9 Tips for a Flawless Memphis Wedding Proposal

Updated: May 25

How on Earth do you plan a proposal that fits you two, excites your partner AND is a story worth telling?

Okay, so you’ve got the ring (or it’s on it’s way) and you’ve already had “The Talk” about marriage. It’s time to nail down how exactly you’re going to do the dang thing and DO IT RIGHT. And by "right" we mean something special and worthwhile! You're only going to propose once, so nailing it is the only option.


Well...Let’s start with the basics...



1. Make it personal


Consider what your future fiance wants. Would they want a grand gesture or maybe something more simple in the comfort of their home? Would they like to be surrounded by friends and family? Or would they want a private little picnic spot in the woods somewhere? Are they the traditional type or more of an adventurous soul?


Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect, just something that FITS.

If your partner isn’t too keen big public displays of affection then consider doing an activity you two do all the time like urban exploring or going the Memphis Botanic Gardens. Just make sure you’re safe keeping the ring in where it won’t fall out along the trip.


Pro tip: Still not quite sure what type of proposal they might like? Talk to one of their friends or family members that your partner is close with and have that friend do a little investigating. Or, you can check out the Knot's 66 ideas here.


2. Make it sentimental

This is important for the "what" and the "where" of proposing. Adding in the things that hold meaning to your partner is are a great way to make the special moment even more personal.


Incorporate activities that your partner and you love or love to do together. Maybe it’ll be extra special to have your pup there. Feel free to incorporate your partner’s hobbies or even work (with permission from the boss of course) if it’s something special to them.


I always recommend doing something fun before you hit your proposal spot. Not only can it help get everyone in the mood, but sometimes it helps clear the nerves a little. PLUS this can also be part of your decoy-an activity you do to get your partner off the scent. It's a win-win!


Location: Pick a spot that’s special to your relationship. Was your first date beautiful? Is there a spot in the city that’s kind of “your spot?” Spots on the river like Beale St. Landing where you can watch the sunset are extra romantic and even a little casual. Maybe you both met in college and your alma mater is a big part of your lifestyle so you think that proposing on the football field would be a sweet moment.


Pro Tip: Pick a location that will LAST. The spot you proposed will be something you both cherish for years to come. Try not to pick the new trendy restaurant that miiiiiiight not be there in a few years.



3. Turn to the Pros

Even though this step is optional there are two MAJOR reasons I say to do this:

  1. 1. This isn't our first rodeo, but it's probably yours. We've got the experience to help make your simple idea into something special for the two of you. Not only do we know a lot of common mistakes that happen during proposals but we know how to make your idea into something that perfectly fits you and your partner! Personally, I always show up to the spot an hour ahead of time so that I can put a little X on the spot that is just picture perfect for you to get on one knee. Plus it lets me clear out a few people in case it's too crowded for the couple.

  2. 2. They make your moment into a keepsake. Your proposal is going to be a story that you get asked to tell over and over again. Hiring a photographer (not just your friends) is an easy way to guarantee your story can be told in a personal and beautiful way that fits you two. Trust me, you don’t want to be the couple that just posts a facebook status or only a photo of a ring on a hand. You want to show your story in a special way. Pro tip: You can frame your photos as a gift to your partner on your wedding day. Or keep them as a little pocket album of the moment to share with friends and family.


A few professionals you might consider hiring for your wedding day might include:

- an event planner to help you envision and execute your plan

- florist to help you decorate appropriately

- photographer or videographer to capture the tears in your partner's eyes as they say "yes."

- local vendors like food or dessert trucks are a cute idea too!

Hiring a pro takes a lot of the heavy lifting off of your shoulders so that you can savor the moment you pop the question.



4. Know Where They are Coming From (Literally)

I mean LITERALLY where will your partner be coming from BEFORE the proposal. Did they just get off work? Or did they just finish a workout? Wherever they are coming from will determine their mood and mindset. If you’re partner is coming from working out they’ll probably need to time shower and get ready.

You might have to create a little event or special note to help get them back in the excited mood. One option is to lead them into the activity with an outfit laid out or with a sweet note to start the day. Don't forget, part of what makes these moments so special is how you lead your partner into it.


5. Know Your Speech

No, you don’t need to memorize it. But knowing the major points of what you want to say - things you love about your partner, memories that you’ve made together - will be helpful. If you’re really nervous, it’s totally okay to take note cards that have your main points. But DON’T just read a script.

It's okay to stumble over your words a little. That's called be natural and real (wink). You should savor this moment and feel it all the way through. Look in their eyes and be in the moment.



6. Go with the Flow

Biggest mistake I see during proposals is rushing to get to a spot right on time. This is the number one way to start a fight.


Try not to to involve things that are time super dependent like, say, dinner reservations. Plans often get a little derailed during wedding proposals. So, going with the flow of the conversation will feel more natural and make you two a lot more at ease.


Have a big time window (like 30 minutes) or just a spot you want to make it to will make things way easier. If you're involving a photographer they'll have excellent suggestions on how to do this.



7. Throw them off the Scent

Okay, so you might have to lie just a little to get things to go just right. But it’s for good purpose here so don’t fret.


But my favorite way to do this is to trick the partner into thinking it’s their idea. Let them plan the “something special” part and then you can insert your own plan to propose then. For example, have they been begging you to do a painting class? Say yes and contact the instructor so you can propose through the painting process. Another idea is getting their friend to do an activity with them-like shopping downtown or hiking- that’ll lead them right to "the spot" you’ve set up the proposal (Can you say, candle lit dinner by a beautiful lake?).


If you’re partner is really keen to pick up on your surprises, you can always use the method of a "slow burn" where they continue to think you’re about to pop the question but you keep putting it off until the biggest moment. Scavenger hunts are a great way to do this! Start off with a letter or video message that sends them off on their journey towards the proposal. You can send a playful video saying "I'm going to propose to you today. But first you have to find me."


Pro tip: South Main Memphis has a mural walk you can do that leads through some of the best urban spots for a proposal. Going through the walk together or as a scavenger hunt for them is a fun way to get things rolling.


8. Don't Fret over the little things

"Nothing is cuter than someone getting annoyed that things are won't go according to their plan " -SAID NO ONE EVER!


Proposals get a little off course almost every time! It's totally okay. Laugh it off and let it unfold how it goes. If something doesnt happen quite right then it'll make a great story later on! Have a laugh and go with it.




9. Celebrate Afterwards!

Have a plan for the “after.” You can go the traditional route and have friends and family host an engagement party afterwards or you can go to a nice dinner afterwards. Or maybe just go star gaze (yeah, cute and hella romantic, right?). If you hired a photographer, they'll probably suggest some photos afterwards so make sure you have a little time for that. Your emotions are going to be so elated so it'll be extra fun that way.


No matter the route you take here, make sure you do something special to keep things memorable. Plus, you can finally quit stressing cuz you did it!!!


Whatever you do, don’t sweat it.


You’re already taking the best steps to have the perfect proposal by researching ideas.


Feel free to contact me if you need any additional help on planning the picture perfect, fun and true to you proposal for you and your fiance.



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Fine Art Wedding Photographer in Memphis, TN. Michelle Evans Art focuses on relaxed yet stunning wedding photography and portraiture that showcases Y-O-U in a straight-up, and real way.