Life is a journey not meant to be traveled alone. A man needs a woman and not just anyone but the right one.

Fast forward to today, you think you’ve reached the point in your life to take your sacred vow with your bride on your wedding day. But before that big day arrives, you have to propose to her first to marry you.

As a celebrated tradition, the proposal is also as huge as her wedding in a woman’s life. So you want to sweep her off her feet when you propose to her at some fancy restaurant.

You’re wondering if you should propose before or after dinner.  But this dilemma is just one of the many things you need to consider when you pop the question, “Will you marry me?”

Don’t fret, however. A well-thought-out plan will do the trick to beat the stress that comes with a marriage proposal. Besides, this should be a happy day for you and your future fiancée.

Crafting an idea of a surprise proposal dinner seems complex. But you just need to use the 4W, 1H technique to guide you with your plans.

The 4 Wives And 1 Husband Technique

Let’s begin by answering the Where Who, What, When, and How questions. But first, know your chances with your girlfriend and if she wants the same thing: marriage.

You must have already gone window shopping for the perfect engagement ring the moment you thought of settling down. You would have imagined putting it on your woman’s ring finger and how you’d make her cry tears of joy.

But before you make the purchase, you first need to subtly find out her thoughts about getting married. You should be on the same page with your partner.  

Tell her about a friend who just got engaged to see her reactions. If she shares positive notions about engagement and marriage, take it as a sign that she will say “yes”. It’s a green light to go ahead with your plan to propose. This initial step will set the stage for everything that will follow.

1Where to propose

The First W: Where to Propose

So, you made up your mind that you’re going to propose to your Ms. Right at an intimate dinner at some restaurant. That’s because it will be more memorable for both of you.

We do agree with you on that, but where exactly? Choosing where to propose is equally important to make this a remarkable event in your life.

First, you may pick both your favorite restaurant as the best eating place for a proposal dinner. It could be where you had your first official dinner date, making it a fantastic perfect location to go for. You two will have an awesome time walking down memory lane and laugh at what transpired that day.

If you think the place is already too familiar to hold such a momentous occasion, go for a new fancy place. She might like the feel and fresh experience of dining in a grand restaurant you haven’t gone to before.

The important caveat here is you have to visit the restaurant first to have a look at the ambiance. Read customer reviews about the place.

More importantly, make sure your girl will find the food as something exquisite. If so, your proposal dinner can’t go south.

That’s one down, four to go.

2Who will be involved

The Second W: Who Will be Involved

Planning your proposal dinner can be a daunting task for one person. Hence, you will need help you can get from your circle of trust: family and friends.

Keep in mind that you need to know can trust the people who will be involved in your plan. You don’t want that one of them will blow up the whole thing. Your girlfriend might know about it and it spoils the element of surprise.

Your best friend and her closest friends would make trusted accomplices get things done. They could help with the whole set-up in the restaurant.

Also, you may loop in the parents because they can be your allies, good ones too. Seek a tip or two out of their own and friends’ experiences. They’ve been there, done that, so, somehow, they can help you with how well things could pan out.

Now, if you ask when is the best time to loop them in? Several weeks into the surprise proposal dinner would do. There’s no rule of thumb really, it still depends on the lead time you need to prepare everything.

We all know that there’s no professional proposal planner, only a wedding planner. Thus, you and your allies will have to figure this one out by yourselves.

3Engagement ring

The Third W: What Engagement Ring to Choose

A diamond is a girl’s best friend she wants on her ring finger. As for you, it’s your ticket to getting a big yes when you pop the question. But the ring of her dreams comes with a hefty price tag.

The price wouldn’t be a big deal if you have been saving up for it for a while. You’re lucky if your mom will give it to you as a family heirloom passed on for generations.

So, here are a few helpful tips to guide you on what engagement ring to choose for your future bride.

Set the right budget. If neither of the above fits the bill, know how much you’re willing to stretch from your budget. You don’t want to start a marriage carrying heavy debt.

The key is to ditch the two-month salary rule, but do not break the bank for that perfect ring. Once you have the right budget in mind, you get to a few more steps to make the purchase

Know her ring size. You don’t want your girl’s most coveted ring in the world to be oversized or undersized. Don’t tell yourself that it’s just fine and you can take it back for resizing.

Instead, team up with her best friend secretly to find your partner’s exact ring size. It will save you some money, too. Can you imagine the horror of spoiling almost a perfect proposal evening because of a wrong size engagement ring?

Do window shopping. If time is not an issue, do some window shopping. Visit several jewelry stores to compare costs and narrow down your options. Ultimately, you’d purchase an engagement ring of the same quality but at the best price.

Choose a ring that suits her style. Your future wife will wear her engagement ring for the rest of her life. Hence, it’s something that will fit her personality, style, and taste for a piece of jewelry.

You will get an idea of her personal preference just by looking at the set of jewelry she wears most often. Maybe, here’s when you can also ask your mom or her mother what ring you should pick for her.

Take into account the quality of the rock. When buying a diamond engagement ring, use the 4Cs as the basis for quality and price: cut, color, carat, and clarity.

  • Cut refers to the quality of the diamond cut and how well it sparkles under varied lighting conditions
  • The color of the diamond is determined using the D to Z scale, D being colorless and Z being slightly yellow. Diamonds with less color are most costly as they’re the rarer ones.
  • Clarity refers to the perfection of the rock, whether it has blemishes that affect its overall appeal. To determine the clarity of the rock, the GIA grading scale is used to rate the clarity of a diamond. It ranks the rock from Flawless (FL) to Included (I).
  • Carat measures the actual weight of a diamond. Here’s a fun fact: no two diamonds are alike. Carat is a key quality used to rank diamonds. The higher the

In addition, other components are involved in how the ring’s rock sits well on the ring. These components include the metal that makes up the ring band, the side stones, and the like.

They say diamonds are forever because it is harder than the rest of the precious gems. Less of us know, however, that diamonds lose a substantial amount of value after it’s purchased.

Consider widening your choices by looking at other precious gems other than diamonds. One better alternative is the moissanite engagement rings.

Moissanite is naturally grown in a special meteorite type in small quantities. It even sparkles brighter than diamonds under lighting conditions. The downside is it’s barely less hard than diamonds.

You can also go for more colorful precious stones such as rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and opals. They’re rarer than diamonds. The unique color each of these precious stones possesses might catch the eye and the personal style of your sweetheart. Hues of blue, red, and green have become a top choice over the sparkly clear white charm of diamonds.

Remember that bottom line, an engagement ring is a symbol of your love times infinity for your fiancée-to-be above all else.

4When to propose

The Fourth W: When to Propose

We finally reach the part where we answer the question that’s going around your head. It’s the reason why you happened to click this article in the first place. Should you propose before or after dinner?

Proposing to your future wife is easier said and planned than done. That is because rejection sucks. You may have read some signs that she will say yes but there’s still the littlest possibility of getting a “no” answer.

At the back of your mind, you have to do it right, especially the right timing to pop the four-word question.

Let’s now get to the bottom of that and proceed first with the pros and cons of each choice of when to propose during your dinner date. Surely, it’s a tricky situation you’d be in.

Other men might not be able to swallow rejection when they propose at the onset of dinner. Oh, the horror, right? So, you jump at the conclusion that before dinner seems not viable. But let’s tarry a little on that thought.

So after dinner, then? Other guys will likely be anxious the whole time, and everything would appear in slow motion. She might see it coming based on how strange her boyfriend is acting. If he’s too nervous to propose, getting through the six-course meal would seem forever.

From that point of view, let’s weigh the pros and cons of proposing before or after eating your dinner.

Proposing Before Dinner: Pros & Cons

The upside of proposing before dinner would suit guys who get easily anxious under pressure. They usually don’t endure the jitters while waiting to finish eating the food before proposing. If you think you’re the nervous kind of guy, then proposing before dinner makes an apt choice.

Say you and your partner are now seated to dine at the fancy restaurant of choice for your surprise proposal dinner. Find a cue that would hint at the right time to begin to utter the words you’ve been practicing. Perhaps it’s when the waitress has poured the wine on your glasses. One sip of the wine would set it up for you and you know you’re ready to hear her say yes.

Proposing before dinner gives room for both of you if you plan to share this joyous occasion with your friends and family.

The downside is if unexpectedly, she declined your proposal. That would be a bummer, especially if you’ve already invited friends and family to celebrate with you. It’s highly unlikely the evening will turn out the way you planned.

Proposing After Dinner: Pros & Cons

It’s likely that men somehow know their girl will say yes before making plans to propose. Still, there’s a fifty percent probability of a no answer, given the question is answerable by yes or no.

So, it’s practical for some guys to wait until after dinner to pop the question. This way, they won’t put their plans to waste and rather relish the elaborate six-course dining. They choose to simply chill out and enjoy the mood of a laid-back evening.

If this sounds like you, then save popping the question after dinner. If she says yes, you two could extend it to an intimate moment together after dinner to celebrate.

The drawback of proposing after dinner is having to get through the entire dinner anxious and tense. Make sure you can contain your excitement when you decide to propose after dinner.

The answer, therefore, to the question, “Should I propose before or after dinner?” is not absolute and straightforward. It still depends on your personality when you’re under pressure.

Consider other significant factors as well before you decide whether he will get down on one knee to propose before or after dinner. This includes the nature of the proposal dinner like is it a fine dining experience with a six-meal course.

Ask yourself how your mate will like a proposal before dinner or one after. Also, your decision will vary if your plan includes inviting close friends and family.

5how to propose

1H: How to Propose

Let’s now go to the How question of your plan. We go over this question to help you cook your surprise proposal dinner to perfection.

Include the restaurant with your plan

Fine dining restaurants will be happy to assist you in what you need to make it an extraordinary experience. The engagement night should be so memorable for both of you.

By involving them in your plan ahead of time, the crew will see to it that the service is exceptional. The cozy ambiance will set up the romantic mood, from candlelight to great-tasting wine, and sumptuous food. Perhaps, they can hire violinists to serenade you while having dinner to elevate the occasion with beautiful tunes.

The restaurant will reserve a special spot for the occasion, with perfect lighting, flowers, and a romantic backdrop to make beautiful photos. They can also concoct the most scrumptious choices on their menu and the finest wine to offer.

Tell your future fiancée to dress to kill for the evening

To keep your plans a secret, make up a story about why she has to put on her best evening dress. You want your engagement photos to be awesome.

Memories fade but beautifully captured photos are there to remind you often. You also want to share amazing photos of your proposal dinner on social media.

Pre-arrange taking of photos and videos

You can’t miss out on special moments that need to be photographed or shot during your proposal dinner. Pre-arrange taking of photos to capture priceless moments you’d put in a frame.

Capturing the reactions of your soon-to-be fiancée when you take out the engagement ring would be priceless! A video of you on one knee while asking her to marry you would be as monumental.

So, needless to say, ask help from the restaurant crew to set a fantastic backdrop for this special occasion. It can be on the rooftop under starry skies, in the resto’s garden, or near the fireplace.

Ask the staff if they have an in-house photographer to do the job. Otherwise, you can request your good friend to do it for you. You may also opt to commission a professional photographer (if it suits your budget) to be sure the photos will be amazing!

Never hide the ring in her champagne glass

Don’t go through the same horrendous disaster on your engagement night by hiding the ring in her champagne glass. Neither you should do the same trick hiding the ring in a slice of cake or food.

Imagine the horror if your girlfriend swallowed the ring, or cracked a tooth, or choked. It’s a big no. That’s not how you like to remember your engagement.

Be ready with a box of Kleenex

Perhaps your girlfriend has long waited for that very moment you’d ask her to marry you. As she brims with uncontainable happiness, tears of joy will overflow.

When she cries, you’re ready to offer her your handkerchief or a box of Kleenex.

Relax, your proposal need not be flawless

Bear in mind that you are in love with each other. Your fiancée-to-be will see all your efforts just to make it special. It doesn’t have to be flawless.

She will say yes, so just relax. What’s important is you got a plan, hence, it will turn out well for both of you.

As for your speech, the key is to practice what you’d say facing the mirror. You can keep your words simple and direct but touch her heart enough to see her teary-eyed.

If you’re not the poetic type, you seek help from Mr. Google. There are tons of proposal speeches you can use as an example. Just be yourself. Your future wife loves you the way you are.

Ready yourself for a no answer

You know when at this point in your relationship, you’re ready to take it to the next level. Deep down, you know she’s “the one” to spend your life with until you draw your last breath.

So, you propose, because you feel she’s up for it and she’d say yes. But think that there’s still the slightest possibility that she has doubts if she’s ready for this kind of commitment.

Children and all. In such a case, no matter how confident you are that will accept your proposal, be prepared for a no answer. It’s an absolute no and maybe she’s not yet ready as you are.

Propose after dinner

Are you still looking for a straightforward answer to the main question, “Should I propose before or after dinner?” Here it is: propose after dinner.

It appears that the pros outweigh the cons of proposing after dinner. You two have enjoyed your six-course meal at a high-end restaurant as one of its benefits.

If in any case, her answer is an unexpected no (which is highly unlikely), both of you can exit the place fast, and away from the prying eyes of the people around you.

Imagine proposing before dinner. Either of you will feel awkward after she said no that you would have lost appetite. You’d see your great plan shattered into pieces right before your eyes and you’d rather not.

It’s better to enjoy this riveting experience of proposing marriage until after you’ve eaten your delicious dinner, don’t you think?

The Dos And Don’ts

To top it off, let’s have a run-down of some important dos and don’ts when proposing marriage to the love of your life.   

The Dos

Fetch some clues

You can’t read your girlfriend’s mind so you need to fetch some clues if she believes in the sanctity of marriage.

Before you pop the question and delve into your plan, slyly know her thoughts on getting married and having children. Let her speak her mind and listen attentively so she sees you’re serious to know her answer.

If ever she says she’s not yet ready for something like that, consider postponing your plan to propose. Just wait, because she will drop a hint when she’s ready.

Make your proposal a surprise

Keep your plan to propose to her a secret until the day arrives. It will keep her off-guard and her reaction is as real as it gets. Make this occasion a significant stage in her life she can’t forget ever, just like her wedding day.    

Prepare your proposal speech a few times

When it’s time to propose, you just don’t get down on your knees and ask her, “Will you marry me?” It shouldn’t be that simple.

Write down a short speech, telling her why you want to marry her. Practice reciting it a few times to memorize it by heart. This will also save you from a mental block and forget your lines. It will ruin the moment if you’d be tongue-tied.

Hide your engagement ring in a safe

Once you purchase an engagement ring, it’s better to keep it in a safe where she can’t open it. If not in a safe, hide it in a place where she won’t find it by accident. It will spoil the element of surprise of your proposal if she does.  

Tell her parents about your engagement plan

It will look old-fashioned, but it will be respectful if you ask their daughter’s hand in marriage. Ask their blessing. Involve them in your plans to surprise her at your proposal dinner. They will like you more in doing so.

This way, you will find them as new allies in sharing your life with their daughter. You’d be needing their help later in taking care of your kids.  

 Add a personal touch to the proposal venue

Consider proposing to your future bride at a restaurant where you first dated, or someplace that is special to her. If you pick a fancy restaurant you have not been to, make sure to add a personal touch.

Include in your plans her favorite song, flowers, dish, or other stuff. You’d see a twinkle in her eyes. She’d be all over you for it.   

Drop on one knee

A proposal is a celebrated tradition embedded in many cultures. Dropping on one knee as you propose to your bride-to-be can’t be more romantic.

This gesture signifies prayer that she’d accept you as her future husband. It is also linked to a man’s submission, deference, and respect for his partner.

Share the news anyway

Family and friends will be elated to see you two getting engaged. In this day and age, news travels fast even if you want to keep it low-key.

Share the news anyway. You can post your pictures on social media. It’s something to celebrate with people who care what’s going on with you.

The Don’ts

Never make it public

You may invite close family and friends to join you for an after-party after she says yes to you. But it’s best to keep the proposal initially intimate between the two of you.

Enjoy the bond you share during dinner to feel the romantic vibe in the air. She’ll think it’s just another big celebratory date of sorts, without any clue that you’ll propose!

Never hide the ring in food or drinks

Hiding the engagement ring in food or drinks is an old and horrifying trick. Trust us, it will save both of you from a disaster.

As much as possible, keep it close to your heart or in your pocket instead. You can be creative in other ways, but offer the ring as you bend on one knee. There’s nothing more romantic than that.  

 Never propose at a sports game

Okay, you two love basketball or baseball that sometimes, you watch the games in person. However, don’t ever think of proposing to her during NBA finals or a Major League Cup.

Your proposal will be an epic fail. She won’t hear what you’ll say amid a cheering crowd. Besides, she will be distracted by the intensity of the game. So, forget it. Go for the more traditional and romantic proposal plan.

Never propose in front of her family

Proposing in front of your girlfriend’s family is inviting added stress you don’t need. Focus on the two of you. This is supposedly your alone moment as a couple.  

Her family will have their place on your wedding day. They may join you for an after-party once you get your answer from her and put that ring on her finger to make it official.