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Proposals can be a dizzying and pricey event. Sunsets and vistas are free, but the ring, the photographer, and the bubbly for toasting the union add up fast. To help your proposal go as smoothly as possible, here is an ultimate guide to help you understand the intricacies of budgeting for one of the most important days of your life.

How Much is the Average Proposal?

The most important aspect of the proposal is the ring. In a survey, participants reported that the average cost of an engagement ring is approximately $6,000. Those on the lower end of the spectrum spend around $3,000, and those with higher budgets typically spend more than $7,000. 

Other costs to factor in the budget include the venue, alcohol, food, a musician, a photographer, and a hotel. Renting a venue can range from several hundred dollars to thousands, depending on the location, venue type, and amenities.

Hiring a professional musician is typically priced per hour. Pay scale suggests that hourly fees range from $15-$102, this wide range is due to the musician’s experience level, travel costs, and peak season rates can drastically affect cost.

It is important to remember that a proposal doesn’t need to be lavish to be memorable. An intimate private proposal can be just as special as an extravagant public proposal in front of family and friends

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Things to Remember When Planning a Proposal

When planning your perfect proposal, it is essential to focus on what truly matters to the two of you. The following are key aspects to consider for proposal planning:

  • Ensure you have her parents’ blessing first. This may be important to her culture or religion, and it shows that you respect her family.
  • Know the ring will fit. You can use another of her rings as a sizing guide.
  • Hire a photographer or videographer to capture the moment.
  • Have a sentimental script prepared, and speak from your heart.
  • Understand that not everything will go according to plan, which is okay. 
  • Have a backup plan if it rains, there is traffic, or life gets in the way.

Most Important Things

How to Make Your Proposal Unique and Memorable

Your partner is unique, and your partnership is one-of-a-kind, so your proposal should be as well. The classic romantic, candlelit dinner is always guaranteed to please, but if you want something more special, consider a few important questions when planning to pop the question.

  • Have they mentioned a nearby city they’d love to spend an evening in? 
  • Do the two of you have a favorite spot in nature that is meaningful to you? 
  • Is their favorite musician coming to town? 

Memorable proposals come down to what the two of you feel is important to your relationship. Include a little playfulness into the planning by checking out these unique proposal ideas

Tips to Avoid the Biggest Proposal Mistakes

It is hard to go wrong when proposing if it’s true love, but there are a few common mistakes to steer clear of. A bad proposal can set the partnership off on a tumultuous path if done incorrectly. Here are a few mistakes to be aware of:

  • Ensure they are somewhat aware. The surprise factor is important but make sure the surprise is when the proposal happens as opposed to if it happens. Marriage is a huge commitment, and before proposing, the two of you need to know this is something you both want. It is essential to have had several conversations covering what marriage means to each of you, what commitment means, children, money, and all other expectations.
  • Do not focus on the expectations of others. It is easy to become clouded by advice from their best friends, mother, and your friends. Continuously remind yourself that this partnership is about the two of you and no one else. Take the advice as you see fit but focus on the conversations the two of you have had and mold those into curating a beautiful moment that stretches long into the future.
  • Do not ignore their wishes. They may seem laissez-faire when they speak about the wedding and proposal day but don’t let that fool you. Pay attention when your partner talks about these special moments. Do not invite their entire family and best friends if they want it to occur during sunset on a beach with just the two of you. Discuss what you both want for the proposal and make a compromise.
  • Do not hide the ring in a drink or food. There are numerous Hollywood scenes of proposals gone wrong when the ring is hidden in the champagne and someone performs the Heimlich maneuver. The only reason you should be mouth to mouth is because they said yes, and you are celebrating with a kiss.

Do not hide the ring in a drink or food

Tips for Sticking to Your Proposal Budget

Define your maximum spending limit before putting down a deposit or booking any vendors. For a digital-approach, Google sheets is a great way to capture this information in the cloud. Going analog by writing it on a journal or whiteboard is an option to align and be informed. It is common to know each individual cost and still underestimate the total. Some important things to budget for include:

  • Ring cost
  • Vendor 
  • Food 
  • Alcohol
  • Travel
  • Photographer
  • Live musician

Understand where you can be flexible with your budget. Do your research and look for deals. Vendors often have off-seasons, and jewelers have sales. 

“If you want a photographer to capture your proposal and some engagement photos after, you can expect to spend around $500-750 for an hour of photos. The cost can vary greatly from place to place and based on the photographer’s experience with proposals.” Nina Larsen Reed is an elopement photographer based in Boulder, CO, who has experience both photographing weddings and engagements. She says an experienced proposal photographer “can help you come up with a plan, down to finding the perfect location and making sure you get the best photos without spoiling the surprise.” If keeping to your budget is challenging, try using a budgeting app to keep you on track and be diligent using it. Lastly, remember what is important to the two of you. This will keep you on track with your budget.

eeping Your Proposal a Surprise

Tips for Keeping Your Proposal a Surprise

Is your partner someone who loves to guess and solve a puzzle? Are they hard to surprise, and you’re worried they will undo all your hard work in crafting a secret proposal? Here are a few helpful hints to keep the proposal a shocker.

  • Keep your circle small. There should be a few people privy to the time and date of the proposal, and everyone else can find out after it happens. 
  • Guard your cell phone, computer, and electronic devices like your life depends on it. 
  • Develop a refined plan that isn’t too out of the ordinary. Adding some routine on the day of the proposal can help distract your partner. 
  • Hide the box or store bag in a discreet location. You also need to find a low-profile way to carry and conceal the ring on the day you plan to pop the question. Try Ring Stash; it’s a slim, lined box that keeps the ring securely in place but won’t look obvious in your pocket.
  • Last but not least, keep your cool.

Create a Unique and Meaningful Proposal

The budget you have for your proposal is not a reflection of how special this moment is for the two of you. Whether you spend $3,000 or $20,000, it’s important to delve deep into what is meaningful for your relationship. This day will mark the beginning of a long-term commitment to one another. 

Communicate with your partner about their desires and stick to your budget. Whether you choose a small, intimate dinner or an extravagant public proposal at your partner’s favorite spot, your proposal is sure to be one of the most memorable moments of your lives.

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