The restaurant you went to on your first date? The middle of Central Park on an impromptu holiday? In your living room on New Year's Eve with Jools Holland Hootenanny-ing in the background? Whatever the location, getting down on one knee, looking up at your loved one and asking to spend the rest of your days together is one of the most high-pressure, important moments of a man's life. It will never be – indeed, shouldn't be - a stress-free experience (should you discover that your pulse isn't racing, they're probably not the one for you), but there are, thankfully, ways of ensuring the process goes smoothly.
DON'T propose without a ring
Is it even a proposal without a ring to show for it? "When you hear the words 'engagement ring', you automatically think of Tiffany & Co.," says Olivia Good, professional Proposal Planner for The Proposers, a company whose raison d'etre is exactly as it sounds, and boasts a 100% 'yes' rate. "Their iconic blue box is something that we repeatedly see at our proposals – there's something very romantic about Tiffany."
Your partner will wear the ring for the rest of their life, so you need to get it right. The brand is perfectly placed to help you on your quest; their Diamond Experts can talk you through the gemological properties of their stones, whilst the Tiffany Setting remains the world's most iconic engagement ring.
If you're not sure what ring to buy, propose with a temporary one instead and go shopping together after the proposal.
DO make it personal
There is, of course, more to a successful proposal than a little blue box (although it's an extremely good place to start), and on that front Good has some sage words of wisdom. "It's all about the details," says Good. "There's no point proposing at a football stadium if your partner hates football. Whatever you do doesn't need to cost the earth, but make sure you put a little effort into it."
The Proposers have studied the elements of a proposal their clients' partners most loved; "the answer is always the personalised touches - for example, a scrapbook or a 'Love Story' timeline, that really stuck out in their minds."
DON'T make it about you
"If your partner is a shy, timid person," says Good, "a dancing flash mob in Covent Garden with a thousand people watching isn't for you". (Indeed, Esquire cautions against this full-stop, and is contemplating a change.org petition to make flash mobs illegal). If your partner is gregarious and outgoing then by all means, project a video onto Piccadilly Circus, but if not "make sure it's private, or in a place that's just about the two of you."
So do customise the proposal according to your loved one's interests (of course) and do have a back-up plan. "It would be awful to set up a romantic outdoor proposal only for it to be rained on!" says Good, reasonably.
DO enjoy it
Ultimately, of course, a proposal is a declaration of love between you and your partner. If it's done with love, care, and commitment, it (almost certainly) can't go wrong. So whenever the time's right, wherever you are, get down on one knee… and reach for that ring. Good luck.
Explore Tiffany & Co's iconic range of engagement rings on their website.