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How To Propose


It's the one thing that the women all over the world have absolutely no control over, and left up to their own devices and using all their skill, expertise and planning, it's the one thing that men the world over manage to get spectacularly wrong. With the internet fuelling their unlimited imagination and excitement, it's little wonder that potential grooms like to conjure up proposals so choreographed and intricate that heart failure is by far the most likely outcome.

From the research we've pulled together the facts are stark: men are too ambitious and indulgent when it comes to proposing. Why pop the question somewhere quiet, meaningful and subtle when you could do it in the middle of one of the world's busiest cities, coordinate it with a 21 gun salute and then waterski to lunch?

The problem seems to be that men mistake romance for bling, and think that by throwing money at the situation and giving it as many working parts as possible, they will create the most significant proposal in history. This survey gives you the headlines as to what those plans look like, and we've added a few observations as to how to avoid those disasters in the future.


The Top Ten Most Popular Places to Pop the Question

  1. The Empire State Building, New York.

  2. Central Park, New York.

  3. Beaches

  4. Sacre Coeur, Paris

  5. The Shard, London.

  6. Restaurants.

  7. Pont Des Arts, Paris.

  8. Primrose Hill, London

  9. Grand Central Station

  10. At home.

Top Ten Most Common Proposal Problems

  1. Locations too crowded - The Shard in 'no private space' shocker

  2. Stage Fright - too keyed up

  3. Location had closed - schoolboy error. 

  4. No precise location planned - therefore the day becomes one long recce. 

  5. Partner fatigue - usually in City Break heavy partying scenario.

  6. Weather - fancy sitting on Granddad's bench in a Force 9?

  7. Third party such as photographer/boatmen doesn't arrive.

  8. Upstaged by witnessing another proposal

  9. Partner over indulging at lunch and refusing to come out in the evening.

  10. Nowhere to celebrate afterwards.


The Top 5 Least Romantic Ways to propose

  1. Via digital media.

  2. Whilst watching television.

  3. Having breakfast

  4. Doing the weekly supermarket shop.

  5. In a car.

The Top 5 Most Popular times to Propose

  1. Christmas Day

  2. Anniversary of First Date

  3. Partner's birthday

  4. New Year's Eve

  5. Just before you think your best friend is going to do it.

The Truth about Proposing

Get it wrong, and you’ll have many years together to reflect upon,  just how wrong you got it. Get it really wrong, and you could probably reduce that sentence considerably.
Yes, that statistic of only 13% of proposal plans working out, has been collected from over 500 grooms that I've worked with over recent years. It shows, that whatever the guys are plotting, it's almost certainly doomed to failure - and by that, I don't mean a refusal, I'm just referring to the world beating scheme you've hatched, in order to pop the question.
So, you’ve come to that point in your relationship where after several years, maybe months, and in some cases a few days,  you feel ready to commit the rest of your life to that special someone.
This is a euphoric moment in a young man’s mind, and what usually follows, is planning and preparation so intricate, logistics so convoluted, and subterfuge so involved, that it makes Operation Barbarossa, look like The Teddy Bear’s Picnic.
I work with grooms all over the world and have read many, many proposal stories from the balmy climes of Perth, Australia, to the frozen fields of Minnesota, and more than 80% go up in smoke. Some are just a laughable calamity, whilst others test the patience and sense of humour for all involved. Often still, a bone of contention after several years together.
So, based on the stories from hundreds of guys around the globe, here's is our exclusive survey on how grooms propose, what happens when they do, and what you can learn from their mistakes.[/vc_column_text]

The Two Main Issues when Proposing

1.  You will already be very nervous and super pumped up about the whole thing, so in order to give yourself the best possible chance of heart failure why not stage your proposal slap bang in the middle of one of the world's busiest locations? It might sound ridiculous but this is precisely how the majority of grooms like to plan their proposals. And it's precisely because of this fact that most of them fail. 
Unless we're talking about French towns and villages, public places, at any time of the day or night will always have other people there. Yes, this may seem like an ultra tedious thing to point out, but every week I hear about yet another groom who got to the top of The Shard, and surprise surprise couldn’t find a private spot. This usually triggers a desperate attempt to change tack and find somewhere much more private, unplanned and as yet unknown. Cue: heavy mobile phone use and one stressed partner.
2. The second factor to think about is that if you plan to propose at an Iconic locations such as the Empire State Building you almost certainly will not be the only young man who has had exactly the same brainwave. In other words, there will be other people proposing and that always has a massive effect on any potential plans. Very often I read about a groom who was just about to go down on one knee when a guy form South Korea got in there first. It simply means that unless you want a slightly tarnished experience you'll then have to find a Plan B.  Cue: heavy mobile phone use and one stressed partner. 

What to think about when proposing in a private place

These are statistically the most effective, simple, fuss free, and genuinely memorable places to stage your proposal. If you’re thinking of going to a beach that means something, a bench where your Grandfather sat, or a viewpoint which you’ve shared together, then this is exactly the type of place to pop the question. There will be no crowds, nobody else queuing up to become engaged, and you won’t have to scurry around looking for another place to make an ad hoc proposal. However, they generally tend to be in less accessible places, that require good old foot power to get there and sometimes quite a lot of endurance. So here’s what you need to think about:
1. You need your partner to be wearing appropriate footwear. You can’t just decide to go to the beach on the way to the restaurant.
2. You need to be realistic about your girlfriend’s willingness to head out to a bench/beach/countryside on a rainy day.
3. Ideally there has to be an easy, fuss free transition to a celebration location. So make sure they've done the hard bit first - i.e. walking up a mountain, so that the rest of the day is unadulterated hardship free joy. 
I write for so many grooms who have planned their special remote proposal place and then booked a restaurant afterwards only to discover that understandably their girlfriend doesn’t want to head out to the beach in the pouring rain at 4:30 in the afternoon. Or even worse just pretend to have a spontaneous idea to stop the car and walk to cliff with their girlfriend in ballet pumps. It never makes for a happy customer. Having said that, if you can get the timings right and are lucky with the weather, it’s the perfect way to propose.

Transporting The Ring

Getting the ring from A to B is one of the biggest headaches for any groom and if you decide to go to another country or any building of cultural or social significance, be prepared for security scanners. Nowadays it’s not just airports that scan metallic objects, places like the Empire State Building to a whole host of museums and even restaurants. For the many guys I’ve written for who take the ring with them in jacket pocket to The Empire State etc. the security guys there know what a ring looks like and will not make a fuss, so don’t make the mistake of trying to surreptitiously talk to them about it whilst you think she’s not looking. Also don’t make the mistake as one client did and Google ‘how to get rings through scanners at airports’ whilst queuing up for his flight with his girlfriend, and then hand the phone to her. However, ring transportation to other non secure public places can also be an issue, particularly if it’s a hot day. So many grooms head out on a lovely spring or summer’s day wearing a jacket because they need to keep the ring in it. By the time they get around to proposing they’re suffering from heat exhaustion and are semi delirious, they rehydrate with champagne to celebrate and manage to get completely plastered in record time. However, I had a client who thought he’d go one better and gaffer tape it to the inside of his leg and simply pretend to have a fractured leg in the run up to the proposal which would explain his awkward walking style. The relief of his fiancé saying yes was nothing compared to the relief of not having a box taped to his loins.

What to Say When Proposing

It doesn’t matter how well prepared you think you are, how confident you might be, and how convinced you are of the outcome. There hasn’t been a single groom in the history of the world that proposed saying the words he planned so carefully to say. Just as with the ingenious plans for proposal, the words are best kept as simple and as straightforward as possible, because after all it is a very important and basic message you’d like to get across. Also you have to bear in mind that your partner will not be listening to a single detail once she has understood what’s going on. She won’t remember a word you said, which is a bit of luck because you’ll almost certainly be speaking some sort of gibberish by the end. A lot of brides really don’t understand anything that the grooms are saying and have to get them to repeat several times, which only confuses the men further and forces them to rehash what they never really had a grip on in the first place. It’s really easy. Tell how much you love her, how much she means to you, and then ask her to marry you. Forget poems, forget anything longer than really a couple of short lines. It’s going to be an intense moment and the message has to be clear and simple. 

Proposal: The Aftermath

Well, if you’re lucky and your partner has said ‘yes’ there’s only on thing she’ll want to do: tell everybody.
Make sure you have a fully charged phone with you because in the next 30 minutes you’re going to be surplus to requirements and she goes through friends and family, letting them know the good news.
You’ll also want to celebrate, so make sure you have the next stage planned, and if it’s a restaurant make sure they know it could be a flexible time scale. It’s also worth bearing in mind where you are and how easy it is to celebrate, especially if you’ve left it until later in the evening to pop the question. I’ve written best man speeches for several guys who proposed later in the evening in Morocco and then suddenly discovered there’s no way they could get hold of any champagne.
If you’ve put your now fiancé through hell, wither coping with your erratic behaviour on the day of the proposal, or asking to trek through the desert in the blazing sun to get to a specific rock, then now she’ll understand. But why put yourself through all the hassle?
Written By
Adrian Simpson
1 Jan, 2019
  • Judins
    East Sussex
    TN19 7LA

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