By now you might have seen that my big secret is out. Laura has revealed that whilst on our recent trip to Portugal, I asked Laura to marry me.
Planning to ask the person you love to spend the rest of their life with you is right up there with life’s biggest and toughest life decision. There’s a lot of finer details that you may or may not want to consider and getting them right can be tricky. Here is my guide as I fumbled my way through and learnt the hard way.
Laura and I have known each other for almost 5 years and been dating for 2 and half of those. I had only had one serious relationship before meeting Laura, it was mentally and emotionally a hard transition when that ended. When Laura and I became friends, marriage was the last thing on my mind. But after our first year of dating my mindset had completely changed. Laura is now my best friend (as any good girlfriend should be) and I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else. I also realised that everything had fallen into its right place and I had to embrace that.
These are not golden rules. I’m not saying they will apply to everyone but for me, it really made the decision easier when it came to deciding to propose.
- Talk to your partner openly about the future. This seems so obvious but a lot of couples just assume the other is on the same page when it comes to careers, marriage, family etc. Without openly talking about them you may end up red-faced when it comes to popping the question.
- Spend time in each other’s pockets. Depending on your situation you may or may not be spending a lot of time with each other already. Weekend sleepovers and holidays/travelling together if you don’t live together are a must. Make sure you’re comfortable spending that much time just the two of you. Know you can work out and solve whatever life obstacles come your way.
- Surround yourself with friends and family that support your relationship. You will never be able to please everyone with your choice of love but it certainly makes planning to take things more seriously and further with your girlfriend easier. These will be the people that you will rely on for advice and support going forward.
The chances are that if you have nailed point one (above) then you and your girlfriend will have discussed ‘the future’ before. Knowing what is important to her when it comes to arrangments and requirements for popping the question will make life easier. Although Laura’s mum and dad are no longer in a relationship I knew it was important to her that I respected her wishes by asking both her parents for approval. Not only was this one of the most nerve-racking things I’ve ever had to do but getting hold of her jet-setter dad to speak face to face was another mission and a half.
Asking will you…
When it comes to asking your future in-laws the big question you’ve probably played the scenario in your head a dozen times, that was the case for me. I knew exactly what I wanted to ask and when. Actually saying the words out loud though is another thing. This is where I encourage any man to ‘rehearse’ the scene. Actually asking out loud in front of a mirror if you have to. This way you’re less likely to get tongue-tied like I did.
Providing the conversation with the future in-laws goes swimmingly, you should next plan your location and date for asking the question, the more romantic the better of course. We had our trip to Portugal booked in May, I knew I had to have a serious talk with myself and decide if this was going to be the time and place to ask Laura to marry me. Which it was. The location was a scenic lookout over the river Tejo. With Lisbon on the other side, the Pointe 25 de Abril to the left, and somewhere I had always dreamed about visiting but never had the chance when I was younger.
Choosing a ring that will eventually end up on your partner’s hand for a long time is something that divides opinion with many. Essentially, the thing to remember is to propose with something. If you haven’t got the actual engagement ring, why not use a family ring? Then you can then go and pick something together. Knowing your partner’s ring size isn’t essential. This can be adjusted after she’s said yes. If you really want to get it right, you can use a selection of rings your partner already wears and won’t miss. Take them to a jeweller and they will be more than happy to help give you a guide on sizes. In my case, that’s what I did. I had no idea what ring Laura would want or like but I choose something that I thought was both traditional and modern like her. I know she doesn’t like too much ‘bling’ so I chose something I deemed less ‘in your face’ but with some sparkle- it is an engagement ring after all. There are so many different opinions on how much to spend but I ignored all of them and chose what was right for me. That’s what I would advise you to do when it comes to buying an engagement ring too.
I opted to not tell anyone I was planning on asking Laura the question, no friends or family apart from my parents a week before and Laura’s parents before we departed. I found this much easier personally as I didn’t have anyone’s opinions to cloud my judgement or give opinions on what I had planned. But it’s up to you if you choose to tell anyone before. It did make me a lot more nervous keeping it to myself but, once I asked and Laura said yes it was a huge relief. And now, I can enjoy this incredibly special period in our lives.
Above is my story and hopefully, it helps some other guys out too.
Photos | Sophie Winter Photography