Getting ready to pop the question? The perfect proposal should be a sweet and sentimental surprise, which might look a little different for every couple. While in years past planning an epic international vacation proposal wasn’t unheard of, couples are opting for more intimate events and, in our opinion, are getting a little more creative about that proposal moment. But have no fear – whether you propose near or far from home, we’ve got tons of romantic marriage proposal ideas that your partner will never expect. Be inspired by the proposal ideas below and then add your own creative touches to make yours truly special. And if you are inspired by a creative proposal, you will probably be interested in reading through our list of 38 unique save the date ideas as well.
For even more proposal inspiration, check out these stories from real-life Minted couples and learn how they pulled off the perfect proposal. Plus, you can find out how to submit your own proposal story!
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Plan an epic daytime date that includes a picnic in an open field, followed by a proposal and romantic hot air balloon ride at sunset with champagne aboard to celebrate. This is sure to be one of the most memorable proposal ideas yet!
SCAVENGER HUNT OF A LIFETIME
Brainstorm places that are meaningful to your relationship and send your partner on a scavenger hunt to revisit these special spots. (Rope in a few friends to accompany them because scavenger-hunting alone is no fun!). Include handwritten notes or cards for them to find at each location that describes what each place represents to you. Choose the most memorable location as their last stop and then propose in person, with everyone involved in the planning cheering in the background. You might even plan to have a professional photographer in attendance to capture the moment.
TAKE A HIKE
Choose a hike you both love or hit up a new trail your partner has been wanting to check out. If this is a new location, try to do a test run beforehand to scope out potential proposal spots. This outdoor proposal idea is a great option for adventurous couples who have spent a lot of time together on the trails. As you map the course, make sure it ends with a scenic overlook or beautiful meadow for a breathtaking proposal and hopefully some photos afterward. You may want to consult a local photographer for suggestions and have them hiding and ready to capture the moment. As far as outdoor proposal ideas go, this one is perfect for tying in the interests of the couple, romance, and beautiful scenery.
AT THE BEACH
Whether you and your partner are avid surfers or love the ocean and sandy vacations, beach proposal ideas are endless because it’s a naturally romantic place to pop the question! Consider doing a picnic dinner at a park set back from the beach and enlist your friends to light lanterns in the shape of the heart in the sand by the water. The alternative is, you could write “Will You Marry Me?” in the sand. When you’ve finished dinner, guide her down to the special spot and get down on one knee!
PLAN A CANOE RIDE
If you and your partner have a great love for the outdoors, this is one of the best proposal ideas because it contains several essential things: intimacy, the outdoor space you love so much, and the romance of being surrounded by water. Planning a boat ride will take relatively little help, is inexpensive, and you can select a route that will ensure you have some beautiful scenery. Pack some wine in water-proof containers and some appetizers, along with a waterproof camera to document the moment!
SUNRISE WITH A VIEW
Convince your partner that it would be a good idea to get up to watch the sunrise and plan the morning so it goes off without a hitch. If you’re watching from the right vantage point, the scenery of a sunrise can be truly breathtaking! If you find the perfect viewing spot, we would put this in the “genius proposal ideas” category. Tell your partner to dress warm and pack a picnic basket full of the essentials: a couple of blankets, coffee, and the ring. Any number of vantage points will work, from the top of a parking garage to the rooftop of your home or apartment building. The world is usually quiet at this time of day, so it’ll make for a lovely, intimate moment.
PROPOSAL IN THE VINEYARDS
Whether you’re wine aficionados or just love getting out of town for the occasional afternoon of wine tasting, there is nothing more romantic than sipping champagne and taking in vineyard vistas. You could have the tastings delivered with a custom wine glass that says “will you marry me?” on it, giving you the perfect cue to get down on one knee.
UP, UP IN THE AIR
Surprise your partner with a helicopter ride, saying that you thought it would be fun to take in the views of the city where you got to know each other. In advance, talk to the pilot about the route you’ll take and where you’d like to circle the most. Once up in the air, you can pop the question and soak in this momentous occasion from up above. Surprise proposal stories like this one are sure to be passed down for generations in your family!
Some of our proposal options are limited right now. For example, it might be some time before you can pull off the scoreboard proposal and a packed stadium. Sometimes at-home proposals make the most sense and frankly, between us, can be the most intimate anyway! And if your partner is the low-key type who doesn’t want to attract attention, then they might prefer a simpler proposal at home anyway, rather than being put in the spotlight.
BOOKMARK YOUR HEART
This is perfect for the book lover in your life. When your partner isn’t looking, get sneaky and slip the ring tied to a ribbon in between the book pages where they left off, along with a sweet note popping the question. Sweet proposal ideas like this will remind her why she fell in love with you in the first place.
PHOTO BOOTH SURPRISE
We love cute proposal ideas like this one! Locate a vintage photo booth in town and monopolize the booth for a bit to spell out your marriage proposal using oversize letters (just be sure to get the order of the letters correct since they’ll be displayed vertically). Stick the strips on the refrigerator at home and wait for your partner to discover your proposal.
If you’re looking for proposal ideas at home, throw it back to your childhood with glow-in-the-dark stickers. Use them to spell out your proposal on the bedroom ceiling. Once you’re both ready for bed, turn off the lights and wait for their reaction! Instead of hiring a photographer, review our guide on DIY engagement shoots.
YOU’RE THE MISSING PIECE
If the two of you love working on jigsaw puzzles together, create a custom puzzle (like these heart-shaped puzzles) to pop the question. Use a favorite photo of you both, a photo of the ring, or a photo of you holding a sign that asks, “Will you marry me?” Then plan your next puzzle night and play dumb, letting your partner do most of the puzzle legwork until they realize what’s happening. This is one of those fun proposal ideas that will have you laughing, hugging, and calling your loved ones with joy.
LAZY SUNDAY SURPRISE
If you and your partner love a good lazy Sunday (complete with bacon and eggs, of course), then you could incorporate your marriage proposal into this weekend ritual. Before you go to bed on Saturday night, hide the ring box in one of the egg-carton slots. When your spouse-to-be goes to make breakfast the next morning, be ready to drop to one knee.
“Spring Dream”, designed by Angela Marzuki
AN EXTRA SPECIAL PIZZA
Your partner might think it’s just a normal Sunday evening but this pizza night will be extra special. Order delivery from your favorite pizzeria and have the restaurant write “Will you marry me?” inside the pizza box lid (some pizzerias might be able to make a special heart-shaped pie!). Have glasses of champagne ready and pop the question at dinnertime. This is one of the perfect proposal ideas for men.
This one’s an oldie but goodie! If you have a pet, attach the engagement ring to its collar (or have a special collar charm printed that reads “Will you marry me?”) and get the pup to deliver the news. If you’re confident that your pet can immediately deliver the ring, wait out of sight until your partner finds the surprise. You could also set up a trail of treats leading to the living room or bedroom.
This is a perfect idea if your partner is the sentimental type. Spend some time collecting photos from different points of your relationship. Print them out and punch holes in the corners to string them up like a banner. Display the backdrop at home and add glowing candles. Lead your partner to the romantic display and pop the question in front.
CHRISTMAS TREE FARM
Make a date to visit a nearby Christmas tree farm to pick out the perfect tree together. Work with the farm owners beforehand so they know to expect you. You could even choose and purchase a tree beforehand, and decorate it so that it has sentimental ornaments or pictures hanging from it when you arrive with your partner. As you approach the clearing and the special tree, ask her or him to marry you. Fun proposal ideas like this one lend themselves to stories for years to come! A photo of the proposal might look great on a Christmas card too!
HOLIDAY CARD PHOTO SHOOT
We love this idea if you’re also hoping to get professional pics of the special occasion. Schedule a holiday photo session with a photographer and plan to pop the question mid-shoot. If photos aren’t something you typically do together, enlist the help of your parents or partner’s parents to suggest the idea of a family holiday photoshoot. Let your photographer in on the secret and work out a cue so you can signal that you’re about to pop the question. As you’re posing for the next shot, drop to one knee or turn to your partner to surprise them with your proposal. Use your favorite photograph from the photo session on your holiday card. If you want to sneak in a few great poses, review our guide to engagement photo poses in advance.
HOLIDAY LIGHTS TOUR
Plan a date to tour a local neighborhood that goes all out with their holiday light displays. Pack mugs of hot coffee or cocoa, and then take your partner on a walk or drive to gaze at the lights and soak in the holiday cheer. When you arrive at the most spectacular, illuminated home, propose with it as your backdrop. Among winter proposal ideas, this one is cute and great for some candid photos.
UNDER THE MISTLETOE
This one’s perfect if your partner loves the holidays but might prefer a more low-key proposal. Hang fresh mistletoe in the house (you can often find it at your local flower shop or Christmas tree farm). Lead your partner to the location and pretend you’re going in for a kiss beneath the mistletoe—but before you smooch, pop the question.
NEW YEAR’S EVE COUNTDOWN
If you’re attending a New Year’s Eve party, work your proposal into the countdown to the New Year. Let the party host and other guests in on your plan and make sure everyone’s on board with the idea. Once the group’s countdown reaches “Three, two, one…,” have the room go quiet and turn toward your partner and propose away. This is the best way to start the New Year, if you ask us. And when the holidays are over and you’re ready to start planning your upcoming wedding, we have the perfect wedding planning checklist for you!
POP THE QUESTION ROCK CLIMBING
Give a rock, on a rock! Even if the two of you have never rock climbed before, it can be a fun adventure and story to tell for the rest of your life as a completely unique proposal idea. Enlist a photographer and a few friends to assist, and then make a date with your partner to hit the climbing gym. Have them scale a route; once they’ve reached the top, belay them securely while the gym staff dims the lights. Have your friends quickly string up twinkle lights on the wall, hooking them on the various handholds. Once everything is set, slowly lower them down as a meaningful song plays over the sound system, then pop the question once they’re back on solid ground.
INCLUDE A LIVE BAND
Get tickets to your partner’s favorite band and pop the question during their favorite song. If it’s a cover band you’re seeing, reach out to them in advance and let them know your proposal plans, and ask if they will cover a song that means a lot to you as a couple. You could also talk to the venue about possibly proposing onstage during or after the show. This is hands-down one of the boldest marriage proposal ideas, and sure to make your partner swoon!
PROPOSAL AT A FAVORITE SPOT
Choose a meaningful place—whether it’s a favorite restaurant, local monument, park—that is significant to your relationship. Once you’re there, ask someone nearby to take a picture of you together. Instead of posing, drop down on one knee. Creative, unexpected proposal ideas like this one will completely catch them off guard.
FLASH MOB EXPRESSION
Hire a local dance troupe, choir, drumline, or band to surprise your partner with a performance at a park or other public location. To make it even more personal, work it out with the group beforehand to perform with them (perhaps to a favorite song!), and then propose at the very end of the song.
STREET MUSICIAN SURPRISE
Does your future spouse commute to work regularly? Hire a local street musician to sing “Will you marry me?” as they walk by on their way to the office, with you hiding nearby. Surprise your partner and pop the question amid all the passersby. This could also work well on a weekend at a public spot you regularly frequent together, like your local farmers market or favorite cafe. Among unique proposal ideas, she will love telling her coworkers about this one when she finally gets to the office!
MOVIE THEATER ROMANCE
Use your smartphone to shoot a sweet homemade video documenting your relationship. You could record yourself revisiting places that are meaningful to your relationship (the bar where you had your first date, the park where you first kissed, etc.). Include narration explaining why those moments were so special. While you could certainly screen your proposal film and propose at home, why not check with your local movie theater to see if you can show the video before the film, in front of a packed crowd of friends and family.
SWEEET, SWEET LOVE
If your sweetie has a serious sweet tooth, then plan a date that involves a stop at their favorite bakery. Coordinate with the bakery beforehand to have cupcakes on display, iced with a very important question. Make your proposal more personal by popping the question in a way that incorporates some of their favorite things. This is sure to be among the top cute proposal ideas ever.
AT TRIVIA NIGHT
If Tuesday Night Trivia at your local bar has been a big part of your relationship, hatch a plan with the trivia folks to have the last question of the night be your marriage proposal. This rather simple proposal idea will surely bring a smile to everyone’s face in the bar! Who knows, you may even score some free rounds of drinks?
PROPOSAL WITH SECRET SIGNS
Plan a date with your partner that concludes at a nearby park, where you’ll “stumble upon” friends and family members hidden behind handmade “Will you marry me?” signs.
PICNIC IN THE PARK
Enlist a friend or family member to help set up a picnic in the park and then have your loved ones hide out nearby. Plan a leisurely daytime date with your partner that concludes at the picnic site. Settle in on the blanket together and then raise a toast (that will be the cue for your loved ones to jump out for the surprise!) before you pop the question.
ON A FAMILY VACATION
If you’ve got a family trip in the works, plan to pop the question at the destination. Let the family in on your plans, of course, and have them all swear to act normal and not spill the beans. Before dinner at a nice restaurant (that you’ve scoped out beforehand), suggest a group photo at sunset. Once everyone is assembled, get down on one knee.
Gather your friends and family members for a party and have everyone in attendance wear a T-shirt screen-printed with one of the letters in the question “Will you marry me?” When you walk into the party space with your partner, suggest a group photo and let the shirts speak for themselves.
AT AN AIRPORT RETURN
Is your partner a frequent flyer? Get friends and family to join you at the airport once they touch down; have each person hold a sign spelling out “Will you marry me?” as your sweetheart emerges from baggage claim. Make sure you’re the one holding the “me” sign. Once you’ve had time to savor your engagement, it’s fun to start thinking about engagement party ideas!
AMUSEMENT PARK RIDE PHOTO
Enlist your pals and take your partner on a fun-filled outing at the amusement park. Make signs that spell out “Will you marry me?” and secretly pass them to your friends. When you’re on your boo’s favorite ride, sit with them in the front, with your pals in the back. As you approach the on-ride camera, have your friends hold up the signs. Once you exit the ride, plan a stop at the booth or shop where your proposal photo will be on display.