Popping the Question: The Classic Rules for the Classic Restaurant Proposal

Perhaps the most classic of all classic proposals is the one that takes place at a restaurant. Even before the flash mob dances and avocado engagements became popular, men have been popping the question and hiding rings in pasta and pastries. But while restaurant proposals are very common and have been practiced for decades, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to pull off. There are rules to follow to make this possible.

The Planning Stage

Just like any other proposal, planning is crucial. One of the things you should consider in this stage is the location. This detail is going to be in your and your fiancé’s story later, so you better think about it hard. Do you prefer a fancy, five-star restaurant? Or go to your favorite pizza place or burger joint? What do you think would your fiancé appreciate? At the same time, if you’re thinking about pulling off a particular gimmick, say, a band serenading your girl, then you would have to find a restaurant that has, or at least allows, such.
Aside from the location choice, of course, you also need to coordinate with the restaurant staff. You must be clear of their timing, especially when you’re going to conceal the ring in the meal. Just a quick warning: never hide it in the actual food. You don’t want a choking accident that would send you to the ER, do you? Keep it in, say, the pastry box or the fortune cookie. Now, if you’re still choosing among high-end engagement rings and having trouble settling on one, here’s a simple tip: see your girlfriend’s Pinterest board for inspiration.

The Proposal Stage

restaurant date
Now, at the actual lunch or dinner leading up to the proposal, fight the urge to spit out the surprise right away. You’re nervous, yes. But if you get down on your knee and pop the question before you even finish your first meal, you’ll be so joyful and excited, that you won’t be able to savor the rest of the courses. So hold it in during the first few plates. Wait until the dessert is served. The key to overcoming the jitters? Don’t overthink. Instead, focus on the now, on what you and your fiancé are talking about. Prepare topics and questions in mind to keep your mind off the proposal.
As the dessert rolls in, get ready for your speech. Keep it simple. Follow the past-present-future structure. Reminisce about the good times as a couple, highlight the best things you’re experiencing now, and share what you’re envisioning for the future: own house, three kids, and a lifetime with your girl. Or, you can also focus on her alone. What do you find most lovable about her? What did you think when you first met her? When did you realize she’s the one? When you’re done with your declaration of love, go down on your knee, and pop the question.

The Classic Restaurant Proposal

Although a ubiquitous style, the restaurant proposal isn’t entirely a piece of cake. Nonetheless, it can be pulled off. You have to stick to the classic rules of this classic proposal.

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