But hey, no pressure.
Relax. We've asked the experts how to prepare for a proposal that'll leave her speechless -- almost, anyway. She's got to get at least one word out.
Where to Begin
Before you ask for her hand, you ought to ask some other people for blessings. It may seem outdated, but asking parents' permission is respectful and honors tradition, says Peter Post, director of the Emily Post Institute. It's important to her as well: 81 percent of women surveyed in a joint poll by MensHealth.com and TheKnot.com told us they prefer he ask for one or both of her parents' consent.
Not sure they'll oblige? Take the advice of Paul Alden, president of 2propose.com, a proposal planning service: Substitute the word "blessing" for "permission."
"If you use 'permission,' what do you do if he says no? Do you go against his wishes?" Alden says. "That's a tough thing for you to start your relationship with. If you ask for a blessing, you're just saying you would like the well wishes."
Think about her and her values from the start. It's perfectly acceptable, even a good idea, to talk about it. She'll likely drop useful hints. Twenty-six percent of women surveyed talked about their dream proposal before it happened, and another 31 percent felt their guy knew what she wanted, even though she didn't take part in the actual planning.
Before recruiting friends and family to get involved, realize that the more complex your plan is, the more potential there is for failure. Chances are she'd be more embarrassed than touched by a big routine, anyway.
"Stay away from the extravagant, and keep it romantic," Post says. "Something that is simple and beautiful and romantic is going to win out over something that is this huge extravaganza with all the waiters coming over and singing."
Is she a traditionalist? Take her back to the first place you met or went on a date, and then talk about what the future may hold. Start a dialogue that leads up to that one burning question -- and make sure you ask it. Sixty-three percent of men and 67 percent of women think the specific query, "Will you marry me?" is essential.
Surprise is important, but tough to manage. More than half of the women we surveyed rated surprise as "important" or "very important," yet 65 percent of them say they knew the question was coming. Sound contradictory? Welcome to married life, pal.
If you can't completely floor her, keep little surprises in mind: You can still shock her with the exact timing or your romantic execution.
"It's all about being thoughtful and personalized," says Cicely Rocha-Miller, owner of Life Design Events. "This story is going to be told forever."
Keep it to yourself beforehand. Almost 60 percent of guys said they'd worry about such a mistake, and with good reason.
"The surprise is so important, so limit who you tell," says Kathleen Murray of TheKnot.com. "You never know if someone is going to slip or start acting weird around her."