he needs to keep his nerves as controlled as possible, so as to prevent her from worrying unnecessarily that something is wrong.

And then – as he tries to figure out what the “right” moment will be – he will need to have patience and trust that his plan will work. Especially when everything centers around a very specific, very predictable behavior his girlfriend is almost guaranteed to demonstrate. Even though there are signs clearly posted along the trail saying, “No Stopping.” Because at some point as they are driving through this gorgeous trail of Christmas lights, she will, indeed, see something that she wants to take multiple pictures of. She will, indeed, ask him to pull over. And he will take a deep breath (or two or three) as it dawns on him that this is it – this is the opportunity he has waited for.

That will be the moment when he realizes everything is working out exactly as he’d planned…

…when he asks his girlfriend if she’d like to get out to take a picture together.
…when, as she turns to him to prepare for the picture, he says, “wait a second.”
…when she almost says, “hey, hurry up, it’s cold out here.”
…when she decides to indulge his need to tell her how he feels.
…when she realizes this is more than him telling her how he feels.
…when he reaches into his jacket for the box with the ring he so thoughtfully picked.
…when he gets down on one knee and asks her to marry him.
…when she says yes.

It will be the moment when the commitment they've made in their hearts becomes set in stone...and they add one more perfect memory to the early chapters of the love story they're writing.


Catt Larson said…
This is a great story and well worth the wait for the whole story. I love that he took the time to ask your dad, so traditional and thoughtful to include them. I also love that his plan circled around your predictable behavior! Congratulations again to Brett and Best Wishes to you (not sure why that is the way it goes, but so it is). I'm sad that we have to wait so long for the wedding but overjoyed that we have so long to plan the wedding!! It's really a no-lose situation
OH Joneses said…
Perfect! He really took the time to figure out all the steps! So cute. We're all so happy for you! As the planning commences... let me know how I can help! I'm happy to do whatever is needed! Miss you & love to you both!

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