Theres no end to the long list of possible marriage proposals. Seriously. We wont even try to list them all someone will add another by the time we get to the end. What we will do, however, is give you a few tips on finding the best marriage proposal thats right for you.

Basically, think of this like cooking. If your marriage proposals a recipe, which ingredients will you need? Five come to mind immediately:

  • Money
  • Atmosphere
  • Romance
  • Surprise
  • Last but not least, a little dash of me

How much will you need of each? Well, put away that measuring cup. Its a matter of personal taste.

Romantic ways to propose…A recipe for success:

1. Money

Some say its the root of all evil. But as for us? Were neutral. Yes, you can purchase a good proposal, but you can also throw one together using common household items (i.e., MacGyver Style). So how much should you splurge? That depends on what you hope to accomplish.

The first trick of the moneys-no-object crowd is the big budget production a proposal taken straight from a Hollywood movie. Were thinking Yankee Stadiums scoreboard here. This type of proposal will certainly give your girlfriend something to remember. However, its heavy on drama, and thats not for everyone. There are other, more intimate ways of going all-out. Think elegant. Ritzy. Take your girlfriend to the finest of fine restaurants. Order lobster. Drink bubbly. Hire a limo. Buy a bouquet so big she needs a second limo just to bring it home. The sky or your paycheck is the limit.

Its important to note, though, that you cant just throw money in the air and hope it takes the shape of a memorable proposal. Besides, theres no need to clear out your bank account especially if youre about to spend your life savings on a ring. So if youre tight on money, dont sweat. Prioritize. Focus on the other ingredients. Maybe do the fancy dinner without the limo. Or heres an idea: Forget the fancy dinner. Cook her something at home. Women love that! (Just make sure you clean the house first.)

2. Atmosphere

Realtors say location is everything. We wouldnt go that far, but it sure is important. After all, every great love story starts with a setting. So where do you think shed like to be when she gets engaged? What kind of place would set the right mood?

Romantic proposals and fancy dinners seem to go hand-in-hand, so lots of guys propose in restaurants. Equally romantic yet potentially less expensive locations might include the park, the ocean, or a lake. Once again, though, its a matter of taste. If you want the atmosphere to reflect something personal, how about taking her to the place you went on your first date? It could be a pizzeria, a theme park, a skating rink whatever. Its hard to get more personal than that.

But no matter the setting, just remember you may need to get there while keeping your plans hush-hush. So if you want to propose in a warm, cozy ski lodge great. But if neither of you ski? Youll have to convince her that now is the time to learn. So if keeping a secret is crucial to your proposal, dont put yourself in a situation where you just know she will figure it out.

3. Romance

We probably dont have to tell you how important romance is. But just in case we do: Its incredibly important! The night you propose ought to be one of the most romantic nights of your girlfriends life. After all, this is the night shes been waiting for. Make her feel like a princess. Sweep her off her feet!

Of course, like other ingredients, romance is a matter of personal taste. For some, romance is fine wine, roses, and a violinist playing tableside. For others, its simply the element of surprise. One girls diamond is anothers lump of coal. (Okay, thats a bad metaphor on a site about wedding proposals. But you get where were going with this.) When in doubt, its probably best to lean towards tradition. Its hard to go wrong with fine wine and roses thats why theyre synonymous with romance and love.

Our advice is to put a premium on intimacy. Be willing to act suave, even if its something youre not used to. Do your best to filter out real-world distractions. And above all else, make it feel like youre the only two people on earth. After all, thats the basic premise of marriage, isnt it?

4. Surprise

Some couples shop for rings together. But for lots of guys, the element of surprise is the best part about popping the question. Keeping a secret is a tall order, though. So if thats what you want to do here, listen up: DONT DROP HINTS. We cant make this any more clear. If you know a girl well enough to marry her, she can probably read your face like the latest Danielle Steele novel. Whatever you do, DONT DROP HINTS.

Also, dont let too many people in on the secret. Loose lips sink ships (well, loose lips or icebergs), so maintain a very small Circle of Trust. One person youll definitely want to tell is her father. In fact, if hes part of her life, youll want to ask his permission. However, be selective with the info you give him, and try to hold off on asking until your proposals a day or two away. The typical dad keeps a good secret but why take chances? As for her mother, unless you have a specific reason to let her in on the secret (say, moms the only parent and you want to ask her permission), its best to zip your lips. This way, mother and daughter can share in this surprising and joyous occasion together. Trust us: Its a Kodak moment!

Lastly, find yourself a mole. By that, we mean someone close to your girlfriend a sister or best bud to serve as your personal assistant. This person will have to do the dirty work, like getting your girlfriends ring size or coordinating important time-and-place stuff. So whoever it is, make sure its someone who thinks your girlfriend deserves a magical moment nearly as much as you do.

5. A little dash of me

Like snowflakes, no two proposals are exactly alike. Every guy even one who isnt interested in an award-winning, jaw-dropping, front-cover-of-a-magazine proposal wants a proposal that says me. (Or him, if you want to get technical.) So what about you? What can you do to personalize yours?

Well, what are you into? Music? Incorporate your talents, then. Maybe you can propose in song? Weve all seen movies where guys pay pilots to write their proposals in the sky. It sounds clich×™, but what if you are a pilot? That would make for a personalized twist.

The Perfect Romantic Way To Propose

Okay, so now youre probably wondering if theres a secret to putting together a perfect proposal. Well, if you want it, you got it. Here it is:
There is no secret.
And there is no perfect proposal.

In other words, relax – dont feel pressured! Yes, youll need to work with several ingredients. And, yes, you should put thought into it. But in the end, let this be a natural extension of the love you have for your girlfriend. Go with the flow. And have fun!