Whether you're just starting to consider the idea of proposing or feel ready to get down on one knee, it's important to spend some time thinking about how you want to do it and what you need in order to get the job done. Of course, however you choose to propose is perfectly fine (and will be special in its own right), but if you're planning to go the traditional route, with the diamond ring and the heartfelt speech, you'll want to have a few things in line beforehand. Here's a simple checklist to help you navigate the months before you propose.
Make sure you're both ready.
It's important that you've had some sort of conversation about your future and your mutual desire to spend the rest of your lives together before you propose. "Sometimes, one partner isn't as ready as the other, but they may be in just a few months or the following year," says Larissa Banting of Weddings Costa Rica in Santa Ana, Costa Rica. "Don't rush into the proposal unless you know that you're both ready and willing to make that commitment—it's better to wait than to pull the trigger and end up disappointed."
Find out what she likes.
Once you know you're ready to propose in the near future, it's time to figure out what kind of an engagement ring (and proposal) she likes. You might know this already, or you might have to do a little digging around on her Pinterest board, or even ask a close friend, her mom, or sister. Also, Ashley Stork, owner, lead planner, and designer at Magnolia Vine Events, suggests doing a little ring research before going to the store.
Schedule in time to find, purchase and design the ring.
It might not be as seamless of a process as you once imagined. In fact, the process of creating the perfect engagement ring for your significant other may take several weeks, or even months. For this reason, it's best to plan for extra time ahead of when you'd ideally like to propose. Stork suggests even going as far as letting your jeweler know the timing of when you'd like to propose so he or she can help you plan accordingly.
Consider giving her family a heads up.
If your signifcant other is very traditional, she may want you to ask for her parents' permission or blessing before you pop the question. If you think this is something that would mean a lot to her, why not go the extra mile and do so? "Involving the family in the proposal, if she's very close to them, is a strong start to the marriage and shows that you value their relationship with your soon-to-be wife," says Banting.
Plan the proposal.
Since you know your significant other the best, you probably already have an idea of what would make her proposal dreams come true. If not, take some time to truly think about it. Would she prefer something small and intimate, like a proposal in the comfort of your own home? Or is she open to something more public, like on the jumbotron a sports game or the middle of a public square in a popular European city? Don't rush your plans—it's more important to make sure they feel right.