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The Best and Worst Ways to Propose to Your Girlfriend

If you’re thinking about finally proposing to the girl of your dreams, here’s a guide on how you should and shouldn’t do it.

So you’ve finally found what you believe to be that perfect partner: someone so awesome, you want to devote the rest of your life to her – if she’ll have you, of course. You’ve got the ring, you’ve got your speech, and now all you need is the perfect place.

Before you go rushing off to your romantic hotspot, keep in mind that the setting is one of the things she’ll remember forever, the tiny details she’ll be sharing with all of her friends and family as she tells the story over and over again – so consider it wisely! Will there be tourists taking selfies in the background of your marriage proposal? Will it rain? Will she be thrilled, or embarrassed?

Here’s some things to keep in mind when you’re thinking about your setting for popping the question.

Good places to pop the rock

Of course, along with the worst places, we simply must include a list of great places to ask her to marry you. [Read: What is the best way to propose to her?]

#1 The same place you went on your first date. Unless your first date was in a haunted hay ride, this is a safe bet for your proposal. This could easily be substituted for some other sentimental location shared between the two of you.

#2 On top of a tower. This is one of the most fail-safe places to propose. While you may not be big on the idea of proposing in public, there is something notoriously romantic about popping the question on top of a tower.

#3 In an air balloon. Again with the heights! An air balloon is cute, sweet, romantic, and fun. All aspects of a proposal that will have her saying. “Yes, yes, yes!” What could be better than the two of you, a bottle of champagne, a sparkling ring, and a fantastic view?

#4 On a treasure hunt. Using games to pop your question is a surefire way to make an unforgettable proposal. A man online uploaded his proposal to his girlfriend by hiring a camera crew, pretending she’d won admission to be on the Amazing Race television show, and creating various challenges, which she completed, leading her to fly to see the Northern Lights. Once under the aurora borealis, her boyfriend proposed and she said yes!

While we may not all be able to afford a camera crew just to make a proposal special, you can easily make a treasure or scavenger hunt as an outing for your girlfriend before you pop the big question.

#5 Think outside the box. Some guys have taken the ultimate plunge, literally, for their proposals that have made them truly unforgettable, such as while scuba diving, sky diving, using glow in the dark stars to write it on the bedroom ceiling, writing their proposal in the sand and more.

Where not to pop the question

When the day comes, it’s important to avoid clichéd or tasteless settings. Here are our list of the worst places to propose.

#1 At a restaurant. This seems to be a fallback idea for men. Sweet as it is, it’s also boring, and has many avenues of which it can go wrong. Is she a crier? A busy restaurant may not be the place you want to propose to a wailing girlfriend. Crying kids in the background? Not exactly romantic. No reservation? Waiting an hour for your table may just leave the two of you cranky and starved – hardly in the mood for memory-making.

#2 Inside of food. Inside a champagne flute? Maybe. Food? Definitely not! When you show your girl the ring, she wants to see it – not see it with chocolate cake packed in its crevices, or worse, in an x-ray scan when she accidentally swallows it!

#3 With a photographer present. Yes, hired photographers catching every moment of your proposal make for great posts on Pinterest, but it’s completely impersonal to have a third party present while you’re trying to pour your heart out. Plus, what if she says no? Having a flip-book of your crushed heart probably isn’t the long-lasting memory you were hoping for.

#4 In front of her family. There are mixed views on this, depending on your girl, but most women will agree that they want their marriage proposal to be private, intimate, sweet, and all about her. Part of the fun of getting engaged, besides her endless love for you, obviously, is calling people and telling the sweet story over and over until all of her friends and family want to gouge their eardrums with a Q-tip. Therefore, popping the question in front of her family reunion may just take the wind out of her sails. [Read: How to make a great impression when you meet her parents]

#5 At a wedding. Not only is this incredibly tacky, but it’s also disrespectful to the couple who just shared their nuptials. Why would you want your anniversary of asking for her hand to be the same as your friend’s wedding date? No, no, no.

#6 On Valentine’s day. Not only does this hit the nail on the head of clichéd proposals, but what if she says no? Now not only will you be depressed if you’re single on V-day, but you’ll forever remember it as the day you got rejected for marriage. Still not convinced? Then consider this: probably up to a million other couples will have become affianced that exact same day. So much for being unique.

#7 At a baseball game. A mere 10% of women in a wedding survey said they would be okay with a proposal at a sporting event. Why? It’s tacky, and not exactly what Casanova would call intimate. So unless your girl is a huge sports fan and loves being on the Kiss Cam, don’t even consider this.

#8 Over text message or social media. Thinking about changing your status to “Engaged” and pointing it out to your girlfriend followed by a cheesy proposal? Yikes! Think again. This route is way beyond juvenile. Don’t be surprised if you get a big fat no.

We know, we know, you’re the man of the future, and moving forward with social media is the way of the new millennium, but when it comes to your proposal? Skip the tech. Unless you feel you’re able to do it in the cutest, most original way possible, we recommend throwing social media or your phone on the back burner when it comes to popping the question.

#9 Without a ring. Women want that ring. They want the surprise of seeing what you’ve picked out and that sparkly feeling they get when you pop open the box and slip that sucker on her finger. Don’t even think about proposing without that ring! If your woman is picky and you know she will absolutely want to pick out her own ring, you’d best find a way to get to know her style.

Casually stop by the window at a jewelry store, and have her pick out her favorites for fun, this will give you an idea of her taste. Or you could always bring her BFF shopping with you to make sure you’ve got good eyes on your side.

Proposal methods that might work, depending on her taste

Not all women are the same. Here are some examples of ways to propose that some women may love, but others may hate. [Read: The most unique way to propose to your girlfriend]

#1 In a newspaper. This can sometimes be very cute, however, you may only use this option if you are 100% convinced that she is going to say yes. If executed properly, this can be an adorable way to propose, as she can keep the evidence forever.

#2 Over a video. While social media is a big no-no when it comes to proposing, making a sentimental or funny video uploaded online may just be the adorable amount of cheese she’s been looking for. Have you gone on a trip recently without her? Show her the video of all your sight-seeing and end the visual journey with you at a famous landmark, giving your speech with your ring box in hand.

#3 In a book. It’s subtle and sweet, but will only work if your girlfriend is a reader, and if you’ve chosen one of her favorite books. Carving up a book to put your ring inside and asking her to read that book may be a great idea for some. But if you carve up her favorite limited edition book, she’ll probably use it to hit you over the head while she’s saying no.

[Read: 20 reasons to get married and live happily ever after]

If your location doesn’t feel like it suits your relationship, then it probably doesn’t. Whatever way you propose to your special someone, just make sure it’s memorable, heartfelt and honest, and she’ll be sure to say yes!

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Waverly Smith

Waverly Smith is a freelance writer who has been getting paid for spreading her sarcastic take on love, life, and sex since 2010. She is many things that peo...

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