Should I Propose Before or After Dinner?
Asking for your significant other’s hand in marriage is a big moment. Few things in life cause such high levels of excitement, nervousness, happiness, anxiety, and dread, as popping the big question. That leads to another important question: should I propose before or after dinner?
There’s always a strong chance of everything going wrong, so it takes some work to put together the best possible marriage proposal. There are several ways to propose depending on the person you’re asking. Your significant other might prefer something more private that’s just the two of you. On the other hand, public proposals are one of the most popular ways to ask the big question. Some might enjoy a fake movie trailer or an elaborate flash mob proposal.
The dinner proposal is the most common public proposal that also acts as a grand romantic gesture. When done right, a dinner proposal can feel like a scene from a romantic movie. But when is the best time to ask the burning question? Should you propose before or after dinner?
Timing is everything with a public proposal and there are many different benefits to asking before or after. Asking at the wrong time could throw the whole night off and that’s not what you want. Luckily for you, we have dived deep into the etiquette regarding the restaurant proposal, creating a guide to help you decide the best proposal idea and whether before or after dinner is the best time to get down on one knee. Good luck!
Should I Propose Before or After Dinner?
There are a few steps to take before you decide on the timing of the perfect proposal. It’d be wise first to find out your partner’s feelings on marriage. That’ll help steer you in the right direction. Once you feel confident, it’s time to take the first steps.
Talk To the Parents
Regardless of the culture or religion, asking the parents for their child’s hand in marriage is an age-old tradition. You don’t have to go all old school and offer a dowry. It’s just respectful to let the parents and siblings know about the proposal. It’s vital to remember that after the marriage, her parents are your in-laws. You want to start off on the right foot by including them in your plans for the special moment.
Including the parents, siblings, and friends serves a second purpose. They’ll give you tips and ideas on the best way to propose and the type of ring to purchase. They can also help set up the event and pull off the surprise.
Buying the Ring
The key to a proposal is making it feel spontaneous to your significant other. In reality, a proposal should never be random and unprepared. Have a firm plan, starting with buying the perfect engagement ring.
Purchasing the ideal ring can be done without spending every cent you have. Saving up some money for a few months should provide you with enough to buy a beautiful and glamorous ring unless your other half expects some kind of over-the-top diamond ring. Then you might need six months to get the cash. With the ring purchased, it’s time to pick the ideal location for the dinner proposal.
Picking a Restaurant
Picking the perfect restaurant is the next step to creating the most romantic proposal. Choosing a sentimental restaurant important to your partner and the relationship is an excellent way to make the evening magical. Perhaps it was the site of your first date or a place you regularly visit. If that’s not an option, a restaurant with a tremendous scenic view is the next best choice.
Many restaurants are more than willing to help you execute your proposal, so it’s wise to approach the restaurant for their help. They’ll have many suggestions to aid in making the night go smoothly and offer up the best table in the house with romantic views and lighting. Some restaurants even have a DJ or band that can play your couple’s song. They can help create the ideal atmosphere for the big moment. The restaurant can also help with family members and friends that are there for the big surprise. The staff will also be helpful in planning the meal and dessert for the night.
The Dinner Proposal
Okay, you bought an engagement ring, picked her favorite restaurant, and talked with the management and restaurant staff. Now it’s time to decide whether to pop the question before or after a romantic dinner. There are many pros and cons for each one.
Some people are so anxious they want to get the proposal out of the way. So proposing before a romantic candlelit dinner might be the best option. However, there’s a lot to consider before you commit.
Pro: Less Time To Stress
Feeling stressed, anxious, and nervous is normal before asking your loved one to spend the rest of eternity together. If that’s the case, asking the big question first might be a good idea. That way, you’ll avoid all the nervous sweating and rambling throughout dinner.
Con: Difficult To Enjoy Dinner
It might seem like asking before dinner lets you relax and enjoy your meal. However, if the answer is “yes,” there’s a good chance you and your partner won’t pay any attention to your food. You just made a life-altering decision. It’ll be tough to enjoy your appetizers let alone the main course. Most couples are so excited and want to spend time alone.
Pro: Turns the Dinner Into a Celebration
There truly is no better way to celebrate an engagement than a perfect dinner with dessert. If the answer is “yes,” popping the question before dinner allows the meal to become a celebration. With the right atmosphere, the dinner proposal will become a memory that’ll live on forever. Bonus points if you picked a sentimental restaurant and popped the big question on an anniversary, New Year’s Eve, or Valentine’s Day.
Con: Sharing the Evening With Strangers
Proposing at a restaurant in front of strangers makes the occasion less intimate. There’s a good chance you won’t enjoy the moment or your meal if you’re hoping for something more personal. Why? Because there’s a room full of strangers who just shared your intimate and personal moment. Staff and strangers will no doubt interrupt your dinner and celebration to offer their congratulations, which can be annoying.
Pro: Inviting Friends and Family
One of the benefits of asking before dinner is it lets you plan a more significant celebration. Invite family and friends to turn the dinner into a little party. It allows the couple to celebrate with their loved ones. There’s no better way to kick off the engagement than with a party.
Cons: It Could Be an Awkward Dinner
There’s also a possibility of hearing “no.” It happens to the best of us. The truth is rejection hurts. It’s tough not to feel embarrassed or humiliated, especially when getting your marriage proposal turned down. It’s most likely going to be one hell of an awkward dinner. If you haven’t ordered, you can slip away without too much fuss. If the food arrives right after the “no,” you’re in for one long night.
Proposing the big question after dinner has many pros and cons as well. If you can wait until after dinner or even dessert, asking at the end of the night might benefit you.
Pro: An Intimate Celebration
Asking at the end of the meal lets you plan a more intimate celebration. You still get all the attention involved with asking in front of strangers, but you can also plan a small party at a different location after the proposal. Some couples want to be alone after a public moment like a proposal, so continuing the night at home over a bottle of champagne or booking a hotel suite with a hot tub is a great way to keep it intimate.
Cons: Sudden Ending
Proposing at the end of the meal is great if you have something else planned. However, it can feel like an abrupt ending if there’s nothing else to do. It’s such an incredible high that a short night feels like a sudden and disappointing ending.
Pro: You’ll Enjoy Your Food
In theory, asking after dinner allows you to focus on your meal. Enjoy a hearty meal and some drinks before you take that giant leap. It also means you can have a quiet and relaxing dinner without answering questions or having people watch.
Cons: Anxiety and Stress
At the same time, some people are terrible at hiding their nervousness and anxiety. If you’re a ball of nerves and an absolute wreck, it’ll make the meal less enjoyable. Your partner might misinterpret your emotions and assume something’s wrong. That might affect the mood and atmosphere and put a damper on your eventual proposal.
Pros: An Easy Getaway if It’s a “No”
We’d hate to harp on this, but the chance of a “no” is always possible. Asking after dinner allows you to make a quick getaway if the answer is “no.” You won’t have to sit in the restaurant feeling humiliated and embarrassed.
Popping the Question
When it comes to the actual proposal, the restaurant will help set up the ideal scenario. However, there are a few helpful hints regarding the popping of the question.
1. Don’t Hide It in Food or Champagne
Don’t let movies and sitcoms fool you. Putting the ring in food or champagne often leads to catastrophic results. There’s a chance that your partner misses the ring while eating the cake or drinking the champagne. It could lead to them chipping a tooth or choking on the ring. It sounds like a fun idea, but it’s messy and dangerous.
2. Get on One Knee
Sometimes that most straightforward route is the best one to take. The proposal doesn’t need to be elaborate. It’s already a grand romantic gesture. In other words, just get down on one knee and pop the question.
3. Get the Servers To Help
Involving the server in the plan is a wise idea. Most servers and restaurants are more than willing to plant the ring or pass it over when the timing is right.
4. Write It on a Napkin
Get the restaurant to play your song, write the question down on a napkin, and slide it across the table. It keeps the moment private and intimate and means you won’t get a room full of clapping people.
5. Make a Special Menu
Personalizing the menu is an unforgettable way to pop the question. It may be tricky and take some leg work, but it’ll be more than worth it. Having a personalized menu allows you to both enjoy your favorite food and drink before you whip out the ring and give your partner the surprise of a lifetime.
Make It a Magical Night
Planning the proposal is a thrilling and heart-pounding experience. With the main boxes, such as buying the ring, picking a restaurant, and timing of the proposal, all ticked, here are a few other tips to consider.
6. It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect
The night doesn’t have to be perfect to feel like an enchanted evening. It’s vital not to put so much pressure on yourself. If a few things go wrong, it won’t take away from the feelings of happiness and love. Less stress will also make the plan go smoothly. It’s an unforgettable and fun night for you too. Enjoy your meal and have fun taking the biggest step of your life.
7. Set Up Picture Time in Advance
Taking pictures is one of the most vital parts of a proposal. Work with the restaurant to arrange photos after the proposal. Then you can post the images online to celebrate with friends and make others jealous. The restaurant will provide the best lighting and romantic backdrop to take pictures.
It’s also essential to speak with the restaurant to provide the best individual to take the picture, like an in-house photographer, server, or even the manager. Also, ask one of the staff members to film the moment on your phone. It’s wise not to rely on some stranger to take photos or film the video.
8. Dress To Impress
It’s paramount to look your best when popping the big question. Proposing at a fancy restaurant ensures you’ll dress in your best clothing. It’s safe to say that your partner wants to look their best for the surprise too. It might take a bit of planning, but you’ll need to trick your partner into dressing up.
The night will go differently than planned if you’re wearing a three-piece suit and your partner just came from the gym. You both want to look suitable for that big moment. Plus, you want to look your best for the post-proposal photos.
9. Bring Lots of Tissues or a Handkerchief
It doesn’t matter if you’re asking, being asked, watching nearby, or serving the table. A proposal makes everyone cry their eyes out like they just watched Monica propose to Chandler on Friends. It’s wise to have a lot of tissues or a handkerchief ready. There’s a good chance that you and your partner will be full of emotions and happy tears. The tissues will also be helpful if the answer is a “no.”
10. Be Prepared To Hear “No”
Keeping a positive attitude is critical to planning the ideal public proposal. At the same time, it’s also crucial to prepare emotionally for the opposite outcome. There is always the chance the wedding proposal could end with a “no” and not turn out to be the successful proposal you had in mind.
It’s one of the risks of doing a public proposal. It could be embarrassing and humiliating if you don’t get the answer you’re hoping to hear. It’s a painful experience, especially after the time and effort put into the proposal. If that happens, try your best to stay positive and don’t lash out or get angry.
Your partner might have a solid reason why they don’t want to get married and you can discuss things over the coming days and find out what you both really want from the relationship. A failed proposal could end up being a blessing in disguise.
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