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Groom 101

Should I Propose in Front of Her Family & Friends?

Chris Easter

Our friends over at Marriage.com have recently launched an awesome new version of their site where brides and grooms can ask wedding questions and receive advice from a community of experts. Today, we’re sampling a user question on whether or not the groom should propose in front of family and friends.

Boy Meets Girl

Boy dates girl. Boy falls in love with girl…and wants to spend the rest of his life with her. He saves up, does research, and buys the perfect engagement ring. Things are going great, but there’s just one VERY important detail that needs to be planned—the proposal!

Even if you know what you’re going to say, don’t underestimate the where, when, and how. Any girl will tell you that proposals are a big deal (asking someone to marry you and be your wife is no small feat)!

Just take a look at all of the “proposal fail” videos on YouTube. Asking in the wrong environment or at the wrong time can be downright deadly, embarrassing, or just plain awkward for your future bride.

Is It Even A Good Idea?

Is it appropriate to propose in front of her family/friends? Better yet, is it a good idea?  We got that very question from one concerned groom-to-be. Marty W. asked:

“Should I propose in front of her family/friends? And should I let them know I’m planning on asking? (I’m pretty sure she’s going to say yes, btw, so no worries!) I was thinking it would be nice if they all came out afterwards and we could go out and have a celebratory dinner. Advice?”

Well, we headed to our Marriage.com community to see how engaged couples, expert wedding professionals and married couples were responding—with lots of helpful proposal tips.

young man on one knee and giving engagement ring while making marriage proposal to his girlfriend outdoors.

Keeping Them Away

One former groom (now a married man) Dan L. recommended making the proposal mostly private—no family or friends—since it’s a lot of added pressure. Except for maybe a photographer “covertly hidden taking a photo or video of when you get down on one knee”, but you really shouldn’t need anyone else there except you and her.

The photo/videos are just a mere suggestion to please her oh-so-curious and excited family. Trust us. When she calls them, they’ll want details of absolutely everything—the proposal, the ring, what she said, if she cried, what you said, etc.

Just make sure your bride-to-be is the type who loves documenting all of her important life events. You definitely won’t want to use this idea if she’ll find it creepy!

Proposal? Check! Now On To Groomsmen Gifts

Keeping Them Nearby

Looking for the perfect balance of a personal proposal (but still want to keep her family in the loop?), take a smart tip from one of our Marriage.com experts, Julie Pryor, who had the perfect solution to this question-popping conundrum.

When it comes to proposals, Julie suggested a personal proposal (“just the two of you”). This allows for a celebration with her family for later in the evening or the next day. This is a great way to have her family feel like they were part of their daughter AND future-son-in-law’s intimate moment, without actually having them there!

If you feel like her family would still like to be involved, consider having them hide and wait somewhere (a restaurant, another location, etc). Then when you and your newly engaged fiancée come in, all of you can celebrate together!

It Depends!

In the end, though, we agreed with Roxanna, a user who stressed that it really depends on the girl. She brought up some great points:

“Think about it carefully– does she like to celebrate her birthday with all of her family? Is she really close to them? Are they the first to hear about all of the big news in her life? Even if those things are true, she might not want the proposal to be in front of family and friends.”

She also mentioned that ideally, the couple should be very close to both families if he’s planning on proposing in front of so many people.

engagement ring still in the box

The Bottom Line

“That’s a lot of pressure, and no matter how sure you are that she’ll say yes, she might want to keep the moment private and special with just you. Think carefully in terms of your relationship and if she would like that type of thing– if you have any doubts, I would shy away from it,”

said one smart user, and we agree!

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