Do you need help planning your proposal? Then this guide is for you! 

Let me preface this blog by sharing how important it is to propose in a place & time that feels right for you. If you’re reading this, and you’re the partner planning the proposal, then I am happy to say that I have been in your shoes before. Let me explain, every marriage starts with a few things & one of those things is your proposal to your other half! This is an exciting time for you, but I know how nerve racking it can be. Although you’re super excited, you struggle to grasp what your proposal will look like or maybe you have an idea and need some help bringing it to life. You’re probably wondering where it’ll happen, when it’ll happen, how you will make it a surprise, what ring to buy, where to buy it, what you will say and how you will capture it? 

First thing first, Don’t Stress!

Alright don’t stress out, no but seriously! I see it too often that stress can take away from the experience. Before I dive in and answer some questions about proposing. I want you to take a deep breath and recognize how special this moment is that you’re creating for you & your partner. One thing that helped me remain stress free when planning my own proposal was having a timeline, as I’ll mention more below, it is important to know when you want to do things. Unless you’re pressured to propose because your life requires you to, you can otherwise take as much time as you need to prepare and get mentally ready to propose. For some, this is several months while for others, this planning phase might last only a couple weeks. Regardless, take the time to schedule this timeline to accommodate your own personal preference. 


So you’re planning on proposing to your partner, now what?

You’ve fallen in love with your partner, you’re ready to propose and marry them. But where do you even start? You need to start planning, this is not just a taco Tuesday date night that you planned in 15 minutes. Ok, maybe it is! But if it’s not, let’s not forget that first we have to do some things to plan the proposal that we want.


Finding the right ring! 

So you want to propose with a ring that your partner will love and one that will fit, but how do you do this without your partner knowing? So as I have witnessed with many proposals, there are really two main options for selecting the ring. 1.) You go & look at rings with your partner, either in store or online, allowing them to check out possible rings while also getting the proper sizing while doing so. Or 2.) You select and pick out the ring & “guess” the sizing while maintaining a full surprise proposal. Now let's break down these two options more. With option one, there are many ways to go about getting an idea of what types of rings your partner likes and figuring their ring size out too. By doing this, you can ensure they’ll like the ring they get & it will fit without any need for resizing. By doing option one, they can be fully aware that you plan on proposing in the future so this takes away from the surprise a bit, or you can choose option 2 which allows you to surprise them fully. The key takeaway here is that there are options, and you should replay your options so you choose which is right for you!


Purchasing the ring

As I mentioned above, you can look at rings in stores or online. Some things to consider when purchasing the ring. 

  • Be aware of delivery times & delays (This can impact when you plan on proposing) 
  • Does the ring come with a box, if it does, is that the box you want to use to propose? 
  • If possible, pay in cash. Or put at least 30% down! 
  • Does the ring come with any warranty or protection?

Best places in Toledo to propose

So you have the ring, or at least have it ordered. You’re living in Toledo, and you have no idea where to propose. This is totally normal, and it will take some thought to decide. That’s ok, take as much time as you need, but in the meantime. Let me share with you some great places that you might consider proposing in Toledo, Ohio.

At a metro park, Northwest Ohio is known for its amazing network of metroparks spanning across the city. These are all great places to propose. Here are a few great ones below!

  • Oak Openings 
  • Side Cut (Featured in this blog post) 
  • Wild Wood
  • Middle Grounds 

Other places!

  • Toledo Art Museum 
  • Luna Pier 
  • Maumee Bay State park 
  • Toledo Zoo 
  • On a boat in Maumee River 
  • While Camping 
  • At a local coffee shop 
  • On a walk through/ date in a small toledo town
  • Downtown Toledo

Or Simply proposing in your home or backyard. Where you propose is as important or less important than you make it. This moment will be special regardless of where you pop the question.


When to propose? 

Awesome, you have the ring and you know where you’d like to propose. Now when? Literally anytime you’d like. Ok, I know anytime isn’t good enough so let's dive into this more. Some things to consider when choosing when you’d like to propose. 

  • Season, is it important to you. Do you want to propose under the falling of the snow or do you want to propose after a day of swimming and soaking in the sun. I know I said you can propose anytime, but what time looks to be the best for you two? 
  • Family, do you want family present during your proposal or want to celebrate with family right after your proposal. It is important that you plan when you’re going to propose with your family, if you’d like them present on that day. This may require more work but trust me, it will be worth it if it’s what you want. 
  • Time of day, does time of day matter to you? Do you want to propose in the morning? Maybe your partner isn’t a morning person? Do you want to propose at night, possible under the stars? 
  • Talk to your photographer for time suggestions. More about this below 

What to say during your proposal? 

I think eventually or later, you will be wondering what to say when you’re down on one knee with your partner looking down at you. If you’re anything like me and some others, you will freeze up and you’ll experience the same stage fright like you might get when standing in front of a crowd. Only this time, it’s with great excitement and happiness. If you said nothing at all, you need to at least state these words, “NAME, will you marry me”? It’s ok to not have a speech written or something remembered during your proposal. But if you do, that’s ok too. Bring a note, bring a custom photo album, practice your speech in the mirror. Remember this, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Your partner will love you exactly how you propose, because it’s you. 


Capture your proposal vs not capturing it

Maybe I am a bit biased writing this from a voice of a photographer, but although I am a photographer, I too had to decide if I wanted my proposal captured when I was planning my proposal. So you must ask yourself, do you want to have photos to remember the day you proposed? I think this is an easy answer for some, while it might be on the fence for others. If you’re on the fence, let me list some advantages and disadvantages to having a photographer or videographer present. 


  • Someone to help plan your proposal. Hiring a photographer allows you to correspond with someone who does this professionally, giving you comfort in knowing that everything will be perfect. 
  • Photos you can have to relive your special day. 
  • Photos you can share with family & friends. 
  • Photos you can put on announcements or holiday cards. 
  • Photos you can furnish your home in. 
  • Photos you can show your future family. 
  • Meeting a photographer before your wedding, ok, maybe you hire a photographer for your proposal and really like them. This is a great way to meet who could possibly photograph your wedding. 


  • It’s not necessary to have a photographer present, but if you don’t, consider the things above that you will miss out on. 
  • Sure, you won’t have a photographer present, but you don’t need to. Plan this proposal how you’d like to plan it. Your experience is all that matters. 

If you decide to work with a photographer & possibly me, you will receive help planning your proposal. You can bounce location, timing, and how you will coordinate the surprise of your proposal with someone who has experience planning these. Rest assured and with comfort knowing you’re planning an experience unlike any other.


Please read the featured story of Adam & Kennedy’s surprise Toledo proposal below.

Adam & Kennedy have formerly been in a relationship over the course of the last year but I am told that they have known each other their whole life, as their families were familiar with each other. Adam & I actually met a few years ago while he was working at Rustbelt coffee and we connected very well, and fast forward a few years later. We have in that time had many conversations over coffee, have gone to musical performances and have hung out at Bar145 for burgers.

We’ve become well acquainted so I was of course excited when he reached out expressing his interest in having me photograph his surprise proposal.  Without getting too thick into the planning process of his story, we met and discussed exactly what he had in mind for his proposal. We discussed how he wanted to propose at the Gazebo inside Sidecut metropark, and when he planned on proposing. Due to some life obstacles and the ring arriving late due to shipping, we had to adjust our original plan and had to push the original date back. Adam did a great job adjusting and moving forward with the new plan!

All that planning seems to just slip away when the time comes to propose, when you’re down on one knee and you’re about to pop the question. Life kind of stops and you instantly feel amazing as your partner looks down at you and says yes and you rise to kiss and hug them.

Planning your proposal should be fun, it should be happy, it should be you.