Back in 2011, Alyssa Zweibel of San Francisco left a career in pharmaceutical clinical research to pursue a passion in another area of chemistry: Helping people in love propose marriage to their partners.

"Many proposers-to-be could use a hand in the creativity department and even if a great idea exists, pulling it off can be time consuming and difficult without help," Zweibel says. "Hiring a pro makes it easy to come up with a unique plan or to figure out how to carry out an idea that is already in place."

(Theresa Schiffer/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel/MCT)

Through her consulting company, Perfect Proposal, she has helped many people, mostly men, craft their ultimate proposals. Her most elaborate scheme to date involved an international flight arrival, about 30 friends and family, a gigantic portable flat screen TV, and a violinist in a tuxedo. "The fact that it was elaborate wasn't what made it a tear-jerker," she says. "It was just an incredible moment of connection."

There you have it. Even with thousands of orchestrated, over-the-top marriage proposals clogging up YouTube, yours doesn't have to be elaborate or public as long as it comes from the heart. Here are Zweibel's five tips for crafting a one-of-a-kind marriage proposal. For more information, visit her website at www.perfectproposal.com.

  • Make it meaningful. Pull in details like inside jokes, places you've been together, and things you both love.

  • Introvert or extrovert. Know your partner. If she is not into public attention, you should probably avoid popping the question at a Giants game.

  • Be creative. Always think outside the box when it comes to everything, from props to location.

  • Maintain perspective. Try to ignore pressure and expectations in favor of focusing on what's important -- your connection with this person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

  • Don't be afraid to ask for help. Whether it's from a professional, friend, or family member. They will consider it an honor to help with this special moment.