42 Tips for a Perfect Marriage Proposal

Photo credit: Heart Bandits

Photo credit: Heart Bandits

Looking to pop the question in a way that your partner will love — but have no idea where to start? Let these fun marriage proposal ideas spark your creativity. Just remember to go with something that suits your partner’s personality, not necessarily what you think will make for a great viral video or Facebook post.

1. Surprise your partner on their lunch break for an “impromptu” proposal. Show up with a picnic and give them a water cooler story no one can top.

2. Hide the ring in a seemingly ordinary present for their birthday or Christmas. Suddenly that boring sweater is a lot more exciting.

3. If your partner is the picky type and you know they’ll want to pick out their own ring, see if you can arrange a private shopping trip to a jewelry store (perhaps after hours). Think of an excuse for stopping by, then explain exactly why you’re there.

4. Hike to a scenic overlook and propose with an amazing view. Don’t forget to take a selfie after — or have a friend hide with a camera to catch it all happening.

Hamakua Cliffs, Big Island, Hawaii, Honeymoon

Hamakua Cliffs – Hawaii Tourism Authority / Tor Johnson

5. At the end of a fabulous dinner, have the waiter bring out a dessert with “Will you marry me?” written in chocolate. (Note, there is a minuscule chance your partner will think the waiter is the one proposing.)

6. Surprise your partner with an anniversary or birthday photo shoot (perfect for anyone who loves mugging for the camera). During one of the photos, get down on one knee and wait for your partner to catch on.

7. Create a video montage of all your favorite moments together as a couple and end it by saying you have one more favorite … then propose.

8. Head back to the site of your first date and re-create it as closely as possible (wear the same outfit, have the same awkward conversation). When you’re fully immersed in the memories go ahead and propose.

9. Do something your partner has always wanted to do that you’ve said ‘hell no’ to, like taking dance lessons or visiting an adventurous restaurant. After (or during) tell them how you’d do anything to make them happy and pop the question.

10. Whisk your partner away for a “last minute” (but really well-planned in advance) getaway. Pack them a bag, clear it with their boss and pop the question when you arrive.

Catie and Daniel after their proposal in Versailles.

Catie and Daniel after their proposal in Versailles.

11. Do you and your partner try to top each other with the funniest YouTube videos you can find? Surprise them by editing in a video proposal mid-way through some hilarious cat antics. There’s no way they’ll see it coming.

12. Remodeling your house? Try writing your proposal on a wall you’re painting together when they leave the room. (Note, you may not want to paint over it after the fact!)

13. Make your partner breakfast in bed and include a sweet letter on the tray that explains how you want to stay this cozy with them forever.

14. Is there a specific destination your partner has always wanted to visit? Surprise them with a trip there and explain how you want to keep traveling the world together.

15. Is the way to your partner’s heart through their stomach? Surprise them by cooking a meal of all their favorite foods, including their all-time favorite dessert. After the meal, explain that you have one more surprise and pop the question.

16. Write a series of postcards to your partner describing different reasons why you love them. Mail them out one a day for a week or two, then send the final card — asking them to marry you.

17. The happiest place on earth is also a great one for proposals. Get in touch with the Disneyland or Disney World staff with a plan to propose and they’ll typically help you out, from making sure you’ve got a good spot for pictures in front of the castle to ensuring you get your own log for a Splash Mountain proposal (just don’t drop the ring!).

Karl and Laura Kalinkewicz after their Peter Pan proposal.

Karl and Laura Kalinkewicz after their Peter Pan proposal.

18. Send your partner on a scavenger hunt, visiting all the places that are important to you as a couple. At each spot have someone give them a note with a sweet message from you and a clue to the next spot. Finish somewhere especially meaningful and have the final note be your proposal.

19. If you’re both adrenaline junkies then consider an extreme proposal — the moment before you jump out of the plane skydiving, mid-bungee jump or at the bottom of the ocean scuba diving. Just keep in mind that you may need to repeat yourself once you’re back on solid ground.

20. If game nights are your “thing,” incorporate your proposal into one and get your friends in on the fun. You could have your proposal be a charades or Pictionary clue or write a prompt on a blank Cards Against Humanity card to catch them by surprise.

21. Want to make a big gesture? Hire a skywriter to spell out your proposal — just make sure your partner is paying attention!

Photo credit: Nicolas Garreau

Photo credit: Nicolas Garreau

22. If you both love New Year’s Eve, time your proposal for midnight and pop the question in the midst of all the celebrating.

23. Embrace your geek side and tailor your proposal to your partner’s obsessions. Maybe a light saber duel that ends in a proposal? Learn how to say “Will you marry me?” in Klingon? A homemade butterbeer with an engagement ring on the side?

24. Does your partner have a blog or website they read constantly? See if you can work with them on a personalized proposal post or Facebook update — they’re sure to see it.

25. If you’re handy with Photoshop or paint and canvass, consider giving your partner some art (you could say you made something for their office desk for example) that includes “Will you marry me?” somewhere in the image. Then see how long it takes them to notice it.

26. Rent a boat (either at home or on vacation) and propose to your partner during a sunset cruise.

Photo credit: James Riswick

Photo credit: James Riswick

27. If you love taking drives and road trips together, go for a drive on a nice day (perhaps rent a classic car or a convertible). Spend the drive talking about your relationship and why you love each other while you head for somewhere scenic to pop the question.

28. Convince your local movie theater to include a proposal message during the pre-movie ads/trivia and surprise your partner on a date night. (Note, this will most likely result in you missing the movie).

29. If your partner is a deep sleeper, slip an engagement ring on their finger while they’re sleeping, then when they wake up in the morning or from their nap pop the question.

30. Use your pet to pop the question. Tie a note (or the actual ring if you trust your pet and your knot-tying skills) to their collar and send them in to snuggle with your partner.

Please only try this with a very well-trained dog.

Please only try this with a very well-trained dog.

31. Or if you don’t have a pet but your partner’s been wanting one, consider adopting a dog or cat and then using it in the scenario above. You’ll get a new family member and an engagement on the same day!

32. If your partner loves attention and an audience, throw them a surprise party — but not around their birthday. When they wonder what the surprise is for that’s when you get down on one knee. (Bonus: Instant engagement party!)

33. Surprise your partner with a star- and candlelit picnic at midnight to tell them how much you love them before proposing.

34. Pub trivia fans? Work with your local trivia master to concoct a “bonus” round that’s really a proposal in disguise.

35. Convince a local band to play “your song” at their next concert, then when it comes on you can hop onstage and propose, or pop the question more quietly in the audience.

36. Pull a page from the Friends playbook and propose like Monica and Chandler did: Fill your home (carefully) with candles for a cozy proposal. (Note, avoiding Tom Selleck on the day-of is recommended for this one).

Could this be any more romantic?

Could this be any more romantic?

37. Take advantage of a fireworks show (like on 4th of July or at a theme park) to propose with a bang.

38. Enlist the help of a friend to set up a romantic picnic at the beach or a park that you two can “stumble upon” while on a walk. Hidden among the cheese and wine? An engagement ring.

39. For comedy nuts, work with a local improv troupe on a proposal. When they ask for prompts or volunteers during their show, that’ll be your cue to propose.

40. If your partner constantly has their nose in a book, slip a proposal note into the last page of the book their currently reading. Just make sure you’re nearby when they finish the book to complete your proposal.

41. If you have the chance to go to a fair or amusement park and there’s a portrait artist, see if you can get them to draw a picture of the two of you, but with you down on one knee proposing (try and distract your partner during this conversation). When the final picture is revealed you’ll have a lovely surprise and keepsake of your proposal.

42. Take a cue from the movie Bride Wars,” when you’re at home eating Chinese food takeout, swap the fortune cookies with one that has a proposal “fortune” hidden inside. Just make sure your partner grabs the right one!

Sarah Carrillo Riswick

Sarah Carrillo Riswick is the founder and editor of Destination42.com. In addition to poring over photos of gorgeous weddings, she enjoys traveling the world in search of the perfect beach and the perfect margarita. She's pretty sure she's found both, but it never hurts to keep checking ...

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