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What to Say When Proposing—Besides the Obvious

If you're worried you won't come up with the right words when you're ready to pop the question.

Contributing Writer
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Photography by: Katie Mitchell Photography

You want your proposal to be meaningful and memorable, with words that express all the emotion in your heart. But how do you figure out what to say when you're in the moment? By being prepared. When you have to make a work presentation, you wouldn't think of winging it, right? A proposal is no different, even though it's much more personal. It should be revealing and sincere, with a beginning, middle, and end. Look over our suggestions of what topics to include in your own "will you marry me" moment, then customize the script. The more you think ahead to what you want to say, the more relaxed you'll feel when the big get-on-your-knee day arrives.

 

Ways to Make Your Proposal Pop

Sound like yourself.

If your words are too rehearsed, clichéd, or make it seem like they're coming from someone else's mouth, you'll come off as insincere or robotic. Memorize the key points you want to make then follow a loose script spoken in a natural tone.

 

Go with the emotional flow.

It's okay to choke up while proposing. And chances are, if you're tearing up, so will she. Whether or not she's seen this vulnerable side of you before, she'll love you for it.

 

Offer some historical perspective of your feelings.

You could begin your proposal speech by telling her how you felt when you two first met or you realized you were in love with her. Take a cue from Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, who told Maria he first started loving her "when you sat on that ridiculous pine cone." When did that "a ha" moment hit you? It could be quirky or quiet, like when you were away together for the weekend reading side by side on lawn chairs, and you looked over at her and knew she was the one.

 

Say what you love most about her.

Next, pick her best qualities and how much you appreciate them. Is she generous to others with her time and love? Patient and fair-minded? Or do you love her for her sharp mind and wit?

 

Tell her how she's affected your life for the better.

Have you become more confident, kinder, or responsible as your relationship has grown? What is it about her persona or way of life that has greatly impacted yours? Now's the time to praise her for the positive influence she's had on you.

 

Talk about the future.

Marriage is a pledge to spend the rest of your lives together. Say something about your vision of the years ahead—does it involve kids, sharing advenures, gaining a deeper love?

 

End with the famous four words.

Everything you plan to say up until now should lead to you asking her to be your wife. As you near the finale, get down on one knee to pop the big Q. "Will you marry me?" is a nicely worded question that gets to the point—no need to improve on perfection. Then wait for her to say "yes!"

 

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About the Author

Nancy Mattia

Though Nancy has been writing about weddings for years, she admits that watching a bride walk down the aisle—even on TV—still makes her tear up. The New York-area writer's other favorite wedding moments are when the groom sees the bride for the first time, hearing the toasts, and when she sees a waiter with a tray full of hors d'oeuvres walking towards her. 

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