The hidden secrets of wedding proposals

Every year, plenty of people think about the big and meaningful things in life. And as far as life-changing events go, getting engaged is right up there with the biggies.

Here at Chillisauce, we speak to thousands of stags and hens on a weekly basis, and we hear all sorts of stories about how the proposal went. However, comprehensive data on proposals is not something that has been readily available to those that don’t work in our industry, so we’ve decided to change that.


Over 10,000 people surveyed

We quizzed approx 10,000 people across the country to get all the inside knowledge on marriage proposals. Not only do the findings make fantastic research for those involved in the wedding industry, but they make for pretty interesting reading for the general public too. Ever wondered what the busiest month or most popular time of year is for "popping the question"?

What is the most popular time of the year to propose?


Christmas is the most popular time of year to propose

Between the 24th December and 1st January, there are more proposals and engagements than at any other time of year. according to our data 15% of all proposals occur in the festive season.


What is the most romantic day to propose?

When asked what is the most romantic day to propose, a whopping 36% of respondents said Valentine's day - more than any other day of the year. However, this might be down to on-the-spot thinking, as only 8% of proposals actually occurred on Valentine's day - according to our respondents.


Men vote for Valentines day

Men are more inclined to think Valentine's day is the most romantic day to propose than women - by roughly 20%. Unimaginative or romantic?

Why Valentine's Day


Why do people propose on Valentine's Day?

When asked why people propose on the 14th February, the occasion "being romantic" was the biggest response, closely followed by "being in love" and "it's traditional".


A real life proposal

"I was taken to my favourite restaurant and was baught the most expensive bottle of champagne. We toasted after we ordered our meal and my boyfriend went on to say how he has had the best four years of his life, and that he wanted me soon to become his wife. He got down on one knee in the restaurant and asked me to marry him!"

– Keeley Armer

Sandy Moretta, Director at UK Alliance of Wedding Planners and owner of ternevents, shares her professional experience and insight into why Christmas is so popular for proposals:

“Here at the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners we, and our members, hear the stories of many engagements which happen on Christmas Eve, or over the festive period. We take the majority of enquiries and bookings between January and March, soon after Christmas, then the Valentine’s proposals follow. Two of the reasons the Christmas season is so magical is due to romance and family, two elements which proposals combine so perfectly. So planning a proposal in the Winter months makes a lot of sense. On a practical note, if they wish to be really traditional, they are also likely to see the bride’s father without raising suspicion to formally ask for her hand at this time of year.”

What is the best way to propose?


Just say "will you marry me?"

Men take note. More than half of women surveyed said they want their partner to get to the point and plainly say "will you marry me?".


What makes a good proposal?

Cut to the chase when popping the question. Whilst grand gestures are all well and good, cryptic hints and beating around the bush are not so welcome, keep it simple and get the words out.

Some people feel there are other romantic ways to propose, including going down on one knee in Nandos, to whisking their loved one off on a trip to Paris.

How important is it to have the right ring?


What would you do if you secretly didnt like your engagement ring?

Would you tell your fiance or not… Our results show that 21% of women wouldn’t do anything or say anything about the ring, they would just accept it and wear it, whilst 16% of women said they would want to change the ring.

Other responses included sell it, bin it, accidentally lose it, or break up!

Should you get consent before saying 'I do'?


Should you get the Father of the Brides approval?

Maybe it has something to do with the intimidating thought of approaching the father-in-law - but roughly twice as many women as men think the father of the bride should be asked for their consent to the marriage of their daughter. Approximately two-thirds of women still think the groom should get the father inlaws permission (compared to only one-third of men).

Who should propose?


Should women pop the question too?

There are plenty of traditions attached to anything wedding related and one of those that has stood the test of time is that proposing is a man’s job. Whether he has any more jobs to do after getting that one out of the way is another thing altogether, but it seems most men are more than happy for women to take on that responsibility.


How many women would propose?

We asked how many women would actually be brave enough to take on this task themselves? 57% declared they would be willing to do it, however 76% of men think women should.


What % of women do propose?

Being willing to propose and actually following through with it are 2 different things. We have however seen an increasing number of women proposing over the years we have been doing the survey. In 2010 only 5% of women (in heterosexual marriages) said they had proposed, but our most recent data shows that this has now reached 16%.


Leap Day - Most popular day from women to propose

The tradition of women proposing on 'Leap Day' is the said to date back to the 5th century. We asked women who were willing to propose to their partners, what their most popular day of choice to pop the question would be. 52% said they would choose 'leap day' (if it was a leap year) against only 25% that said they would choose Valentine's day. That will see leap day 2024, have the largest number of women proposing on any day in history!


Jewellers must be doing a roaring trade in the run-up to Christmas, as we can expect a flurry of engagements over the festive period.

But while getting wrapped up in the spirit of the season might make it feel as though it’s the perfect time to ask for your partner’s hand in marriage, men should take note that the majority of women still prefer to be asked on Valentine’s Day or the anniversary of when you first got together – so bide your time if you can. And make sure you get your anniversary date in the diary if you want to get that one right.

And finally, if you’re planning an engagement then good luck! However you choose to do it, it’s one of the most important questions you’ll ever ask so make sure you enjoy it.