The most magical time of year, Christmas is all about spending time with those dearest to you, celebrating togetherness and showing just how much they mean to you with perfect gifts that say, “I know you”.
This is especially true for couples, with Christmas being the perfect time of year for gift-wrapped declarations of love. But for some, this declaration might be a little bigger than a new scarf, with many people choosing the holidays as the time to take a leap in Intrlove and make the grand, romantic gesture of proposing.
If you’re thinking about proposing to your partner this Christmas, read on to find out our top tips from knowledgeable wedding and proposal planners, romance experts and bloggers to ensure asking the big question goes as smoothly as possible.
Although it may feel more romantic to be spontaneous and pop the question when the moment ‘feels right’, Devine Bride wedding planner Laura Devine encourages a bit of planning and preparation instead.
“Proposing at Christmas time requires precisely the right time and place. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail! Now I’m not saying your proposal will be a failure if it is not carefully choreographed, but my point is, do plan ahead exactly when and where you are going to propose.”
Although you should plan ahead with your proposal, that doesn’t mean you can’t ‘plan’ a surprise moment to pop the question, says romance expert Lily Heise from Je T’Aime, Me Neither.
“Your sweetheart might be expecting that your proposal is coming, so it'll be extra meaningful if you catch her or him off guard. That doesn't mean as they are coming out of the shower, however, try to find the right moment to obtain the surprise effect. This could be on a stroll at your holiday destination which just so happens to go by a super romantic spot (cue a view of the Eiffel Tower or the Charles Bridge in Prague). Or it could be a hidden ring or message in a Christmas cracker, or perhaps you could have the ring ready at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve as everyone is cheering to the New Year. This extra thill will certainly augment the power of your declaration of love!”
As well as considering the setting, Laura says to also consider whether or not the proposal should be done publicly or privately.
“Will you be seeing family? Will you be staying with family? Will family be visiting you? How will it work? Consider carefully if your partner would like a grand gesture in front of all the family, or something a bit more intimate when you are both opening your presents together in private. Oh, and make sure you add a few more bottles of bubbly to your Christmas supermarket shop for the celebrations afterwards!”
Wedding planner and designer Andri Benson agrees that it’s important to put your partner’s preferences first.
“What would be your partner’s preference? A private moment just the two of you surrounded by sparkling fairy lights or would they love having family and friends to share the moment with? Maybe they’d like a combination of the two? Ask someone trusted in private, but definitely have friends and family lined up to celebrate afterwards."
What could be more romantic than popping the question somewhere that has a significant meaning for the two of you this Christmas?
"When thinking about the location for your proposal, try to make it meaningful to you as a couple,” says Andri. “Your relationship and key moments from it can help inspire the location, whether that’s where you first met, had your first date together or a favourite restaurant. With the festive season in mind, the location could be linked to your favourite Christmas movie scene, song lyrics or it could just simply be somewhere that you know you’ll want to return to every Christmas to reminisce.”
If your partner is very family-orientated with long-standing family traditions, proposal planner Alexandra Uritis from The Yes Girls recommends playing into this for a proposal that your partner will really appreciate the thought behind.
“Including traditions or family during your Christmas proposal is a great way to make the day extra special. Does their family host a gingerbread house decorating contest every year perhaps? Create a gingerbread man that’s down on one knee to present when everyone reveals their creations. And don’t forget to have someone available to capture the moment!”
If you’re looking for some wow-factor with your proposal, Elizabeth Sullivan, Love Mentor dating coach, suggests going on a festive getaway to pop the question.
“Christmas is a fantastic time to propose, the possibilities of how to do it are endless. Really all that matters is that your partner says yes (and that you're totally in love, obviously!) but at the same time, you've got to pull out all the stops and make it memorable, right?
“So how about a destination proposal? It all depends on what you both love to do. If skiing is a favourite, how about a day skiing, then a massage and you both relaxing in a hot pool by your chalet with a stunning view of the mountains and a glass of champagne. Or if Vienna is a favourite, a romantic candlelit dinner on the giant Ferris wheel with spectacular views of the city skyline at night.
Wedding blogger Michelle McDonough from Girl Gets Wed, suggests making your proposal on an intimate couples’ spa break this Christmas, after all, you’ll be in need of some pampering after a nerve-wracking few weeks of planning!
“When it comes to proposals, I love the idea of the big question being popped while a couple are enjoying a spa day and stay together. Mottram Hall would be the perfect setting for this, especially with the re-opening of their new and improved Champneys spa complex soon. Simply book an overnight stay or make a weekend of it, enjoying the extensive facilities that a Champneys spa hotel has to offer, then make your super romantic proposal over dinner in the evening for a romantic and unforgettable proposal.”
If you’d like to incorporate some fun into your proposal, Elizabeth says you can’t go wrong with a treasure hunt.
“If your partner likes a little bit of fun and games, plan a Christmas treasure hunt in the local area or even further afield. Keep the clues simple and have the last one finish up somewhere special for you to pop the question!”
If you want to go that extra mile, you could even pre-plan to have friends and family waiting at a nearby restaurant in secret, so you can all enjoy a celebratory dinner together.
Who doesn’t love putting on something super dressy for a fancy evening?
“If your partner loves getting dressed up, why not have a big festive night out together?” Says Elizabeth. “Plan a really glitzy evening, whether that’s a night at the ballet, a gala dinner, a gourmet dinner at a high-end restaurant or even a New Year's ball. Get really dressed up, and I mean really dressed up (ball gowns, tuxes - the lot!) and find the perfect moment with some bubbly in hand to pop the question, such as after the fireworks on New Year’s Eve.”
Director and romance planner Amanda Brown from The One Romance says that no matter how you decide to propose this Christmas, adding a personal touch is essential.
“The most important thing about your proposal is to make it as personalised as possible to your relationship, for example, link special memories you have together, include photos from your time together, tell your partner all the reasons you love them, tell them why you want to spend the rest of your life with them and have a beautiful proposal speech ready.”
And the number one rule?
“Always get down on one knee. It’s romantic!”
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