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5 Signs it’s Time to Get Engaged

It’s not always easy to know when the time is right to pop the big question. You might not be able to gauge the interest of the lucky lady in question, you may not want to mess with a good thing, or maybe you’re just not ready. But as time goes by and the pressure mounts, you may begin to wonder if the “right time” is just a myth concocted by happy couples to hide the fact that they, too, were unsure about the proper moment for presenting a ring. Whatever your reason for waiting, you certainly don’t want to put off that next step too long or you may find yourself alone while the love of your life runs off to Las Vegas to marry your best friend. Here are a few hard-to-miss signs that it’s time to get to one knee and solidify your future with a diamond engagement ring.

1. She’s pregnant. If your girlfriend is sporting a baby bump as an accessory instead of a ring, it’s time to man up and remedy the situation. Bringing a child into the picture is a pretty clear sign that you’re moving towards a permanent partnership, so stop stalling and get the ring already!

2. You’re already married under common law. If the law says you’ve been together long enough to be married, maybe it’s time you took the hint. At the very least, you’re missing out on a monster tax break. If you’ve been living together for several years as a couple, you’re already married in spirit anyway, so why not make it official and give her the day she’s been dreaming of since she was a child. After all, if she stayed with you, she kind of deserves it.

3. You’ve been together more than half of your life. This is a no brainer. If you’ve been together more than half the time you’ve been alive, you’re probably not going to be moving on to greener pastures any time soon. If you’re in it for the long haul, then for goodness sake, make the commitment.

4. She’s started looking at rings. This is a sure sign that she’s ready, so unless you want to lose her to the next guy to offer her a shiny bauble for her third finger, you’d better start planning for the purchase of your life. Otherwise she’ll be planning it without you.

5. Her bags are packed and she’s thrown the gauntlet. Uh-oh! When it gets to ultimatum time, you may already be too late. Don’t suffer the knee-jerk reaction of telling her to go unless you’re sure that a life without her is just fine with you. Probably she’s already told you a few times and you just weren’t listening. So before you blame her ambush for the break-up, think about your own role and consider if you should have proposed marriage a lot sooner.

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iPad 2 Proposal

No, the proposal is not that you should buy an iPad 2. But did you know that when you get one directly from Apple, they offer free engraving? This is exactly the feature that caught the eye of Jordan, a young man, enamored with gadgetry, looking for a special way to ask his girlfriend, Jessica (equally tech-inclined), to spend the rest of her life with him. In a decidedly anti-tech move, he presented her with the engagement iPad under the world’s largest tree, in the National Redwood Forest. But the engraving on Apple’s latest design was enough to win her heart. The words on the iPad 2 simply read, “Will you marry me?” Her response: “Yes! Now give me my iPad!” Ah, young love.

For most people, bigger is better when it comes to the engagement offering (although it usually pertains to a diamond). But for this tech-lover, the thinnest iDevice in Apple’s lineup was the winner (it’s even thinner than the iPhone 4!). The best thing was, with both a front and rear-facing camera on this latest iteration of their popular tablet, she could see the look on his face just as he saw the look on hers! Okay, that didn’t really happen, but it would have been cool to utilize some of the other new features in the proposal (still trying to figure out how the gyroscope could be used…).

Of course, this isn’t the first time someone has used technology to propose. It isn’t even the first proposal with an Apple product (although it is the first reported with an iPad 2…can you imagine reading that order at the Apple factory? Double take…). People are already speculating about the potential for geekdom to beset the children of these two tech-buffs, but the more interesting question is: will this set off a spate of iProposals?

Most women want the bling, but who would say no to an iPad 2? A couple of ways to incorporate both could be to create a proposal app (no, they don’t have an app for that yet, although a guy in Australia paid a game developer to create a scavenger hunt that led his girlfriend to her ring), download a photo of an engagement ring to the desktop (then give the ring to her), or simply stud the iPad with Swarovski crystals or actual diamonds (hey, they did it to an iPhone, why not an iPad?). Any way you do it, you’re bound to get an emphatic yes, and she’ll have a unique memento for the rest of her life (although you’d better get a ring, too, just to be safe).

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5 Marriage Proposal Don’ts

Everyone has their own ideas about the proper way to propose. Most men want the event to be special so that she’ll never forget it (and to improve her chances of saying yes). But that doesn’t always mean things go off without a hitch. In some cases, less is more, and by going completely overboard, all you’re telling the woman of your dreams is that you have no clear idea of the meaning of excess. On the other hand, sometimes just being a guy can work against you. But don’t worry; if you’re not sure if your plan might backfire, here are just a few things you’ll want to avoid when you drop to one knee.

1. Putting the ring in food. Sure, you’ve seen it in the movies, but try to remember that what happens on the silver screen should stay on the silver screen. That world is a fantasy. In reality, what happens when you put a ring in her food or drink is that she’ll probably choke on it or swallow it. And a trip to the emergency room is not romantic. At the very least, it will have to be cleaned before she can put it on. Ring tartar? Gross.

2. Proposing with a ring pop. Sorry, guys, this isn’t as cute as you think it is. If you don’t have the money to buy a real ring, you’re going to have to come up with something a little more creative than one made of sugar. Consider famous literary proposals, such as Edmond’s in The Count of Monte Cristo, in which the poor sailor winds a piece of string around the finger of his beloved Mercedes to signify the real ring he will put there one day when he became a wealthy man. The thought counts more if you actually put some thought into it.

3. Jumping out of an airplane. Think long and hard before you hand her the ring midair; there are SO many things that could go wrong. For example, consider the likelihood of dropping the ring (high risk). Or imagine how the proposal might go. You: Will you marry me? Her: What? You: Will you marry me? (wind howling loudly) Her: What?!

4. Proposing in front of a crowd (especially her family). It might seem romantic to involve others, but this moment is really about the two of you. And do you really want her to 1) bow to peer pressure when she says yes, only to recant later, or 2) listen to the advice of her mother, who hates you? Let her decide on her own, in private, with no one listening but you.

5. Checking out other chicks. This is a bad idea at the best of times, but if you’re looking at other women during the proposal (even if you’re just trying to gauge the approval rating in the room) you might wind up with champagne in your face.

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Celebrities Who Waited to Get Engaged

A lot of the time, we look at celebrity engagements and wonder how they could have happened so fast. After all, with the paparazzi following these people day and night, we know perfectly well that the now-engaged actress on the cover of Star Magazine was seen canoodling at The Ivy with another leading man just a few short weeks ago. However, there are still some amongst the glitterati who prefer to take their time in these matters. Here are just a few who can provide a good example for the rest.

Prince William and Kate Middleton are at the top of this list, with their impending nuptials just weeks away. The newest member of the royal family did her fair share of waiting while the Prince plucked up the courage to pop the big question. In fact, they were together for so long (well, anything over six months is considered a long time in the celebrity world) that the tabloids were starting to wonder in print if he was ever going to ask her. Luckily, they made it official last year, after only six years of dating and four breakups. But he made it up to her with a gorgeous ring (his mother’s), a royal wedding at Westminster Abby, and of course the title of Princess.

Others notable celebrity couples who managed to wait quite a while before entering wedded bliss include Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis, who were together 12 years before they made it official, Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart, who rang in a 7-year relationship before their 2009 nuptials, and Brian Austin Green and Megan Fox, whose on-again off-again relationship charted six turbulent years before ending at the altar.

Of course, Oprah Winfrey really might win the prize. She and long-time boyfriend Stedman Graham have been together for 25 years (since 1986) apparently without the slightest inclination to marry. Some have speculated that it has to do with her fortune, while others gossip about how close she is to her friend Gayle. In any case, this could end up being the longest wait for a ring in history…that is if an engagement ever occurs. Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn might just give her a run for her money, though (so to speak). They’ve been together since 1983, despite the lack of wedding bells.

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Fun-in-the-Sun Summer Proposal Ideas

While it’s true that many women prefer a summer wedding (especially those who opt for outdoor ceremonies and receptions) a proposal can come at any time of year. However, if you wait until the weather is balmy to drop to one knee, you might have a lot more options when it comes to your method of popping the big question. So if you want to use the feel-good summer sun as a prop in your marriage proposal, here are a few good ways to incorporate the great outdoors into the most important question you’ll ever ask.

1. Write it in the sand. If you’re shy about asking your question aloud, take your lady love to a secluded spot on the beach and write your question in the sand while she’s working on her tan. You don’t have to make the letters big enough to be read by a rescue plane, but it couldn’t hurt to put in the effort.

2. Do it underwater. If you and your girl like to snorkel or scuba dive, take her on an exotic island getaway and go looking for shells. Have one carved with the question, then drop it inconspicuously in her path so she can’t help but pick it up.

3. Give her an oyster. Looking for pearls in unopened oysters is always a fun summer pastime, especially in beachside cities. So make arrangements with a vendor ahead of time to open up an oyster and put the ring inside. Then buy her the oyster (have the vendor give her one from the “special” bucket) and enjoy her surprise when she opens it to find an engagement ring.

4. Find a nice sunset. Sometimes all you need for romance is a great backdrop. Pick your favorite beach spot and propose to her just as the sun sets over the water. If you’d like to add a little poetry to the occasion, tell her you never want the sun to set without her by your side.

5. Buy a bicycle built for two. Pedal the day away, stopping at a local park for a wine-and-cheese picnic. Tell her that you bought the bicycle rather than renting it because you knew you were ready to ride through life with only her. Then have her look in the basket on the handlebars to find her ring box.

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Steal Celebrity Engagement Ring Styles (for Less)

You’ve probably seen plenty of gorgeous celebrity engagement rings and thought to yourself that there is no way you could afford that kind of gem. Unfortunately, you’re probably right. Celebrities have the cash on hand to buy diamonds that are practically perfect and undeniably rare, something that most of us lesser mortals could never hope to attain. And yet, there are ways to copy celebrity styles and make them more affordable. By following a few simple guidelines, you can have the engagement ring that you’ve seen on your favorite celebrity, for a lot less cost.

For starters, you need to consider the size and quality of the stones. A celebrity might be able to spring for a 5-carat diamond that is flawless and colorless, but you likely can’t afford it. Plus, you really don’t want to be flashing that kind of bling unless you live in a gated neighborhood and take a bodyguard with you everywhere. Instead, opt for a more understated stone, one that is smaller and not quite as perfect. You can copy the look of a celebrity by choosing the same cut of diamond (and you’ll pay a lot less).

You’ll also want to mimic the setting. While platinum has become very popular once again, it is also a fairly pricey metal. If you simply can’t afford it, opt for white gold instead. It looks just as nice for a fraction of the price. And as for the style of the band, many celebrities these days are going with simple and traditional bands or the trendy pave halo, both of which are easy to find. Although your idols probably spend beaucoup bucks by ensuring that even their diamond chips are of the highest quality, you can find settings that are already made and are practically indistinguishable from their hand-selected counterparts (and you can feel good about getting them for a great price).

Finally, forget going to name-brand jewelers that will charge you and arm and a leg for the label on the box. By shopping online, you have a wide selection at your fingertips and no annoying sales people pushing you to spend more. Plus, with no store-front overhead, online retailers can offer the looks you love at a discounted price, saving you even more. In short, it’s easy and inexpensive to copy the celebrity engagement ring you’re yearning to wear. By scaling down the size, choosing similar (but more cost-effective) elements, and shopping online, you’re going to save a lot and still wow your friends by wearing the ring they saw on a celebrity.

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Celebrities Show Off Engagement Rings on Twitter

The things that celebrities will post on Twitter never cease to amaze. Whether you’re gawking at a photo of Demi Moore’s nether region (courtesy of her loudmouth husband, Ashton Kutcher) or waiting to see how Sarah Palin next conceives to slaughter the English language (she’ll refudiate that remark), it’s fun to follow the shenanigans of public figures as they attempt to connect with their adoring (or snoring) fans. And while most of them are content to tweet about their vegan breakfast or comment on the current events of the day (usually with less than impartial judgment) one way in which a lot of celebs have taken over the Twitter feed is by posting pics of their engagement rings just moments after saying yes.

Remember the days when a celebrity wedding announcement was splashed across the pages of a gossip rag? These days, if you see it first at the newsstand you’re already way behind. The holiday season was rife with celebs deciding to tie the knot, and a fair number of them opted to shout it out on Twitter with a photo of their larger-than-life diamond to accent the good news. One who got a lot of press was playboy playmate Crystal Harris (who likely wouldn’t have garnered nearly as much notice if not for the fact that Heff’s former long-time flame, Holly Madison, left him for lack of a proposal). Brit singer Lily Allen also nabbed some attention for both her flawless manicure and the ring that signifies a moment of well-deserved happiness for her and boyfriend Sam Cooper (they recently suffered a devastating miscarriage).

But they’re not alone. Controversial couple Jesse James and Kat Von D “accidentally” announced their upcoming nuptials when James posted a candid photo of his tattooed lady love (with a heavily-laden ring finger). One half of the Disney twin duo Tia and Tamera (the latter) posted a smiling pic that showcased her brilliant rock. And most recently, Emma Bunton (aka Baby Spice) announced her engagement via twitpic, flashing her diamond-studded ring finger just weeks after becoming pregnant with her second child. With all the celebrity wedding announcements and finger-waggling happening on Twitter, one is left to wonder if it’s something in the water (or the online stream).

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Enjoy Your Engagement (Through the Chaos of Planning)

The minute you get that ring on your finger, along with the promise of a lifetime of love, you want the whole world to share in your happiness. But the stresses of planning can soon burst your dreamy little bubble. So how do you hang onto that diamond-induced high while your sort through the nuts and bolts and arranging a major event? By adhering to a few simple rules, you can really enjoy your engagement even as you slog through the hassles of wedding planning.

First and foremost: learn to say no (now that you’ve said yes)! You likely have a lot on your plate already, and adding a wedding to the mix is going to take up additional time and energy. So cut back on other commitments to compensate. People will understand (especially if they’re invited to the wedding). Although you may have trouble giving up book club, going to yoga once a week instead of twice, and turning down dinner dates with other couples because you have to pore over place settings, remember that your life is just on hold for a short while. You can resume all of these activities later on. The point is to remain as stress-free as possible so you can really have fun with the planning.

You may also want to delegate some responsibility. Most brides are keen to do it all, but this can lead to a lot of pressure as you try to keep all the details straight. There are plenty of people who want to help you, not the least of whom are the mothers. They are a good source of advice and they’ll likely jump at the chance to participate. Your soon-to-be husband is probably also keen to take some of the burden (and keep you from freaking out), so give him a few tasks to handle and for goodness sake, let him do them (no micro-managing).

Many brides these days even opt to hire a wedding planner. This is a great solution for the busy gal on the go who has a little extra spending cash. A planner will get together options based on a few specifications from you so that all you really have to do is make the tough decisions (should the tablecloths be ivory or ecru?). Cutting back on stress and obligations is the key to having a happy engagement, so do everything you can to relieve the pressure and truly enjoy the process of planning the first day of the rest of your life.

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Great New Year’s Eve Proposal Ideas

Proposing marriage is a profound event in and of itself. But you can definitely take advantage of the heightened emotions of the holiday season to make popping the big question even more meaningful. The sentiments of love and family run high at this time of year, and the turning of the calendar has us all considering the path we will take and the changes we’ll make in the coming months, so it only makes sense to think about a future with your one and only. But if you’re going to propose on New Year’s Eve, you don’t want to phone it in just because you’ve got the nostalgia of the season and the hope of a new beginning on your side. If you still want your proposal to be memorable, make a plan that speaks to the special qualities that only the holidays can offer. Here are a few ideas to get you on the right track.

1. Stroke of midnight. Proposing just at the turning of the year is not a new idea, but the significance cannot be tarnished by its rather obvious appeal. So once the countdown begins, take your love aside and make your future intentions clear.

2. Reverse proposal. Hey ladies! If you’re ready for your life to begin, why wait for the man to get the ball rolling? Try a little role-reversal by getting to one knee as you make a resolution to devote the coming year (and indeed, the rest of your life) to the man you love.

3. Ring in the toast. Give her the ring when you ring in the New Year with your traditional champagne toast. As she lofts her stemware high, she will no doubt see the sparkling promise in the bottom of her bubbly. If she’s not terribly observant, you may want to brush up on your Heimlich Maneuver, just in case.

4. Have waiter bring it on the dessert tray. If you’re out for a romantic dinner, order dessert at the end, but prearrange to have the waiter bring out the ring box on a covered tray so you can reveal your sweet treat.

5. Coat check. Many couples opt to attend large, public gatherings on New Year’s Eve, most of which have a coat check service to ensure that everyone goes home with their own belongings. Entrust your ring box to the coat-check girl and when you hand in your claim checks at the end of the night, have her bring out the ring box instead of your coats.

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Celebrating Your Holiday Engagement

You’ve been planning your proposal for a while, and whether you intend to drop to one knee during the family holiday feast, pop the question in the privacy of your own home beforehand, or wrap the ring and place it under the tree for her to discover on Christmas day, you’re going to have to face the inevitable: celebrating a holiday engagement. While an imminent wedding will certainly require you to tell the family (hers and yours), you don’t necessarily want it to get swallowed up in the holiday festivities. You want it to be a special cause for celebration. On the other hand, you don’t expect your family to supersede the season in order to make you and your new fiancé feel special. And you may not be prepared to deal with the fallout from families who are less than approving. So what can you do to celebrate? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Host a reception. In a season that’s full of parties and gatherings, you should have no trouble arranging one more (especially if you’ve been planning for this moment for a while). Family and friends can wish you well and then everyone can get on with holiday affairs.

2. Break the news ASAP. Rather than waiting for your annual holiday feast to break the good news, call friends and family as soon as you put the ring on her finger. Likely they will want to have some sort of celebration anyway, but this way it won’t interfere with plans that are already in place.

3. Keep it simple. When everyone sits down to dinner, pour some champagne and make your announcement. The assemblage will likely be so intent on the food waiting to be eaten that they’ll offer a toast and then tuck in, relieving the burden on you and your fiancé to field a gauntlet of hugs and relate the story of your engagement ad nauseum.

4. Plan a whirlwind vacation. If you don’t want to deal with the pressures of a social gathering that not only includes your giant, crazy family, but your soon-to-be in-laws as well, jet off for a holiday getaway and enjoy the calm before the storm.

5. Stay home. Let’s face it: all you really want to do is snuggle in bed and bask in the glow of solidified love. Every other year can include family (and it probably will), but take this time to enjoy being a couple by making some memories that are exclusively about the two of you.