4 New Marriage Proposal Ideas

Looking for inspiring ideas on how to propose? Here are four perfect ways to launch the rest of your life.
by The Knot

Ready to pop the question? Congrats! If you're scratching your head trying to come up with an extra special way to do it (after all, it is a moment you'll both remember for the rest of your lives), look no further -- one of these might just be the perfect way to surprise your sweetie.

Destination Proposals

What It Is: Whisk your future fiance away to another city, or even country, for a destination marriage proposal. Whether you pretend you've planned the getaway "just because," or disguise it as a last-minute business trip you want her to tag along on, impromptu travel is a guaranteed way to set the scene for a thrilling engagement. You'll both already be in a fantastic mood from the fun of being in a new city and a luxe hotel (hint: this is not the time to go for bargain lodging), and once you've popped the question, it'll be even more of a getaway to remember.

The Details: The destination proposal is an especially great option for couples who have been together a long time -- if you've already spent time at all the most romantic local spots over the years, you may feel that journeying someplace far-flung is the best way to ensure that getting engaged feels as special as it should. One thing to note: Don't schedule a packed day of sightseeing or make reservations for a six-course meal, and then pop the question right before you head out the door. You're going to want time to call your parents and closest friends to tell them the news.

Happy Customers: New Yorker Jared told his girlfriend Emily that he was taking her to San Francisco for the weekend just because he'd found cheap tickets online and wanted to visit some friends there. Since her man was known for being very devoted to his buddies, Emily thought the trip was all about seeing them, and was blown away when Jared pulled out an engagement ring in the car on the way to their San Francisco hotel.

The Surprise Engagement Party

What It Is: Of course your engagement is a highly personal event, but a huge part of the excitement comes from sharing the news with those who love you -- so why not arrange to celebrate with them that very night? This proposal idea has the benefit of giving your sweetie a double surprise: After you pop the question at dinner or on a romantic walk, head to a spot -- whether back at your place or a favorite local watering hole -- where your friends and family will be waiting to pop the champagne.

The Details: The only risk to this strategy is that the farther in advance you plan it and the more people you invite, the greater the chances one of them will accidentally tip off your future fiance. Hold off on inviting the guests until a day or two before if possible -- don't worry, they'll cancel any other plans in a second to be present at this momentous occasion.

Happy Customers: After Christine's husband Lawrence proposed over dinner, he suggested they get a nightcap at a lounge around the corner. She was secretly thinking she'd rather go home to call her parents and tell them the news, but went along since she didn't want to spoil the mood. You can imagine how overjoyed she was when they walked in the bar and found that both of their parents and all of their closest friends were gathered around a table waiting for them!

The Casual Proposal

What It Is: Consider keeping things simple and propose at home. This method has the advantages of requiring little planning and securing you the element of surprise -- if you two are just hanging out watching TV, or making dinner together like you do every other night, it'll be an even bigger shock when you suddenly get down on one knee!

The Details: One thing to keep in mind when you're proposing at home: Try not to spring a ring on your sweetie when he's just returned from the gym and is sweating up a storm, or she's stepping out of the shower and has mascara marks under her eyes. Even if you think your beloved is beyond beautiful under any circumstances, this is a moment they've been dreaming about for years, and it might ruin the mood a bit if they feel they've been caught looking their worst.

Happy Customers: If you want to add a little something extra to an at-home proposal, take a cue from Heather's fiance Aaron. While the two were out for a regular weeknight dinner at a local restaurant, one of Aaron's friends had snuck into their house and set up burning candles, a trail of rose petals, and a bottle of wine on ice in their bedroom. Though still low-key, the proposal was instantly even more of a romantic surprise.

The Handcrafted Proposal

What It Is: If you're artistically inclined or just like to make things with your own two hands, integrate something you've made into the proposal. For example, if you have woodworking skills, present the ring in a special hand-carved jewelry box. Or head to a do-it-yourself pottery shop and design a plate bearing the message "Will you marry me?" Ask the restaurant server to bring out dessert on your special plate so that when she finishes the last bite she'll be in for something even sweeter. If you're a talented doodler, write your proposal speech down on a beautiful piece of paper with your unique illustrations around the edges, then frame it after she says "yes."

The Details: This is also a great way to make your proposal even more of a surprise. For example, give that jewelry box a hidden compartment -- it'll make an amazing, super-thoughtful gift even more so.

Happy Customers: Or take it one step further, like Gary did. While his girlfriend Dawn thought he was taking a computer-drawing course, he was actually studying jewelry design. Needless to say, the ring he gave to her was truly one-of-a-kind. No matter what you choose to make, you'll both love having a permanent memento for this unforgettable moment.

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