Before you pop the question - Daily Nation
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Before you pop the question

Friday June 3 2011



Prince William had to fly all the way to Kenya to propose to his fiancée Kate Middleton.

He did not book into one of our beautiful five star beach hotels or rent one of the stunning villas or the privately-owned exclusive ranches that we have around. He opted for a remote area in Rutundu on the slopes of Mount Kenya that is not even connected to electricity.

Well, Rutundu may be secluded but you cannot trade it for any other place in the world. Its beauty is outstanding and its simplicity is what made it the preferred choice.

I’m sure there are great sites and hotels in London and other places around the world but the Prince went for the most spectacular one.

No doubt, Kenya has what it takes to have hosted this royal proposal. The bottom line is the Prince wanted to make this moment a special one that Kate would always remember and cherish.

Well, not every man is a prince and not every girl is dating a prince so away from the royalties and closer home. As long as you are in a steady relationship that is headed to marriage, as a man, you are expected to propose to your woman.

Yes, every woman in such a relationship expects you, at one point or another to propose to her that you want the relationship to move to the next level…marriage.

Proposing is such a relative word since there are many ways and means of doing this. Whatever form you choose, just bear in mind that “the proposal” is one of the most important moments in a woman’s life and therefore you ought to make it as special as you can.

I have to admit that this is one of the toughest things that a man has to do and for sure, I do not envy our brothers at all.

However, it does not have to be an insurmountable task.

Before you decided to pop the question, you must be certain that this is person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

Both of you must be reading from the same page. You do not want to propose to someone who has never thought of getting married, leave alone get married to you.

So have a conversation on where the two of you see each other in the next couple of years.

It is wise to write down a list of all the reasons why you want to marry her. This will go a long way in guiding you on what to say on the day you are actually proposing.

Some things may be beyond your control, you need to know for example, that how you propose to her will be a topic of discussion among her girlfriends for a long time and from there they will judge you as a romantic at heart or not, as a ‘stingy’ person or not among other things.

What happens once you pop the question and she accepts is that she will update her status as engaged on facebook and from this, everyone of her friends will be informed of the development.

The girls will then convene an urgent meeting so that they can view, complement, criticise the ring you gave her and then jostle to be in the wedding line up.

The newly engaged woman is asked to narrate the whole event of ‘the proposal’. Questions such as ‘so how did he do it, where were you, did you cry, how did you feel, have you chosen your wedding date?’ are common in these girly rendezvous.

I have no idea who sets the standards of what a proposal entails but what I’m certain of is that every detail of it will be a subject of discussion so it’s up to you to make it memorable and make her the envy of her girls.

I believe that it’s the love that you share that counts hence the more the carats the ring has does not necessarily equate to how happy you will be.

Of essence is that at least the man in any relationship should do the honourable thing of asking the woman he intends to marry that all-important question.

In Kenya, actions like going to see her parents and setting a date for dowry are big steps and indicate your commitment, the modern woman expects you to ask. On top of that, they expect a ring to show for it.

Of course, no one expects you to fly her miles away to propose (but if you can pull this, go ahead) What is important is to make it a special moment. Twenty years later, she will surely remind you of it and recount every detail to your children.

Therefore, gentlemen if you believe in proposing, I cannot overemphasize the importance of making it an outstanding event. You do not have to get a personal loan to do this, simple goes a long way.

More importantly, you really need to know what tickles your girlfriend. For that reason, here are some simple tips to consider before you pop that all-important question.

Don’t publicise

‘My fiancé called all his friends and then he proposed right there infront of everybody. I was very confused and didn’t know how to react. Instead of being a happy moment for me, I ended feeling confused and embarrassed. This was our special moment and we did need all those people around. I said yes but I wish he had done it differently.’ says Catherine.

A proposal is supposed to be an intimate affair so if your girlfriend is a private person, respect that and do it far away from your boys and her girls. You can then announce the engagement later at a party if you like.

Avoid discussing your plans with others

Betty was not surprised when her boyfriend proposed because word had already leaked out that he was going to do it. He called his friends and told them that he was going to propose to her that evening.

‘Before I got home, someone had already texted me asking me how the proposal was.’ quips Betty. Although it’s wise to get a second opinion on what you intend to do, please be careful who you are tell your plans.

The grapevine is always busy and you do not want anyone else disclosing your plans before you do it. It simply loses the flavour when your woman knows someone else knew of your plans before her.

Space the time before the wedding

Consider how long it is that you want before your wedding happens. Most women interviewed preferred at least six months to one-year between their engagement date and the wedding date. This allows enough room to prepare for the wedding and time to celebrate the engagement.

Squeezing these two dates closely may not be ideal so get a way of finding out what she prefers.

Also, once you have decided that ‘she is the one’ don’t take a decade before you propose. It might be misconstrued to mean that you are not sure or are buying time.

Janice says that her husband proposed after they had gone out for close to five years and by that time, the excitement had died out.

Both her relatives and friends kept asking her why he was taking so long such that when he finally proposed, the enthusiasm that comes with such a moment was lacking.

Meet her parents

It may seem old-fashioned but as soon as she agrees to marry you, the next most logical step is to meet her parents. It is always a good gesture to make your intentions known to her parents.

This will earn you respect from her relatives and creates a lasting bond since they will that you are involving them in the whole process.

Get the size of her finger

It may not go well with your girlfriend if you propose to her with an oversize ring or one that cannot fit in her finger. There are ways of finding out the size of her finger, ask her sister or her best friend to do the homework for you.

Mercie says that she was overly excited when the boyfriend of two years asked her to marry him, until he gave her a ring that could not fit any of her fingers. It had to be taken back to the jewellers to be adjusted and this took away some of the excitement.

Don’t be too obvious; be creative

While proposing on special holidays like on her birthday, on Valentine’s or even the anniversary of when the two of you meet, is such a romantic thing, it has its drawbacks. If you propose on her birthday, it means you will be celebrating her birthday simultaneously with your engagement date. To some women, this may have an impersonal touch.

To others this may be a great way of remembering that holiday so take time and ask indirectly what she prefers. Again proposing in restaurant shows how you have thought through the whole thing but it’s something that has been overdone.

The problem with a restaurant setting is that other people are likely to be interested in this so they will be watching what you are up to.

You can also propose on any other day when she is having a bad day at work or school and this will really lighten up her spirits and it will be a memorable occasion.

‘We had gone for a walk on one of those Saturdays and then out of nowhere, Mike stopped walking, tuned to me and proposed. I was elated’ narrates Viviane.

Make use of our beautiful sceneries

Our country has one of the most picturesque vistas so make use of one of them to propose. You could be on a picnic in one of our parks, boat riding or even along the beach.

Have in mind the things she loves or those things you enjoy doing together. Is she an outdoor person, an adventurous person or does she love the indoors? This will help you choose the right venue.

Do what feels comfortable

In the west, a man traditionally went on one knee and propose to his love. Here in Kenya, this would look contrived. As a man, do what feels comfortable to both of you.

Ask, don’t assume!

Although some words do not come easily, make sure, you ask her to marry you. You are supposed to ask and she to accept.

There are many way to do this but make sure she knows you are asking to marry her. Zena asserts that her fiancé just bought her a ring and gave it to her in the house and that was the end of it. He never told her why he was giving the ring.

He assumed it was obvious.

Asking makes a big difference and makes the person you marrying feel special, so do it!


Practice what you are going to say to her on this special day. You do not want appear ill prepared or indecisive. Say the words you want to tell her repeatedly until you get it right.

They say these things come naturally but you don’t want to fumble and look foolish so practice how you want to make that proposal before the big day.