Is a Public or Private Proposal Right for You?

The complete breakdown of what makes each style special.

Is a Public or Private Proposal Right for You?

Photo: Samuel Lippke Studios

bride with solitaire diamond engagement ring

It isn’t uncommon for young children to dream about the details of their perfect wedding day: the style of their dress, the menu filled with their favorite culinary options, and even their ideal “pop the question” moment that leads to the fairy-tale nuptials. While not everyone will ultimately have the option to choose the circumstances of their proposal, it’s always smart to have your preferences for the milestone in mind – perhaps telling your best friend, siblings, or parents in case your beloved comes to them for planning tips.

One of the most common conundrums associated with marriage proposals is the setting in which they will take place. Some people prefer intimate, quiet moments, while others don’t mind a flashier display. We’ve complied a few points regarding private vs. public proposals to help you determine what is right for you and your sweetheart.

Private Proposal

-  What it means: Typically, doing a “private” proposal means that you and your spouse-to-be are the only people present. This does not necessarily mean you have to remain inside the comfort of your own home: the question can be effectively “popped” on a secluded beach, a hilltop during a picnic, or even in a parked car on the side of the road. The keyword for this type of proposal is simplicity – the main focus will be on the words and memories included.

-  You’ll want one if: you’re not big on public displays of affection, you don’t like being the center of attention, you’d like your engagement to remain a secret for a certain amount of time, you don’t want someone documenting your proposal without your knowledge (pictures, YouTube videos, etc.), or your partner prefers these points. 

Public Proposal

-  What it means: Selecting this type of proposal means you’ll be incorporating others in some way or another; whether it’s family members/friends, or planning for an audience of some sort. Examples include, but are not limited to, utilizing the Jumbotron or ”Kiss Cam” at a sporting event, choreographing a musical number that includes backup performers, or even getting on bended knee in the midst of a crowded area, such as a theme park. The point here is to make your love known and to stick to the “go big or go home” mentality.

-  You’ll want one if: you’d like friends and/or family members to be incorporated into the moment in some way, you’re a theatrical person with a flair for public displays of affection, you’re looking forward to the thrill of seeing your proposal video online, or your sweetie prefers these points.

The Compromise

-  If you can’t decide, the best option for you might be to incorporate both: propose privately, party publicly! Immediately following your intimate moment, you can plan a fête that includes friends and family – who will bring their fair share of video cameras for any speeches that may be made throughout the event!

Remember, you can get professional snapshots of your engagement no matter which style you choose – just be sure to pick out an easy hiding spot for your photographer at the private proposal location and coordinate with them beforehand!

Opening photo by Ira Lippke Studios