These 2023 Proposal Trends Totally Revamp Popping the Question

Engagements are bigger and better than ever before.
kim forrest the knot
Kim Forrest
kim forrest the knot
Kim Forrest
Senior Editor
  • Kim writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in etiquette and planning advice
  • Kim manages freelance writers for The Knot Worldwide
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Kim was Associate Bridal Editor at Washingtonian magazine and Associate Fashion Editor at Conde Nast’s Brides Local magazines
Updated Dec 06, 2022
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An engagement is always an unforgettable experience—but today, people go far beyond getting on a bent knee and sharing a few heartfelt words. Current wedding trends illustrate that couples are creating unique wedding experiences, and the same is true of engagements too. According to a new study from The Knot, roughly half of proposers feel some or a lot of pressure to plan a unique proposal. In fact, the top proposal trends in 2023 indicate that engagements are being planned similarly to weddings, with venues booked, vendors hired, decor created and more.

Yes, these wow-worthy proposals can be costly. According to Tessa Bertamini of Amore Austin, a proposal planning company in Austin, Texas, her average client spends between $1,500 and $2,000 to create a memorable engagement. The goal here is twofold: to plan an extra-special, hyper-personalized moment that wows the proposee, and of course, to create amazing content to post on Instagram, TikTok and other social media platforms.

Here, we talked to experts to help break down the top proposal trends of 2023 that totally revamp the engagement experience. Whether you're currently planning a proposal or think you might take the next step of your relationship soon, here's what to expect in the coming year.

Staying Closer to Home

With Covid concerns greatly lessened over the past year and many people eager to travel, one might expect that destination proposals would be on the rise. While certain locations (Hawaii, New York City, Florida) are perennial favorites for proposals, it seems like many proposals are occurring closer to home, whether that means in the couple's current city of residence or a nearby vacation spot.

"Lately, we have seen our couple's have a desire to stay close to where they call home," say Tyshia Luistro and Jamie Bockover of Heart + Hand Proposals, a proposal planning company in Raleigh, North Carolina. "Some couples have different reasons for this, but some say that it takes some pressure off proposing near a place they know without the added details of travel arrangements. If they are willing to travel, typically it is a trip that is planned together as a little getaway. The possibilities are endless as sometimes the destination is something significant to their relationship, somewhere they always spoke about visiting, or back to a place where they first met."

Rooftop Proposals

According to the new study, more than half of proposals take place privately, with just the couple present—and over a third of proposers choose their location because of its scenery. Many proposals occur at home or in a public setting such as a park or beach, but an increasing number of proposers are booking a private space where they can pop the question without distraction. "People are loving rooftops and locations with views," says Michele Velazquez of The Heart Bandits, a proposal planner in Fountain Valley, California. Rooftops often offer a modern space with lots of great photo backdrop options, making them ideal for this once-in-a-lifetime moment.

Yes, renting a separate venue for a proposal does cost money, but many proposers think the intimacy and predictability of a private space is worth the additional cost.

For a more natural setting that usually doesn't require a rental, garden venues are also popular proposal sites. "Garden locations are the most popular from our experience as it is an easy plan to "stroll" through the gardens and happen upon their proposal spot," say Luistro and Bockover. "It is usually large enough to still feel private without renting a space. Lakeside proposals are also a favorite as it offers our clients the opportunity to go on a hike or walk, connect with nature, each other, and end at their proposal location with a gorgeous view."

Wedding-Worthy Decor

These days, adding decor elements to a proposal goes way beyond rose petals and candles. Proposers are enlisting professionals (florists, in particular) to help create a proposal backdrop that is similar to a wedding altar, and many of the most popular wedding style trends are making their way to proposals as well. Again, this is not only to create a personalized experience, but to wow followers on the 'gram.

"We're seeing proposals follow wedding trends," says Velazquez. "For example, we're doing a lot of boho themes with pampas grass and hexagonal arches."

As with weddings, proposers are creating color schemes to ensure a cohesive look and feel for this important moment. "In 2023, we foresee a darker and bolder color palette and design," say Luistro and Bockover. "The neutral trend will be less of the norm than these past couple of years."

Bringing on the Experts

Creating this kind of curated proposal often requires expert assistance. While of course, you can DIY your proposal, enlisting pros such as planners and florists can take the pressure off and allow you to simply focus on asking the big question. In fact, enlisting vendors to help during the proposal has steadily increased over the years. According to The Knot's study, enlisting vendors to help during the proposal has steadily increased in just the past three years. In 2022, about 1 in 4 proposers say they hired a professional to help, nearly doubling since 2019.

One vendor that's not optional? "A professional photographer is a must," says Bertamini. "We've planned 150 proposals in the past year, and only four people didn't hire a photographer as well." Including a videographer to capture movement and sound, and create a short two- to three-minute video to share with loved ones is also growing in popularity.

Lighting it Up

We all know the importance of good lighting at any event—and proposals are no exception. For engagements particularly, lighting is used less to set a mood and more as a focal point. According to our experts, custom neon signage and marquee letters (usually spelling out the words "Marry Me") are growing in popularity for proposals. For a truly extravagant engagement, fireworks and other pyrotechnics are increasingly featured at nighttime proposals, as well.

As we move into 2023, expect to see even more unique lighting installations, this time in the form of drones creating images such as engagement rings and hearts, or spelling out a special message in the night sky. According to Velazquez, "We think that customized drone displays and formations will be a big hit in 2023." Pricey? Sure. Memorable? Definitely.

Creating a Live Soundtrack

Along with decor, live musicians can also add a unique touch to proposals, whether it's a guitarist, pianist, harpist, violinist, singer or a combination of different instrumentalists. These musicians can perform a special song that's meaningful to the couple during the proposal or a selection of tunes to set the mood for a romantic proposal. "We predict an increase in live music, creating ambiance beyond just decor that will bring proposals to another level," say Luistro and Bockover.

Collaborative Ring Design Experiences

In the past, couples may have scoffed at the idea of ring shopping together—but that couldn't be further from the truth today. Gone are the days of dropping arbitrary hints or hoping your S.O. hears about your dream ring through the grapevine. Now, many jewelers note that couples approach the ring shopping and design experience as a unit. "At least half of our couples are designing the ring together," explains Madeline Fraser, founder of online jewelry brand Gemist. "They're involved as a team to create a unified design."

This trend is reflected in our data too. About 75% of those who were proposed to had some type of involvement in selecting or purchasing the engagement ring, which is roughly a 10% increase since 2015. Plus, 79% of respondents admitted to dropping hints about their preferred ring style. Since the engagement ring is a forever piece, couples are more thoughtful than ever about curating a design that's reflective of the wearer's preference and style.

Partnership Proposals

Engagements continue to become more progressive each year. Now, in addition to collaborating on the budget and design, some couples plan partnership proposals. This is common among same-sex and heterosexual relationships—after one person proposes, it's not uncommon for the other to propose shortly after (or, coincidentally, even on the same day). In fact, male engagement rings continue to steadily rise in popularity year over year.

"Joint proposals are definitely on the rise, particularly with our younger clients," Fraser explains. "This also falls in line with the idea that people are designing their rings together as a team, rather than just being an individualized experience. We're breaking the molds of what tradition looks like in this industry, and that's because of the demographic that's coming into the market now."

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