Should I Propose Before Or After Dinner

You’ve picked the ideal place, but have you picked the perfect moment to pop the question?

If you’re not slightly stressed while planning a proposal, then maybe this whole engagement dinner thing isn’t the right move for you! Because if you’re anything like us, even the mere thought of booking an ideal dinner proposal restaurant can turn you into a big bag of nervous bones. And so it should. 

Proposing is a big deal. Even if you know the answer will be positive, and your partner is super chill, it’s still important to get it right. The marriage proposal should be a cherished memory to look back on and smile about, not grimace, for years to come. And whether you plan to propose before or after dinner can make or break the perfect moment. 

Proposing at dinner is a favorite choice for many prospective fiances, as it offers a certain level of intimacy combined with a (usually) discreet audience. Therefore, you get the thrill of getting down on one knee, but without the thousands of eyes looking on if you were proposing at the Eiffel Tower or Niagara Falls, for example. 

Couples also often have a shared favorite restaurant that they love to go to on special occasions. Choosing one of these cherished dinner spots for your big moment means your partner is going to feel happy and relaxed immediately. 

But before we go too deep into the subject, let’s explore whether a proposal over a delicious meal or candlelight dinner is suitable for your engagement night. 

Does Your Partner Like Being the Center of Attention?

Dinner Proposal

Whether your partner likes attention affects the type of restaurant you choose and whether you should be proposing in public at all. If you know your partner hates being the center of attention and that even a couple of eyes on them turns them icy cold, no restaurant will be suitable for your momentous occasion unless you hire the whole place and blindfold the restaurant staff! 

The perfect engagement should fill both parties with intense joy and excitement. And if anxiety causes your partner to be anything less than that, choose a different, more intimate path for your proposal. 

However, if your future spouse loves to hold the room and constantly documents their every move on social media, it’s your job to give them their moment. Create a candlelit dinner that’s almost too romantic for words, or arrange a flash mob of strangers, or loved ones, to help you pop the all-important question. 

However fantastical you make the actual moment, just make sure their phone is charged!

For couples who are not naturally flamboyant and not necessarily shy and retiring, it’s simply a case of finding the perfect restaurant match for you. And also time. In this scenario, it would be best to choose your favorite restaurant to propose, as it will be a safe place for you both, and you’ll probably know the perfect time to visit. 

For instance, if you know that the place gets pretty noisy on Friday or Saturday evening, why not suggest going out for a midweek treat. That way, you’ll get more privacy, and the wait staff may also be more likely to help you out with rings hidden in cakes or with music and lights. 

How do I pick the right proposal dinner restaurant?

There are many ways to approach the problem of choosing the perfect dinner proposal spot. But the main thing that we would suggest is to consider your partner and your story. Suppose they are the nostalgic type, and together you’re always getting excited about revisiting old haunts. Why not go for somewhere you visited together on your path to the proposal. 

Pick somewhere that was pivotal, like a first date spot, or that beautiful night you asked them out, or that place where you first said: “I love you.” If you both would, or do still like one of those places, and it’s suitable for the most romantic of moments, then go for that! 

Equally, if you have a regular local date spot that you both love, then that could be an excellent choice, too. You’re both sure to like the food, you’ll be super comfortable, and you’re probably on good terms with the staff, so you’ll easily be able to ask for a special table or commemorative photos. 

Plus, with this option, as long as you keep your cool and don’t act all suspicious, your partner will be none the wiser! It’ll just be a regular ol’ Thursday date night for them until you pop the question. 

How Much Do You Care About the Actual Meal?

If you’ve wanted to visit a specific restaurant since forever, then booking it for the first time for your night of celebration is probably not a good idea. Your partner’s food will taste very different, depending on whether you choose to propose before or after your meal.

Choosing somewhere with less pressure, that you’ve eaten in all the time, will mean it won’t matter so much if you barely touch your food. But if you’ve gone for a high-end restaurant that you may not be able to visit again, then consider proposing before the meal, maybe even before you get there! 

Because otherwise, you’ll be floating on a wave of emotions, and you won’t even be able to taste the souffle! 

Benefits of Proposing Before Dinner

If you’re not comfortable riding your stress levels like a rodeo bull all through dinner, then proposing before or at the beginning is probably your best option. It may not be the way you see successful proposals play out in the movies, but this is real life, and having an anxiety-filled evening dinner is no way to start your married life together. 

Assuming that the answer is yes, you’ll both be able to have the best-tasting meal of your lives while chatting about future marriage plans and how you’ll announce the news. Moreover, if you’ve let loved ones know of your intentions and you’ve invited them along, they’ll be able to celebrate with you the entire night. 

However, if they say no, this elaborately planned six-course dinner could be the most uncomfortable evening of your shared lives, especially if family and friends are hiding around the corner to surprise your partner! 

There could be many reasons why your nearly-fiancé said no, and the timing is unlikely to be the reason. But if they were dreaming of that perfect engagement moment, and you hurriedly jump to your knees even before your menus arrive, that may well play a part in their reply. 

So be sure not to let your anxiety get the best of you. Be patient, and wait for that special moment to appear.  

Benefits of Proposing After Dinner

For those cool cats out there who don’t balk at the idea of sitting through an expensive dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant with a massive diamond engagement ring burning a hole in their pocket — proposing after dinner could be for you. 

This is, of course, the more traditional way to do it, and as we said, it’s how they do it in the movies. Therefore, your partner may be more impressed and filled with emotion if it comes at this magic time. 

Also, if you propose after the meal, and you’re not someone who suffers from nerves, then you’ll both be able to enjoy a wonderful meal. Because, if you do it before, it’s more than likely that you’ll only be talking about wedding stuff while also texting friends and Instagramming the world! And that high-end restaurant that took ages to book, and you spent ages saving up for, will suddenly become a bit redundant. 

Proposing after dinner means you can have a special, public moment in the restaurant. And then the option to slink off to somewhere more intimate, like a much-loved bar or after-dinner drinks in a hotel somewhere. Or, meet your loved ones for some surprise post-engagement moment cocktails! 

Which is it? A Proposal Before or After Dinner?

At the end of the day, this decision has to come down to personal preference and both of your personalities. There will always be a certain level of anxiety involved in asking someone to marry you, however casual it may be. And if you’re unable to cope with that, don’t force yourself into partaking in any self-destructive behavior. 

If your partner loves you, they wouldn’t want you to do that anyway. Equally, if you feel that a grand gesture at an expensive restaurant will not encourage the feels you’re hoping to achieve for your partner, then make it more low-key. 

You could even consider preparing a special meal at home. Resist the temptation to follow what you see on screen or mimic what your friends have done. Over-the-top declarations of love are not for everyone, and not having one does not mean you are any less in love.  

When it comes to proposing before or after dinner, the same very much applies. In theory, you should know your partner better than anyone else in the world. So think about what they would like, and marry that with what you feel comfortable in doing. Yeah, you guessed it, there’s no right or wrong answer! 

More From Blog

Building Trust With Your Wedding Photographer—Does It Really Matter?

Who Pays for the Honeymoon: Investigate This Thorny Issue

Intimate Vows—Is This Hot Wedding Trend for You?

Thank you!

This feature will be available shortly, we’ll notify you when it’s ready. For now, please take a look at our hand-selected vendors.

Free Printable Wedding Planner

Enter your email for instant access: