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Should You Propose in Public or Private?

Last updated on August 10, 2021

You’ve found your true love and you’re ready to go for broke. You even plunked down an impressive amount of money for a truly special engagement ring. So now you’ve got to decide: how do I propose?

Before you consider the details, take a step back and think about the basics. Should you propose in public or private?

We’ve talked to several newly engaged couples and heard their stories, and one thing we’ve learned is that everyone is different. A fairytale proposal for one couple could be a nightmare for another. So we’ve put together some points for your consideration regarding the public or private nature of your big question.


4 Kinds of Private Proposals

Keep in mind that privacy is not all-or-nothing. Let’s look at four levels of privacy to consider as you begin planning your proposal.

Level 1 - Just the Two of You

If white-hot spotlights are not your thing, a romantic, private proposal might be perfect. But, unfortunately, some people mistakenly equate a quiet, personal proposal with a lazy, poorly-prepared one. But that’s just not the case.

Yes, a flashy, public event requires careful planning, but so does a seemingly effortless private moment of perfection. While you may not have three different video angles of your love saying, “Yes!” you’ll have a meaningful experience that belongs exclusively to the two of you.

Choose a time when your partner will feel relaxed (not right after her weekly meeting with her boss). Where should you propose? Some people like to revisit a location with special meaning for their relationship: the place they met or the locale of their first kiss. On the other hand, if privacy is critical, time your proposal for a moment when nobody else will be around.

Set the mood in terms of lighting and sounds, and think about how you’ll present the ring. You can’t go wrong by dropping to one knee. Your vulnerability will highlight her position of power. She can make you “the happiest man in the world.”

Level 2 - Semi-Private

A semi-private marriage proposal takes place at an event where close friends or relatives surround you. For example, you might propose while visiting her family on Christmas Day.

This friends-and-family scenario presents unique benefits and challenges. First, it’s less intimidating than a public proposal (as we’ll discuss later) because everyone there already loves you and wishes you well. But it can be more intense emotionally.

Some families love to be in on every milestone. And maybe you like to include your parents and siblings in all your most important moments. It’s incredibly flattering to be included in a proposal, and your parents (or hers) will cherish you for it. But remember that a proposal is first-and-foremost about the two of you.

Will she want her mum and dad to be there? Carefully consider her feelings and preferences before ringing the posse and inviting them to the big ask.

Level 3 - Semi-Public

A semi-public proposal takes place in a public setting, but it only involves the two of you. In other words, you pop the question in a restaurant or a public park. This option allows you to take advantage of a personally significant location (like the pub where you first met), but you don’t have to pull out all the stops.

Bystanders generally love a proposal. It’s not every day you get to see a couple in the throes of unbridled happiness. You can usually rely on the goodwill of the strangers around you, but spend some time thinking about whether your significant other likes being the centre of attention. If she’s shy, a proposal in public might ramp up her anxiety. So be considerate of her feelings and personality, even if a public proposal sounds fun to you.

Level 4 - Centre-of-the-Universe 

There’s public, and then there’s public. As in-stadium billboard, flash mob, parade-style public. Some people love the high-drama, high-stakes scenario of a centre-of-the-universe proposal. But before you hire a skywriter and a band, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is there any chance she’ll say, “I need to think about it”?

  • Does she shy away from cameras?

  • Do you get nervous when speaking in public?

  • Have you been dating less than a year?

  • Does she feel uncomfortable about public displays of affection?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, scroll back up to one of the other privacy levels. Not too many people can pull off an ultra public proposal without at least a little discomfort. And the last thing you want is to put your favourite person in a cringy situation.


The Bling’s the Thing

No matter how you propose, protect that gorgeous sparkler. Whether you drop to a knee in the kitchen or shout your love from the top of a Ferris wheel, the engagement ring faces special perils.

You’ll be focused entirely on each other, and we’ve heard too many stories of diamond rings clattering down waterfalls or dropping through grates in city sidewalks. Put your mind at ease by insuring the ring before your proposal. She’ll feel more comfortable wearing it when she knows it’s protected from theft, damage and loss.

We wish you all the very best and hope your dream proposal comes true! To learn more about specialised engagement ring insurance, call us at 1300 522 808. Or you can fill out this simple online form to receive a free quote. Talk soon!


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