The story of how you proposed will be told to friends and strangers for the rest of your lives (no pressure!). Our advice: Put your own spin on one of these romantic, and foolproof, proposal ideas. And when you’re done with this list, head over to HowHeAsked.com for more.
1. Choose a favorite place—whether it’s a fountain, hotel rooftop, monument or national park—that has personal significance to the two of you. Once you’re there, ask someone nearby to take a picture of you together, and instead of posing, drop down on one knee.
2. Have a choir, brass band or drum line show up for a surprise performance of your fiance-to-be’s favorite love song in a park or public location for your proposal. For a really personal touch, ask the performers if they can incorporate your fiance’s name into the lyrics.
3. Get in touch with the stage manager of your favorite production and propose after the cast’s curtain call. Call ahead and see if you can have a special note or ad placement added into the playbill, so you have a keepsake of the proposal.
4. Arrange a surprise proposal with a street caricaturist. Have the caricaturist sketch a picture of you two with word bubbles that say, “Will you marry me?” and “Yes!”
5. Ask the divers at an aquarium to put on a proposal show inside their biggest fish tank. Give them a (waterproof) sign that says, “Will you marry me?” to hold up against the glass and then position yourselves for what will, at first, seem like feeding time.
6. Send your unsuspecting fiance-to-be on a treasure hunt that ends with your proposal. Start with a clue at home (a handwritten note or text message) that leads to a tour of your favorite spots all over town.
7. Go out for a night of dancing and ask the DJ or bandleader to pass you the mic so you can dedicate a song and propose on the dance floor.
8. Hire a skywriter to spell out your proposal for everyone around to see.
9. Take out a full-page ad in a newspaper, and then pick the perfect spot to have a relaxing morning of catching up on current events. Another twist on this idea is to call into a radio station and then make sure your fiance-to-be is listening when your proposal is on the air.
Destination Marriage Proposal Ideas
10. Plan a romantic destination getaway for two. When you’re on the plane, use the loudspeaker system (of course, run your plan by the flight attendants first) and propose at 35,000 feet.
11. Rent a Vespa, scooter or bikes to tour the city and invite your soon-to-be fiance for a ride, but remind him or her to be safe and wear a helmet. Hand over the helmet (with the ring box already in it), and then you can zip around town to celebrate.
12. Go to the beach and build a sandcastle together (at a safe distance from the ocean!).When your partner isn’t looking, put the ring on the highest tower.
13. After a long day of sightseeing, have a drink in the hotel bar. When it’s time to go, have roses, candles and champagne all set up in your hotel room—everything for a perfect surprise proposal.
Homemade Marriage Proposal Ideas
14. Gather a bunch of your friends and family for a party and have everyone put on a T-shirt or carry balloons filled with helium (otherwise they won’t float) bearing one of the letters in the phrase, “Will you marry me?” Then during the party suggest a group picture to reveal the message.
15. Spell your proposal out in glow-in-the-dark star stickers on your ceiling. Get into bed, turn the lights off and wait for the gasp. Refrigerator magnet letters work too!
16. Throwback to your childhood with a proposal written in sidewalk chalk on your street or driveway.
17. Create makeshift letters that spell out, “Will you marry me?” using anything from colored duct tape (against a wall or a piece of poster board) to scrapbooking materials. Surprise your partner with your creation at work, home or the park. (Not crafty? Hire a graffiti artist to write out an artistic marriage proposal in huge letters!)
At-Home Marriage Proposals
18. Fill a favorite room in your home with photo memories from your relationship; you can hang them from balloons or cover the walls with them for a jaw-dropping surprise.
19. Turn off all the lights in your apartment and make a trail of candles that leads to a circle of votives positioned around the ring.
20. Slip the ring on while your soon-to-be fiance is sleeping and then do a romantic morning wake-up call with champagne and strawberries.
21. Tie a red velvet ribbon from one spot in your home to another. Attach little notes recalling perfect moments in your relationship along the way. Wait for your partner at the end of the ribbon with the ring in hand.
22. Cook a five-star-worthy meal of all your fiance-to-be’s favorite foods, or hire a personal chef for the night. Propose over dessert!
23. Have a custom jigsaw puzzle made with your picture and the words “Marry me?” On a rainy day, suggest this activity, and when you’ve finished enough that you can clearly see the photo and read the words, it’s time to propose! (Hint: This works well with Scrabble too and here are more at-home proposal ideas from How He Asked.)
24. Add a custom proposal “song” to his or her go-to playlist on iTunes, or record an unexpected proposal podcast.
25. Have a friend take photos of you with posters that say, “will,” “you,” “marry” and “me?” Then make plans to meet up in a special spot, and before you arrive, text the photos in order. When the last message goes through, show up and get down on one knee.
26. Create a web page declaring your love and proposal, and leave a clue with the web address written on it—don’t say a word. After the proposal, announce the good news by sending the link to family and friends.
27. Set up a live-stream channel (on Ustream.tv) and invite all of your friends and family to watch the proposal live from wherever you choose to pop the question!
Best Foodie Marriage Proposal Ideas
28. Make the box holding the ring as a selection on the dessert tray at your favorite restaurant.
29. Put together a gift basket of yummy treats–like dark chocolate, coffee or fresh fruit—and hide the ring among the presents (in its box, so it doesn’t get lost in the goodies).
30. Ask the pastry chef to write, “Will you marry me?” in chocolate sauce around the rim of a dessert plate.
31. Ask a baker to make a custom cake with the proposal written in frosting. Then, have the cake displayed in the storefront and take your partner window-shopping. Bring the cake home to share and celebrate afterward!
At-Work Marriage Proposal Ideas
32. Sneak into your soon-to-be fiance’s office or classroom before they arrive in the morning and write your proposal on their desk or blackboard. Stay hidden from sight until they show up.
33. Before your partner leaves for work, offer to heat up their car and scrape the ice and snow off their windows. Then scratch your proposal into the ice.
34. With the help of your soon-to-be fiance’s coworkers, schedule a last-minute meeting toward the end of the day. Then whisk them away to a romantic spot to propose.
Proposals Caught on Camera
35. Hire a photographer to capture your proposal, but tell your partner you’ve won a romantic couple’s photo shoot. Get dressed up and then propose mid-shoot, and follow it up with a romantic engagement shoot.
36. Pick the perfect spot to propose and have a photographer hide somewhere discreet. After your proposal, your photographer can snap some posed photos too.
37. Tell your fiance-to-be that you’ve been selected for a couple’s “casting call” at a studio, and then propose in front of the cameras.
Playful Marriage Proposal Ideas
38. Pull off a tiny fake out by asking for your partner’s ring size in obvious ways (bringing home a ring chart is one). When they accuse you of ruining the surprise that you’re shopping for a ring, say, “Okay, try this one instead.”
39. Cut out the bottom of a huge refrigerator box, wrap it with pretty paper and ribbon, and attach a card that says, “What’s inside the box is a gift to last a lifetime.” Then, “deliver” yourself to your soon-to-be fiance’s doorstep.
40. Make the ring the surprise in a box of Cracker Jack or in a Kinder Egg.
41. Reenact the scene of their favorite romantic movie. If it’s Pretty Woman, go for the ending of the movie: Rent a white limo and climb through the sunroof with flowers in hand to proclaim your love as you arrive at her place.
Fall and Winter Marriage Proposal Ideas
42. Rake the leaves in his or her yard to spell out your proposal.
43. During the holiday season, use outdoor string lights to write out, “Will you marry me?” on the front of your house, apartment or lawn. Station your friends and family secretly inside and come up with an excuse to linger out front. Then have someone flip the switch to reveal the message.
44. Build a scene of a snowman proposing, and then tell your soon-to-be-fiance to look outside. When they see the snowman, get down on one knee.
45. Write, “Will you marry me?” on the underside of a kite and take flight on a breezy afternoon.
Spring and Summer Marriage Proposal Ideas
46. Propose in a flower or botanical garden when everything is in bloom.
47. Have a friend or family member set up a picnic—complete with wine and cheese, of course—for you in a park. Then come up with an excuse for taking a hike where you’ll stumble upon this surprise proposal picnic.
48. Pick a spot for some summer stargazing (it’s even more perfect if there’s a meteor shower or lunar eclipse expected) and propose under the night sky.
49. Suggest a berry-picking excursion to make some fresh summer pies. Once you’re out there, tell your partner you’ve found the most perfect berry they have to see. Instead of ripe fruit, they’ll find you and the ring.
50. On the night before a beach day you’ve planned, write a love poem on a piece of parchment paper, roll it into an antique bottle with a cork and bury it in a well-marked spot in the sand near your towels. Be sure you “find” the bottle as you dig together—and be ready with the ring.
Marriage Proposal Ideas With Surprise Parties
51. On your partner’s birthday, plan a “surprise party,” and then pretend to ruin the surprise by having him or her get there early. The real shock will be when you propose and all of your friends and family show up afterward to celebrate.
52. Plan a party filled with friends and family at a bar near where you’ll propose, and then suggest a celebratory drink after your partner says “yes.”
53. Have your proposal in a park, with friends and family a safe distance away. Once you’ve proposed, have everyone show up for an impromptu celebration.
Holiday Marriage Proposal Ideas
54. On New Year’s Eve, sneak away to a romantic spot just before midnight and propose as the perfect start to the new year. Then celebrate with a kiss and plenty of champagne.
55. Surprise your fiance with a pet you’ve always wanted to get together (bunny, kitten, puppy) under the Christmas tree and tie the ring around its neck. Or substitute a stuffed animal—still cute, but less maintenance!
56. On the days leading up to February 14, plant Valentine’s Day cards (like the ones you used to give out to classmates in third grade) with sweet messages written inside around the house. Then on Valentine’s Day, present them with a box of chocolates containing, you guessed it, the ring.
57. Propose during your local fireworks show on the Fourth of July. Work with a professional to set up a private message in sparklers that spells out “Marry me?”
58. Throw a Halloween jack-o’-lantern carving contest for friends and family where everyone reveals their designs. Unveil your pumpkin carved with your proposal last.
Now that you’ve figured out which proposal you want to subtly suggest to your partner (or come straight out and tell them how you want it to go down), it’s time to figure out the ring! Make sure to visit our gallery to create your very own Hint profile where you can get style recommendations, “favorite” rings and find jewelers near you. When you’re ready, drop a hint for your partner and share your selects! And after the proposal, make sure to tell your happy-tears-inducing story on How He Asked!
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By the Knot