Marriage Proposal 101: How To Ask Someone to Marry You

Marriage Proposal 101: How To Ask Someone to Marry You

“Will you marry me?” is a four-word sentence denoting a marriage proposal. It is repeated all over the world every day in as many different languages as there are people.

The Chinese say Jià gěi wǒ,” while for the Japanese, it’s “Kekkon shite kudasai?” Different ways of saying it, but meaning the same thing—marriage proposal. If you’re planning to pop the big question but don’t know how, you’ve come to the right place. Here, you’ll finally get to answer the question, “how to ask someone to marry you.”

Marriage Proposal 101

In the United States, about 6,300 weddings are held each day.  by extrapolating that, there are as many marriage proposals, too. Unfortunately, 39% of these marriages end up in divorce. There could be a myriad of reasons for these sordid statistics. Among them is the failure to grasp the full scope and intent of the marriage proposal.

What is a Marriage Proposal?

What is a marriage proposal? A marriage proposal is an event where one person, in a relationship, asks for the other’s hand in marriage.

If accepted, they’re being “going steady” becomes “becoming engaged.” It is at this stage when an engagement ring like the one in this Smyth Jewelers review comes in. While some women can do without it, most prefer to have one as a sign of the level of commitment her partner is ready to make.

Best days for a marriage proposal
Best days for a marriage proposal

Traditionally. a marriage proposal is done by men. In the United Kingdom and Ireland,  a woman may propose marriage on Feb 29—Queen Victoria proposed marriage to Prince Albert.

There are many ways of expressing a marriage proposal.


An Australian proposing marriage to his girlfriend takes her out on a candle-lit dinner or some romantic place. Then he goes down on his knees and asks his woman to marry him. After that, he slips a diamond engagement ring on her finger, like the one in this Natalie Diamonds review.


Vietnamese marriage proposal ceremony
Vietnamese marriage proposal ceremony
Marriage proposals in Vietnam have nothing to do with a couple’s living together or getting married. It is more of the family approval of both parties.  Without the blessing of the families of both sides, marriage cannever happen.


Engagement in Japan starts with the yunio—the meeting of the bride and groom’s families. During the meeting, they exchange nine symbolic gifts wrapped in rice paper. Each gift symbolizes particular sentiments and well-wishes for both such as longevity, wealth, and healthy children.


Indian marriage proposal
Indian marriage proposal
India still adheres to the age-old tradition of arranged marriages. Nevertheless, a couple becomes engaged when the bride’s family has accepted the groom’s family marriage proposal. After which, an elaborate and long engagement party follows.

Traditional Asian

A traditional Asian marriage proposal is like a community affair. The boy’s parents (and party) visits the girl’s parents to ask her hand in marriage. When they agree, a party is immediately held with no RSVPs required.  There will be much food and drink and merrymaking.
Regardless of culture, your intention must be communicated.

What to Say When You Ask Someone to Marry You

Asking someone to marry you is not like asking her to go to the movies or have dinner with you. In fact, it is greatly unnerving. It may well be one of the major decisions you make in your life. And you are so love-struck to see its future ramifications.

But you have to get it off your chest. You have to say it. But how? Well, here’s one of the many “asking someone to marry you quotes” to get some ideas from.

“I can’t promise that life will be heavenly all the time. There will be times when life will be hell…but I promise we’ll go through it together. Will you marry me?

Simply saying Will you marry me?would be enough to convey the message—if she is expecting it. But suppose she is not? Supposing your intention to marry her just came out of the blue after assessing the direction of your life.

Remember such a moment is emotionally high. It is not far-fetched that your jaws will lock, your tongue freezes, and you fumble the whole thing. You want to make your proposal work but you are uncertain if you can pull it off. So many questions race into your mind like: How do you ask a girl to marry you? Or how do I propose to my girlfriend? Or what do you say when proposing?

You can Google the phrase “asking someone to marry you ideas” to have a framework of what to say when proposing to your girlfriend. But more often than not, these are too generic and may not suit your needs.

To do it right and get her to say “Yes,” here’s something to make it easy for you.

Think it through

Proposing marriage is a life-changing event. So be sure that you really want to marry her (or him). Start by mentally listing down the reasons why and test their validity. Be sure that they are not just products of a highly infatuated mind or an over-acting libido that flows freely each time you see her smile, her legs, or boobs. Or the way she carries herself.

Write them down

In bullet form, put them in writing. Again, go through each one of them to see if each is pertinent, believable, and credible.

When done, write a script incorporating these reasons in a logical and easy-to-remember sequence. Then edit and re-edit as many times as possible until it is short, concise, and direct to the point.

Internalize it

Read and re-read until you internalize it—meaning it becomes a part of your regular manner and nuances of a conversation. In this way, you can meld it in whatever or however your conversation with your girlfriend is going.

By internalizing it, you can smooth it in and not sound like a robot.

Get emotional

By internalizing it, you also get emotional when the time is ripe to say, “Will you marry me?” It would sound spontaneous as if coming from the deepest part of your heart and soul.

Watch out for traditions

Be sure you know if your girlfriend and her family are bound by traditions about marriage proposals. While it may look romantic to propose to her over dinner, she might want it done at home, in the presence of her family.

Go for it

When all is set down pat, ask her out or request a home visit and ask her to marry you—in the shortest, simplest, and sincerest way possible.

Marriage Proposal: Do’s and Don’ts

“You deserve the world and all the good things it has to offer. If I fail to find that world for you, I promise to give you mine.”

The above quote is one of many “will you marry me quotes” available online. Those stuck in the Romeo and Juliet era will find it romantic. But in this age of mail-order brides, it is superfluous.  

We live at a time when love and commitment have taken on a new face—as well as marriage proposals. What was once a very straightforward affair now has good ways and bad ways of doing. Here they are:


Know her (his) thoughts on marriage

Before proposing be sure you both have discussed the subject and are open to the idea. A lot of couples these days find co-habitation more convenient and cheaper than a formal wedding.

Be prepared

The question “Will you marry me?” is pretty straightforward. But are you prepared to say it with all your mind, heart, and soul? Are you ready to give a part of yourself to someone you want to be engaged with?

Don’t forget the engagement ring

This is very tricky. It’s not just picking up the first ring you see in a jewelers shop. This requires exploring the character, personality traits, the likes and dislikes of the girl you are going to give it to. And it need not be a diamond engagement ring. There are many alternatives to diamonds.  At any rate, Brilliant Earth has a pretty simple guide on choosing the right engagement ring.

By the way, if you want to make it unique, really out of this world, go for one of those vintage engagement rings. It will sweep her off her feet.

Decide on the right spot

Think of a romantic and meaningful place to propose to your sweetheart. It could be the place where you first courted her, or a beach you spent a wonderful weekend together. The late U.S. President John F. Kennedy, then a senator, proposed to Jackie in Booth Three of Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown, Washington D.C. Since then, that booth has been dubbed “Proposal Booth.”

Proposal Booth - Martin's Tavern where John Kennedy proposed to Jackie
Proposal Booth – Martin’s Tavern where John Kennedy proposed to Jackie

Tell your partner why you want to marry her

Saying the magic words “Will you marry me?” isn’t enough. You must tell her why, what marriage means to you and paint a picture of what the future will be like if you face it together.

Let the parents into your engagement

When everything is said and done, and she said “Yes,” seek her parents’ (if they are still alive) blessing and approval. Many a wonderful marriage have been broken by unconsenting or meddling parents.


Making it public

Unless your partner says she wants it done with a splash, with all her friends and family members around, it is best to do it privately. It is much more special, intimate, and magical.

Hiding the engagement ring in food

Yes, it’s been shown on TV and some movies maybe, but the thought is revolting, dirty, and unsanitary. Besides, you might accidentally swallow it. It might be surprising, but there’s nothing romantic about it.

Proposing in a sports game

Unless you are Mario Balotelli (Italian and AC Milan soccer striker), it is bad taste to propose in a sports game. A sports arena is noisy and distracting. There’s nothing romantic about the atmosphere—unless it’s your fiance’s preference.

Marriage proposal on a football field
Marriage proposal on a football field

Doing it in front of her family

Proposing is meant to be done in private, in a romantic setting. Doing it in front of her family will just be another stress layer to an already stressful moment. You can do it later after she said “Yes.”

Making it complicated

You can make it unique and creative but never lose the original intention, which is to propose. That will be the focus of the event. If you lose that focus, the magic and the romance of the occasion will be lost, and so will your chances of getting a “Yes.”

Proposing too early in the relationship

When you’re too swept up in a relationship when you can’t eat or sleep without her intruding into your thoughts, the thought of proposing is too tempting. Hold on to your britches. Keep your cool. Look at it from a wider perspective. Get to know each other more; whether you are meant for each other or you are just so infatuated.

Can You Propose Without a Ring

Yes, you can. You can propose in any way shape, form, or manner you like. A proposal is an expression of your unique and undying love and commitment to the one you are proposing to. In fact, a lot of women can do without a ring. The ring, of course, is the traditional physical symbol of the emotional commitment you are willing to make for your partner.

Incidentally, it need not be a ring, or more precisely, an engagement band. to mark your marriage proposal. As you may have noticed, age-old traditions have been slowly eroded by modernity; by more revolutionary and unique ways of doing things.

Instead of a ring, you can gift her with a dog or cat (if she’s an animal lover). If she’s inclined towards the art, you can give her a coveted piece of art instead of an engagement band. Or memento of a memorable occasion you spent together early in your relationship.

That you have come this far means you are contemplating proposing marriage to your loved one. That’s great. Then this marriage proposal message will come in handy down the line.

Engagement is the mutual promise of two people to marry. It is the point in your life where you express commitment and undying love to the one you are engaged to. At the outset, you may be bedazzled with each other; see yourself under the skin of the one you are in love with. You will think from the bottom of your heart that you are perfectly meant for each other.

Life, however, does not work that way. It is full of potholes; oftentimes in the future, lemons will land smack on your face. And it is times like these that will test your resolve to stay in love with each other; to make your commitment alive. And times like these will show how wonderful life and love are—if you can weather them as one.

Now, once you manage to get your beloved to say “Yes,” wedding bells may not be that far away, best check out our guide “Planning a Wedding That is Amazing Even on a Tight Budget,” to help you plan for the big day.