12/07/2012 11:14 am ET Updated Feb 06, 2013

5 Essentials for a Romantic Winter Proposal

The holiday season is also the most popular time of the year to propose marriage. If you're one of the many men planning to get down on one knee, you've likely already bought the ring -- now it's time to decide how you'll ask the love of your life to marry you. Not the easiest of tasks!

Here are five ideas for making the big moment extra special. With some attention to detail, you'll be able to look back on the joyous occasion with relief and reminisce about how you planned it all perfectly.

1. Have some delectable goodies on hand.
The romantic pairing of champagne and strawberries may be thought of as cliché to some, but I like to think of this combination as classic instead. After all, champagne is the traditional toasting beverage -- its effervescence is the epitome of festivity! And few things go better with champagne than strawberries. (I happen to love BobaluBerries, which are dipped in chocolate.) By setting a tone for quality with some festive treats, you'll make the event more memorable.

2. Don't forget sound effects.
Having a bit of background music not only will ease your pre-proposal nerves (nothing is more anxiety-inducing than silence, after all!), but it will also set a romantic tone. Whether you create a playlist of songs that remind you of your soon-to-be fiancée or just cue up "your song" to play right at the perfect moment, you can't go wrong with some special tunes to create ambiance.

3. Snap some photos.
While some men choose to have a photographer waiting on the outskirts to capture the moment professionally, you don't have go to such length (or expense) if you prefer a more private proposal. Just be sure to have a smartphone or your own camera ready so you can snap some "just engaged!" photos to share with friends and family (trust me, they'll ask for them!). You might even consider making a keepsake book of the shots through sites like SmugMug to give to your fiancée at a later date.

4. Be sure to stay warm.
It doesn't get more romantic than a fireside proposal (just don't forge to open the flue if you haven't used your hearth in a while!). Not only does the fire create the perfect atmosphere, it will also help keep you warm while you pop the question. If you're going to do an outdoor proposal in winter, remember that nothing kills the mood faster than a freezing fiancée-to-be! Be sure to tell your girlfriend to bundle up before you head out to your chosen location or have a throw blanket or jacket waiting for her there.

5. Surprise your new fiancée with wedding fun.
Buy a few bridal magazines before the proposal so you can present them packaged in a pretty box or wrapped with a bow. She'll be excited to start scoping out dresses and ideas -- plus, you'll score extra points for being so thoughtful.