These simple steps will help you hack your marriage proposal.   

First congratulations on finding your future wife!  Knowing you found the woman you want to marry is one of the most exciting (and most terrifying) moments in a man’s life.  There is one thing that unifies all men when they are planning a proposal: they want to make their soon-to-be fiancée happy.  You want this to proposal to be perfect.  A marriage proposal that she will always look back on as one of the happiest moments of her life.   So let’s get started.

Step 1 picking a marriage proposal date:  You have made up your mind you are going to propose to your partner.

Where do you start?  I recommend first picking the date that you plan on asking her to marry you.  Don’t worry – if you can’t decide on an exact date, start with the month you want to propose and narrow it down overtime.

Reasons For Picking a Date For Your Proposal

  • Once you have a marriage proposal date picked it puts everything in motion
  • If you are anything like me you may be a procrastinator so picking a date gives you a deadline to get things done.
  • Allow yourself enough time to get a ring.  It takes up to 4 weeks to get a ring made after you purchase it.
  • Coordinating the date with her favorite time of year, a holiday, an anniversary, her birthday, or a vacation you are planning
  • You may have to save some money for the ring.  Give yourself enough time to save.

Step 2 buying an engagement ring: Buying your future fiancée’s engagement ring can seem like an overwhelming task.   Start with figuring out what type of engagement ring she likes.  See steps A to F.

When buying an engagement ring you will hear about “The Four C’s,” Can I afford it, Crap that’s expensive, Cold feet, Can I get some help….!

Just kidding.  The Four C’s really stand for Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat.

Buying an Engagement Ring Step A: Determine what style of ring she likes

To guys, all rings might look the same but to your future fiancée they do not.  A few common styles are Solitaire, Side Stones, Three Stones, and Halo.  I won’t list every style of ring that exists, but I will give you tips on how to figure out what she likes…. Then you can research what that looks like.

  • The easiest solution is she has already dropped hints as to what she likes.  Many girls do this so keep your ears and eyes open.
  • Another way to determine what style of ring she likes is by asking her opinion on someone else’s ring.  Most women will tell you what they think about it and what they would prefer.   The perfect opportunity to ask this is when a friend of hers gets engaged.  Ask her, “So did she like the ring?”  She will tell you what her friend thought – and what she also thinks of it.
  • Friends and family can also be a good source of info, but make sure they are not gossipers, or you asking might get back to her.

Buying an Engagement Ring Step B: Finding Out Her Ring Size

Yes gentlemen, rings come in different sizes.  Be re-assured – if you don’t get the size right you can get the ring resized, but it is much easier to make the ring smaller than bigger.  If you are not able to figure out her ring size estimate larger than smaller.

The easiest way to figure out her ring size is to use one of the rings she already has.   Make sure it is a ring that she still wears occasionally as over time someone’s fingers may get larger or smaller.  If you borrow the ring she wears every day, she might notice so good luck on not being suspicious.  Also make sure it is a ring that she wears on her ring finger, not a ring she regularly wears on the thumb or pinky finger.

Buying an Engagement Ring Step C: Buying the Ring

You will hear things like you should spend 3 months salary on a ring.  The amount of money you spend really has to fit your budget and what your girl likes.   To start do your research online to get an idea of ring styles, brands and costs.   When you have more of an idea of what you want, find a reputable jeweler.   Go there and start shopping to determine what your money will buy.   Remember, name brand engagement rings cost much more then generic ones.  If you are buying a plain solitaire band without any design for a solitaire the only difference between a name brand and the less expensive generic no-name brand…is just the brand.

I did buy a name brand – not because my wife wanted the name but because she liked vintage – style rings.  The brand Tacori is known for their vintage looks, so her style is what led me to buy Tacori.

–Buying an Engagement Ring: The Four C’s:  Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat.

I am not going to go into a lot of detail here, as I am not a jeweler… I’ll just give you enough so when you do talk to a professional you know what the hell they are referring to.

  1. Color: The color of the diamond dictates the quality when you are talking about “colorless” diamonds ( FYI pink, chocolate diamonds this doesn’t apply to them.)  The quality of the diamond is based on the absence of color.  A perfect diamond has no hue, a perfect diamond has a higher value. Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the official diamond grading body uses a D-to-Z diamond color-grading system to measure the degree of colorlessness.  The scale begins with the letter D, representing colorless, and continues, with increasing presence of color, to the letter Z.  The jeweler will show you the diamond under a magnifier glass, but the color difference will be so slight that it will be very hard to tell.   Picking the color level is up to you and will just be a function of what you are willing to pay for what is considered “more quality.”
  2. Clarity: Means the lack of internal imperfections called ‘inclusions’ and external characteristics called ‘blemishes.’  While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes, the higher its value.  The GIA has 6 categories, some of which are divided, for a total of 11 specific grades.  (Source GIA):
    • Flawless (FL) – Highest Value
      No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
    • Internally Flawless (IF)
      No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
    • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)
      Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
    • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)
      Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
    • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)
      Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
    • Included (I1, I2, and I3Lowest Value
      Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance
  3. Cut: A diamond is a rock and an uncut diamond looks like a rock – not ready to be worn on your future wife’s finger.   The cut is not only shape the jeweler cuts the diamond into (princess, emerald, pear, or round), but how good of a job they did in cutting it.  A good cut is about how the diamond returns light… Basically the bling or sparkly effect.   The range is from excellent to poor.
  4. Carat Weight:  How much the diamond weights – basically how big it is.  A metric “carat” is defined as 200 milligrams. Each carat can be subdivided into 100 ‘points.’ This allows very precise measurements for example 1.01 carats vs. 1.02 carats.  All other things being equal the larger the carats the higher the price.  But remember the first 3 C’s also affect the value.

Now, every man has to pick the engagement ring himself.   I recommend listening to your jeweler but also listening to your gut on what your fiancée will like.  I picked towards the higher end of quality in color, clarity, and cut – not perfect or flawless, but very good – and then the largest carat weight my budget allowed.

Buying an Engagement Ring Step D: Paying for the ring 

Just as an FYI as plan your budget many jewelers offer a period of financing with 0% interest.  I am not encouraging you to go into debt to buy a ring more expensive than you can actually afford.  However, this is an option for those who have good credit and may want to spread out their payments instead of paying all at once.

Buying an Engagement Ring Step F: Getting Insurance 

This is something I encourage you doing right away.  You never know what can happen.   For my proposal, I was traveling with my ring overseas so this was something I made sure I got before I left.  It give me a little peace of mind even though I was already a nervous wreck. At least if I lost the ring I didn’t lose out on replacing it.   Your jeweler can recommend insurance or you can do your own research.  As with any insurance, how much you pay is relative to how expensive your ring is.

Step 3 picking a proposal location:  The marriage proposal location is a critically important aspect of a perfect proposal.  Let’s find your location!

Proposal Location ideas may be the first thing that you ponder when planning a marriage proposal.   The setting for your proposal can shape your proposal idea and how you ask your partner to marry you.  Picking the proposal location is the next step on your journey towards the perfect marriage proposal.  The location should be a place that your future fiancée will find special.  For many that may be a location that has meant something to them in their relationship.  For others this may be a destination that you will be visiting.   As long as you find the best place to pop the question for you and your fiancée, that’s all that matters.

Proposal location ideas you explore should fit the type of proposal you want, and you know your partner will love.  I have created four categories of proposal location ideas that help guide you towards picking a location that fits the style of proposal you want.

Proposal location ideas categories:

  • Secluded: This category of marriage proposal is in a location that will just be the two of you.  This can be a secluded beach, mountain top, or even your apartment covered in flowers and candles.
  • Public but Intimate: This is the proposal category that would involve a public place but still be just the two of you in that moment. Example of this would be the Eiffel Tower or top Empire State Building or even a nice restaurant with a great view.   While intimate you may receive a cheer from strangers also visiting the same location.  This is the category I chose.
  • Grand Public Gesture: You want a location that everyone can see, such as on stage at a concert or writing “Will you marry me?” in the sky with a plane.  With this choice make sure your partner is OK with being the center of attention.
  • Involving Friends or Family:  Some will choose to bring her friends or family to the occasion.   The location should obviously involve enough space to comfortably fit everyone.  I would also suggest planning for people being late.  (If they are anything like my wife’s friends, they will be there an hour after you tell them.  So plan a buffer time!

Step 4 Marriage proposal ideas: Unique proposal ideas that will inspire you to create your perfect marriage proposal.

There are an endless number of proposal ideas.  Your proposal idea should fit your proposal location.   Your proposal idea should also fit your partner’s personality.  For a list of unique proposal ideas check out


Step 5 how to ask a girl’s father for her hand in marriage: Asking your girlfriend’s father for his daughter’s hand in marriage is an old school practice that dates back to the days when there was no choice in the matter.   You had to ask to get his blessing or there would be no marriage.   Times have changed though, so while not asking him won’t technically stop you from marrying your future wife, I do recommend that you do it.

I completely get that this might be a tough situation for some men. As I am now a father of a little girl….I can already see myself not liking her future boyfriends and she isn’t even a one year old yet.  But that is life and I am sure eventually I will come around.  As a father, I would respect the man who will eventually marry her so much more if he has the balls to ask me.

The main reason I recommend you do it is because this is her father.  The first man that has been in her life, much longer then you have.  You will be part of his family and he will be part of yours in the near future. In my experience families get a long better when the members respect each other.  So asking him may go a long way in him accepting you and thus giving you the respect you deserve.

Also this is 2016, so asking her mother or other influential family members may also be a good idea if she comes from a less conservative or traditional family.

***Full disclaimer you know your relationship with her father much more than I do.  If you think it will actually hurt your chances of marrying his daughter more by asking him, then go with what you think is right.  I would never want you to do something that would prevent you from your proposal. Know your situation and act accordingly.  If you decide not to ask, it does not mean that you don’t have balls…it just means you know your father-in-law.

  • How to ask for your girl friend’s father for permission to marry his daughter. It’s a good idea to try and warm your father-in-law up a little bit before you ask him.  I do not recommend you to ask him in passing as if  you are asking if you can have a beer from his fridge.  This is his daughter, so giving her away won’t come easy for him.  Work up to it.  Find something that both of you might enjoy doing together… Like going to a game, playing golf together, an event that he might like, going out for a drink, etc…  I took my father-in-law and my brother-in-law to a car show.  We all like cars, so that worked out perfectly.  After that I took them both out to a nice dinner, my treat (including a few drinks to loosen him up).   That is where I asked him.  Fortunately, he was thrilled.  Balls intact I went on to the next step in the proposal process.

I knew that asking her father wouldn’t make a difference on whether my wife would say yes, but I knew that I wasn’t just marrying her– I was joining a new family.  I wanted to put my best foot forward and step into my new family with mutual respect.

Step 6 How to ask someone to marry you?  What do I say during a marriage proposal? 

So you have the proposal date, you bought the engagement ring, and you know your proposal location.  Now what do you actually say when you get down on one knee?  Let’s learn how to propose.

This statement needs to be personal come from the heart and most importantly in some way ask, “Will you marry me?”

I kept it short and to the point.  I didn’t want to memorize some long statement that I knew in that moment might make me fumble over my words.   I said her full name for some reason including her middle name made it seem official to me – then followed by, “You are my best friend and the love of my life.  Will you marry me?”  Luckily, she said yes.

Am I ready for my marriage proposal?  The answer is yes!

You have learned all the steps to the perfect marriage proposal.   You have the engagement ring, you picked the proposal location, and you are on your way to ask the big question. You are ready.  Don’t get cold feet.  If you love her and know in your heart this is the right decision, just do it!

For more details on planning the perfect marriage proposal including proposal ideas, and marriage proposal accessories check out