1. Plan ahead
This one is obvious – plan, plan, plan. Think of any and all sentimental locations or backstories you both share, and work your way forwards from there. The proposal itself is what it’s all about, but in today’s society sometimes the whole experience can be even more special. In planning your surprise holiday proposal, one of the most important rules of thumb is to ensure you don’t pop the question at someone else’s event like a wedding, baptism, engagement party or birthday – some people have birthdays near or on Christmas, so check that will not be the case.
2. Stunning nails
When your new fiancé wants to send photos of the ring to friends and family as soon as she’s said ‘yes’ or post it to the socials, she will be ever so grateful she had her nails looking their best. Find an excuse to persuade her to go to the salon, suggesting she have some ‘me time’ or gift her with a voucher as an early Christmas present and make the appointment for her. When those photos are sent and shared, she’ll be so thankful!
3. Ring placement
You’ve decided on your location, you’ve arranged the photographer, and you know exactly what you’re going to say – that’s great! Now, where are you going to hide the ring? Planning on where you will hide it before you ask the question is something not too many people consider, believe it or not. Too many have quickly pushed the ring into their pant or shirt pocket, only to have it bulge out (or worse still, fall out!) – and then the jig is up. Christmas brings you endless opportunities when it comes to ring placement, including hanging it on the tree by a red ribbon for your other half to spot, or making your own advent calendar filled with your partner’s favourite things. If there are beloved pets, your partner will love it if you include them in the proposal by attaching a festive accessory on them and putting the ring on a ribbon around their neck.
4. Place of meaning
Sometimes one of the hardest things to plan is the location of where to propose. Being together for a long time means there is an abundance of spots where there are shared memories, so spending a bit of time on deciding where the two of you would truly love to get engaged is worth it. Go back and think of where you both met, or where your first kiss was; then narrow down the options for that final pick.
5. Enlist help
Asking for friends and family to get involved doesn’t mean you have to make a big spectacle if that’s not your thing. The Christmas season means everyone is taking time off work and able to relax at home, so if you spend the holidays together this is a perfect time to get loved ones involved. This can include popping the question in an intimate setting, and having everyone hide out nearby; as soon as your partner says yes, they can emerge with signs, flowers, balloons – even cake! But having them involved doesn’t mean they have to be there as soon as the ring goes on the finger – they can also help with planning, choosing the ring and making reservations.
If your location can be easily ‘blinged’ up, go for it! Proposing at the restaurant where you had your first date? Work with management to deck out the table with extra decorations like flowers, chocolates or confetti. Want to pop the question on the beach? Organise a balloon garland arch in her favourite colours. You’ll make a memorable impression for sure.
7. The right time
Picking the right time of day (or night) is crucial to a surprise engagement, especially if you are enlisting the help of a professional photographer to catch the moment. Our golden hours (the perfect natural light) occur early in the morning at sunrise, and early evening when the sun is going down. From a photographer’s perspective, these are the most ideal times for us to capture your special moment because we don’t have to deal with long shadows and on some days the colours are just magnificent.
8. Have a Plan B
Life happens, so be prepared to go with the flow and don’t rush your proposal just because the sun is about to set or dinner is almost over. Perhaps the week has been too stressful for either of you, or the nerves have kicked in and you want to wait another day. Either way, have a Plan B and don’t be disappointed if Plan A doesn’t work out.
9. Don’t rush
With all the adrenaline and excitement kicking in, sometimes we can forget to breathe and slow down when we are giving a speech, and our words can come out a tangled mess. Remember that this moment doesn’t come along very often, and the both of you will want it all to sink in for the memory of it. Take a deep breath, and slow your words down.
10. Hire a photographer
Not even 10 years ago, it was unheard of to include anyone other than the couple to be a part of a proposal. As long as your partner was there, that was all that mattered. But these days, like mentioned before, people enlist the help of family and friends to pull off romantic, special engagements. It’s also quite popular to hire a professional photographer who can capture each second that counts. It’s not only a great way to get a feel for how a wedding photographer will collaborate with you, but you’ll be able to share the news of your engagement with beautiful photography – and keep them as family heirlooms. Whether you’re pretending to have a ‘couple’s photography shoot’ or your chosen photographer is amongst the crowd with a long lens, you won’t ever regret having those photographs.