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How Smart Guys Propose

Ready to ask for her hand in marriage? Here are three things you should do, and three pitfalls to avoid.

You've picked out the ring. You've decided you want to pop the question. But that's all you've got so far. She's the most important person in your life, and you're afraid of flubbing a moment that's so important to her. Yet you're unsure of what to do and say, and the pressure is on. Not only do you want her to answer in the affirmative, you want to ensure the moment is one she'll remember (preferably, fondly) for the rest of her life. Here's some advice.

What to Do

Tailor Things to Who She Is

marriage proposal on beach

If you're planning to propose, chances are you have already at least broached the subject with your girlfriend. If that's the case, you should have some idea of what she'd like in a proposal. Her personality can also inform what you do. If she's extroverted, she might relish an over-the-top gesture that's bound to go viral. If she's more on the introverted side, she's likely looking for something more intimate and personal. Does she want family and friends close by, or is it all about the two of you? Is she looking for something really unique, or something that reflects the passion of your relationship? Start by answering some of these larger questions.

Make it Personal

couple holding hands with ring showing

Whether she'd prefer a flash mob in the middle of a park or an intimate home-cooked meal, do whatever you can to make the promise of marriage as personal as possible. Incorporate elements from your time together. Your devotion to her is unrivaled, and this is the chance to show it off. There's nothing less romantic than getting down on one knee with little thought behind it.

Ask Her Father For Permission

Asking father for permission

This piece of advice is old-fashioned. But like the institution of marriage, it's a time-honored tradition. Even if your girlfriend isn't particularly conservative, chances are she'll appreciate you asking her dad for permission. It shows that you're considerate and value her family's approval of your impending union, and it paves the way for a strong marital foundation. If her family isn't in the picture, consider turning to one or two of her closest friends for advice. They'll know how to succeed in impressing her.

What Not to Do

Don't Get Wrapped Up in Big, Thoughtless Gestures

Bad marriage proposal

Some women may prefer a grandiose proposal, and that's fine. But no matter how you choose to pop the question, it's crucial not to get lost in the moment. Big gestures can be incredibly moving if that's what she wants. But at the end of the day, the two of you are the only ones who matter. As long as the proposal is an impactful moment for you as a couple, everything else falls into place.

Don't Recycle Something You've Seen or Heard Before

Girl refusing proposal

If movies have taught us anything, it's that proposals are meant to be larger-than-life actions with perfectly written monologues and no mistakes. But one way to make her feel unimportant is to recycle something you've seen or heard before. To echo what we said above, plan a proposal that really speaks to who you are as a couple, and incorporate a few breathtaking touches. That sets the tone for the life you intend to spend together.

Don't Solicit Too Much Advice

Man getting advice

Asking her father and conferring with her closest friends could be helpful, but don't seek guidance from everyone you've ever met. Because the perfect proposal is so objective and personal, the more advice you solicit, the more confused you'll become. Everyone has their own idea of what works and what doesn't. Just because your co-worker claims to have the perfect concept doesn't mean it's right for you. Consult only a handful of people whose opinions you value, and go from there.

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