These 2024 Proposal Trends Are Changing the Game

Engagements are bigger and better than ever before.
Collage of 2024 proposal trends
Photos: Ph. Francesco Ciccotti for Getty, courtesy of The Heart Bandits, Alexandr Baitelman for Getty | Design: Tiana Crispino
kim forrest the knot
by
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 Feb 20, 2024
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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, over half of proposers feel some or a lot of pressure to plan a unique proposal. In fact, the top proposal trends for 2024 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 The Knot's new Engagement & Jewelry Study, proposers spend an average of $2,900 on their proposal—and no, that doesn't include the cost of the engagement ring! 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. Still, experts also said that many couples are looking for creative, hyper-personalized proposal ideas that won't break the bank.

Here, we talked to experts to help break down the top proposal trends of 2024 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.

2024 Proposal Trends:

Destination Proposals

During and shortly after the pandemic, more couples were proposing at home or in their current city of residence. Our new data shows that's starting to shift. According to The Knot's Engagement & Jewelry Study, over 1 in 3 proposers pop the question during a planned trip. While most of those trips occur closer to home within the U.S., we're seeing a steady increase in the number of couples who propose while on vacation abroad—higher than pre-COVID levels. Our experts shared that locations such as the Maldives and the Mediterranean are popular international proposal destinations.

"I have seen many travel proposals this year," says proposal planner Maddie Job of Pro Proposal Co. in Park City, Utah. "My clients have loved creating a whole vacation planned around the engagement. It allows them to have a special proposal experience while also getting a few days of celebration with no distractions."

Man putting ring on woman's finger
Photo: Jessica Joseph for Amore Austin

Iconic Outdoor Locations

According to our study data, fewer and fewer proposals are occurring at home—proposers are looking to get outside, whether it's in their city of residence or a vacation spot. Rooftop proposals are still hot this year (proposal planner Julia Di of proposal-planning company Cloud Nine in Miami Beach, Florida estimates that half of the proposals she plans take place on rooftops), but Tessa Bertamini, founder of Amore Austin in Austin, Texas, says that nature-focused locations, like parks, lakefronts, beaches or mountains, will grow in popularity in 2024. Bonus points if the location is iconic and instantly-recognizable in your proposal city—Lake Travis in Austin, for example.

A naturally-beautiful setting not only creates a relaxed atmosphere for an engagement, it's also an ideal photo backdrop for the big moment (and as we'll talk about in a minute, it's all about the content!). Our study data confirms that 36% of proposals take place in a scenic spot, and 14% occur while the couple is partaking in an outdoor activity, like hiking or mountain climbing.

Yacht Proposals

According to Di, boat proposals are also growing in popularity. These proposals combine the best of all worlds—a private and luxurious location surrounded by nature. If you're planning to pop the question in a city on or near the water, yacht companies often offer proposal packages that make the planning process a breeze (and they can surprisingly be pretty affordable!). Many proposers are opting to pop the question while the yacht is still docked, then pulling off the ultimate surprise by revealing friends and family for a post-proposal surprise engagement party on the high seas.

Couple hugging in front of heart shaped rose proposal set up
Photo: Courtesy of The Heart Bandits

Heart-Shaped Arches

Statement backdrops are a proposal trend that isn't slowing down anytime soon, says our experts. According to Marvin Velazquez of The Heart Bandits, a proposal planner in Fountain Valley, California, heart-shaped arch structures are the top decor for proposals in 2024. "Our clients are loving these structures set up with decor leading up to them with things such as carpets, candles and flowers," he says. The set up and decoration of these structures require the help of a professional, and experts say that hiring a florist to zhuzh up a proposal location is increasingly common.

Videography

Enlisting vendors to help during the proposal has steadily increased over the years. In 2023, one in four proposers say they hired a photographer and/or other vendors—more than double since 2019! While professional photographers have become a mainstay of today's proposals, videography is also a major trend.

"Many of our proposers are hiring a videographer to capture their big moment," says Job. "It is a really unique way to both document your engagement and share it with your loved ones. Plus, who wouldn't want a video of the actual proposal moment?"

Creating a Live Soundtrack

Along with decor, photography and videography, 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. Bertamini says she's seen an increase of live violinists this year.

Letters sitting next to engagement ring box on ground
Photo: Julia Davis for Amore Austin

Affordable Personalized Details

Yes, hiring professional vendors can definitely upgrade a proposal, but proposers are also adding special touches without breaking the bank. "Proposers are finding ways to personalize their proposal so it doesn't feel so copy-paste," says Bertamini. "Whether it's decorating the location with photos to displaying letters that the couple has written throughout their relationship, these are easy money-saving ideas that make the moment that much more unique."

Candles

There's nothing more romantic than candlelight, and proposers are getting creative when it comes to using candles to gorgeous effect (think Travis Barker's candlelit beach proposal to Kourtney Kardashian). "Candles are absolutely trending for proposals," says Yolanda Smith of By Love Events & Design in Richmond, Virginia." An abundance of romantic candlelight leading to rose petal covered patios, floral and styled candle displays and installations, are both trend-worthy ideas."

Aside from traditional candles, sand candles are also expected to be a 2024 proposal trend. "These are very luxurious candles that create a warm glow but also look beautiful alone," says Velazquez.

Of course, safety always comes first, so be sure to be extra careful when utilizing candles, extinguishing them as soon as the question has been popped, and making sure that you're following any rules about open flames at your proposal location. Flameless LED candles provide a safer alternative, and are no less romantic than using the real things.

couple proposing in front of neon will you marry me sign
Photo: Riley Glenn for Amore Austin

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 2024, 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. Cold sparklers, which provide a flameless and heatless display of sparks, are also a rising proposal trend. "Since in-air fireworks are very expensive and restricted in many areas, many people are going for cold sparklers instead because they don't use real flames and they're much more affordable," says Velazquez.

Setting the Date Before Popping the Question

Couples are no longer following the old order of operations—first comes the proposal, then the wedding planning can begin. Nowadays, more and more couples are starting the planning process, specifically setting a date and booking a venue, before the question is popped—and we're absolutely here for it. "People are having more open conversations these days," Bertamini says. "If you know the engagement is happening and you have an idea of where and when you want to get married, why wait?" Of course, it's essential to make sure both parties are on the same page and you have a budget in place before starting to make any wedding-related decisions.

woman's hand holding up engagement ring with marry me marquee sign in background
Photo: Riley Glenn for Amore Austin

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. Nearly four in five of those being proposed to have had some type of involvement in selecting and/or purchasing the engagement ring, a 12% increase since 2015. Plus, 80% 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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