You’ve met the one, you know you want forever, and you’re in the midst of planning the perfect proposal… except you have no idea where to start. Although the moment is a special one, the truth is that there really is no “correct” way to propose. With that said, it helps to know as much about your significant other as possible so that you can anticipate answers to some key questions. Some people even choose to talk openly with their partner about how the proposal will play out. Whatever you decide, here are some tips to spark ideas.

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Location

Will you choose to propose on a trip or while you’re at home? Some couples get engaged while on vacation, while others work it into everyday life. Whether you enlist the help of your four-legged friends, decide to cook a romantic dinner for two, or go all out on a beach in a different country, you’ll need adequate preparation before the big day.

Permission

It used to be customary to ask permission before marrying a woman. Today, some people choose to ask permission regardless of who they’re marrying, and others forego the process altogether in favor of newer traditions. This is when knowing your significant other starts to become very important. Would they want you to have a conversation with their family without them before the big day? Use your best judgment, and when in doubt, ask your partner directly about his or her preferences.

Time of Year

People get engaged throughout the entire calendar. Valentine’s Day tends to be a big proposal time, as do Christmas and New Year’s. With that said, summer vacations and winter trips to ski lodges and other cozy destinations are popular as well. Again, there is no “right” time of year to propose. If your significant other has shared thoughts with you about his or her dream proposal, now would be the perfect time to utilize those clues to help narrow down when during the calendar year you’ll whip out the ring.

Agenda

You may or may not decide to use the “one knee” routine. Knowing your partner will help to decide if he or she would appreciate the gesture. It also depends on your comfort level with the move. After you propose, what happens next? Some people elect to have a meal together, some celebrate with family and friends, and some head home to spend some quality time with one another. Whatever you decide, make it clear to friends and family whether they are, or are not, invited to the actual proposal. Ensure that you and your partner are on the same page about whether this will be an exclusive private event or whether you’re calling in reinforcements. Ensuring that everyone has the same expectations will spare hard feelings after the fact about involvement.

Ring

Engagement rings can look a variety of different ways depending on your partner’s specific taste. You might elect to have another open conversation about expectations regarding the ring. Size, shape, type of stone and band size are all considerations when selecting the right one. You might go shopping together, or you might choose to surprise him or her with your selection.

Regardless of how you decide to propose, ensure that you and your partner are on the same page about expectations for the special moment. Having open conversations ahead of time can do lots to ease the tension around planning the big day.

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