Decided to pop the question? Congrats! You’re joining the millions of people who get engaged and hitched every year in the U.S. But, if you’re anything like the 15 to 20% of adults who claim they suffer from chronic procrastination, then you might have realized planning a proposal takes a bit more than just visiting a jewelry store, picking out a piece and asking the question. No matter your reason for planning a marriage proposal at the last minute, here are some tips to still make it great!
1 – Nix the fancy, expensive diamond ring. Wait — isn’t the diamond ring the most important part of the whole thing? No! What’s most important is that you and your significant other are ready to take that next step together. The diamond itself doesn’t hold as much symbolism as you think it does (you can thank a national advertising campaign from DeBeers back in the 1920s for that, actually), but the ring can. The ring symbolizes infinite commitment; hence, the shape of a circle.
However, the diamond is little more than an adornment. If you’re planning a last-minute proposal, a diamond ring won’t cut it. In fact, it probably wouldn’t even arrive to you until weeks or months from the date you go shopping. Instead, consider an alternative option, such as a silicone wedding band. These rings are meant to last, are extremely durable, are affordable and also arrive within a couple of weeks. They also come in a variety of colors, patterns and textures, so you know you can find something they’ll love.
2 – Clue in a couple of close friends or family. A last-minute marriage proposal won’t be very successful if you have to do it alone! Instead, clue in a couple of close friends or family to ensure your proposal goes off without a hitch. Chances are a professional photographer won’t be available last minute to photograph your engagement scene, so enlist someone to take some photos from a distance. Someone else can help to transport your soon-to-be fiancé, another person can help to ensure that there’s a small display of snacks and drinks back home for everyone and a helper can reference a ring size chart to help you order the best fitting ring for your partner.
Try to keep the circle of people in-the-know small. Even though it’s happening quickly, anyone who knows about your upcoming proposal runs the risk of accidentally telling your partner the surprise! Keeping that circle small will benefit you, so make sure you choose people who keep plans a secret and are able to get things done without attracting too much attention to themselves.
3 – Find a quiet location. Last-minute proposals can be done, but they still take a bit of planning. Try to find somewhere quiet to pop the question ahead of time, even if you plan on having some people around. There’s nothing worse than trying to tell the love of your life all the reasons you want them to marry you over the hustle and bustle of a busy intersection, coffee shop or even a restaurant. This way, you both can focus on each other and what it means to be taking that next big step in your relationship. It also helps to calm any nerves or anxiety you or your partner might have. Instead, you can execute your proposal flawlessly, regardless of how last minute it is.
4 – Avoid big, long speeches. While some people love listening to speeches, the truth is that you might be too nervous to do a long speech for your proposal. And, for a last-minute proposal, you really don’t have the time to draft, revise and edit an essay on all the reasons you love your partner and think they should marry you. Instead, jot down a couple of major things you love about your significant other and why you want to take your relationship to the next step. Focus on getting to the question. Let’s face it — once you get down on that knee, the only thing your partner will care about is listening for you to actually ask the question.
5 – Take a second to celebrate afterward.
Lots of couples don’t really get a chance to celebrate afterward — they usually whisk off to the next thing, especially if someone else planned the afterparty. Take a second to celebrate your engagement after you ask them to marry you — you’re only going to do this once, after all!
Even if that means the two of you find a corner somewhere in the restaurant to just hug it out, or you take a couple of extra moments before walking in the door to the place you’re celebrating with close friends and family, really pause and let yourselves adjust to the feeling and calm each other down. It’s okay to be excited — you should be excited! — but you’ll need a moment together to process through all the new, exciting feelings you have about this next step in your relationship journey.
6 – Try to find something to make it unique. When planning a last-minute proposal, it’s easy to just fall into a predictable pattern. Nice dinner at a fancy restaurant, ordering dessert, having the restaurant bring the ring out in the dessert or pulling the box out after finishing the meal — rinse, repeat. And, while that’s a great choice for people who really don’t have time or are at a complete loss for what to do, it’s not very unique. Even the latest of last-minute proposals deserves something a little special for you both to look back on.
Whether it’s the location, the clothes you’re wearing, the music playing in the background or even an engravable ring, something that makes your proposal stand out from all the others and which is an accurate representation of your relationship is just what you need to make your last-minute proposal successful.