85 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.
diane hall senior editor and wedding expert the knot worldwide
Diane Hall
diane hall senior editor and wedding expert the knot worldwide
Diane Hall
Contributing Senior Editor & Wedding Expert
  • Diane writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a specialty in weddings, party planning and couple lifestyle.
  • She produces editorial content for The Knot, The Bash and WeddingWire Canada.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, she was the publisher of 2life Magazine and WeddingBells Magazine.
Updated Sep 01, 2022

You've got the engagement ring, prepared your proposal speech and now you're ready to plan the perfect proposal. 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 of these creative and romantic proposal ideas. Whether you want to pop the question in a cute but simple way or you're ready to organize a super unique marriage proposal, we've got lots of romantic ways to propose along with the best places to get a definitive "Yes!".

Whatever the case, remember that the best proposal ideas are those that truly capture your love story and relationship. When you ask your partner to marry you, you'll want to create a memorable proposal story—one that you'll share with loved ones and reflect back on for the rest of your life.

Really want to go the extra mile? A growing marriage proposal trend is to document it on film to share on social media and have as a keepsake. Consider investing in a professional photographer to capture the big moment. You can even follow it up with an engagement photoshoot.

Marriage proposal ideas in this article:

Proposal Idea Generator

Public Marriage Proposal Ideas

Surprise marriage proposal
Marta in Venice for Flytographer

1. Choose a Favorite Landmark

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. With this approach, you'll get some cute candid photos of your proposal, too!

2. Organize a Musical Performance

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.

3. Flash Mob Proposal

Prefer dance? Hire a choreographer to help put together a flash mob dance routine to perform in a public location. Stop to watch it with your partner and after a couple of minutes, join in on the performance to strut your stuff before dropping to one knee.

4. Dance Night

Go out for a night of dancing and ask the DJ or bandleader to pass you the mic so you can dedicate a special song and propose on the dance floor.

5. Surprise Proposal at the Theatre

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 to the playbill so you have a keepsake of the proposal.

6. A Dozen Roses

Ask your partner to meet you in a public space. Along the route to meet up with you, have eleven people give them a single rose leading towards you to give the final rose and then propose.

7. Hire a Caricaturist

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!".

8. Aquarium Proposal

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.

9. Skywriter Message

This unique proposal idea is pretty extravagant. Hire a skywriter to spell out your proposal in the sky for everyone around to see.

10. The Morning News

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

11. Tune In

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

12. Jumbotron

If you and your partner are sports fans, contact the stadium and see if they'll let you pop the question on the jumbotron.

Wedding Proposal Ideas at Home

Marriage proposal idea at home
Melissa Green Photography

Looking for private proposal ideas to create a special moment for the love of your life in the comfort of your living room? We've got lots of adorable and romantic ways to propose at home. So many, in fact, we've dedicated a complete article to this popular (and personal) place to propose. Whether you're looking for low-key or extravagant, check out our Guide to Proposing at Home and Making It Super Special.

Cute Proposal Ideas

Graffiti outdoor marriage proposal
Jaclyn Marie Photography

13. Make a Mural

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.)

14. Re-enact Your First Date

Take your partner back to where it all started and relive your first date. Reflect on how far your relationship has come since that fateful encounter.

15. Spell it Out

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

16. Marquee Letters

Scale up your message and set up a proposal scene with "Marry Me" spelled out in large marquee letters. This works well day or night, in outdoor spaces like a park or a rooftop patio, and indoor spaces like a private dining room or loft space. You can decorate it further with candles, balloons, flowers and strings of lights.

17. Sidewalk Chalk

Throwback to your childhood with a proposal written in sidewalk chalk on your street or driveway for a sweet and simple proposal idea.

18. Photo Montage

Fill a favorite room or outdoor location with a photo montage of memories from your relationship; you can hang them from trees, balloons or cover the walls with them for a jaw-dropping surprise.

19. Candlelit Path

Make a trail of candles in your home, a hotel room or along a garden path, that leads to a circle of votives positioned around you holding the ring.

20. Wake-Up Call

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

21. String of Messages

Tie a red velvet ribbon from one spot 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.

22. Gourmet Dinner At Home

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.

23. Custom Jigsaw Puzzle

Have a custom jigsaw puzzle made with your picture and the words "Marry me?" On a rainy day, suggest this activity. (Hint: This idea works well at home, a country inn, board game cafe or local pub—stash it among the other puzzles.) When you've finished enough that you can clearly see the photo and read the words, it's time for the marriage proposal.

24. Playlist or Podcast

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

Outdoor Proposal Ideas

Beach proposal idea
Whitney in Portland for Flytographer

25. Beach Proposal

Searching for beach proposal ideas? We get it. A beach proposal can be oh-so-romantic. Keep it simple and take a stroll at sunrise or sunset. Or, take a playful approach 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.

26. Message in a Bottle

Here's another cute beach proposal idea. 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—and be ready with the ring.

27. Go On a Hike

Another tried and true outdoor proposal idea: 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.)

28. Hot Air Balloon

Take your relationship to new heights. Book a gentle and peaceful hot air balloon ride for breathtaking views and a magical propose experience.

29. Helicopter Ride

Or, whisk them away in a helicopter.

30. Ferris Wheel

If they love amusement parks and county fairs, plan a day that includes a ride on a ferris wheel where you can pop the question while you whirl around.

31. Scavenger Hunt

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.

32. Adrenaline Rush

Double down on the excitement of the moment and plan a roller coaster ride, ziplining excursion, whitewater rafting or bungee jump. When your partner's heart is racing, it's time to pop the question.

Vacation Proposal Ideas

Marriage proposal on the Amalfi Coast in Italy
Brittany Barber

33. Tour Guide

Plan an excursion that includes a wow-worthy spot for your proposal (with the help of a tour guide if needed). This could be a picnic on a private beach, a hike with a spectacular view or an activity that gets the locals in on the action such as an artisan including your "will you marry me" message on a souvenir.

34. Airplane Announcement

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.

35. Fairytale Disney Proposal

If your partner is a Disney fan, then treat them to a fairytale-worthy wedding proposal. We've got these seven expert tips to pull off the perfect proposal.

36. Scoot Around

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.

37. Romantic Proposal at Your Hotel

While you're out sightseeing or for dinner, have the hotel staff stage your hotel room with rose petals (you could even spell out marry me on the bed), candles and champagne—everything for a perfect surprise proposal.

Online Proposal Ideas

Online wedding proposal
Ira Lichi/Shutterstock.com

38. Virtual Proposal

If you're in a long-distance relationship and you need to propose from afar, a Zoom or FaceTime call can be elevated for the big moment. This could be a private proposal where you declare your love or you could take over a group call to propose in the presence of loved ones. Present the engagement ring virtually or deliver it to your partner (along with flowers and champagne) and have them open it during your call.

39. Livestream

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

40. Text a Slideshow

No, not just any old text. Have a friend take fun photos of you with posters that say, "will," "you," "marry" and "me?" Then make plans to meet up in a special spot and before they arrive, text the photos in order. When the last message goes through, show up and get down on one knee.

41. Video Game Placement

If you and your partner love playing video games together, figure out if there's a way to integrate you're "will you marry me" message into the gameplay.

42. Relationship Status

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

43. Make a TikTok

Take a TikTok challenge or plan a fun video to post. While you're filming, pivot the plan to your surprise proposal that you capture on film. Post it to TikTok to announce your big news and get lots of likes ;) Be sure to follow The Knot on TikTok and tag us!

44. Celebrity Appearance

This idea would be next to impossible to pull off in real life, but during the pandemic, some celebrities were willing and able to make an appearance virtually. See if you can arrange a musical performance of a favorite song as the backdrop to your proposal. Hint: If you can't make it happen, get tickets to their next concert instead and propose at the show.

Restaurant Proposal Ideas

Romantic dinner marriage proposal idea
Jess Barfield Photography

45. Daily Special

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.

46. Custom Wine Label

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."

47. Just Desserts

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

49. Sweet Message

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

If you love Asian food, go to your favorite restaurant and after dinner, ask your server to bring some "special" fortune cookies to your table with your "Will you marry me?" message substituted inside. Or if you prefer takeout, you can secretly make the substitution yourself.

Proposal Photoshoot Ideas

Surprise engagement proposal
Orsi in Lisbon for Flytographer

51. Flytographer

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

52. Paparazzi Proposal

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

53. Casting Call

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.

Pro tip: Here's everything you need to know about a proposal photoshoot.

Fun Proposal Ideas

Kinder Egg marriage proposal
Lori Richmond

54. Special Treat

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

55. Ring Size Disguise

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."

56. Gift Delivery

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.

57. Movie Scene Re-enactment

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.

58. Escape Room

Get in touch with a local escape room and see if they'll work with you to integrate your wedding proposal into the experience.

59. Cake Display

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.

Surprise Proposal Ideas with Family

Newspaper marriage proposal with surprise family guests
Moss & Isaac

60. Group Message

Gather a bunch of your friends and family for a party and have everyone put on a T-shirt, hold a sign or carry balloons filled with helium (otherwise they won't float) bearing one of the letters or words in the phrase, "Will you marry me?" Then during the party suggest a group picture to reveal the message.

61. Birthday Party

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.

62. Celebratory Drinks

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."

63. View From Afar

Have your proposal in a park with loved ones at a safe distance away. Once you've proposed, have everyone show up for an impromptu celebration of the big moment.

Fall Proposal Ideas

Fall marriage proposal idea
Carmen Salazar Photography

64. Piles of Leaves

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

65. Pumpkin Carving

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.

66. Fly a Kite

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

67. Wine Tour

Take a tour of some wineries. Stroll among the vines for a romantic proposal location. Or, arrange with a winery to pour from a special bottle with a custom label with your proposal message.

Winter Proposal Ideas

Marriage proposal on the top of a ski hill

68. Ski Lift

If you love to ski, here's a unique proposal idea. Plan a ski trip with friends and have them lay in the snow to spell out "Marry Me?" with their bodies under the ski lift. Your partner will be amazed once they get a bird's eye view as you ride overhead. When you get to the top of the mountain drop down on one knee.

69. Snowfall

After a fresh snowfall, trample your proposal message into a patch of fresh snow below a window or build a scene of a snowman proposing. Tell your soon-to-be-fiance(e) to look outside and when they see it, get down on one knee.

70. Holiday Lights

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.

71. Get a Pet

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.

72. Hanukkah Hints

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

73. Christmas Proposal

If you celebrate Christmas, this is a great holiday for a wedding proposal. Because this time of year is so popular, we have 16 Christmas proposal ideas to inspire you.

74. New Year's Eve Proposal

On New Year's Eve, sneak away to a romantic spot just before midnight and propose for the perfect start to the new year. Then celebrate with a kiss and plenty of champagne.

75. Ice Hotel

Book a getaway at an ice hotel for a unique experience. Etch your proposal message into a block of ice, cozy up by a fire or whisk them away on a sleigh ride for the big moment.

76. Valentine's Day Proposal

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.

Spring Proposal Ideas

Marriage proposal during the spring
Ash Fox Photography

77. Spring Flowers

Propose in a flower or botanical garden when everything is beautifully in bloom. If it's a rainy day, don't let that discourage you. A stroll in the rain can be oh-so-romantic.

78. Maple Sugar Shack

As the snow melts, the sap begins to flow and the maple syrup festivals startup, head into the woods for your sweet surprise. Spell out "Will you marry me?" with maple syrup taffy drizzled over the snow.

79. Picnic in the Park

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 spot.

80. Easter Egg Hunt

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 engagement ring inside.

Summer Proposal Ideas

Fourth of July marriage proposal idea
Rob Korb Photography

81. Stargazing

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.

82. Berry Picking

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.)

83. Music Festival

If you and your partner love live music festivals, plan a proposal during the performance of a special song by your favorite artist. Bonus points if you can get a shout-out from the artist during the show.

84. Road Trip

Plan a scenic summer drive with a special destination for your proposal. On your way, put on a playlist with songs from your relationship journey and plan some stops to enjoy their favorite activities—antiquing, hiking, food trucks, country fairs, etc.—so that they're relaxed and happy when you pop the question.

85. Fireworks Display

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?".

Will You Marry Me spelled out in Fireworks
NAK Photographer/Shutterstock.com

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 says "yes" (to the question and to sharing the deets).

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