by Suzanne Sachs • 5 min read
THE BASICS --
Timing a marriage proposal is a critical part of creating the ultimate romantic moment, one that will be fondly remembered for years and destined to become a story the couple will recount for family members, friends, and perhaps someday, their own children and grandchildren. But when, exactly, should that most important question be asked? Especially if the proposal is part of a romantic dinner, is it best to propose before or after dinner?
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW--
Romantic Dinner Proposals
An intimate dinner is a classic setting for creating a memorable moment. Whether the dinner is at a couple’s favorite kitschy diner, a local trendy bistro, or an elaborate upscale restaurant, the dinner will feature a memorable atmosphere, tasty food, and celebratory toasts. The location may include live music, and staff members may be able to help the moment come together, such as by ensuring a private table or delivering the ring at the right moment.
A proposal may be made at any location, and choosing the restaurant is a key part of crafting the perfect proposal. Where the couple may have enjoyed their first date or shared a first kiss is a popular choice, or the restaurant may be a romantic destination deliberately chosen for its elegant atmosphere.
• Dinner Proposal
A dinner proposal doesn’t have to be a private, expensive affair. Some couples enjoy family events and a family dinner, such as a holiday dinner, may be the perfect option for a thoughtful proposal that will eventually unite two families. A summer picnic can be a cheerful option, or a family barbecue can be a more relaxed but fun choice. A proposal can even be made at a fast food restaurant – which might seem inappropriate, but can be romantic and whimsical for a couple who met working at the restaurant or who shared their first date over burgers and fries.
When to Propose at Dinner
Regardless of what type of restaurant or meal is the setting for the proposal, is it better to propose before or after dinner? The decision depends on several factors.
• Expected Answer
Generally, the person asking this critical question does expect a positive response, but if there is a risk the answer may be no, consider whether you want to share a meal before what could be a devastating rejection.
• Probable Reaction
Will the partner answering the question be so excited that they want to call family members and friends right away with the news? It may be best to propose after dinner when they can let others know immediately. If you want to share that first hour or two as a newly engaged couple privately, however, proposing before dinner may be best.
• Table Setting
Before dinner, the table is clean and elegantly arranged, whereas after dinner it may be covered in crumbs, slight spills, or dirty dishes. Consider the caliber of service and how nice the ring may look as it is presented when choosing the timing of the question.
• Purpose of the Meal
If a special dinner is a regular occurrence in the relationship, proposing after dinner can be ideal, after you’ve shared a delicious meal. If the meal might seem suspicious and unusual, however, proposing before dinner can turn it into a meaningful celebration before the purpose of the evening is guessed.
• Wording of the Question
The timing of the proposal might depend on a particular part of the meal. Incorporating the question into a toast, for example, may mean proposing before dinner, whereas if the question will be written in chocolate on a dessert plate, an after dinner proposal is essential.
If more people will be present at the proposal, such as at a family holiday meal or part of a special occasion such as a birthday party, consider when others may prefer the proposal so it does not take over the entire meal. For some families, a before dinner pop-the- question can make fantastic dinner conversation, while for other families, an after dinner proposal is more elegant and appropriate.
• Type of Food
It may be wise to consider the type of food when timing a dinner proposal. If the food is messy to eat, for example, will the ring get dirty if it is already on that special finger? Will any possible spills during the meal disrupt the plan for how the proposal moves forward?
Should I Propose Before or After Dinner?
Ultimately, whether the proposal is made before, after, or even during dinner depends on exactly the type of moment you hope to create. This moment will be cherished and memorable for you both as you take this very important step along your journey together. If it is thoughtful and heartfelt, the proposal will be perfect no matter how it is related to dinner.
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