These 2022 Proposal Trends Totally Revamp Popping the Question

From outdoor, Insta-worthy destinations to personalized details.
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
by
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Associate Editor
  • Sarah is an Associate Digital Editor for The Knot, with special focuses in fashion, pop culture and wedding trends.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Dec 21, 2021
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An engagement is always an always 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 thoughtful in their approach to marriage, and the same is true of engagements too. In fact, the top proposal trends in 2022 indicate that engagements are becoming more of a joint effort than ever before. With less influence from traditional rules and gender roles, proposals today focus on partnership—not formalities.

From collaborative shopping experiences to joint proposals, engagements in 2022 will be highly creative, hyper-personalized, and more unified than in years past. Here, we break down the top proposal trends of 2022 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.

Outdoor, Instagram-Worthy Locations

The setting is one of the most defining components of a proposal. Whether it's an international city or the site of a first date, the engagement spot plays an integral role in the planning process. And while the location is a personal choice that varies among couples, having an Instagram-worthy moment is a priority—and this is easily achieved with a stunning destination. According to The Knot 2021 Jewelry & Engagement Study, which surveyed over 5,000 recently-engaged couples, nearly 75% of all proposals took place outdoors, compared to just 40% in 2020. While the at-home proposal certainly skyrocketed amid the pandemic, 2021 proved that couples were eager to travel and get back outside again, a trend we predict to continue into 2022. "Lots of people are proposing in nature, on hikes or at the beach," says Olivia Landau, founder of The Clear Cut. "Because people spent so much time at home for so long, they want to get outside to propose. Plus, these locations offer great photos."

As travel guidelines ebb and flow amid the ongoing pandemic, couples look to have more freedom in finding unique Airbnbs, outdoor trails or observatory spots that provide a gorgeous background for a proposal. Our study also found that nearly 1 in 3 engagements took place during a planned trip, which is up 7% from last year when many excursions were halted.

Hyper-Personalized and Creative Proposals

Engagements are different for every couple. Specific details like getting down on one knee, preparing a short speech or including loved ones depend on personal preference. One common theme to expect to see in 2022, though, is creativity and intentionality. Now more than ever, proposers want to pop the question during a moment that feels authentic to their relationship. "Pre-pandemic, a lot of people would associate proposals with elaborate displays of affection such as public declarations, piles of flowers, or expensive dinners," Pia Samson, Print Templates Creative Lead for Canva. "But as we adapt to the new normal, so do our personal relationships. It's drawn our attention to what matters most and that's intimacy, authenticity, and connection. And with that comes the realization that thoughtful, personalized touches can be just as meaningful as grand gestures."

Samson reports that Canva—a site used for creating graphics and designs—has seen an uptick in users making custom materials (like photo books, cards or mugs) as proposal props. So while some proposers may personalize their engagement with a lavish floral display used to spell out "Will You Marry Me?", others might opt for a private moment that's filled with meaningful details reflecting their relationship and their personalities, like a photo album of their first dating app messages, or a book of their love story with a blank page to signify their future. "An engagement is a moment where you want to remember every feeling, so mementos are great to have and will continue to be appreciated through time," she reflects. "As married couples continue on their journey together, it's wonderful to be able to reminisce about where it all began. Planning a personalized proposal is definitely a trend that's here to stay."

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.

And although more couples are getting involved in the design process together, that doesn't mean the element of surprise is a thing of the past. It's up to the proposer to plan something completely unexpected, which we explain below.

Lavish, Keep-Them-Guessing Productions

Because more couples talk openly about ring design, proposals aren't totally unexpected. Those that want to preserve the element of surprise are planning lavish productions beyond their partner's wildest imagination. Our study found that the majority of all proposals—42% to be exact—are being planned at least one to three months in advance, which is up 8% from last year. This indicates that proposers are spending a lot of time putting their plans into motion.

When it comes to the plans themselves, more couples are opting for over-the-top gestures, turning their proposal into a full-blown event, rather than just a moment. To do so, proposers are relying on pros to bring the moment to life. In fact, enlisting vendors to help during the proposal has steadily increased over the years. In 2021, about 20% of proposers say they hired a photographer and/or additional vendors to help, which is up from 17% in 2019.

Pulling off an epic moment doesn't come totally stress-free, though. One in four respondents said they felt pressure to plan a unique proposal. Of course, what matters most is that the moment feels authentic and genuine… because there's no such thing as doing it incorrectly. "There really isn't a wrong way to propose, it just needs to feel right to you," Fraser says.

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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