How To Propose At A Restaurant

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propose at a restaurantOver my years in the restaurant industry, I have witnessed a number of wedding proposals occur during my shift.  With Valentine’s Day approaching, and my bachelor status allowing this post not to create the most awkward Valentine’s Day date ever, I decided to spend a few moments to write about some of the best and worst proposals I have been present for. As a romantic at heart, I love to see this happen.  A well thought out proposal will create a memory that will last a lifetime.  If you are considering popping the question at dinner, here are some pointers to make the occasion memorable and successful.

Always Make A Reservation:  There is nothing that can ruin a well laid plan like not being able to get a table.  Make the reservation.  Let them know that you are planning on proposing during the meal.  They may even get you a more private table.  Berating the host because you can’t get a table despite the fact you offered him a twenty,  doesn’t make for a romantic start to the evening.

Never Propose Some Place That Doesn’t Take Reservations:  Let’s get real here.  Maybe the sports bar or coffee shop you met in is a sentimental spot.  This does not mean that it is romantic.  Taking a knee in peanut shells or well below a bar stool might not quite set the tone you want for the evening.  Pick out a nice place, make a reservation, put on a nice outfit, and make it a great memory.

Always Keep The Ring In Your Pocket:  You will check and recheck and triple check that it is in your pocket throughout the evening.  It is understandable.  It is one of the biggest purchases you have probably made up until that point.  If you put it in your coat, you will find yourself checking your coat pocket more times than you will know.  This is a dead giveaway.

Never Give Your Ring To the Staff:  This advice has nothing to do with honesty and everything to do with liability.  I buy sunglasses at the gas station.  This is because I don’t trust myself to keep track of a pair of sunglasses that cost more than $20.  There is no way I want to be responsible for something that cost more than my net worth.  Besides, putting it in the glass of champagne is played out and putting the ring on her finger after digging it out of the chocolate cake is kind of gross.  As a side note, please for the love of cupid, do not lick the chocolate off the ring if you opt for the latter.

Always Eat Something:  You are likely going to be nervous and that will dampen your appetite.  Picking at your food is going to make her think something is funny about the evening.  If you sense your appetite dwindling, try to order smaller meals and fewer courses to make it less obvious.  You should also monitor your alcohol intake accordingly.  Less food in your stomach will allow the booze to hit you quicker.  You don’t want to get to one knee and have to guess which of the three of your girlfriend that you are seeing you should propose to.

Never Order Several Courses:  Appetizer, salad, entrée, and dessert.  These four courses are the maximum.  To save yourself from a bit of the torture of waiting, you might want to skip the appetizer.  This affects to both the topics immediately above and below this one.

Always Propose At Dessert:  Always, every time, without question, you should propose at dessert.  I have seen one rejection to a proposal at the dessert course.  I have seen a 100% failure rate on proposals before dessert.  This means that in my experience 75% of unsuccessful attempts happened before entrees.  Two of these did so before desserts.  I served one couple four courses in silence broken only by barking orders at me to get them random accompaniments.  I didn’t hold it against him.  He was having a pretty rough night it seemed.  If they had raised the idea, I would have broken a new speed record for packaging the rest of their meal to go.

Never Make Plans For Immediately Afterwards:  Let me tell you how this is going to play out.  She is going to spend the next few minutes waving her hands near her face and staring at the ring.  Then women from other tables will probably migrate over to congratulate you and stare at the ring with her.  Then there will be a trip to the bathroom followed by phone calls.  There will be lots of phone calls and texts.  Pictures will be taken of the ring.  More women come to stare at it.  Roll with it my friend.  She has been dreaming of this moment her whole life.

You did well.  She said “yes” and you can take a deep breath.  Order a drink because this one is on me.  Although it might be wise to have me reheat the steak I just boxed up for you.  Your appetite has probably returned and you might need it before your next drink.  You have plenty of time.  Trust me, you are going to be here for a while.

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About David Hayden

David Hayden is the creator of The Hospitality Formula Network, a series of websites dedicated to all aspects of the restaurant industry. He is also the author of the book Tips2: Tips For Improving Your Tips and Building Your Brand With Facebook.

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