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November 2012

11-Step Guide to Planning A Successful Overseas Proposal

Planning a proposal out of our little island? Fu Jinming brings you the rough-and-tumble guide to asking for her hand in a foreign land.

The romance. The adventure. The spontaneity. It’s no wonder why it is every girl’s dream to be proposed to in faraway lands. The unfamiliar sights and smells heighten the senses, and add a dash of exoticness to the proposal. Oh, think of the stories they’ll tell their girlfriends.

It’s not a bad way for men to pop the question either. You’ll have all the privacy you want. Her parents – or for that matter, yours – won’t get in the way. She’ll be away from her prying friends. And you’ll be away from your boss.

What’s more, you’ll be in your element. It’s a chance to leave the bumbling fool she knew back home, and become Prince Charming, even if it’s just for the duration of your visiting visa.

But like Romeo entering the House of Capulet, sweeping your lady off her feet in another land takes a fair bit of planning. We bring you 11 tips that’ll help make your proposal abroad an unforgettable one for her, and a (relatively) pain-free one for you.

Jillian and Jason’s Soulful Wedding Photography at the Dramatic Lofoten Islands by Vegard Giskehaug

1. Think about the Familiar vs. The Exotic

You can either choose a place the both of you have gone before, or try somewhere totally foreign. The former will present plenty of places with fond memories. It shows you remember and cherish the moments you’ve spent with her there.

On the other hand, going where you have never gone before offers the thrill of the unknown. Nothing says romance like an adventure. Here, everything is new – a great place to start for a new beginning with The One. Just be sure to research extensively on the location. You’ll be fighting many unknowns on untested grounds. Try to be prepared for as many of them as you can before you get there.

2. Be Realistic

In all likelihood, you would have spent a considerable amount on the engagement ring. And should she say yes, there’s the impending wedding to consider. So pick somewhere that’s well within your budget. Your prospect doesn’t need a bended knee in some forgotten Shangri-La. Or on a helicopter gliding above the Eiffel Tower. She just needs you. If you don’t think that’s true, then maybe she’s not the one you’d want to be marrying.

Joy and Ben’s Steampunk Wedding on Nikoi Island by Daniel Beh Photography

3. Know Your Woman

Know what floats your lady’s boat. If she’s not the outdoorsy type, a cinematic proposal at the peak of some mountain might turn into a disaster. She is likelier to throw the ring down the valley. Likewise, if she’s one for an adventure, popping the question at the end of the world’s longest shopping stretch will be met by utter boredom. Your best bet is to pick somewhere you’ll both feel comfortable in. It doesn’t need to be a posh restaurant, it just needs to be somewhere you’ll feel at ease enough to pop the question.

4. Make Some Calls

You don’t go into war without a plan. Email the proprietors of the establishment(s) you plan to propose at to make special requests, if any. Any half-decent restaurant or hotel will only be too happy to assist you in any way they can. But be reasonable. A private table, some rose petals on the floor, and a special song by the in-house band are manageable. Fireworks laced around your dinner table while an entire brass band serenades her in the restaurant, isn’t.

Ines and Irjen’s Mesmerizing Lovescapade in Japan by Multifolds Productions

5. Count On A Friend

No man is an island. Letting a friend or two in on the game will help you in many ways. You’d have someone to help with the preparations, either before you get to the proposal site, or during. Friends are also useful pawns to help stall for time, as the next tip will tell you. They’ll love the promise of an adventure, and you’ll love having shared this special moment with the ones closest to you.

6. Buy Some Time

Book her in for a massage, pedicure or a facial to buy you some time to prepare if you need to. Things are a lot easier if she brings a girlfriend along, and you, a buddy. You can plan it such that she has an all-girl afternoon at the spa or the shopping mall, while you excuse yourself to go “golfing” with your friend.

Yes, it’s a lie. But one she’ll be glad you told.

7. Keep Your Surprises Close, Your Ring Closer

You wouldn’t want to lose the proposal ring on the day of the proposal. Keep it on your person when travelling, never in your check-in luggage. At the hotel, leave it in the hotel safe until you’re ready to propose.

If your engagement ring has a big rock and an even bigger price tag, consider insuring it. With tourists a common target for thieves and pickpockets, you’d want to protect your main prop against the uncertainties of traversing a foreign place. Especially if it’s one with a crime rate higher than the weight of your ring.

8. Be Spontaneous

If things aren’t going exactly to plan, improvise. It takes some quick thinking on your part, but if you’ve done your due diligence and researched on the place, it isn’t hard to find alternative solutions out of a sticky situation. The flowers you brought died onboard the plane? Get fresh ones from a flower shop there. The restaurant overlooked your booking? Pack some takeaways and pop the question in a beautiful park. All you need to do is stay calm and use your imagination – fast.

Sophia and Darren’s Breathtaking Pre-Wedding Photoshoot in Morocco by AndroidsinBoots

9. Don’t Chicken Out

More specifically, do not fly all the way there, only to get a sudden bout of stage fright, then resort to proposing in the hotel room. It’s an anti-climax and will hardly impress anyone, let alone the woman you’re asking to spend the rest of her life with. Unless of course, it’s a posh hotel suite with gourmet breakfast in bed, and you ask her to be your wife in the afterglow of manic sex the night before.

For those shy and uncomfortable with the attention that comes with a public proposal, think of it this way: This isn’t home. Nobody knows you. And you hardly know anyone. Besides, you’ll have strangers cheering for you when you’re done. So take a deep breath, tell yourself it’s easier than meeting her father, and give her the performance of your life.

10. Know Your Odds

Propose overseas only if you think you’ve got a high chance of succeeding. Costs aside, there is the awkwardness – and possible fallout – that ensues should she say no. At home, you can take the rejection and leave the situation quick and easy. Things are little trickier when you’re overseas. Chances are, you’d still have to spend the rest of the holiday with each other. You wouldn’t want to have the rejection hanging over your heads all the way home.

11. Keep It Simple, Stupid

At the end of the day, common sense and simplicity rules. The less complex your proposal plan, the less likely that things will go wrong. And the more the love of your life and you will enjoy the moment.

Credits: Feature image from Sherlyn and Deyao’s Bali Pre-Wedding Shoot With Z Wedding D’sign by Chris Ling International Photographers

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11-Step Guide to Planning A Successful Overseas Proposal