I realize this is an old thread, but this is a pretty common issue so I’ll throw my two cents in. I was pretty disappointed with my proposal as well, my now husband was insanely nervous the night he proposed, and it was so obvious what was about to happen and yet I endured hours of awkward bumbling wherein I actually asked him if he was sick several times before he finally got down on one knee, in a location he hadn’t originally planned, on a random Wednesday, pretty underdressed, and proposed in the dark. He insisted on wearing this giant coat in 80 degree weather and hardly said a word to me throughout dinner while he sat across from me looking like the unibomber. I was pretty mad at him for botching what I felt could have been a beautiful, simple, private proposal. (I mean for starters, how hard would it have been to put on some nicer pants?!) I wasn’t expecting anything grand, any collaborators, or hidden photographers, and after 5 years of dating I felt shortchanged that I’d waited for…that. I know a lot of people feel that the fact he proposed at all is what matters, but I was afraid that what looked like a lack of planning meant maybe his heart wasn’t in it. Or that his inability to realize how special this moment was to me, meant we weren’t on the same page. Of course this made me wonder, what else are we not on the same page about?? Everyone says “it’s the thought that counts” so I wanted to know…what on earth was he thinking?!
So I talked to him. I didn’t say “what the heck man” or even that I was upset by the proposal, which I’d already accepted, but rather asked him for all the details from his perspective. When did he buy the ring? How did he choose it? Did he tell anyone he had it? How did he come up with the idea to propose? (Whether your proposal was a bummer or not you’ll probably want to know all of these details!) As it turned out, he had originally planned on taking me out to dinner on a Friday or Saturday night, but the ring came in early in the week and was burning a hole in his pocket. “I was so afraid you’d find it or I’d lose it or something. And once I had it in hand I just couldn’t wait any longer to give it to you.” Cue the random Wednesday (aw.) He explained he figured I’d be suspicious of going to a nicer restaurant in the middle of the week, so he threw on jeans hoping the casual attire would throw me off the scent (didn’t work, but I get his thought process.) He had planned on proposing at the restaurant, thinking it might even be quieter on a Wednesday night, but misjudged the mainly corporate crowd that frequents that place. It was crowded, going strong with happy hour revelers and some kind of party going on in one of the back rooms. So he abandoned his original plan, making him even more nervous that his idea had gone awry. He wore the unseasonable, bulky coat and refused to take it off because he was hiding the ring box in his pocket. As for the excessive nervousness I teased him a little, saying as many times as we talked about getting married he had to know I was going to say yes. He said yes, logically that made sense, but all he could think of was that I also had the option to say no, and if I said no his life was going to be over. (Dramatic, but I get it. He really wanted me to say yes, and this was really important to him. )
I’ll never quite be able to get that moment back, but now I don’t have questions regarding his intentions behind it and I view the whole thing in retrospect with more love for him than agitation. He did view it as being as momentous and important as I did, his execution was just rocky. Now that we’re married when people ask how he proposed (which is rare, by the way, people are more apt to ask how you met), I keep it simple saying he took me to dinner and proposed on a walk afterward (which is completely true.) No longer does anyone expect a blow-by-blow account of every little thing that happened leading up to it. It’s just a singular moment in your relationship, and I know it seems like such a focus when you’re engaged, but the more time passes the less other people care, and it’s not definitive of what your relationship is like, or what your marriage will be like. Hope this helps!