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But What To Wear???

How to get her to dress up for the proposal, without giving the game away.

You've decided to propose, and that's fantastic news! You've already found the perfect engagement ring, settled on the ideal time and place, and formulated the right words to tell your future fiance that you want to spend your life together. The final step in planning the perfect proposal is picking out an outfit for yourself, and also figuring out how to get your partner to dress up too!

In order to feel and look your best on your engagement day, it's crucial to plan out your attire in advance. While there are countless dreamy methods to actually propose, it's important to choose an outfit that makes you feel confident, compliments your partner’s outfit, suits the location you have chosen AND will photograph well.

First Thing First, Be Yourself.

When planning your outfit for your engagement photos, it's most crucial to wear something that represents who you are as a couple. If it’s not something you do regularly, being photographed can be nerve-wracking, even when you're not wearing anything too tight, too short, or too daring. It's important to look and feel your best for your engagement photos.

You Must Have A Color Scheme

Before the engagement shoot, you should think about how the colors you plan to wear will look in the final album. The goal is harmony, not a chaotic hodgepodge of individual parts. I'm not suggesting you both wear double denim ah-la Britney and Justin, in fact, please AVOID seeming too matchy-matchy! Instead, choose complementary colors or bring an outfit change so your spouse can wear the same color at a later point in the session.

Dressing According to Location

Picking an outfit that clashes with the atmosphere of where you plan to propose could ruin the surprise for your future spouse. For example, while a sports coat and slacks or a cocktail dress could be appropriate for a romantic dinner proposal, wearing such formal gear on a casual outing or a San Diego traditional beach proposal might raise suspicions. Go with an outfit more suited to the laid-back, outdoor atmosphere. You should dress appropriately for the occasion if you have planned to pop the question during a certain activity, such as a hike or a trip to the beach. If you're going to be hiking up a mountain, dress in your nicest gym clothes, and if you're going to be lounging around the beach, put your favorite swimsuit with a coverup or a T-shirt over it. Keep your partner in the dark about your proposal plans by dressing appropriately for the setting.

You are never fully dressed without a smile.

Don’t Go Too Trendy

My mother’s immense wardrobe is a testament to the fickle nature of changing clothing trends. Heck! At the time of writing, even my last season’s skinny jeans are considered dated now that straight leg, relaxed fit jeans are in. But perhaps by the time you read this, they’ll have come back around.

For that reason, I advise against anything too “trendy.” No matter how gorgeous you think it looks right now, the images your photographer captures will eventually become dated and you’ll be saying to yourself “I can’t believe I wore that!”

Careful selection of clothing can help with this. While you want to look your best for the camera, it's best to steer clear of wearing anything too trendy that will look dated by the time you get your photos back from the photographer. For gentlemen, that means trousers and blazers, and for the ladies; neutral colors, simple cut gowns and natural make-up are a win-win.

Go Global

So while I advise against going trendy, I do support you going “unique.” Why not consider a more global style.

A classic Indian Saree or Salwar Suit is as eye-catching as it is timeless. Everyone will be staring at you as you walk down the street, myself included! The Saree and Salwar suit are well-known all over the globe, flatter all body types, look elegant while never going out of style.

A high-quality, modest Salwar suit conveys sophistication; go for a bright Palazzo Suit cut in a tailored design. If a Saree is the appropriate choice for the event, choose lightweight, portable drapes. If you want to express your individuality, pick a blouse that shows off a bit more skin than is comfortable. A saree made of cotton silk or georgette is preferable to one made of net or heavy silk. I’m not joking when I say you'll look fantastic in that.

Final Words

Whatever you decide, when choosing unique attire, avoid extremes by going neither too far nor too little. Don't go overboard with wedding-appropriate attire, but also don't rock anything you'd wear to a casual get-together with pals. While you shouldn't give the impression that your life is literally on the line, you also shouldn't be too careless.

When my clients call for clothing suggestions for their proposal, my advice is usually to keep it simple and unpretentious. Many engaged couples are nervous about having their photo taken, but once they get into it, they find it to be a great way to commemorate their engagement.

Last but not least, enjoy yourself. You are never truly dressed without a smile.


As San Diego’s premiere proposal planner, Proposals of San Diego creates moments that reflect the unique love story of each couple. We offer all-inclusive proposal packages, and plan one-of-a-kind experiences to ensure you have an Unforgettable Engagement.

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