5 Ways You’ll Ruin Your Proposal

Posted by Gillian Burgess on 23rd Feb 2024

There's no one way to plan the perfect proposal, and no foolproof engagement checklist everyone should follow. Each couple is unique, and you have inside intel into what would be most romantic and meaningful for the two of you.

But while there are countless wonderful ways you can pop the question, there are also a few surefire showstoppers. Avoid these common proposal mistakes, and ensure that your story is one you will both love to tell for years to come.


1. You ask before she's ready.

Asking your partner to marry you is a very big deal, and you should treat it that way. Think long and hard about why the two of you are right for each other and why you want to spend the rest of your lives together. Have honest conversations about your future plans before even thinking about shopping for affordable engagement rings. When you propose, you want the moment to be a surprise – not the answer you're going to receive!

2. You try to wing it.

Some of the most heartfelt proposals are sweet and simple… but this doesn't mean that no thought went into them. Write down the main thoughts you want to remember in the moment. Don't try to memorize a script, but jot down the sentiments you want to convey. If you try to improvise on the spot, you're likely to draw a blank and miss out on an opportunity to tell her how much she means to you.


3. You don't listen to your instincts.

There's a lot of social pressure around planning the perfect proposal. You watch a dozen different flash mob proposals on YouTube or listen to the helpful advice your friends, parents and second cousins offer… and pretty soon, you've lost sight of what's right for the two of you. Try to ignore these outside expectations and focus on what she would want. When in doubt, plan something private and thoughtful – one of the most common proposal mistakes is putting on a big public show when that's not her style.

4. You tell too many people.

It's an exciting time, so it's natural to want to tell everyone you know about your proposal ideas and your short list of affordable engagement rings. But resist this temptation! The more people who know about your upcoming proposal, the bigger the possibility that someone will let the secret slip. Tell a small circle of friends and family you trust to keep it quiet and help you with plans.

5. You don't have the ring (or a plan for one).


In a survey of more than 19,000 couples from The Knot, "proposing with no ring" was ranked as the biggest engagement mistake. Do some digging in advance – ask her friends, stalk her Pinterest boards, ask subtle questions – to find the ideal diamond engagement ring to propose with. Or if you know she'll want to be involved in the shopping process, opt to propose with a family ring as a stand-in – then celebrate your engagement by picking out the perfect matching trio ring set.

Still not sure how to propose?


Download our free Gentleman's Guide to Proposing.