The Timing Rule To Keep In Mind If You Plan On Proposing At A Fancy Restaurant

A good proposal will warm the cockles of the frostiest heart because love is a splendid thing. One of the classic locations for a proposal is a fancy restaurant; after all, it's already a romantic atmosphere, a place that just feels special, so why wouldn't you propose to the love of your life there? High-end food, good champagne, romantic lighting — it's the perfect setting (you can even propose using food, though buyer beware on that one). It's a classic trope for a reason: People actually do it all the time.

But there's one thing you should know if you plan to propose at a fancy eatery: Timing is everything. This isn't to say don't do it — you definitely can and should — but you need to be careful when you do it. The rule comes down to this: Do not propose at the beginning of a meal because the meal itself is then completely hosed. You're going to spend the whole time wishing you were somewhere else celebrating with loved ones and the person you just proposed to.

Your mind isn't going to be on dinner

Look, it makes sense that if you're planning on proposing, you're going to be anxious to get it out of the way. After all, what if — even against the odds — your partner somehow says no? It's only human to want to be able to take that big sigh of relief that the mission has been accomplished.

But if you really can't handle the anxiety, you should propose somewhere other than a restaurant. As one server said of an instance she witnessed via Food and Wine: "We knew there was going to be a proposal because he told us when he made the reservation. He ordered a bottle of champagne and a bunch of food off the bat. Before the snacks even hit their table—BAM—ring. It was very emotional; everyone clapped and cheered. But more dishes started arriving, and they were eating nothing, overwhelmed in premarital bliss. He shouldn't have proposed at the beginning of the meal. They ended up getting everything to-go."

You should make sure the restaurant knows what's going to happen

Not proposing at the beginning of a meal isn't the only thing to keep in mind. One of the most important is communication: Namely, tell the restaurant what you plan to do. Not only is this so they'll be prepared, but it's for your benefit, too, because they can help you pull off the most magical proposal possible. If you tell them exactly what's going to happen and when, they're likely to do something special, like throw in a bottle of champagne or a free custom dessert.

Restaurant employees (particularly servers) often have reason to be jaded, but if you're nice, they will want to help make the evening special for you and your spouse-to-be. There's something about helping a good customer like that, which makes all but the most heartless server or cook's evening a little brighter. So bring them in on it with you — just make sure you don't lead the evening with the proposal.