'His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti He's nervous...' - Eminem
I'm not much of a hip-hop music fan, but when I started planning my marriage proposal, those lyrics from Eminem's 'Lose Yourself' kept popping up in my head. You see - as confident as I was in her saying yes to my question, I kept having these nightmarish thoughts that I'd open up my mouth to ask the question and all that would come out would be 'mom's spaghetti.' Pardon the imagery.
In reality, I was fine. I managed to get out my words with hardly the slightest tick of nervousness. But for a lot of guys, they're not so lucky. One of my closest friends would probably describe his experience in a manner similar to Eminem's lyrics above. So what can you do to ensure your own positive experience?
Well, my first bit of advice would be to read my piece on making sure you have picked the right girl. Nothing will calm your nerves better than the absolute certainty that you are making the right decision. Nothing will give you clarity like that.
Once you're confident in the decision category, make sure you've got the other variables taken care of. The ONLY thing that made me nervous in my marriage proposal was the uncertainty surrounding my helpers. I wanted to have someone capture the moment for us in a specific location I had picked out, so I had coordinated with the resort months in advance to get their assistance. However, upon arrival, the resort had unforeseen circumstances that made it impossible for them to help me. So I was on my own.
The one piece of advice my father gave me about my marriage proposal was that I should 'make it special.' To me, that meant I should seek out a special location. I shouldn't let something so special happen in an ordinary spot. That, as it turns out, was a great decision and would be my advice to you as well.
You don't have to spend a fortune to involve a special location into your marriage proposal. It just needs to be somewhere that will make her feel special and that you will both look back upon fondly. The more ordinary the location, the least likely it will be that she will remember it fondly. Don't propose at the local coffee shop where you grab Saturday breakfast every other weekend. That will come across as a slap in the face.
There are, obviously, quite a few options that immediately spring to mind for most people when they start thinking about planning out a proposal. The beach, nice restaurant, picnic, a mountainside, etc. But any idea I float out doesn't really matter, because you'll know what makes the most sense to you and your future wife. You'll know what will mean the most to her and what will align best to her personality. For instance, my fiance always wanted to get engaged on a beach. So you can bet your bottom dollar that was a decision I was not going to mess up.
Once you pick the location you'll be performing your marriage proposal, if you're going to need help to coordinate any side plans make sure they're reliable. That was the one glaring mistake I made. I got unreliable, voluntary help. If you're going to be asking friends or family to aid you in any way, make sure they know your schedule and that they're the kinds of people that will actually be there when they say they will.
If you're going to be hiring a professional to help with any aspect of your marriage proposal, such as a videographer or photographer, ensure that they have a solid reputation for punctuality and professionalism. And while online reviews are becoming less and less reliable, I often turn to yelp when I want to find a service provider. I would recommend that you at least check around for online reviews for any service providers you're considering to make sure they're not blatantly unreliable. The last thing you want is to follow through on your beautiful proposal only to find out later that the 'director' of your scheme forgot to hit 'record.'
Concealing the ring
This seems like a pretty straightforward area, but I actually ended up going a different direction. I think most men end up stowing their wedding rings in the little box it comes in, stick it in their pocket, and then pull it out when the time is right. I felt this was way too obvious and, seeing as how I wanted it to be a surprise, I went for something more inconspicuous for my marriage proposal.
Amazon sells these small, velvet jewelry bags that are great for this. You can slip the ring into one of these and walk around, comfortably, all day without having to worry that she might notice the bulkiness normally associated with a ring box. They're even great for going through airport security with all of the current TSA rules. I left the ring in my hidden jeans pocket (the 5th pocket, within the velvet pouch) and no one was the wiser. In a ring box, the investment would have been easily noticeable.
What you say isn't as important as you might imagine. For my marriage proposal, as I said, I didn't memorize anything. I followed a very simple guide I drafted out in my head. I got down on one knee. I looked her in the eyes, and I addressed her by her first, middle, and last name. That will get her attention really, really fast.
After that, my only goal was to refresh her memory as to how much she meant to me. I spoke about the future...our future. I told her that I couldn't imagine living the rest of my life without her in it. And that's when I asked her to marry me. You can play around with it more. You can make it as elaborate or short/sweet as you'd like. That's the beauty of this moment - she'll love this no matter what you choose.
This is a once in a lifetime endeavor, hopefully, so make sure you don't overlook these little details that we sometimes take for granted. In other words, don't make the same mistake I did.
And if you do? If something goes wrong or backfires, you'll just have to stay calm. Your marriage proposal is not ruined. The day is not ruined. Just keep your calm and stall. Think it out and you'll, eventually, figure out the best course of action. If all else fails, you can postpone and ask her on a day that you can be perfectly sure everything will work out as you originally planned (hopefully the second time is a charm).