Proposing can be nerve-wracking and potential marriage proposal etiquette mistakes shouldn’t add any unnecessary stress. In today’s world of multiple marriages, cross-cultural relationships and social media, it can be hard to know what TO do and what NOT to do.
Let’s break it down even more…
Mistake 1: Proposing Without a “Ring”
- Wait, wait! I’m not saying that marriage proposal etiquette dictates that you MUST have a ring, but you should definitely have something – anything! A ring is ideal for anyone, but some women really want to choose their own (and some men have no idea what to pick!).
- If you don’t have a ring, marriage proposal etiquette dictates that you propose with a romantic “placeholder” like a toy ring from a vending machine or a piece of ribbon. To pull this off (and not appear to be proposing on a whim) plan something very sweet/creative/romantic by way of proposal.
Mistake 2: Not Asking Her Father (if they’re close)
- But I’m a grown man (or woman), I hear you say! Why should I ask for permission? Well, if it’s important to your bride-to-be, it should be important to you. This is, however, sticky ground. If your bride-to-be isn’t close to her father or they are estranged, you’re most likely off-the-hook. If they are, it’s a very sweet gesture on your part. Yes, it’s a bit old-fashioned, but some ladies love that! And FYI, your future father-in-law will too.
- I would strongly suggest asking BOTH the father and then the mother just to be extra sweet. If your love was raised by a single mom and there’s no dad in sight, asking her permission will endear you to her for life. Please do it.
- Side note: I don’t think marriage proposal etiquette dicatates that this needs to be done for a second marriage especially if there are children involved. At that point, it’s been done and it’s assumed everyone is a bit past this stage.
Mistake 3: Running Your Mouth
- Yes, you’re excited! You’re about to propose!! Thing is, no bride-to-be wants to be the last to find out that she’s getting engaged. It’s nice to get her family and friend involved, but it’s even nicer to let her squeal and freak out on the phone and on social media about getting asked the big question!
- But how the heck do I figure out what ring to get her? What size her finger is? What proposal she’ll like? If she has a super close bestie, that woman could be your ticket but, more likely, your girl will be much more impressed if you pull it all off yourself. That’s what this site is all about. Look around and, if you still have questions, drop me a line. I’m here to help. My advice is free and I don’t blab ;)
Mistake 4: Proposing on a Whim
- No woman wants to feel like you proposed only because you were in a good mood that day. Marriage proposal etiquette dictates that you should show her you’ve been thinking about this decision for a while.
- Case in point, a friend of mine found herself pregnant and cried her eyes out when her boyfriend proposed because she thought he did it only for the baby. When he pulled out the ring receipt dated six months prior to finding out about the pregnancy, it made her year. Knowing that someone wants YOU and not just because circumstances dictate they should is a great feeling.
- So, just how do you show you’ve put thought into your decision? You can do this in a number of ways but the easiest way is with a ring in hand. Other ways include planning a sweet proposal that obviously took time and effort (tons of ideas on this site). It doesn’t have to be expensive (the ring or the proposal) but it does have to show forethought.
Mistake 5: Not Respecting Her Cultural/Family Traditions
- If you are from different cultures, there may be different expectations for marriage proposal etiquette. Just what those differences are is up to you to research.
- In general, incorporating your significant other’s culture into your proposal is a sweet touch. Try to find out if there are family traditions involved with marriage and proposing and see if you can incorporate those.
And that’s it guys (and gals). Marriage proposal etiquette doesn’t have to be all that scary or complicated. If you committed a huge proposal faux-pas, drop me a line so that I can warn others about potential pitfalls. Happy proposing!