Couples share 9 things they wish they knew before getting engaged, so you can learn from their mistakes

Happy National Proposal Day! Yes, it’s a thing, it falls on March 20th, and it’s a great opportunity to learn all the things that couples wish they knew before getting engaged. Planning a proposal can be stressful — it is the first step toward making a lifelong commitment, after all. You can’t plan every single aspect of a proposal, which means, sometimes, exciting surprises happen — like Tom Hanks showing up to help pop the question, for example. That’s the best-case scenario, though. In other instances, the drone that was supposed to assist your proposal might crash into the ground when you get down on one knee.

You never know what’s going to happen, but you can at least make sure that the things you do have control over go smoothly.

The popular wedding planning site Zola recently surveyed newly engaged couples to find out how they made the big question special, and what they wish they knew before getting engaged.

Not everyone needs someone to propose to them on top of the Empire State Building — phew, right? Really, the most important thing is that you speak from the heart when saying those four words, but you should also know these helpful tips. Even if you lose your balance while getting down on one knee, you can make sure the proposal goes smoothly if you do these things.

1 Consider picking out a ring together before the engagement

Wedding rings are beautiful symbols — literally — of a couple’s commitment to one another, but they also requires a commitment to that particular ring design. According to Zola, 25% of couples wish they’d picked out the ring together before getting engaged, so if you’re planning on popping the question, see if your partner has a preference.

2 Get out of your comfort zone

If you’re thinking about getting engaged soon, you might want to consider doing it somewhere other than your kitchen table. Zola says that only 5% of people surveyed wanted to get engaged in their homes. That doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a public affair, but finding a romantic spot might be the best way to go.

3 Surprises are a proposal’s best friend

Nearly 90% of newly engaged couples wanted the proposal to be a total surprise, which means that it might take some advance planning. There’s always the classic hide-the-ring-inside-dessert move, or even an avocado will do.

4 Most people don’t want it caught on camera

In the age of social media, almost everything gets shared online, but only 1 out of 3 couples wanted their proposals photographed. Even fewer people wanted to have their proposal captured on video. Apparently, some things should be kept in the moment. You can always share your post-proposal pics later, though.

5 It doesn’t need to have an audience

The majority of people surveyed — 73% — wanted a private proposal, just between the couple. On the other hand, 21% of people wanted to have their engagement in front of friends and/or family. If you’re planning something public, you might want to think again.

6 Make sure to call your parents ASAP

Almost 100% of newly engaged people called their parents before posting about it on social media. If your parents weren’t at the question-popping, you definitely will want to call them ASAP.

7 A fresh manicure is KEY

One major regret the newly engaged have? Their nails. According to Zola’s results, 40% of the people they surveyed wanted to have a fresh manicure for their engagement. It’s all about the left hand that day, so if you want to nail it, make sure your partner has a fresh paint job.

8 Don’t worry about the ring selfie being too cliche

The survey revealed that 54% of newly engaged couples love ring selfies. Seeing as they usually get mega-likes on social media, you can bet that your followers do, too. Who doesn’t love to see a little ring bling on their feeds? Selfie away.

9 Start planning your #weddinghashtag

If you want to streamline this engagement thing, it boils down to three simple steps: 1. Plan a surprise engagement. 2. Call your parents. 3. Plan your wedding hashtag! According to Zola, 61% of recently engaged couples plan to have a wedding hashtag, so you may as well join the fun — and organize your photos.

If all goes well, your question will get an enthusiastic “yes!”

And not just an “Oh my God.”

If you’re planning to propose soon, good luck! Learn from others’ mistakes and triumphs and go forth and put a ring on it.

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