So you’re ready to get down on one knee and tie the knot with the love of your life…
Before we get to talking about ways to do it, let me grab my trumpet and set off some confetti cannons…
Because that is amazing! (*Cue explosions and marching band*)
The fact that you’re at a place in your relationship where you’re feeling deeply committed is insanely beautiful.
And if you’re totally certain about being in love with your partner, then that should mean proposing to them should be a piece of cake too, right?
Well, that’s usually not the case.
Proposers often feel immense pressure to think of some never-done-before, totally original, grand display of their undying love.
Naturally, they want the moment to be unforgettable. Maybe even perfect—thinking it has to capture all the intensity of how they feel inside, and show how important the relationship is to them.
And since every major life event these days is flaunted on social media, it’s also common to worry about what others will think.
Is it highlight worthy? Will your partner will be impressed and proud to show off the big moment, and keep telling the story for years or decades to come?
To all that I say: Meh.
To make your proposal as amazing as you want it to be, there’s only one thing that really matters…
Whether you put your heart and soul into the moment.
The mere act of proposing is a deeply profound statement. It already says all the things you want to say. All that extra weight just causes a ton of anxiety, and can leave you feeling like none of your ideas are good enough.
If you’re both truly in love, it won’t matter whether you propose in the laundry room or at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Your commitment, sincerity, and excitement are what do most of the talking.
The bonus magic can come from proposing in a way that involves a passion or special interest you share, or that your partner has.
If you’ve heard stories of unforgettable proposals, or seen viral videos, often they’re so heart-warming because the proposer tailored an experience to suit their unique relationship.
And as you’ll see in my examples below, it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, the more elegant the plan is, often the better it will go, and the more impactful it will be.
When there are fewer moving pieces to control, there’s less that could go wrong. Your anxiety levels will be dramatically reduced, and the moment is more likely to go smoothly.
Not only that, when we’re emotionally overwhelmed, we can only take in so much information. Certain important bits sink in, and much of the rest is forgotten window dressing.
Having a laser-focused proposal will drive the message home in your soon-to-be fiancée’s mind. To them, the extra stuff might just feel “nice.” But it won’t be the main dish.
So, I’d encourage you to think simple.
Rather than waiting on the server to bring champagne at the exact moment your partner bites into their ring-stuffed soufflé, while fireworks are set off in the background, and an elephant walks up to whisk you away to the honeymoon suite at a 5-star hotel.
And meanwhile you’re sweating through your shirt, your mind is racing, and you’re struggling to get words out.
In all of the proposal ideas below, you’ll notice that I stuck to one theme, involving a sweet idea, an important aspect of your relationship, or a quality in your partner.
Feel free to completely steal these ideas, or use them as jumping off points to design your own. Let your imagination play with memorable experiences, venues, and shared hobbies.
A final note: It means nothing about you that you’re considering borrowing a proposal idea from someone else. All it means is that you’re in love, and you want to show it. Besides, there’s basically nothing you could think of that hasn’t been done before. And by opening yourself up to other ideas, you might find some inspiration here you’d never thought of before, that could be the perfect fit.
So, throw the attachment to originality out the window. Just focus on what excites you!
12 Romantic Proposal Ideas For You To Steal
1. The video montage
Compile all the pictures and videos you have of the two of you, and then edit them all into a cute little video of the story of your relationship. For extra detail, you can add bits of your favourite songs as a soundtrack, and put funny captions before or after pictures and videos.
Not everyone tends to pull out their camera on a regular basis, so you may have to start filming and documenting yourselves more. To ward off suspicion, don’t suddenly start doing it 30 times a day. Just here and there. If they ask why you suddenly think you’re Martin Scorsese, you can just say that you realized you don’t have a lot of footage together, and want to have more moments to look back on.
When it’s all edited and ready, show it to them! You can either let a message at the end of the video propose for you (if you’re super shy and don’t want to say it out loud) or have it say, “There’s something I want to ask you…” and then make your move.
As a bonus, if you’re playing the video on your computer, you can include friends and family by secretly having a video call running in the background with everyone watching. Just make sure all their mics are muted, so you don’t spoil the surprise until you want them to know.
2. The voyeur photographer
Hire a friend or photographer to set up in front of a picturesque spot in nature on a certain day and time. When the time comes, take your partner for a nature walk in that area. Once you hit your “mark,” you can propose while the photographer secretly snaps shots from a distance, and you mention nothing of it.
Later on, when you get the photos back, send them to your partner and reveal that it wasn’t just an innocent little nature walk. You actually had a faaar grander and sneakier master plan all along!
3. Make a scrapbook
Make a photo book or scrapbook of your relationship and propose at the end of it. You could add concert ticket stubs, photos of you together, or your favourite places, and anything else sentimental. Leave the last page blank, with a square outline, and a caption like “The day we got engaged…” When they turn to it, you can flash a cheeky smile and say “oh, I forgot there’s one more page to fill…” and smugly take a knee.
4. Get your dog to do it
If you share a dog, or either of you has one, tie the ring to the dog’s collar and call it into the room when you’re ready. If you’ve got a particularly mischievous pooch, and don’t trust it with a ring, attach a handwritten note on the collar that asks the question, or teases at it. Once they find it, you can get down on one knee to produce the ring yourself.
5. Scavenger hunt
With a little thought and planning, you can nail an incredible detective adventure with a scavenger hunt. This concept can be as grand or as simple as your imagination wants to make it. You could go all over the city, or just around your living room. And both are just as beautiful.
For max cute factor, design all the clues and hints to show how much you know them. Use references from inside jokes, family and friends, or past dates. And stash them in creative places, like their favourite record sleeve, or the host stand at your favourite restaurant. Not only will this be a ton of fun, but you earn a stack of bonus points for knowing them so well, and bringing up fond memories along the way. You’re melting their heart in preparation for when you throw the heat on high with your big finish.
6. On a mountaintop
If you’re both the outdoorsy kind, who don’t mind dressing casual and getting a little sweaty, this might be a favourite option. When designing experiences and events, context is everything. The setting you’re in sets the tone, and leaves a huge emotional imprint. What’s more inspiring than an expansive, breathtaking, panoramic view?
There’s always the option to bring a small backpack with a little bottle of bubbly or picnic. You could even have other loved ones waiting at the top to share the moment.
7. Plan a party with your closest friends
Sharing experiences with loved ones is a great way to amplify the excitement. Of course, this depends on knowing yourselves. Some people love surprises, or sharing experiences. Others really don’t like being the centre of attention, or feeling put on the spot, and prefer to have more quiet and intimate celebrations.
But if this route is right for you, it’ll be an unforgettable night that you and your friends will talk about for years to come. And you’ll score huge points with your partner’s friends for involving them in the big day.
It’s up to you whether you want to let everyone in on the big surprise ahead of time. But for the best reaction, and best chance the secret stays a secret, keep the plan to yourself and surprise them all when you make the move.
The plus side of involving other people is that you can outsource a lot of the work by getting help with decorating and setting up the scene. To keep it low profile, but still take some of the pressure off, pick one of your partner’s especially close and trustworthy friends or family members. Tell them the plan and ask for help putting together a party they know will be a huge hit.
You could do it outdoors at a park, or at your apartment or house. The location matters less than the people around you, and the ambience you create.
8. The David Blaine
For a simple and sneaky surprise, plan a little trip or walk somewhere, and slip the ring box in their purse or backpack, in a place they wouldn’t immediately find it. At the moment of choice, ask them to dig into it and pull it out for you (additional option to then levitate or hold your breath for bury yourself alive).
9. The bookworm
If they’re book-lovers, especially the introverted type who enjoys private moments, cut out a hidden compartment in a book to hide the ring in. This whole process takes little more than a few hours, an exacto knife, a ruler, and a glue stick (if you want to bind the pages together and create a solid compartment – but it’s not necessary).
Your partner gets a sweet surprise, and they’re left with a souvenir they can keep forever, and use it as a stash on their shelf to keep little mementos of your relationship.
Buy a duplicate copy of a book they love, or are already reading. Or pick up a new book on a subject you both enjoy. Maybe even on love and relationships itself. And if you really want to go big with this idea, you could buy a travel book on a destination you’ve both been meaning to go, and have taking a trip there be part of the engagement.
If the book is thick enough, you can make a compartment big enough to put the whole ring box inside. If not, you can tie the ring onto a ribbon and have it dangling inside like a bookmark.
Then, however you do the big reveal is up to you. I have a friend who did this and snuck the book onto a shelf in his partner’s favourite bookstore and quickly “stumbled on it” while browsing with them. He handed it to her and said, “Wow, this one looks interesting…” and asked her to flip through it. When she found the ring, and gasped, he grabbed it and finished the job.
10. Hop-scotch & sidewalk chalk
This one is for the kids at heart. With a handful of pocket change, you can create an unforgettably playful proposal with a few pieces of chalk.
The beauty is, you could do this anywhere there’s a paved surface. In your neighbourhood, out front of a restaurant before/after dinner, or even the streets of a foreign country.
Sketch a game of hop-scotch (you know, that childhood game where you hop forward through a series of squares) and at the end of it write “Will You Marry Me?” So when they get to the end, they’re staring at the message. You can go first and be waiting for them at the end, or encourage them to go first and catch up from behind for the moment when they turn around.
Feel free to draw out the moment as long as you like. They could have to walk an entire city block to see the whole message, reading word after word in suspense, until they fully clue in to what you’re doing.
To keep them engaged in reading an entire message, rather than discounting it as someone else’s random scribbling, you may want to have their name be the very first word they see, so they know it’s for them.
If you’re doing this in your home town, and you’ll be busy spending the day together, coordinate with a few friends to sketch it out for you, so it’s all ready to go. Then they can either get lost, or wait around to pop out in surprise and share the moment.
11. The time warp
Can you remember the exact date you were on, or the place and time where you knew your partner was the one, and you were madly in love? If that’s a moment you can recreate, this once is devastatingly romantic.
Make a plan to relive that exact experience. Go to the same café, restaurant, park—wherever you went. Then when you get to that specific place or time where you felt the feels, pop the question.
Start by tying it all in to the experience. “You know, this was the date, and the moment, that I knew I was madly in love. And I was ready to spend the rest of my life with you. I wasn’t prepared then, but I am now…” And then pull out that ring, you suave devil, you.
12. Trivia question
For all those couples who love going to trivia nights and playing games, this move has it all: simplicity, sneak-factor, and leveraging a shared activity to your advantage.
If you go out to trivia nights at bars or other venues, talk to the host ahead of time and secretly plan for them to slip in a bonus question mid-way through the night.
Something like: “Is [your partner’s name] going to say yes?”
Everyone will be looking around in total confusion. Until you say, “Oh, I guess we’ll see…” and propose. Don’t jump in right afterward. Wait a few beats for the question to sink in. Your partner might get a puzzled look on their face. Then you can break the tension and get the answer.
You can also do this at home, or a friend’s house. Either way, you’ll have loved ones cheering all around. No matter which team wins the night, nobody will be able to compete with you!
In all the ideas above, one might have lit you up, or inspired you to go in a completely different direction.
Either way, following your heart is always the best path to take. Whichever plan carries a spark of joy, fun, or playfulness, a beautiful proposal is sure to be the result.
If you end up stealing one of these, or remixing your own, let me know how it goes!
Wishing you a lifetime of love, joy, and growth.
Dedicated to your success,
Ps. If you enjoyed reading this article, you’ll likely also love checking out:
– 50 Powerful Romantic Gestures That Will Make Your Partner Melt