How to Create the Perfect Decoy Story for the Proposal

Maybe you're all about grand gestures, or you believe a marriage proposal deserves something creative. Or you simply want to surprise the love of your life when you pop the Big Q. Whatever your situation, you're going to need some undercover help in pulling this surprise off. We have some helpful tips on creating a decoy story to make your proposal something neither of you will ever forget.

Plan ahead.

A surprise proposal isn't something to slap together at the last minute. It has to be carefully orchestrated so that every part of your scheme works, including keeping her in the dark until the last minute. Put some time and thought into it and come up a target date; start planning a few weeks before.

Enlist a friend or family member's help.

Having someone in on the plan will widen your options since your idea may be more than you could do by yourself. For example, while you're setting up the proposal site (like a table for two on the beach), your accomplice can lure her there under false pretenses.

Think of something she can't say no to.

To get her in place, plan an activity that makes her happy. If she loves going to the movies and dinner you every Friday night, surprise her by proposing afterward at your favorite cafȦ.

Let her "catch" you being secretive.

Or leave "clues," such as your laptop open to a website promoting "New Year's Eve getaways." If she questions you, tell her you wanted to surprise her with a mini vacay, which will probably make her think that's when you'll propose. Fool her by proposing a few days before. (And do take her away for NYE-you can celebrate your brand-new engagement!)

Throw her off track, part two.

If she suspects a will-you-marry-me question is imminent, take her to an upscale restaurant, the kind where her friends have gotten engaged. She'll assume that after the Champagne and rib eye, a proposal is next up on the menu. And when you pull something out of your pocket, let it just be your wallet. She will be confused, disappointed, and later caught off guard when you get back to her apartment (decorated with dozens of roses, thanks to her roommate/your acccomplice), and get down on one knee and ask her to marry you.

Make sure she's dressed up, if that's important to her.

While plenty of proposals happen to women who couldn't care less that they're wearing yoga pants during the big moment, if yours would be mortified that she was wearing Lululemon and someone was shooting video, try to encourage her to wear something nice when you go out, without making her suspicious.

Limit who you tell about your plan.

The more people you share your proposal plot with, the greater the chance someone will slip and she'll find out. Only tell those who absolutely need to know, and don't spill the beans on every facet-just tell them whatever part they're involved in.

You're Engaged! Who Do You Tell First?