Scavenger Hunt Proposals Are Having a Moment: Here's How to Plan One They'll Remember Forever

Cheugy riddles are not required.
Woman proposing to her fiancée outside
Photo: Alvaro Gonzalez | Getty Images
Jenn sinrich headshot
Jenn Sinrich
Jenn sinrich headshot
Jenn Sinrich
The Knot Contributor
  • Jenn writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a speciality in planning advice and travel.
  • Jenn also writes for a myriad of other large-scale publications, including SELF, Women's Health, and more
  • Prior to becoming a freelance writer, Jenn worked as an on-staff editor at, American Baby, Fit Pregnancy and FreshDirect.
Updated Jul 17, 2023

There are so many ways to propose, but one method that's becoming increasingly popular involves an age-old game: the scavenger hunt. A scavenger hunt proposal involves setting out "clues" for your significant other to follow one by one until they ultimately get to the very end where you propose. It's fun, interactive and creative, however, it requires a significant amount of planning on the proposer's part.

In order to pull off a scavenger hunt proposal successfully, you have to brainstorm a series of riddles, clues or surprises and set them up well in advance and in a tactful way that your partner can follow. When done the right way, the person being proposed to might be completely caught off guard, which inevitably leads to a more surprising finish and a more memorable proposal.

In this article:

5 Steps to Plan a Scavenger Hunt Proposal

If you're thinking of planning a scavenger hunt proposal, follow these five steps to pull it off right.

1. Choose the setting.

The first step to planning a scavenger hunt proposal is to decide where it's all going to go down—whether it is in your home, a hotel, a destination, etc. "Scout the location ahead of time and make sure the scavenger hunt flows well from one clue to the other so your partner is enjoying the experience and is not confused," says Lilia Shatnaya, owner and designer at Plume and Stone Invitations in Brooklyn. "Multiple rooms in a home is a great idea, or if doing it outside where you have to drive around, make sure the distances are not too great."

2. Consider your partner's personality.

It's a good idea to tailor the scavenger hunt to your partner's preferences and interests. "If they are not outdoorsy, focus on indoor locations that hold significance for both of you," says Elena Gera, wedding photographer and owner of Focus on the Moment Photography. "You can even start the hunt in your own kitchen by attaching the first clue to their favorite morning yogurt jar and end with the ring hidden in a flower pot."

3. Get creative.

The second step of a scavenger hunt proposal, according to Shatnaya, is to write and hide the clues, which will lead your significant other from one part of the hunt to the next in a smart and sensible way. It's important that these clues not be too complicated; otherwise, your partner might have trouble finding them. "Hide the first clue in plain sight, or just give it to your partner and watch them try to figure it out," she says. "Once they do, proceed to the next clue destination."

Hire a photographer.

Sandy Brooks, owner of Timeless Event Planning, recommends hiring a photographer to capture the special moments throughout the scavenger hunt proposal. "This will allow the couple to have beautiful and professional photographs to cherish for a lifetime," she says. "Make sure the photographer understands the timeline and locations to capture the surprise, excitement and the final proposal moment." Check out The Knot Vendor Marketplace to find a proposal photographer near you.

Plan the actual proposal.

As fun as it is to plan the scavenger hunt, the best part is undoubtedly the end, when you propose! Be sure to take your time planning how you want this to all unfold and how you want to pop the big question. "It can be a traditional kneeling proposal, surprising them with a bouquet, or incorporating a creative element like a pet delivering the ring," says Gera.

How To Write The Most Romantic Scavenger Hunt Proposal Clues

Writing the clues is the fun and creative part. Here's how to infuse some romance into each one.

Incorporate a mix of things you and your partner love.

The clues for your scavenger hunt should center around the things that you and your partner love—both individually and together. "You might hide their favorite flavor of ice cream in the freezer with a clue, but avoid making the hunt too much about you and your favorites," suggests Kevin Dennis, owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services. "You want your partner to feel special during the scavenger hunt, not a guessing game about you that might make them feel bad if they can't remember."

Recount special moments you've shared.

Dennis suggests taking your partner on a trip down memory lane by including mentions of times you've shared together, be it things or places that happened throughout your relationship. "Maybe this leads them to the scene of your first date, or what you were doing when you shared your first 'I love you,'" he says. "This could even be a tour of your favorite places in the city, where you make an entire day of it."

Craft short rhymes or limericks.

Try to get creative by crafting some rhymes and limericks. "If you're not a poet, leverage AI tools to assist you in creating fun and engaging clues," says Gera. She recommends keeping the rhymes easy to solve while adding a touch of whimsy and romance. "For example, for a clue leading to the fridge, you could write, 'Open my door, a light will shine, revealing treats, oh, they're divine!'"

Add in handwritten love letters.

Gera also recommends going the extra mile by writing actual heartfelt love letters on paper. "Each letter should end with a clue to the next location," she says. "Sign them as a 'Secret Admirer' to pique curiosity and prompt them to search for the clues—outside of your home, obviously!"

How To Nail The Proposal At The End Of Your Engagement Scavenger Hunt

The most exciting part of your scavenger hunt proposal is the end, where you actually get down on one knee. Here's how to nail this part.

Be specific about timing.

As with most things, timing is everything when it comes to planning a proposal—especially one that involves a scavenger hunt. "A scavenger hunt may need some flexibility depending on how many clues you've included, so just know that you may be waiting around on the other side as your partner completes the hunt," says Dennis. "This is the perfect opportunity to enlist the help of a loved one, that way they can keep you updated on their location so you and the photographer can get into position!"

Prepare your proposal message.

Many people get quite nervous when it comes down to the actual proposal, which might make you run out of the right words if you haven't prepared. That's why it can be helpful to write down some words on paper or to at least practice reciting them so everything can come out smoothly. "This will help you express your feelings clearly and romantically," adds Gera.

Invite friends and family.

If you have the space, consider inviting your family and friends to meet you and your significant other at the tail end of the scavenger hunt. You might have to gauge whether or not your partner will actually want this, as some people are more private than others. "You can have them hold up a sign that says, 'Will you marry me?' or you can just pop the question yourself," says Shatnaya. "Having loved ones at the end shows an incredible amount of planning and coordination and is sure to be a treasured memory."

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