66 Proposal Ideas to Spark Romance

Stumped on how to pop the question? Put your own spin on one of these cute and creative marriage proposal ideas.
by Simone Hill

We know how nerve-wracking planning a wedding proposal can be. If all those jitters are making it hard to decide on how to propose, we've got your back. Try putting your own spin on one these romantic and creative proposal ideas. Whether you want to pop the question in a cute but simple way or you're ready to organize a super unique surprise, there's something here for you. Whatever the case, remember that the best proposal ideas are those that truly capture the couple's relationship. Really want to go the extra mile to make the moment even more memorable? Consider investing in a proposal photographer. We love the pros over at Flytographer. Need additional inspiration? Head on over to HowTheyAsked.com.  

We've even added a barometer for effort and cost to each of the proposal ideas, making it easy to select one that's right for your lifestyle and budget. 

In this article:


Public Marriage Proposal Ideas

Surprise marriage proposal
Marta in Venice for Flytographer

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. Instead of posing, drop down on one knee.

Effort: One out of five
Cost: One out of five

2. Have a choir, brass band or drum line show up for a surprise performance of your fiance(e)-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(e)'s name into the lyrics.

Effort: Three out of five
Cost: Three out of five

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.

Effort: Three out of five
Cost: Two out of five

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!"

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: Two out of five

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.

Effort: Three out of five
Cost: Two out of five

6. Send your unsuspecting fiance(e)-to-be on a treasure hunt that ends with your marriage 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.

Effort: Four out of five
Cost: One out of five

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.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

8. Hire a skywriter to spell out your proposal for everyone around to see.

Effort: Four out of five
Cost: Five out of five

9. Take out a full-page ad in a newspaper then pick the perfect spot to have a relaxing morning of catching up on current events.

Effort: Three out of five
Cost: Four out of five

10. Call into a radio station, make sure your fiance-to-be is listening then propose on the air.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five


Destination Marriage Proposal Ideas

Beach proposal idea
Whitney in Portland for Flytographer

11. 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.

Effort: Four out of five
Cost: Four out of five

12. Rent a Vespa, scooter or bikes to tour the city and invite your soon-to-be fiance for a ride, but remind them to be safe and wear a helmet. Hand over the helmet (with the ring box already in it) then zip around town to celebrate.

Effort: Three out of five
Cost: Three out of five

13. Searching for beach proposal ideas? Go to the shore 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.

Effort: One out of five
Cost: One out of five

14. 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.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: Two out of five

15. Add this to the list of outdoor proposal ideas: Go on a hike and pop the question once you've reached the top of your climb. (But please be careful not to lose or damage the precious proposal piece in the wilderness.)

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five


Homemade Marriage Proposal Ideas

Graffiti outdoor marriage proposal
Jaclyn Marie Photography

16. 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.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

17. 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.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

18. Or, use refrigerator magnet letters to write out your marriage proposal. They'll never be so happy to have gone to grab a snack.

Effort: One out of five
Cost: One out of five

19. Throwback to your childhood with a proposal written in sidewalk chalk on your street or driveway.

Effort: One out of five
Cost: One out of five

20. 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. While you're at it, hire a proposal photographer to snap you two in front of the masterpiece.)

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: Two out of five


Marriage Proposal Ideas at Home

Marriage proposal idea at home
Melissa Green Photography

21. 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.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

22. 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. (But use extra caution when dealing with flames.)

Effort: One out of five
Cost: One out of five

23. Slip the ring on while your soon-to-be fiance(e) is sleeping then do a romantic morning wake-up call with champagne and strawberries.

Effort: One out of five
Cost: One out of five

24. 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.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

25. Cook a five-star-worthy meal of all your fiance(e)-to-be's favorite foods, or hire a personal chef for the night. Propose over dessert.

Effort: Three out of five
Cost: Three out of five

26. Have a custom jigsaw puzzle made with your picture and the words "Marry me?" On a rainy day, suggest this activity. When you've finished enough that you can clearly see the photo and read the words, it's time for the marriage proposal. (Hint: This works well with Scrabble too.)

Effort: Three out of five
Cost: Two out of five

Techie Marriage Proposal Ideas

27. Add a custom proposal "song" to his or her go-to playlist on Spotify, or record an unexpected proposal podcast.

Effort: Three out of five
Cost: One out of five

28. 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.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

29. Create a web page declaring your love and wedding proposal then 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.

Effort: Three out of five
Cost: Two out of five

30. Set up a live-stream channel and invite all your friends and family to watch the proposal in real time from wherever you choose to pop the question.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

31. Update a social media profile (like Instagram) with "fiance(e)" in your bio. Ask your partner what they think of your feed and savour the confusion on their face before they realize what's happening.

Effort: One out of five
Cost: One out of five


Foodie Marriage Proposal Ideas

Romantic dinner marriage proposal idea
Jess Barfield Photography

32. Make the box holding the ring as a selection on the dessert tray at your favorite restaurant.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

33. 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).

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: Two out of five

34. Ask the pastry chef to write, "Will you marry me?" in chocolate sauce around the rim of a dessert plate.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: Two out of five

35. Ask a baker to make a custom cake with the proposal written in frosting. Have the cake displayed in the storefront and take your partner window-shopping. Bring the cake home to share and celebrate afterward.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: Three out of five

36. Print a custom label with your engagement proposal written on it then place it on a fancy bottle of vino to toast with after they say "yes."

Effort: Three out of five
Cost: Two out of five

37. Go to a restaurant and ask for the "specials" menu. The waiter will come back with a sheet of paper you've planted that reads your marriage proposal message.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

Marriage Proposal Ideas at Work

Firefighter marriage proposal to teacher
Adam Deierling

38. Sneak (with the proper permission, of course) into your soon-to-be fiance(e)'s office or classroom before they arrive in the morning. Write your proposal on their desk or blackboard then stay hidden from sight until they show up.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

39. 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.

Effort: One out of five
Cost: One out of five

40. With the help of your soon-to-be fiance(e)'s coworkers, schedule a last-minute meeting toward the end of the day. Then whisk them away to a romantic spot to propose.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five


Marriage Proposal Ideas Caught on Camera

Surprise engagement proposal
Orsi in Lisbon for Flytographer

41. Hire a Flytographer to capture your proposal, but tell your partner you've won a romantic couple's photo shoot. Get dressed up then propose mid-shoot. Follow it up with a romantic engagement session.

Effort: Three out of five
Cost: Two out of five

42. Pick the perfect spot to propose and have a photographer hide somewhere discreet. After your proposal, your photographer can snap some posed photos too.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: Two out of five

43. Tell your fiance(e)-to-be that you've been selected for a couple's "casting call" at a studio then propose in front of the cameras.

Effort: Three out of five
Cost: Two out of five

Playful Marriage Proposal Ideas

Kinder Egg marriage proposal
Lori Richmond

44. Looking for funny proposal ideas? 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."

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

45. 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(e)'s doorstep.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

46. Make the ring the surprise in a box of Cracker Jacks or in a Kinder Egg.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

47. 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 their place.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: Three out of five

Fall and Winter Marriage Proposal Ideas

Fall marriage proposal idea
Carmen Salazar Photography

48. Rake the leaves in their yard to spell out your outdoor proposal.

Effort: One out of five
Cost: One out of five

49. 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.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

50. Build a scene of a snowman proposing then tell your soon-to-be-fiance(e) to look outside. When they see the snowman, get down on one knee.

Effort: One out of five
Cost: One out of five

51. Write, "Will you marry me?" on the underside of a kite and take flight on a breezy autumn afternoon.

Effort: One out of five
Cost: One out of five

Spring and Summer Marriage Proposal Ideas

Marriage proposal during the spring
Ash Fox Photography

52. Propose in a flower or botanical garden when everything is beautifully in bloom.

Effort: One out of five
Cost: One out of five

53. 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 trip there where you'll stumble upon this surprise proposal.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

54. How's this for a dreamy outdoor proposal idea? 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.

Effort: One out of five
Cost: One out of five

55. 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. (This also works in the fall with apple or pumpkin picking.)

Effort: One out of five
Cost: One out of five

56. Want more beach proposal ideas? On the night before a seaside 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.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

Marriage Proposal Ideas With Surprise Parties

Newspaper marriage proposal with surprise family guests
Moss & Isaac

57. On your partner's birthday, plan a "surprise party" then pretend to ruin the surprise by having them get there early. The real shock will be when you propose and all your friends and family show up afterward to celebrate.

Effort: Three out of five
Cost: Two out of five

58. Plan a party filled with friends and family at a bar near where you'll propose then suggest a celebratory drink after your partner says "yes."

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: Two out of five

59. 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.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

Holiday Marriage Proposal Ideas

Fourth of July marriage proposal idea
Rob Korb Photography

60. 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.

Effort: One out of five
Cost: One out of five

61. Surprise your fiance(e) 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.

Effort: Three out of five
Cost: Two out of five

62. 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.

Effort: One out of five
Cost: One out of five

63. 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?"

Effort: Three out of five
Cost: Two out of five

64. 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.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

65. Build up anticipation for the last day of Hanukkah by dropping eight hints that you're about to propose.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

66. Hide Easter eggs (somewhere they won't get lost or taken by kids) with notes that explain why you love your partner. Then, present them with a golden egg with your marriage proposal and ring inside.

Effort: Two out of five
Cost: One out of five

We hope that now that you've read through our proposal ideas, you have a better sense of how you're going to propose. Know it's going to be the best proposal ever? Don't forget to share your happy-tears-inducing story on How They Asked after your partner say "yes" (to the question and to sharing the deets).

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