Proposing at a Wedding? Here's Why That May Be a Mistake

It's a no from us.
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Elizabeth Ayoola
elizabeth ayoola headshot
Elizabeth Ayoola
The Knot Contributor
  • Elizabeth contributes a range of lifestyle content to The Knot.
  • She also works as a full-time writer at NerdWallet and contributing writer at ESSENCE and POPSUGAR.
  • Elizabeth has a degree in Environment, Politics, and Globalization from King's College London.
Updated Jun 07, 2023

The main attraction at a wedding is typically the couple tying the knot. Guests spend money and set aside time to see these two people profess their love for one another and make a lifetime commitment. Imagine shifting the attention away from the loving couple by proposing at their wedding.

Proposing at someone else's wedding may seem like a good idea because love is in the air (and watching loved ones say their vows may inspire you to feel ready to pop the question), but is it? Whether it's during their ceremony or reception, it's probably not a good idea to make their moment about you. We spoke to wedding planners to find out what they think about proposing at someone else's wedding and what some better alternatives may be.

In this article:

Why You Shouldn't Propose at Someone Else's Wedding

Your wedding day is one time that people may find it socially acceptable for individuals to be self-centered. Taking the spotlight away from the married couple can deprive the couple of this time. We asked wedding experts to provide insight on why proposing at a friend or loved one's wedding is a no-go.

It's not your special day.

This may seem obvious, but someone else's wedding is a special day for them and not you. Lea Rhynehardt, owner and lead planner with Lea Rhynehardt & Co based in North Carolina feels that's a solid reason not to propose at their wedding.

"As a planner, I feel [a] wedding day should be just that, the celebration of the couple's love. The wedding is a showcase for a couple's love story," she explains. "This is a day we get to witness two people celebrating their journey of creating this union and deciding to be together for the rest of their lives. A wedding is a time for the newlyweds to be celebrated by family and friends."

For this reason, a couple may find it rude or disrespectful to have to pause their festivities to celebrate you.

The couple probably didn't plan for it.

When you're invited to a wedding, you probably aren't thinking about how much time and money the couple puts into planning. The average couple spends $30,000 on a wedding according to The Knot Real Weddings Study, so they probably want as few hiccups as possible.

"Couples and their planners spend months working together to plan and purchase all of these elements and essentials to create their perfect wedding day," says Rhynehardt. "From a planner's perspective when we work with our couples we ask the infamous question, 'what do you envision for your wedding day?' From experience I've never gotten a response where they share that they want their day to be about celebrating another couple or a proposal."

While it isn't your concern how much they're spending or time they're using, you can do your due diligence as a guest to help their day run smoothly.

It may not fit into their program.

Couples spend time putting a timeline together alongside a wedding planner. Rhynehardt says she takes time to ensure there's order at her clients' weddings as a planner.

"I can speak for myself when I say it's important to stick to the timeline. Personally, I don't leave room for error or an opportunity to be blindsided when planning and coordinating these dream weddings," she explains.

It may seem like a minor interruption, but a proposal can throw the event off schedule. That said, you probably don't want to add an event into their timetable that they aren't aware of. The only scenario when it may be appropriate is if the newlyweds gave you the go ahead says Rhynehardt.

The couple could find it disrespectful.

When thinking about proposing at someone's wedding, you probably have a romantic rom com scene in your head. This can create an expectation about how you think the proposal might go. Reality is there's no telling how the couple of the day may react. They may find it rude or disrespectful in a worst-case-scenario.

Additionally, not everyone says yes to a proposal, and someone else's wedding isn't the place to test the waters. Even if your lover does say yes to a proposal, To avoid unexpected reactions, you may be better off choosing a different proposal time and place.

Where to Propose Instead

There are multiple places you can propose aside from at a wedding. Nephthali Ramirez, CEO of Wed With Sister's Keeper based in California suggests choosing a day that doesn't have a special occasion attached to it so you can create your own special moment.

"Contact an event planner to see if they could help you plan your perfect proposal," Ramirez says. "Don't just depend on an event that has already been planned so that you don't have to do much of the planning. Your future spouse is worth the extra thought."

If you're short of romantic proposal ideas, we've got 85 different suggestions to help you out. In case you need city-specific ideas or are looking to travel to pop the question, we also have an article on the best places to propose around the world. Your proposal day is likely one you'll remember forever, so you deserve to have it be all about you.

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