Wedding Planning Guide

wedding proposal ideas

Creative, unique proposal ideas to inspire your own.

Outdoor Proposal Ideas

If you love spending time together in the great outdoors, then popping the question with Mother Nature as your backdrop will be right up your partner's alley.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Proposal

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.

Scavenger Hunt Proposal

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 notes or cards for them to find at each location that describe 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.

Hiking Proposal

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 proposal idea is a great option for outdoorsy couples who have spent a lot of time together on the trails.

Public Proposal Ideas

Creative, unexpected proposal ideas if your sweetie is hoping for a majorly public display of affection.

Jumbotron Proposal

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; 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.

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.

Flash Mob Proposal

Hire a local dance troupe, choir, drum line, 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.

Movie Theater Proposal

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.) along with 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.

Street Musician Proposal

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.

Holidays Proposal Ideas

The holidays = engagement season. And for good reason: snowy backdrops, glowing holiday lights, and plenty of good cheer. If this is your partner's favorite time of the year, then a marriage proposal will be the ultimate gift.

Christmas Tree Farm Proposal

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's all lit up when you when you arrive with your partner. As you approach the clearing and the special tree, ask her or him to marry you.

Holiday Card Photo Shoot Proposal

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 photo shoot. 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.

Shop Holiday Photo Cards

Holiday Lights Tour Proposal

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, glowiest home, propose with it as your backdrop.

Under the Mistletoe Proposal

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) and hang it from a doorway, tree branch, or another picture-perfect spot. 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 Proposal

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.

Hobbies- and Interests-Themed Proposal Ideas

Make your proposal more personal by popping the question in a way that incorporates some of their favorite things.

Cupcakes Proposal

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.

Bookmark Proposal

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.

Trivia Night Proposal

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.

Amusement Park Proposal

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.

Puzzle Proposal

If the two of you love working on jigsaw puzzles together, create a custom puzzle to pop the question (many online companies can do this for you). Use a favorite photo 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.

Rock Climbing Gym Proposal

Love rock climbing together? Then this is a fitting way to propose. 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.

At-Home Proposal Ideas

Is your partner the more low-key type? Then they might prefer a simpler proposal at home, rather than in the spotlight.

Photo Booth Proposal

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.

Glow-in-the-Dark Proposal

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!

Pet Proposal

This one's an oldie but goodie: If you have a pet, attach the engagement ring to its collar and get the pup (or well-trained kitty!) to bring them the ring. 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.

Photo Backdrop Proposal

This is the 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.

Lazy Sunday Proposal

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.

Pizza Proposal

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.

Proposal Ideas that Include Friends & Family

For some couples, a proposal surrounded by loved ones is a must. Just be sure to communicate with everyone well in advance so they can mark their calendar.

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 Proposal

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.

Family Vacation Proposal

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. One way to do it: 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.

T-Shirt Proposal

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.

Airport Proposal

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.)