How to Prepare an Unforgettable Backyard Proposal
Asking someone to marry you can be a very emotional time. What if the answer is no? What if you pick the wrong ring or you don’t ask in quite the right way? Of course, most people have already had a conversation about the future with the person they want to marry so that they know they are both on the same page. You probably know that the answer is going to be yes. Now, the only thing that you have left to worry about is the actual proposal. One of the most charming, budget-friendly and exciting ways to ask someone to marry you is with a backyard proposal. This allows you to set the exact tone and control nearly every aspect of the moment. With a little help from Mother Nature, and maybe a little from your friends, you can make this a night that everyone involved will remember.
Pick the Right Time and Season
You know the tastes of your beloved better than anyone, so you should know whether a warm or cooler weather proposal would work best. Every season has its pros and cons. Spring can be unpredictable, but when the weather is fair and everything seems new and fresh, it is glorious. Summer is lush and green with the smell of flowers heavy in the air, but the summer sun can be punishing, and several fainting girls in fancy dresses doesn’t exactly scream “romance”. For spring and summer, early morning or early evening is the perfect time because the weather will be milder.
Fall gives you the most beautiful and colorful backdrop, but like spring, it can be hard to pin down weather-wise. One minute everyone is sweltering, and the next they are all fighting for the blankets you were using as tablecloths. Winter can be romantic and beautiful with the delicate and glistening snow and the nip in the air, but the romance fades when people are slipping and falling on ice and no one can quite figure out how to cart the food out to your selected area. For fall, late afternoon will be the warmest and often yield the right amount of sunlight on the leaves for added beauty. For winter, early evening is breathtaking, especially if there is a dusting of snow on the ground and new snow is falling.
Pick the perfect season based on shared interests and then prepare for every possible negative. Consider what the weather could do and then be ready for it. For instance, if you are planning a spring proposal then you can consider that it might rain, be windy, too warm or too cold and then be prepared for any of those scenarios with shelters and tarps.
Let the Venue Set the Tone
Once you have picked the ideal time, you will need to pick the ideal place. “Backyard” proposal does not always mean your own backyard and can refer to any outdoor venue. There are many places that cater to this trend including old barns, apple orchards and other locations with beautiful scenery and open spaces. The type of venue that you pick should give you an idea of the kind of decorations you should plan to use. For instance, if you are planning to propose in a rustic setting, you might use hay bales, corn stalks and other natural items. Flowers might not be needed for some venues. If you choose to include them, make sure that they fit the theme correctly.
Ensure that you are choosing items not only for appearance but for safety as well. Anchor larger displays so that nothing is toppling over, and be sure to weigh down lighter things. Consider whether you will have electricity at the venue or not. Flameless candles are a good and safe option and may be a better choice in areas where there is a lot of dry materials like straw or fallen leaves. They are also the better choice in locations where the wind is going to be an issue. You can also use cafe lights for a classic romantic vibe.
If you do use electrical lights, check that all cords are placed away from walkways so that people do not trip and fall over them. You don’t want the lights and sound to get turned off at the wrong moment.
Determine If You Will Have Guests
For many proposals, it is merely two people sharing a beautiful moment together. For others, it becomes a huge affair with family and friends gathered in silent anticipation as the question is asked and the expectation of the answer hangs heavy in the air. If you are quite confident in the answer and you know that your intended would want family and friends there, invite them. However, if you are about to marry a very private person, consider having the proposal at one area of the venue and then celebrate with everyone at another.
Keep the guest list fairly small for this event, especially if you plan to have a formal engagement party as plans become more solid. If you do not intend to have this type of party, invite friends and family that will likely be included in the wedding. Try to avoid inviting people that you know will not also be invited to the wedding ceremony. The venue may have restrictions for the number of guests that you can have, so use that as your starting point.
Try to keep dress casual, particularly if the proposal is going to be a surprise and the guest of honor does not know to be dressed up. Inform everyone that they will be outdoors and of the basics of the venue so that they can dress appropriately. You don’t want people to show up in open-toe pumps to stand near a cold and drafty barn. Also consider bringing appropriate items, like a jacket or closed-toe shoes, for your significant other or having a friend or family member do so. You may know exactly what’s going on, but they won’t. If you send formal invitations, specify that you do not want gifts at this time, especially for an outdoor venue that you are all walking greater distances to get to.
Choose the Perfect Engagement Ring
The scene is set. You have rehearsed what you plan to say over and over in your head. You are pretty confident that the answer will be yes, but you have not thought about much beyond that part. The one thing that you have to consider now is the ring. The perfect ring should be the one that fits the person and not the other way around. Someone who is down to earth and modest in taste and does not care for flashy things will likely want a small, understated ring without a lot of fancy extras. This is a person who will want to stick to the traditional diamond and not a fancy or trendy stone.
Related: Jacob Mercari | Engagement Rings
On the other hand, the person who is a little more unique and creates their own personal fashion paths may want something different, maybe even a stone in a favorite color or their birthstone. The ring that you choose does not have to be from the bridal section of the jewelry store specifically. You don’t even have to go to the jewelry store. If you spend your weekends in antique shops or flea markets, watch for the things that catch your intended’s eye. That is the style of ring that they’ll likely love and the type of ring that you should be looking for.
Plan the Music and Food
A great backyard proposal can often turn into a full-on party. Choose music for the moments that matter, starting with the proposal itself. For this, the music should be softer so that everyone can hear what is being said. You don’t want to declare your undying love by shouting over thrash metal. A favorite song or your song as a couple should play just as you propose or just as the proposal is accepted.
To make it more of a party, you can serve food, but keep it fairly simple. If you are planning a winter wonderland-style proposal, you should make sure that you can serve food somewhere that will be warmer. No matter the season, always confirm that you have some type of shelter available in case of a sudden change in weather. You will also want to have a way to keep the food at the right temperature. If you want to let someone else worry about the food and you have the budget, consider hiring a caterer. Some venues have that service available to you already while others do not. Make sure that the caterer is comfortable with the location. You may have to show them the location so that they can determine what they need to bring with them.
Some couples discuss these things. Some even go to stores and select the exact ring they would like to have together. Not everyone does this, though. If you are really stumped, ask a close friend or a relative for help. You don’t want to choose the wrong ring and ruin the entire night. If you know someone well enough to marry them, odds are you also know enough to pick the right ring for them.
If you’re looking for that perfect piece to make your backyard proposal special, make sure to check out our Tent & Party section. We know you won’t be disappointed and you’ll find all the party goods you’ll need!