written & photographed by Autumn Delong
If you’re planning on proposing soon, your mind is likely running on overdrive. You’re considering what ring to buy, what to wear, booking a photographer, how to ensure it’s a surprise, planning an engagement party — and, oh yeah, processing that YOU’RE GOING TO BE ENGAGED TO THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE! No big deal, right? If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, here are four tips to consider when planning your proposal.
01 / ring shopping
What type of ring does your partner want (yellow, white, or rose gold)? A plain, single stone, or more elaborate band? Will it be a vintage, classic, or modern look? Do these questions sound like I’m speaking a foreign language? If so, your soon-to-be fiancé has likely gushed to their closest friends about what their dream engagement ring would look like, has created a detailed Pinterest board, or both.
Gather those ideas and images and make an appointment with a jeweler. They will talk with you about budget and style, and options to even create a custom designed ring! Once you’ve decided on a ring, look into insurance or a warranty that covers resizing, cleanings, and ring/stone replacement.
Or, if you have a family ring to propose with, make sure to get it cleaned and resized before popping the question!
Tip: If you can’t get the exact size, guesstimate. You can always get it resized later.
02 / telling your loved ones you’re proposing
The timeline for when you want to let your loved ones and friends in on your secret is entirely up to you. Remember that you don’t need to give exact dates of the proposal right away! This heads up could be as much as a year in advance with a detailed timeline of your plan, or just a week’s notice. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you have at least told their best friend and a loved one they are close to.
Tip: Some people feel ‘asking’ the parents/family is an antiquated gesture, while others consider it a must-have. Personally, I’ve noted a lot of brides have considered it a respectful gesture in the process of two families becoming one. During this process they will be processing their child getting married, potentially contributing monetarily to your union, and will feel so loved that you’ve thought to involve them!
However if you decide to not do this, you could just as easily do something else to involve both of your families after the proposal has taken place! Additionally, I’d like to note that not everyone’s family circumstances are the same. This could result in confiding in your partner’s parental figures, or even a friend that is dear to your partner.
03 / hiding in the bushes
This is the part where your photographer comes in! We can help you to think through a location that’s special to you—whether it’s a place you’ve been many times, or somewhere that will hold special significance after you pop the question.
We will help you scout out your location beforehand, visualize what the moment will look like from afar, and find a place to hide (or help you think of a story for us to hide in plain sight). We’ll keep all of your secrets, answer any questions you might have, and help to plan the day to ensure that it runs smoothly.
Tip: On the day of your proposal, your photographer will take photos of the proposal and a few portraits of you afterwards. While you’re planning the proposal, ask your photographer if they will be able to send over a photo or two that same day.
04 / the moments after
Now that you’ve popped the question, first thing’s first: BREATHE. You did it! You’re engaged!
Your partner will likely want to call all of your family and friends, gawk at their new ring, and give you lots of kisses. If you choose, you can find a way to celebrate that will be meaningful to you both — anything from walking around your favorite park, a candlelit dinner at home, making reservations at a nice restaurant, or grabbing drinks at your favorite bar or coffee shop. You and your fiancé can use this time to debrief, fill in the details you’ve kept a secret, and generally soak in the excitement together!
Tip: If you decide to have an engagement party, this is where you can give some direction, but should trust in your and your fiancé’s friends to execute it. They will be more than happy to fill this role!
About Autumn Delong Photography
Hey! I’m Autumn, a wife to Jason, cat-mom to Crouton and Chorizo, always craving sunny days and G&T’s on our porch (...or more preferably, a beach). I’ve been enamored with photography since beginning with my small point and shoot camera as a child, to running my wedding photography business for the past six years. It brings me so much joy getting to capture people’s genuine emotions while they’re in their elements, and allowing them to look back on memories fondly. When working with my couples, you can find me third wheeling on an ice cream date, meeting up to make their dream vision come true, or out celebrating on the dance floor at their wedding.