When you’re ready to take the next step in your relationship and propose to your partner, involving their family and friends can add an extra touch of magic to the momentous occasion.
Coordinating a proposal with your partner’s loved ones not only demonstrates your thoughtfulness but creates a memorable experience that everyone involved will always cherish. However, navigating these waters can feel both exciting and nerve-wracking, as you want to ensure everything goes according to plan!
Luckily, we sat down with a handful of industry experts to gather their best tips for coordinating a proposal with your partner’s loved ones. Here’s what they had to say.
Shorten your timeline
Proposals are exciting, and trust us — those involved won’t want to keep the secret for months! Take your time mapping out ideas, but wait to tell people until you’re ready.
“Your partner’s family and friends will be so excited to share in the proposal experience but don’t make them hold on to the secret for too long, or you will run a higher chance of spilling the news,” shares Samantha Leenheer of House of Joy. “Give them a week or so heads up and let them know exactly what you need of them, where they need to be, when they need to be there, and how they can help you.”
Avoid telling anyone who might have trouble keeping a secret, so you can rest easy knowing your partner won’t know what’s coming.
Get people involved
If your partner is close with their friends and family, don’t be afraid to ask some of them for help. When you do, you’ll have a handful of confidantes to share in your excitement as you prepare for the big moment!
“Lean on their friends/family to help you plan and pull off the perfect surprise,” advises Tracy Autem of Tracy Autem & Lightly Photography. “It is hard to contain a secret like a proposal, so be limited in who you ask for help. They can get your soon-to-be fiancé dressed appropriately, take them for a spa day earlier in the week for a manicure, etc. — with carefully planned stories.”
So long as you don’t spill the beans to too many people, you can have even more fun planning your surprise by keeping a few VIPs in the loop.
Share your locations
The last thing you want is for someone to show up early and spoil the surprise! Use your phones to ensure everyone knows where to be and when.
Megan Breukelman of Megan & Kenneth recommends using phone location-sharing features. “This is a great way to let the group know where you are and when you’re arriving,” she notes. “Share your location and set up a notification to your trusted contact for when you arrive at the agreed-upon space.”
Having one point of contact is a great way to keep things organized without worrying if you’re forgetting someone. Plus, you won’t have to worry about wandering friends causing suspicion!
Plan an extra surprise
Your partner will surely get swept off their feet, but if you’re worried they’ll see the proposal coming, top it off with a follow-up surprise. This way, you’ll catch them off-guard no matter what!
“I love proposals with an added surprise to really take it to the next level,” shares Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss. “As if popping the question isn’t surprising enough, really take it up a notch by planning a surprise party with your partner’s nearest and dearest after the big question.”
An added thoughtful touch, like a celebratory engagement party, will be something your partner will appreciate long after you exchange vows. And who wouldn’t say “yes” to a party with loved ones?
Don’t make things too complicated
Elaborate proposals have gained popularity over the past few years, but if you want to keep friends and family involved, don’t make it too difficult for them. Consider how far people have to travel as you map out the day.
Having one point of contact may be the best way to go, that way you won’t be causing any suspicion with a bombard of calls or texts, notes Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services. “Assign one trustworthy person as the go-to organizer for herding your family and friends. If too many people are in the loop communicating with you, it might blow your cover! The last thing you want on the big day is to have your phone going crazy while you’re trying to be discreet about proposing.”
As Jen Sulak of Weirdo Weddings suggests, “pick a location that is easy to find or spot! If you aren’t doing it in a family home or other space that is just for the family/friends, you will want to coordinate a spot that everyone can easily find, park, and walk to.”
Confirm the location with everyone involved (perhaps more than once!) so you have peace of mind knowing your partner’s loved ones will make it on time for the big moment. You might also want to recommend hiding places at the proposal location!
Lay the foundation
Once you get others involved, plans can quickly transform into something different than you initially imagined. Knowing what you want to do is vital before spreading the word so you won’t feel pressured or influenced in another direction.
“Having a plan before you invite them to join makes a big difference,” confirms Christina Lovelace of Lovelace Design. “Sometimes family and friends can get so excited to help that it turns into something that is not authentic to you and your partner. Having some plans in place to serve as guidelines will help keep an eager family member or friend at bay.”
Coordinating a proposal with your partner’s family and friends can be an extraordinary way to infuse your love story with the support of those who mean the most to you both. Go in with a plan, make sure everyone is on the same page, and remember: After today, you’re starting one of the most exciting chapters of your life!
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.