Popping the question is a huge moment in any man's life and it's easy to go overboard or let nerves get the better of you when planning a proposal.
Don't worry, it really doesn't have to be that difficult! Every couple is unique, and you probably know what your partner would like better than anyone else when it comes to getting engaged. But to help you stay on track, it's important to consider some of the don'ts as well as the dos when planning the perfect proposal (and to get the perfect answer!), so here's our list of five important things to avoid when proposing.
1. Don't tell too many people
Enlisting a friend or your mum to help buy the perfect ring can be a really good idea, but you need to trust whoever you tell not to let the cat out of the bag. It's easy to get excited, but don't go blabbing the big news around town before she even says yes!
2. Don't do it in front of a crowd
Proposing in front of a big crowd is risky. Unless this is something you're 100% sure your partner would love (and she's definitely going to say yes) avoid the big screens, proposing on stage, on TV or even in a crowded restaurant. This is an intimate moment between you and your partner and sharing it with the world could ruin it. Even proposing in front of friends and family can be too much for some and popping the question at another wedding is a definite no-go - you don't want to steal the bride's limelight!
3. Don't surprise the girl who hates surprises
Traditionally the groom surprised his bride to be with the perfect engagement ring but, let's face it, that's easier said than done. More and more couples are now choosing to buy the engagement ring together, so unless you've got a good idea of what kind of rock she would be happy to wear forever, consider proposing without a ring or with a dummy engagement ring. For more advice check out our man's guide to choosing the perfect ring.
4. Don't go overboard
You've got it all planned out in your head - a thousand rose petals, a room full of candles, doves, a unicorn… it's easy to go over the top when you're planning a proposal, but some things are better kept simple. Turning the moment into an elaborate event can cause more stress than necessary; there are more things to go wrong and you run the risk of being a little cliché. All she really needs to know is that you love her and want to spend the rest of your life with her. Besides, unicorns a pretty hard to get hold of these days.
5. Don't wimp out
It's natural to be nervous when proposing to your partner, but this is definitely a time to man up! Building up to the big moment and then backing down before you actually pop the question will probably leave your partner feeling confused and disappointed. Give it some thought in advance so you have an idea of what you're going to say, but don't make it too scripted - you want it to come from the heart.
Before you decide to propose it's important to discuss the idea of marriage with your partner (without being too obvious, of course) and to ensure you're both ready - you don't want your proposal to come completely out of the blue.
It's also worth considering what kind of person your partner is. If your girlfriend is from a traditional family she might be expecting you to ask for her father's permission before popping the question on one knee, while others find the idea of asking permission for their hand in marriage old-fashioned.
For more advice on popping the question, check out our Getting Engaged section for tips on proposing and choosing the perfect ring.