Marriage Proposals: What to Say and How to Say It
Photo: Jasalyn Thorne Photography / The Knot
Sure, getting down on one knee while holding a ring box sort of says it all. But because the moment you get engaged should be an unforgettable occasion, it pays to have some eloquent words prepared. Here’s a crash course on finding the right words.
First, sit down to collect your thoughts a day or two before you plan to pop the question — even though you don’t think you’ll be nervous, when the moment comes, you will be. (And, chances are slim you’ll be well-spoken if you put yourself on the spot.) You should probably at least write down a rough draft of what you want to say so you can go over it a few times to prepare. But what should you say? To trigger inspiration for a proposal speech she’ll always remember, ask yourself these questions:
What did you think when you first met her?
Begin by reminiscing about the first time you laid eyes on her. Talk about how you were awestruck by her beauty, or amazed to find a woman who shared your passion for the same sports team, or how you just knew that someone seriously special had entered your life. Say something like: “When I first talked to you at [blank], I thought [blank].” Of course, if your first meeting was less than romantic (you were hitting on her best friend, she spilled her Pinot Noir on your pants), you won’t want to bring it up. Besides, you’ll have plenty of time to relive that moment later, when your best man plays it for laughs during the rehearsal dinner toast.
When did you realize that you might want to spend your life with her?
Try to identify one specific moment when it hit you that you’d found the one. Was it when the four-star restaurant lost your reservation and she cheerfully suggested you head across the street for pizza and beer instead? The time she brought over a stack of kung fu DVDs when you were sick in bed with the flu? Say something like: “The time you [blank], I knew we were meant to be.”
What do you have now that you didn’t before you met?
Focus on how much better your life is now that she’s in it. Has she helped you laugh off little things that used to stress you out? Taught you the value of having more in the fridge than take-out cartons and beer? Show her how much you appreciate and need her by saying: “Before I met you, I was [blank]. Now I am [blank].”
What about her inspires you?
What it is about your sweetie that makes you want to be more like her? Her patience and kindness to others? Her sense of adventure? The value she places on making the world a better place? Revealing how much you admire her will show that you love her for all the right reasons. Say something like: “I love and respect your [blank], it makes me want to try harder to be that way myself.”
What goals and values do you two share?
Talk about the things that are important to both of you, and the plans you’ve discussed for the future. This will emphasize why you’re a perfect match and why you should spend your futures side by side. Say something like: “We both love [blank], and dream of [blank], so together we can [blank].” It’s the perfect lead-in to the words she’s been waiting to hear (drumroll, please): “And those are just a few of the reasons I’m hoping you’ll spend the rest of your life with me. Will you marry me?”
— Celeste Perron