Interview by Suzannah Weiss with Ash Fox
Proposals aren’t exactly something you learn about in school, and since women aren’t usually expected to be the ones proposing, they get even less advice. But there’s no reason women shouldn’t be able to pop the question. In fact, it can be empowering to go after what you want instead of waiting on someone else.
In photographer and proposal planner Ash Fox’s experience, most couples have already talked about marriage by the time they get engaged. The proposal is mostly a formality, so have fun with it.
While the most common object to propose with is a ring, it can be anything your partner can wear for the rest of their life. Whatever it is, it should show you value and understand them, says Fox. Some prefer watches or bracelets.
If you go for a ring, get the nicest one that’s affordable to you and fits your partner’s taste. Can’t dole out a fortune? Look for vintage rings. If your partner owns any rings, you can figure out their size by putting a ring of theirs on a piece of paper and tracing a circle around it. If not, no worries — a ring can be resized.
When it comes to location, you can go two routes, says Fox. You can take your partner to a beautiful setting you’ve never been to before so you have a new experience to share. Or, you can take them to a favorite place of yours — perhaps one where you shared a significant memory — for a sentimental proposal.
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Before you decide what you’re going to say, take a few hours by yourself to think about your relationship. Write down your thoughts if it helps. “Think about what they mean to you and why you want to spend your life with them,” Fox suggests. “A good speech answers two questions: ‘Why are you proposing?’ and ‘Why do you love your partner?’” Don’t wing it. Your partner will remember what you say for the rest of their life.
Though some couples opt to get engaged on Christmas or New Year’s, Fox actually advises against proposing on a holiday. “Give yourself a new day to celebrate each year,” she says.
Another don’t? Going over the top. “The best proposals are where the person proposing shows their partner that they really get them and it’s an outpouring of love, not a display of ego,” says Fox. Only propose in public if they’re the kind of person who would love the attention.
No matter what you do, Fox has one hard and fast rule: Always get down on one knee. “Getting on your knee is a physical representation of vulnerability,” she explains. “You are humbling yourself and putting your heart on the line to ask your partner to spend their life with you.”
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