Does a Perfect Proposal Require Practice?

Your engagement is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for you and your significant other, so it's natural to feel a bit of pressure to get things right. After you've gotten the engagement ring and planned what you're going to do and say when you get down on one knee, there's only one thing left to do: practice!

Is Practice Necessary for a Perfect Proposal?

It may sound silly to practice your proposal, but think about the last time you gave a speech. It was probably a low-stakes presentation at work or school, but chances are, you were nervous. You may have gotten a queasy stomach or sweaty palms, and maybe you talked too fast or stumbled over your words. Forbes estimated that 80 percent of people have these same nervous tendencies when it comes to speaking in public (and another 10 percent are genuinely terrified!).

Talking intimately to your soon-to-be-fiancée isn't the same as addressing strangers, but the pressure of the moment can still lead to rambling or missteps. You only get one shot at the perfect proposal, so it's better to do a dry run or two so you're confident and prepared on the big day.

How to Practice Your Proposal

If you decide to practice your proposal, you can split your rehearsal into two parts: the speech and the motions. Depending on what you're planning, you may not need to practice the action itself—getting down on one knee during dinner is pretty self-explanatory. However, if your perfect proposal is complex or involves multiple people, it's probably best to run through it a few times.

Plan Your Speech

Many people choose to speak from the heart during their proposals, and while this will ensure you come across as genuine, you may forget what you wanted to say when you're caught up in the moment. On the other hand, you could memorize your proposal, but this takes away some of the authenticity and emotion. You'll want to find a good middle ground between these two strategies.

If you think back to public speaking class, you may recall the "extemporaneous" speech. In this delivery method, you plan out your main ideas and run through the speech a few times, but you don't memorize the recitation word for word. An extemporaneous speech is probably the best way to speak during your proposal—it will ensure you hit all the main points and adequately express your emotions without getting too nervous or sounding overly rehearsed.

Go on a Dry Run

You may also want to stage a dry run of your engagement if it involves any special actions or people. Flash mobs and cute kids make for memorable proposals, but they also increase the chances of things going awry. Try to get everyone together to run through things a few weeks before the big day (this way, you have time to schedule another dry run if needed). Keep it casual and walk through the plan so everyone knows his or her role. This also gives you time to spot any potential problems and adjust your plan accordingly.

It's like they say: practice makes perfect! Your proposal will be memorable no matter what, but a little practice will ensure it goes exactly the way you imagine and becomes a cherished memory for you and your partner.