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Should You Involve Family In Your Proposal?

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Do you want your family and friends to witness your engagement?

Photography by @ShotbyTanya

Proposals of San Diego have been a part of helping many gorgeous couples make sure their marriage proposal is perfect. No matter what you plan to say, don't forget where, when, and how you'll say it. Every girl knows how important proposals are. Asking at the wrong time or place can be embarrassing or awkward.

The Knot 2019 Jewelry & Engagement Study indicates that today, only 26 percent of people who propose involve friends or family in their proposal. A proposal that includes the most important people in your partner's life is a thoughtful way to illustrate your commitment, regardless of whether you choose to propose at a simple gathering or with all the trimmings: fireworks, doves, flashmobs, skywriting.

How that looks however, really depends on the people involved. Some people are super-close with their parents and want to share this special moment with them, whereas others will call them as soon as they've said "yes," but still want the proposal itself to be a private moment.

Before committing to the decision....

...let’s back up a few steps. Step one is getting the family’s blessing.

Asking their parents for your partner’s hand in marriage is an old tradition, and one that, where possible, we want to encourage! It shows respect and consideration. After all, marriage is about joining not just two people, but two families. You want to start your life together on the right foot. And why wouldn’t they want you both to be happy?

For advice on the proper way to ask your partner’s family for their blessing, read more here.

Photography by @ShotbyTanya

Now that you’ve received the family’s thumbs up (go you!) now you need to think about whether or not you want to include them in your proposal. This is a relatively new idea that is becoming more and more popular. However, there are many things to consider before announcing plans to their entire family or friend group.

  • Sometimes keeping the big moment a secret can become a bit tricky when you involve others.

  • Don’t bring family in, if your partner doesn’t have the most positive relationship with them - it could be totally inappropriate! Make sure you know and understand how your partner feels about spending time with and sharing intimate, personal experiences with their family. Then, drag all the second cousins along to bear witness.

So, is it appropriate, or even a wise idea to propose in front of her family or friends?

When You Should Keep Them Away

We recommend that you keep the proposal mostly private—no family or friends—if you feel like it’s a lot of added pressure. If you or your partner are not very comfortable sharing intimate moments with family or friends, or the thought of proposing in front of either of your families makes you cringe… make it JUST about you two.

Take guidance from your partner - proposing in front of families may just involve them a little TOO much in the relationship for their comfort level. Its like giving the family carte blanche to involve themselves in the rest of your married lives as well.

The only exception to this might be a photographer covertly hidden to take a photo or video of “that moment.” You, your partner, the family and all your friends will want details of absolutely everything—the proposal, the ring, what she said, if she cried, what you said, and how you said it. Just make sure your intended person is the type who loves documenting all of their significant life events. You definitely won’t want to use this idea if she’s the type to avoid social media!

Make it Just About You Two

When You Should Involve Them

The only right answer here is “If your partner would be really happy about it.” Think very carefully about it:

  • Does she like to celebrate her birthday with all of her family?

  • Is she really close to them?

  • Are they the first to hear about all of the big news in her life?

Marriage proposals are deeply personal, so sharing this with other family members may make them feel special. It allows them to be present at the start of the marriage (the proposal), and sends the message that they are welcome for the many years that the marriage endures.

Ideally, the couple should be very close to both families if you’re planning on proposing in front of so many people.

If you don’t want them family present for the Big Moment, but would still like to be involved, consider having the family hide and wait somewhere (a restaurant, another location, etc) until after you’ve popped the question. Then when you and your newly engaged fiancée come over, you can celebrate together!

What About A Random Crowd?

Again, and I cannot stress this enough - the ONLY right answer is “If your partner would be really happy about it.”

Every time I talk with a client, I remind them that it's not about them. Its about your partner and what they want.

Thoughts to consider -

  • are they super close with their extended family, or have tons of close friends.

  • Are they big on being able to really celebrate your love; think long and emotional posts on social media.

  • Do they like an audience?

You, as the partner who is proposing, should figure out exactly what suits them. As long as it involves a big, love-celebrating party, then go ahead and make it as public and dramatic as you can!

Photography by @ShotbyTanya

Options Besides Having Them At The Proposal

Having your loved ones there with you to celebrate can be a super sweet and special way to let them join as you and your partner kick off the next chapter of your lives together.

If you’re not keen to have them present AT the proposal, we suggest a personal proposal - just the two of you, followed by a kick ass after party. This allows for a celebration with the family later in the evening or even the next day. This is a great way to have her family feel like they were part of their kid’s intimate moment, without actually having them there!

Plus, it will definitely save you a lot of post-proposal phone calls!

The Bottom Line

Either way is fine.

But if family is to be there, it should be both parties' family, not just one or the other. To prevent drama, have the families meet first.

However you decide to propose marriage, it’s a lot of pressure, and no matter how sure you are that she’ll say yes, she might want to keep the moment private and special with just you. Think carefully in terms of your relationship and if she would like that type of thing– if you have any doubts, I would shy away from it.


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 for marriage proposals, vow renewals and anniversaries.

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