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Top Five Things Women Want in a Proposal

It’s time to propose! Let’s talk about what women really want in a proposal.

Don’t you wish you could just sit down with your girlfriend and ask her to tell you exactly how to plan her dream proposal?

Well, although it would make life easier, it might be a bit obvious what you’re up to. Lucky for you, we have the next best thing: The facts from the experts. We, as females, are going to give you an inside look at the top five things women want in a proposal.

Remember how I said “experts”? I meant that literally.

We are Chicago’s Proposal Planner, professionals in the love industry.

We hear from women every day about what they really want to see in their dream proposal. Now, we’re going to tell you exactly what those things are and how to execute the perfect proposal.

there’s one non-negotiable thing women want in a proposal: effort!

We’ve all heard the expression “A for effort” before, right? Well when it comes to proposals, you’ll get an A+++ for effort! She wants you to go the extra mile and show that you’ve put a lot of time and thought into your proposal idea!

Remember, the proposal is your time to shine.

Putting forth effort for the big moment is definitely going to take the proposal up a notch. Effort isn’t just making sure she likes the ring and says yes. You need to think about what makes the relationship special, along with what you love about her as an individual.

A proposal is more than a ring and getting down on one knee.

There is so much more to planning and executing the perfect proposal than what may first come to mind.

There are so many small details that are often overlooked. Fortunately, if you’re worried about those details, we’re here to help. Here is a list of the top 5 things women want in a proposal:


Like we mentioned above, effort is everything for popping the question. It will be important to her, and you will be known as the guy who went above and beyond for a unique proposal just for her. Plus, everyone around will be blown away by it!

Every part of your proposal, from the location to the outfits to the words you say, needs to be fueled with effort and intention. There is no better way to show your love for someone than by putting in maximum effort for a special moment.


Spontaneity is great for some occasions. But, women will see how much effort you put into your proposal if you plan it out from start to finish. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan! It’s such a life-changing moment, so it’s important to plan out all of the little details to make sure it goes perfectly.

Take the time to practice what you’re going to say too. When the moment comes, it doesn’t need to flow perfectly. In fact, there are usually tears on both ends, but having an idea in your head will help.

You also need to sit down and think about what she really enjoys. If she doesn’t like crowded places, it likely isn’t a good idea to have a surprise proposal in a public setting. Do you get where we’re going with this?


Put your own thoughts into the process. Show her you spent time organizing the proposal yourself rather than popping the question in a cookie-cutter fashion.

Personalize your speech to her and use your genuine thoughts and feelings to make an outstanding, unique proposal. Make sure the plan is something she will enjoy but would never expect- the element of surprise is another important part of the proposal execution.

Even if you choose to get help from a proposal planner, you can still express your own thoughts and words in your proposal. No one knows the way you feel about her besides you, so show that to her!


Dress like you want her to say yes! She knows your personal style, so take it to the next level. Depending on your proposal plans, you don’t have to wear a three-piece suit to accomplish this. You just have to show her you spent more than 20 minutes getting ready and show you took the time to look extra amazing!


Ever heard of something called “The proposal fog”? Essentially, the adrenaline from both nerves and excitement takes over the moment, and oftentimes, couples say they don’t even remember it!

Regardless of whether the fog comes over you or not, this moment is where your future starts- what better way to remember it than with professional pictures (or, even better, a video as well!)? Plus, they’re always fun to show family and friends, especially if they weren’t there!

Don’t forget the smaller things she might want for the proposal!

We’ve covered what she wants from you for the proposal.

There are several other things she wants for HERSELF for the proposal, but all of these things need to be done without her knowing she’s doing it for a proposal! Here’s an insider list filled with what women want for themselves on their proposal day. 

There is no way to rate these in order of importance, because similar to above, they are all equally as important in their own way. If these 4 items can be accomplished for the big moment, you’re golden.

Without further ado…

She will want her nails done.

Even if your girl never has nail polish on, I can promise you that she will want them done for this day. Her hand(s) be the center of attention, and no girl wants ugly cuticles and peeled nail polish on the day of her proposal.

Plus, the classic “OMG, I just got engaged!!” picture will be taken and sent to family and friends. You know, where the camera is focused on her hand with the pretty background and the gorgeous rock on her ring finger…

… yeah, that one.

Especially if you choose to hire a professional photographer, she will absolutely want her nails done. It’s up to YOU to figure out how to get this accomplished without spoiling your plans. 

How to do this without her knowing: Have her go with friends and then make sure they have a night out planned or something that she would like her nails done for so she doesn’t suspect you’re proposing soon.

The perfect outfit.

Just like you need to put effort into how you look, she’s going to want to look good too. It’s important to have her wear an outfit that fits the proposal location. If it’s on a beach, she probably won’t want to be in her Louboutins. 

How to do this without her knowing: Keeping the location in mind, have her friends help her get ready for an old-fashioned G.N.O (Girls Night Out). If she just got her nails done, she likely won’t suspect a thing. Get her family involved if this seems out of the ordinary for her friends. Either way, be sure it makes sense for her.

The element of surprise is KEY

I can confidently tell you that not many people want to know the exact details of their own proposal. A massive part, perhaps the #1 must-have for any proposal, is the surprise. 

Sure, you’ve had a conversation about it and maybe you’ve even been ring shopping. She may have a general thought about the proposal, but keeping the day-of a surprise is the number one most talked about thing.

“Did you see it coming?” is usually the follow-up to “How did he propose?”. While you want her to say yes when you pop the question, you want her to say no when they ask if she saw it coming.

How to do this without her knowing: The number one mistake made when planning proposals is your search history. Especially in today’s day and age, it’s almost like Google is working with your girlfriend. The last thing you need is ring ads popping up while you’re showing her a funny Instagram video. Read all more in our blog about How Tech Can Hurt Your Surprise Proposal.

A story to tell their friends

Put the time, effort, and intention into the planning to create a personalized proposal that will blow her away. “How did he propose?” is going to be one of the most asked questions your future wife will hear.

Let’s get past the “On Christmas Eve surrounded by family” or “At a nice restaurant on Valentine’s Day”. How boring are those? Been there, heard that. Give her something that will get a 5-star reaction from those she tells.

How to do this without her knowing Similar to keeping the proposal a surprise, you need to be smart and on high alert while planning your proposal. Girls pick up on the slightest of changes, so be sure you act natural and remain calm. Channel your inner confidence- if you need a booster, remind yourself that when you finally pull off her dream proposal, those three letters will mean more to you than they ever have before. It will be the happiest “yes” of your life. 

REMEMBER that this day is about the two of you, so no matter where, when, or how you propose, at the end of the day, the only two people who REALLY have to love it are you guys.

Every proposal is unique, just like every couple is unique.

The #1 tip we can give is this: Pay attention to the things she points out, what she likes, what she hates, etc, and make it work for YOU. 

There are an infinite number of ways to go about proposing, and it can feel incredibly overwhelming.

Take a step back, close your eyes, and think about what made you two fall in love. Pull ideas from moments in the relationship that you remember vividly. 

Create a proposal that will bring out the best in both of you, as it will be one of those moments you never forget.

It’s time to get down on one knee

The day you propose to her is the first day of the rest of your lives together. Even though it’s not technically official until the wedding day, my point still stands.

The act of proposing is a way to tell her that your love for her will never die and a way to show her that you care more for her than you do for anyone else. 

The number one way to display these feelings is to put effort into the proposal. Proposals give women a glance into their future marriage; if there is no effort behind the proposal, that can reflect little effort in the marriage. 

It is so important to remind yourself that you might not necessarily need all these tips for her perfect proposal. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed or conflicted, book a call with us and we’ll help you plan a proposal that has all the effort girls want.

About Jenée Strickland

Visions Event Studio specializes in luxury events, including proposals and couture weddings. Jenée Strickland, owner, and lead visionnaire, has been an integral part of hundreds of weddings and proposals. Her job is a privilege; her work is a passion.

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