Expert Advice Before Your First Time Proposing

Welcome to the #365Firsts Podcast and the Expert Advice Before Your First Time Series. The show aims to encourage, prepare, and inspire you to do things you’ve never done before and complete your #365FirstsChallenge list. 

In each episode of this series, we give you tips and advice to set you up for success, for specific firsts and new experiences. The guests and topics are as varied as the options and possibilities of new experiences. 

Whether you’re trying to learn a new skill, improve your health and happiness, work on your self-development, add excitement and adventure to your life, or simply have first times, you’re going to love our podcast.

In This Episode

As we mentioned, this is the week of love on the #365Firsts Podcast with Valentine’s Day just around the corner (it’s tomorrow, if you didn’t know – so if you haven’t prepared for it yet – you’re running out of time), so it seemed only fitting we covered another romantic topic. While V-Day isn’t the most popular day to propose to your significant other, it is in the top ten dates. But even if you aren’t proposing tomorrow (and our expert recommends you don’t) it could be the day and the catalyst that encourages you to propose in the coming months.

As a result, we thought it would be only right to help prepare you for success.

Today, we’re joined by a delightful guest who knows everything about the inner workings of love, romance, and successful proposals. Our guest Michele is one of the entrepreneurial spirits behind the unique company The Heart Bandits, and her wealth of experience makes her the perfect guest to have on this episode.

The Guest Expert

Michele Velazquez is an Air Force veteran, who moved from a powerful military and corporate career to chase her true passion in life. She started up The Heart Bandits with her husband, and it is one of the most uniquely romantic companies you’ll find today. 

The Heart Bandits helps to mastermind perfect marriage proposals, and has worked with hundreds of couples to help bring their vision to life. Proposing can be an incredibly beautiful moment, and Michele and her husband’s expertise make it an absolute dream. The duo has been featured in a number of incredible publications and media outlets, such as;

  • The New York Times
  • Good Morning America
  • Anderson Cooper Show
  • LA Times
  • Brides Magazine

They’re sure to continue making waves in the bridal industry as we head further into 2020. 

They’re also the owners of Ring Stash, which is the world’s first thin engagement ring box. Needless to say, Michele is a bonafide expert who truly loves what she does and has an incredible drive that helps her to make her clients’ dream proposals come true.

What You Need To Know About Proposing For The First Time

Michele started off the episode by describing how The Heart Bandits started off – and noted that it was amusingly because she wasn’t keen on how her own husband proposed. She described how “back there” there were little resources available for people who wanted to propose in a unique way and how this was what kick started her company and interest in proposals.

Budget for the Proposal

In terms of planning out the proposal, Michele started right out by saying it was important for people to consider their entire proposal budget beforehand. Many people will consider the budget for the ring, but never consider how other elements of the proposal might also cost money, and end up having to forego their ideal proposal, due to lack of funds. We loved what she said “You can upgrade a ring later, but you can’t upgrade a memory of a proposal.” Remember that as you plan.

How to Create an Original Proposal

Coming up with an original proposal idea can be challenging, but Michele advised being original is one of the most important parts of proposing. Avoid Instagram and Pinterest, as they’re somewhat of a rabbit hole and can lead you towards unoriginal ideas. Find something unique that both you and your partner hold dear to base your proposal off of. Who you both are and your love story are unique so those are key to having a one-of-a-kind proposal.

In order to pick a date, Michele suggested that picking the obvious dates may not be the right choice. Holidays and anniversaries are very obvious picks, and if you want to surprise them then these may not work. Additionally, proposing on Christmas or on the partner’s birthday may take away some of the luster already meant for that day itself. It’s best to pick a date outside of the most popular dates, like Valentine’s Day.

How to Keep it a Secret

Keeping a proposal secret can be difficult to help with that, Michele recommends minimizing the amount of people who know about it. There’s no need to confide in everyone what you’re planning since it will increase the risk of the secret coming out.

Additionally, limit your paper trail and incoming communication that might hint to your loved one a proposal is coming. This is why working with a professional proposal planner as a single point of contact is such a fantastic idea. 

How to Plan your Proposal

Michele is crystal clear on this point, when planning the proposal, ensuring you think about and consider all of the details is the most important part. Keep a list of everything you need e.g. a venue, vendors, photographers or signs. Try to keep it all in one place, then start your research and budgeting from there. Address every possible point of failure too, and make back-up plans just in case.

Who to Invite

Whether the proposal is one-on-one or involves friends and family will depend on the couple, as noted by Michele. Michele advised that people wishing to involve a group should consider this may detract from the budget e.g. with providing drinks for guests, and noted it can also add an extra layer of pressure as well.

However, it is of critical importance you invite a photographer and if possible a videographer to capture the moment. Michele advised hiring a professional is a fantastic move. It’s a great way to memorialize the day and keep the memory close for the rest of your life.

Hiring a Professional Planner

If you can afford and budge for it, hiring a professional proposal planner is incredibly beneficial. Michele described how her services include giving ideas and working with clients to develop a concept, and full-on event planning so you don’t have to worry about anything – they will think of and take care of everything. It makes the planning and communication so much smoother and easier to keep secret, plus, it saves a lot of stress as well.

Enjoy it!

In closing, Michele gave the reminder it’s important to enjoy the moment. Yes, there’s so much that goes into planning the proposal and it can get stressful, but it’s important to remember this is the love of your life, so be in the moment and enjoy it!

Get In Touch With Michele

If you enjoyed this episode and want to find out more about what Michele and her husband do, the website is

If you want to reach Michele on social media, you can find her on Instagram and on Facebook at @theheartbandits – and we’re sure she would be more than happy to speak with you about your proposal or answer any questions. 

How To Reach Us

This show is centered around helping our community and providing the best resources possible, so we would love to hear what you think about it so far. We’ve got some incredible episodes coming up, and hope that the show has been helpful so far. 

Is there a particular subject that you’d like to hear about, or something you want advice on? Is there something that you think we could be doing better? Feel free to get in touch with a member of our team at today- we’d be more than happy to speak with you.

What’s Coming Up Next Time?

New episodes of Expert Advice Before Your First Time are released each Tuesday and Thursday, and we’ve got a fantastic roster of expert guests lined up to give you more advice. 

Next time on the 18th, we’ll be speaking to Adrianna about attending a music festival for the first time. After that on the 20th, we’ll be speaking with Bobbi Mannino about attending Mardi Gras for the first time ever.You can listen and subscribe on Apple, Google, or Spotify. While you’re there – please leave a review if you can. It really does help us out with our work, and each review is truly appreciated.

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