17 Sep 2012

I’m At A Loss For Words For My Proposal!

2 Comments Featured Articles, Readers' Questions

Hi Grace,

I am proposing in Bleeker Street park, NYC this month. I have everything sorted out from the holiday, everything my girlfriend will need, outfits for going out for a meal, the engagement ring, etc… The only thing I haven’t nailed down is exactly what to say. I haven’t figured out whether I’m going to go for a funny angle, which is probably more me, or to go for the really romantic angle. Perhaps a mix of both?

So, the first question is, in what way should I say my little speech?

The second question is, what should I say for my speech?!

I’m feeling pretty confident about my plan and the fact that she will hopefully say yes, but when it comes to words I’m not great – how can I best express my feelings of wanting to be with her for the rest of my life, without making a complete fool of myself? The last thing I want is a cheesy proposal! Would love to know if you have any suggestions.

Thanks, Seth

two loving hearts

Hi Seth,

Thanks so much for your great questions. You are not alone, I assure you!

Many people plan the perfect setting or surprise location for their proposals, but when it comes to the actual asking the question “will you marry me?” their minds draw a blank. It sounds like you have a lovely proposal location picked out, plus everything you will need to make it extra special. You’ve put so much thought into creating the perfect memory – your girlfriend is a lucky woman to have found such a romantic man to share her life with.

So let’s take one question at a time:

What Way Should I Propose?

You said that being funny is more your style, but you are open to being romantic, too. I completely agree with you when you stated “perhaps a mix of both.” It is certainly important to be yourself or otherwise the proposal will appear to lack sincerity. Don’t worry about how it is done in the movies, as if there is only one right way. After all, you want your girlfriend to feel it is you proposing, not your attempt at reciting a scene from a Hollywood blockbuster.

I know you mentioned that “being you” would involve humor, however I would recommend not overdoing it in the comedy department. There needs to be some romance and heartfelt sincerity to your words during a proposal. So that is why I agree a mixture of both would be perfect.

So maybe you would start with something funny in the beginning. It needn’t be humorous words, it could be a cute/silly prop or even bringing your little dog (if you had one!), dressed in a doggie tuxedo, being the “ring bearer.” The sky is the limit on how to add your personality into the proposal. But when it comes down to asking her to marry you, I would leave the punch lines behind.

What Should I Say?

Many people struggle to find the right words, putting so much pressure on themselves to “get it right.” My first bit of advice is to relax and speak naturally.

I know you have referred to the actual proposal as a “speech” a few times, so let me assist on correcting that assumption. You do not have to prepare a long, wordy proposal. Sometimes something as simple as “A life without you wouldn’t be living – please say you’ll walk by my side forever – marry me” is all that is needed. Again, you need to be comfortable and be yourself. A few perfect words can have just as much impact as a page filled with fluffy words.

There are other ideas available to you, too. If you do want it to be a longer proposal, consider writing a song or a poem – then reading or performing your proposal for her (or have someone else perform it). Also, some people use props that spell out “will you marry me?” Whatever feels more like you is the way to go, in my opinion.

I hope you find these ideas helpful. It sounds like you have a beautiful proposal ready to go. Just be yourself (but not too comical) and get creative/colour outside of the lines when it comes to planning what to say.

Wishing you a lifetime of happiness,



Grace Pamer is a full time romance and relationship writer. She writes romance and marriage proposal tip columns for various publications including YourTango.com and GalTime.com. As seen on FoxNews.com, Cosmopolitan.com, DivineCaroline.com and CanadianLiving.com to name but a few.

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2 Responses to “I’m At A Loss For Words For My Proposal!”

  1. Reply Khanh Nguyen says:

    Dear Grace,

    I was looking for some tips on whether or not I should include a sense of humor in my proposal. I came across your website and absolutely love the way you explained to Seth.

    Actually, to bring down the pressure level, I decided to propose a promise ring instead of a marriage proposal. We have been together for 9 years but we are at a cross road where we need to decide to stay and work on our relationship or move on. Therefore, I feel that a promise ring is a more appropriate choice because a marriage proposal may be too intense. What is your thought?

    Regarding the proposal, I was thinking about first showing her this one favoriate ring of her that has a super cute owl. If she says yes and accept it, then she really loves me. At that point, I’ll bring out the real ring. If she says no, I will say “I’m glad that life gives us second chances” then bring out the real ring and say one more proposing line. Another approach is just to bring the owl ring out for a few seconds to shock her a little, then bring out the real ring to do the proposal. What do you think will be a better approach. It’s intended to lighten up the situation, to entertain her and to make it different. But since this is my first experience, I can’t tell how she may respond.

    I would love to hear from you. Thank you so much for helping out us guys out. We really appreciate it.
    Khanh Nguyen

  2. Reply Grace Pamer says:

    Hi Khanh,

    Thank you so much for your comment and questions, I’d love to help you out with your situation.

    I think it’s very sweet that you would like to propose a promise ring, and from what I can gather it sounds as if you and girlfriend aren’t at the stage of taking the step towards marriage just yet, so it’s a very sensible and alternative way of showing your love and commitment to her. Is there any chance your girlfriend may be expecting a marriage proposal, and will be disappointed when she realises that’s not what it is?

    Now, the most important thing to remember when planning a proposal of any kind is to be yourself – you’re proposing and making a promise and a commitment to another person, and therefore proposing a new step in your relationship together, so you want to make sure you enter into it in a way where you’re being true to yourself. If you don’t, then you could be setting yourself up for disappointment.

    So if you think that humour is the best way to approach your proposal, and you really think that your girlfriend would appreciate and enjoy, then that is what you should do. However, as proposals are very symbolic and a very special step in any relationship, humour can sometimes be taken the wrong way. Afterall, you don’t want your girlfriend thinking that you’re actions are a joke. It is also important to consider that she may be initially disappointed when you present the owl ring, and that disappointment could be hard to overcome, even when you bring out the real one.

    It really does depend on you and your girlfriend as a couple, and whether or not you think it would work. If you’re presenting a promise ring to her you’re letting her know that you’re in it for the long run, so you should do it in a way that really shows that.

    I hope this has helped, and I really hope it works out! Promise rings are such romantic gestures that demonstrate real dedication to a relationship, so I really praise you for the idea.


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