I've planned more than 600 marriage proposals (all with a 100% success rate!) and I'm seeing a huge surge in women looking to pop the question. Women have started to realise that doing the asking needn't be scary. The great news is that because it isn't seen as traditional, there are far fewer rules to follow, meaning you can set your own agenda and make it entirely personal to you both.
That's not to say this isn't a serious step you're about to take - it needs careful planning.
Here are the questions that most women need answering when they approach me to help plan their proposal.
1. 'Do I need to ask his parents' permission first?'
If you want to go down the traditional route, then the short answer is yet. But if you really want to turn tradition on its head, instead of asking his father, why not ask his mother for her approval? After all, with you taking the reins and proposing to him, it seems only right to ask the matriarch of the family what she thinks.
2. 'Do I need to buy him an engagement ring?'
It doesn't have to be a ring. It could be a pair of cufflinks, or a piece of art - anything that lasts a lifetime. A watch is another nice idea as you can have it engraved with your proposal date, or, later, the wedding date. It's something he will wear every day - just like an engagement ring.
3. 'Surely if he hasn't asked me yet, then he can't be ready to get married?'
There's a very easy way of working this out. Firstly, you need to know if marriage is even on his radar. Have you discussed getting hitched with him? Does he balk at the idea of a wedding and find every excuse to leave the house and visit the pub? If so, then marriage might not be quite right for him just now. However, if you have had 'the chat' and you know he is heading in that direction, it's a very positive sign.
4. 'Will I always be left wondering would he have asked?'
If you are only proposing because you are sick of waiting for him to do it, then it's the wrong reason to get down on one knee. When women contact me wanting to propose I always check they aren't just doing it because they have got tired of waiting. If, however, you are proposing for the right reasons (i.e. you want to be with him for the rest of your life) then you can pretty much answer this question yourself. If he says 'Yes' to your proposal, then it obviously means he sees his future as being married to you. Which means, if you hadn't asked, he probably would have done so anyway.
5. 'Will people think I'm desperate?'
Do you care? The opinions of your friends and family are the only ones that should matter and if they can see you're in a happy relationship and meant to be, who cares who's doing the proposing. Ultimately, it's him your marrying.
6. 'How can I make sure it's really thoughtful and special?'
Preparation is incredibly important. Putting in the groundwork will also give you the confidence to ask him. Think of it like the ultimate surprise party. So before you propose, sit down and think about what he is like as a man. Does he hate public attention? You're probably wise not to do it in a restaurant. You don't need to spend a fortune on the proposal, but putting thought and effort into it will certainly show him how much you care, and make sure you remember the moment forever.
7. 'What happens if he says "No"?'
First of all, don't panic - it doesn't mean the end of your relationship. Sit down and ask him calmly for his reasons. They could well be practical ones: perhaps he is worried about the financial situation of paying for a wedding, or maybe he was saving up to buy you the engagement ring you always wanted. Another reason could be that he is just plain 'surprised'. Maybe he never expected you to ask so he needs to sit back and take it all in. Admit it; you'd prefer for him to think about his answer rather than just saying 'Yes' and later regretting it.
8. 'Will he actually enjoy being proposed to?'
To work this out, consider what he is like as a man - do you think he will be flattered or threatened? Is he the sort of man who likes to be in control and take the initiative when it comes to sex or booking dinner? If so, you might find he won't enjoy having the control taken away from him, so bear that in mind.
9. 'Should I get down on one knee?'
There are no hard and fast rules about women proposing, so just do and say what you're comfortable with. If getting down on one knee seems alien to you, then why not propose using another gesture. You could reach for his hand or take out a piece of paper that has 'marry me' on it.
10. 'What should I actually say when I propose?'
Asking someone for their hand in marriage is nerve-racking - regardless of who proposes to whom. Let him know how nervous you are and acknowledge that he might find it strange… but then give him reasons why you feel your marriage would work and why you want to marry him. And the most important bit? Don't forget to say 'Will you marry me?' at the end! Otherwise, he might just think you're having a 'romantic moment' and not realise you are asking to spend the rest of your life with him.
Tiffany Wright is an engagement expert and marriage proposal planner. She set up the first proposal planning company in the UK in 2012 and now runs The One Romance (www.theoneromance.com), which helps men and women plan elegant and luxurious marriage proposals. Tiffany has her own TV show on Sky and is a regular on programmes such as Loose Women and BBC News.