Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Proposal a Surprise

So you’re ready to ask the biggest question of your life — how exciting! Whether you’re planning a large-scale, kiss-cam-level proposal or a romantic, private moment between the two of you, most people want to keep their proposal a secret until the time arrives.

Unfortunately, loose lips and revealing receipts can spoil the surprise! Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to seal the cracks and prevent any leaks before you get a chance to ask for their hand in marriage.

Here’s how you can keep it under wraps until you’re ready to pop the question.

Mind your web history

If you’re quick to hand your phone to your partner to read the GPS directions or order takeout, you’ll want to be extra careful about your online activity! All it takes is one forgotten tab with the perfect venue or a bookmarked ring to spill the beans.

“Watch your browsing and searches on your tech!” reminds Jen Sulak of Weirdo Weddings. “Using each other’s technology, screenshots, saves, or browsers could give away something you were looking at! This is a way to keep everything under wraps.”

The same goes for your purchasing history, as Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss notes. “If you have shared credit cards or bank accounts, it could ruin the surprise if your partner logs in to monitor the balance!” she says.

As you’re planning your proposal, opt for private browsers and clear your browsing history often to keep your partner off the scent!

Keep it to yourself

It goes without saying, but surprises are best kept close. Even a subtle slip of the tongue can spoil the experience, so avoid making your plans known to many people — it’s always better to be safe than sorry in this regard!

“Don’t involve too many people,” recommends Jen Avey of Destination Weddings Travel Group. “The more people who know about the impending proposal, the more likely it is for the surprise to be ruined. We recommend only bringing in a key one or two people to help out and eliminate the potential for someone else to spill the beans.”

And if you do need to let others in on the secret, be clear it’s a surprise! “Let those invited to the proposal know about the details closer to the date, and be sure to add verbiage letting everyone know it is a surprise,” encourages Alicia Mae of ILE Events. “Everyone would assume that a proposal is a surprise but trust me when I say over-communicating, this is never too much.”

There you have it — when it comes to people on the inside, less is more! 

Hire a pro

Keeping your proposal a secret doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help. Instead of sharing the details with loved ones, look for a professional to coordinate your plans. They’ll keep your surprise under wraps while ensuring everything is in place for the perfect moment!

“It seems easy to tag in friends and family to help put everything together,” notes Shannon Tarrant of WeddingVenueMap.com. “But the chances of them spilling the beans because they are so excited are high. Hire a professional planner! Let them help you create an epic moment.”

Plus, having an event planning expert on deck will elevate the experience and wow your partner. “When you hire a planner to execute your plans, you will find that you will be surprised at how elaborate and detailed your proposal will be,” confirms Hellen Oliveira of Hellen CO Photos. “It will be truly a dream come true for you and your partner, and you can bet your proposal will be a true surprise.”

Bonus: Once your significant other says yes, you’ll already have a professional on board to kick off the wedding planning process!

Leave them guessing

Is your partner starting to get suspicious about a possible proposal? Sheils suggests throwing them off with false clues and distractions to keep them in the dark.

“Act funny and out of character on random days, so they expect something to happen,” she says. “Then, after a few times of being let down, they won’t think twice if you are nervous or taking them somewhere unexpected. All of that disappointment will lead to the best surprise ever!”

All it takes is a well-timed tying of your shoes or a sentimental speech that goes nowhere to put them off the trail! Just avoid putting them in an uncomfortable situation, like tricking them in public or embarrassing them in front of family. Keep it light and silly!

Manage your expectations

The perfect proposal in your mind might not look the same to your partner, so accept that their reaction could go in a different direction — and come prepared with a backup plan.

“Even the best-laid surprise proposal plans will have unforeseen hiccups,” assures Julianne Smith of The Garter Girl. “Try not to get too worked up about it; just go with the flow as best as you can now. The unexpected, unplanned things that happen during your surprise proposal are always the best part you’ll remember forever.”

Jacqueline Vizcaino of Tinted Events agrees, adding, “Your partner may not react as you expect them to, so it’s important to be prepared for any eventuality. Have a backup plan if your first idea doesn’t work out, and be ready to improvise if necessary.”

When in doubt, “keep it simple,” suggests Joan Wyndrum of Blooms by the Box. “The less fuss you make about it, the easier it will be to hide. This doesn’t mean it won’t be special, or you can’t include friends or family, but a big gesture can be hard to plan behind someone’s back.”

Sulak adds, “If your partner doesn’t care for big, lavish, crazy surprises, steer away from anything wild. Instead, make it a very intimate moment between the two of you and private. Bigger isn’t always better, but the BEST is doing things the way you KNOW your partner would feel loved, appreciated, and surprised.”

So if your partner’s idea of a fun surprise is more like a bouquet of flowers after work than a spur-of-the-moment vacation, cool your jets and meet them at their level. This moment belongs to them as much as it belongs to you. And remember: What you’re asking is far more important than how you ask!

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.