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DATING ADVICE / ENGAGEMENT TIPS

Engagement Tips

So, it's time to pop the question? Keep in mind as you plan your approach -- this will be one of most significant moments of both your lives, so you want it to be memorable. Keep it natural and sincere and you can't go wrong.

If you're a serious, formal kind of guy--make a serious, formal proposal. If you're a romantic kind of guy, by all means romance her. And if both of you are daring types, she might prefer something bold and unusual. Be yourself, but definitely make it a first -- something she will never forget.

Here are 41 creative proposal ideas from other men who have popped the question. Use these suggestions to stimulate your own ideas, embellish these with your own special flair, or use them as they are!

1. Arrange to meet her in a beautiful park near some riding stables. Rent a knight's armor from a costume shop or theatrical company and pick it up on the way. Rent a horse at the stables, don the armor, ride up to meet her and offer to be her prince. Present the loose diamond with princely flair on bended knee. You could have someone in the bushes nearby ready to play Holst's "Jupiter" as she starts to see you in the distance.

2. Cook and set an elaborate candlelight table (or cater if you are not talented in the kitchen) for a quiet romantic dinner for two at home. Serve her a glass of champagne with the diamond ring in the bottom or ribboned to the stem.

3. Have an artist paint her portrait, adding a box with a loose diamond in her hand before you present it. When you present the portrait, have the ring ready when she asks about it.

4. Bring home an enthusiastic new puppy with a ribbon for a collar. Have the ring in the bow for her to find as she cheerfully greets the cuddly pup.

5. Have a plane sky-write your proposal. Plan it for the day of a family picnic, boat ride or other outing so she is sure to see it. Have your loose diamond ready when she sees your proposal.

6. Hire a magician to entertain just the two of you. Have the magician make the box with the loose diamond mysteriously appear as the surprise ending of the last trick.

7. Memorize a short French poem and recite the poem to her at a French restaurant as you offer the ring. Be sure to know what each word means so you can demonstrate your savoire faire. Have the loose diamond ready in a presentation box.

8. Decorate a Christmas tree with lights and only one ornament -- a ribbon or bow tied around a velvet ring box. Ask her over for a Christmas celebration for just the two or you.

9. For a very traditional approach, ask her father for her hand in marriage. When the approval is given, make plans for the next family gathering and make your proposal to her in private with diamond in hand. When she says yes, stand up and announce your engagement to everyone.

10. Prime a friend with harmless little secrets about the two of you, and have him pose as a psychic when you dial. Be sure to ask the right personal questions to make it look authentic. Have the psychic predict a diamond in her very near future. Then make your proposal on the spot.

11. At a college or professional sporting event (if you both like sports), arrange to have your message displayed on the scoreboard after halftime..."Karen...Will you marry me?" Have the diamond ready in a presentation box.

12. Arrange to have dinner together at your favorite Chinese restaurant. Have the waiter give her a special fortune cookie with "Will you marry me?" in it. Or you could have it say, "You will receive a diamond in the very near future." And present the diamond in a box.

13. During dinner at your favorite restaurant, arrange with the waiter to have the diamond in a box as one of the choices on the dessert tray. Tell her she is the sweetest thing you know and you can't resist her any longer.

14. Place the diamond in a presentation box at the bottom of a box of Cracker Jacks(R)... and give her the special box at your next baseball game and ask her occasionally if she has found the prize yet (to keep her alert to finding it).

15. For the chocoholic: Chocolate-dip the diamond box, and put it in the center of a box of chocolates when you are alone for the evening. She will always wonder what's in the largest piece of candy. Pick it up for her and open it with a flair.

16. Invite her for some games at home. Use Scrabble letters and spell out "Will you marry me?" Have the diamond close by.

17. Create a personal Web page with her name and your proposal with a picture of the diamond in its velvet presentation box, and send her the Web address. Or sit down together to surf for good vacation sites, and visit a site or two before you type in the site address.

18. Set a date to go to the movies, then rent ad space for your proposal at your favorite theater. Make sure you have the diamond with you.

19. Take her for a surprise picnic at the beach or in the woods. At the picnic spot, spell out "Marry Me" with stones, flowers or seashells. Put the diamond in her hand when she says yes.

20. Rent a limousine for the evening and be inside when they pick her up at home or work. Take her to an elegant restaurant for a romantic candlelight dinner for two, then present her the diamond on the way home in the limo.

21. Tell her to take time off work and arrange for everything to be covered for a week (but don't tell her where you will be going). Make all the plans for a week's vacation in a five-star resort in Mexico. Propose one evening at a restaurant with serenading mariachis. You can have the diamond ready in your pocket.

22. Order a dozen red roses and pick them up yourself at the shop. Write the card to say, "Will you marry me?" and put the diamond in a presentation box with the roses. Present the flowers during a candlelight dinner for two at home (cater if you can't cook).

23. Mail her a romantic poem from Shakespeare or Browning. Include a photo of yourself on your knees with a diamond in your hand, and write on the back in marker, "Will you marry me?" Be ready, hiding outside her house when she normally opens her mail, and go inside with the diamond in hand when you hear her scream with joy.

24. For the serious netizens -- E-mail a 3-D animated graphic of a loose diamond, with the message, "Will you marry me?" If you can, time the delivery of the e-mail when you can be there in person to see her reaction and get your answer.

25. During a vacation at one of the fancy hotels that leaves chocolates or mints on the pillow each morning -- Sneak back after she leaves the room for breakfast, make the bed, put out the "Do not disturb" sign. Leave the diamond in a special box on the pillow in place of the mints so she finds it when you get back.

26. If no kids -- Hide the diamond in a box with your proposal message in a place she will certainly look during the day -- such as in the butter dish if she eats toast every morning, or in the silverware drawer before dinner, or with her makeup in the morning. Try to be there when you expect her to find it.

27. If neither of you are afraid of heights -- Arrange with a local adventure guide for a private hot air balloon ride for just the two of you (and the pilot). Schedule the time so that it covers either sunrise or sunset. Some companies provide a full meal with a table setting and the works. Present the diamond in a box as the dessert at the end of the meal.

28. Arrange for a day at a private beach together, building sand castles or digging for shells. On the night before, write a love poem on a piece of parchment paper, roll it into an antique bottle with a cork, and bury it in a well marked spot in the sand near your diggings. Be sure you "find" the bottle as you dig together. Open and read the poem, then present the diamond from your pocket and ask her for her hand in marriage.

29. Only for the really bold and mature relationship -- Surprise her with a proposal and wedding all at once! Schedule a vacation in Hawaii where marriage requirements are less. Arrange every detail of a full wedding through the staff at the tourist bureau and your chosen resort hotel, including a dress and relatives. When you go out for dinner, have everyone hide nearby, listening for her answer and their cues. As soon as she answers your proposal, start the wedding on the spot!

30. If she wakes up each morning to the clock radio, arrange for an ad on her usual station at just the right time so she hears your proposal when she wakes up in the morning. Try to be at her door (or beside her) when she hears your public proposal, and have the diamond in hand.

31. If she is a school teacher, you could propose with all the school listening. Get permission from the school principal. Record a videotaped proposal and play it over the school video system, or make an announcement over the intercom. Then go to her classroom and give her the diamond with everyone cheering.

32. If she loves puzzles, disguise your proposal as an anagram that works out to read: "Will You Marry Me?" and pretend to work on it with her for entertainment while you are waiting for dinner to arrive at a fine restaurant.

33. If she likes cute stories, you could make a storybook of two animals (with your names) falling in love and getting engaged. Take two stuffed animals, put a coat hanger in their backs to make them hold a position, then set up the animals to act out the story while you take photos. Type the words to the story on your computer and paste them to each page. Write the last page to say, "Will you marry me?", with a picture of the diamond in its presentation box. Take it all to a printer to have it bound as a booklet, then present the book at a private moment at home. Be ready with the real diamond when she gets to the last page.

34. If you have a talking bird or parrot, train it to say, "Will you marry me?" And make a big show with the new words he has learned -- at a romantic moment.

35. If she has deep ties with her family: Make up a special Christmas or birthday present when she will be traveling alone to see the family without you and send it with her as a gift to open with her family on the big day. Place the diamond in a presentation box between two plush velvet pillows into a gift box. Type your proposal on parchment paper and pin it to a pillow next to the diamond, and wrap it all as a gift. Be near a phone during the day when she will open the present.

36. If she has been waiting for her "big chicken" to finally ask her: Arrange to meet her for lunch where she works. Rent a Big Bird costume from the local theatrical shop and wear it on the way. She won't know who it is inside, so write a card that says you have been sent by a dear friend (so she won't recognize your voice). Show another card that asks her name to confirm she is the right woman. Then give her a paper bag with a large plastic Easter egg in it (one of the ones that open with candy inside). Inside the egg, put the diamond box and a message, "Will you marry me?"

37. For skilled scuba divers and snorklers: Arrange a special dive with a few of your best friends. At the end of the dive or in an especially beautiful area, write, "Will you marry me?" on your diver's slate and show her. When she nods in agreement, slip an inexpensive expandable ring on her finger. When you go topside, have the real diamond ready nearby.

38. Buy a small book of poetry and make a cutout the size of the ring through all of the pages. Place and tape the ring into the empty space. Write your own special poem, insert it into the first page of the book and present it to her.

39. Take the engagement ring and tie a thread to it. Tie the other end of the thread around your finger. Tell your partner, "I have a present for you, but there's a string attached."

40. During a special evening, present your love with three roses: Tell her one represents the past, one represents the present and the last one (with the ring tied to it) represents the future.

41. If your partner loves a little mystery, deliver a letter to her with a bouquet of flowers. Let the letter serve as the first clue to a treasure hunt. At the end of the hunt she'll find you, on your knees, holding the ring.


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