What you shouldn't do when proposing

Proposing maybe one of the most important moments in your life. Don't mess it up. (Thinkstock)

It’s a nerve-wracking moment: asking your girlfriend or partner to marry you can rank as one of the happiest moments of your life, or the most humiliating if you don’t get the answer you were hoping for.

If you’re planning on popping the question, sometimes it pays to keep it simple and personal. A look at the many ways you can mar the marriage offer, plus some just plain ridiculous examples of popping the question.

The I.O.U. engagement

If you’re going to get down on one knee, make sure you have something shiny. The Knot compiled a list of the most common proposal mistakes and suitors without rings ranked #1 as the biggest mistake a man can make when proposing.

“Sure, your declaration of love and request for a lifetime commitment should be more important than whether or not you're bearing jewelry, but you have to understand that to a woman (and her friends and her mother) an engagement won't seem 100 per cent legit unless she's got an engagement ring to show for it.”

Involve crowds of strangers

Getting engaged is a supremely intimate moment. Even though aw-inducing videos of song-and-dance proposals often go viral, so many publicly planned proposals fail miserably. Karina Lemke, a Toronto wedding planner for the television show Rich Bride, Poor Bride, tells the Globe and Mail that popping the question on the Jumbotron or in front of a big crowd is “an exercise in utter narcissism.” Unconvinced? Check out this clip of a UCLA basketball fan asking his girlfriend to marry him on the Mistletoe Cam…and being rejected in front of a stadium and over 9 million YouTube viewers.

Pretend to die

Easily one of the most unusual stunt proposals, this man started to ask his girlfriend of four years the all-important question near an overpass when things took a turn for the macabre. It looks like it all went according to plan, but still – most girls don’t want a proposal that could potentially involve a rush trip to the ER.

Popping the questions at the wrong moment

Another way to mess up spending forever with the woman of your dreams is asking at the wrong moment. The Knot explains asking too early can freak the lady out, but blurting out “Will you marry me?” just because you’ve got the ring in your pocket can be decidedly unromantic. Planning for the special moment that she can proudly divulge to friends and family is always a great idea…even if it doesn’t go as planned.

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