- I planned over 200 engagement proposals in my three years at Paparazzi Proposals.
- I learned to read when a person is ready for an engagement and when they are not.
- People should keep in mind budgets and why they are proposing to their partner.
“To someone else,” he clarified.
I wasn’t sure whether to apologize or congratulate him. Despite dealing with hundreds of hopeful fiancés, it was my first time with a repeat customer.
My clients expected me to hold their hand through what was supposed to be one of the most memorable occasions of their lives, a story they would reminisce about with friends and family for years to come. But you can read every self-help book on relationships and hire every expert, but you never truly know if your love will last “forever.”
But there are ways to know if you have what it takes to try and go the distance. Before asking someone to marry you, it’s essential to ask yourself if you’re ready for that next step and the series of steps that come after it. There are a few clear signs that you’ve reached that stage — and a few signs you haven’t.
You’re financially aware and ready
Finances should never stand in the way of love, but money can be the ogre hiding under the bridge to your dream engagement. When it comes to the ring, for example, are you planning on using a family heirloom or getting a customized diamond? Do you plan to throw an engagement party? Hiring my former company would’ve already cost a $500 base package, which only includes the planning and a secret photographer. You’d still have to pay for any activities you want planned and add-ons like roses.
The only freebie in the industry is browsing on Pinterest. To prevent unforeseen expenses, it’s vital to spend as much time as possible researching what you want the ring, the proposal, and the engagement celebration to look like. Figure out your budget and be realistic with what you can afford for the proposal, keeping in mind that this all leads to a wedding.
There’s nothing wrong with analyzing your financial situation and deciding to give yourself more time to save purposefully and avoid getting into unnecessary debt.
Planning the proposal should not feel like a chore
This is tricky because not everyone is a planner, and it’s normal to be overwhelmed by making such a momentous decision. But there should be excitement cuddling up against your angst.
In other words, your proposal should be influenced by the sole fact you want to spend the rest of your life with your partner. Unfortunately, people are often affected by external factors, such as pressure from friends or relatives to move faster in a relationship than they’re ready for, or by comparing what type of grandiose proposals influencers are posting on Instagram when they’d actually like to propose in the intimacy — and privacy — of their home. Some want to pop Champagne with friends right after; others want to make love. And it’s OK if what you really want is more time to enjoy where you are in the relationship. Follow what your heart and gut agree on.
The circumstance allows the engagement to be one of the happiest memories of your life
In a relationship, there’s no countdown clock for getting engaged. The perfect moment is when you decide, so choose wisely. Real estate might be about location, but proposals are about timing. I’ve had a client go ahead with a very public proposal even after his partner’s parent died the week before. Another client was in graduate school and didn’t participate in any part of the process (except for showing up, stressed) because of exams. If anything, the pandemic showed the world there is no shame in postponing plans for happier days.
And you might think holidays or birthdays make the occasion extra special, but then your engagement will forever compete with their shadow — and the ring will count as a gift, so your partner doesn’t legally have to return it if you break up. Just think twice about how you want to celebrate this moment.
You’re willing to grow and change with your partner — and don’t expect them to be frozen in time
A lot of people never really take time to consider the “for better or worse” part of wedding vows. An unintended consequence of the quarantine was the dissolution of previously healthy relationships and marriages. So you know what’s worth more to a relationship than a diamond ring? Knowing you can count on your partner unconditionally and without hesitation. You might not always be able to stand each other, but you should always respect each other.
It’s easy to be your best self on a date, but how about after seven hours on a plane? If one of your parents gets sick? If one of you gets a promotion that requires excessive time at work? Or in the midst of a presidential election when you’re on opposing sides? Life comes at you unexpectedly, and as you grow a life together, you need to understand each of you will evolve over time.
These changes break apart couples that only commit to an idealized version of their other half. So when you get down on one knee, remember you’re proposing to the soul and essence of your partner, not their physical body, an opinion, or how they act on their best days.
You can’t wait any longer
Ultimately, when you know, you know.
Read more Valentine’s Day stories here.