Once you have decided to propose, you're ready to start planning the event. Remember that marriage proposals are as unique as the couples they bring together. There is no gold standard for proposals -- if you are both smiling afterwards, then your proposal was a success. How you get there is up to you.
Author Ariel Meadow Stallings went for an artistic approach -- she proposed to her boyfriend by painting "Psst: Will you marry me?" on her project at a pottery painting shop, where they were celebrating their third anniversary. He was a little taken off guard, but it all worked out and the happily married couple has a ceramic souvenir with which to remember their engagement [source: Meadow Stallings].
Keisha Durham went for romance. She treated her amour to a picnic in the park with their children from previous relationships, while her cousin sprinkled rose petals around the house, dimmed the lights and lit candles. When the couple returned home, Durham's cousin took the kids out so the adults could have some alone time. Durham popped the question during a romantic bath, and sealed the deal with an engagement ring [source: Durham].
Joan Indiana Rigdon, on the other hand, went for the simple approach. She and her live-in boyfriend were hanging out at home one evening, when she said, "I have a great idea." Indiana Rigdon had a few nervous moments as her love tried to guess what her great idea was: A canoeing trip? A bike ride? Indiana Rigdon pressed on despite her jitters, and popped the question. Her guy, apparently a no-frills sort as well, had just one question: "Where?" [source: Indiana Rigdon]
These are just a few examples of the limitless ways to get engaged. Look around you for ideas. Type "how to propose" into your Internet search engine and read some of the stories that are out there. Talk to your friends, your mom, your hairstylist. How did their husbands propose to them, or how did they propose to their husbands? Think about your history with your boyfriend: Are there certain places or dates that are special to you? Stallings proposed to her boyfriend on their anniversary, and Durham asked for his hand in marriage on Father's Day, since fatherhood was very important to him.
Bottom line: Do what feels right for you, and what fits your style as a couple.