The Big Ask: 19 Great Proposal Ideas From The Simple To The Grandiose!

7 months ago 272

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Love is in the air. Can you feel it? That deeply profound and exhilarating feeling is capable of compelling a person to climb to the highest heights and dive to the lowest depths just for the sake of the one who holds their heart. The best love is reciprocated. The kind of love that raises questions about proposals, weddings, and forever.

Formal Marriage Proposal

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If you're considering a proposal, questions are likely swirling in your mind. What's the best type of proposal, and when should you do it? Is it better to opt for something small and meaningful, or go all out? Can a wedding proposal be private, or should family and friends be involved? There's an abundance of questions, and we understand. To assist in guiding your journey, this post delves into the intricate world of wedding proposals.

Proposal ideas to suit every relationship dynamic

Effort matters most when it comes to a marriage proposal. With that said, there are numerous ways to ask that special lady in your life to marry you. You can opt for a proposal that's low-key and sentimental or something grandiose and unforgettable. Either way, we've got options. Ranging from simple proposal ideas to those that are a bit more daring and fun. Here are some ideas that will prove valuable for your proposal, starting with the simplest:

Simple proposal ideas

Marriage proposals don’t have to be elaborate. Some couples are a bit more private than others, so in this case it would be best to plan something that involves just the two of you. Even with that said, it is still possible to include some friends and family members in your proposal even if you want to keep things small and simple. Use your own personal relationship gauge to determine if your bride-to-be will be comfortable with doing so.

If you want to go the simple route, here are some of our favorite ideas:

1. Go back to the scene of your first date

If you want a nostalgic and intimate proposal, consider going back to the scene of your first date or some other place or venue that's meaningful to you both. This can include the restaurant you went to for your first date, a movie theatre you both love, a concert venue, or anywhere where that special flame was ignited. Any of these locations can help set the mood for the life-changing question you’re about to ask.

Couple Date Night Proposal

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If you’re not able to go back to the place of your first or most meaningful date, then you can try recreating it. Order the same food, go together to see the same band, or just take a romantic walk together somewhere with good memories. Pop the question when the mood is just right! You can also wait until you get back home to propose in a more private setting.

2. Wrap your engagement ring and put it under the Christmas tree

If your proposal is during the holidays then you might be able to incorporate it into your annual gift-giving. Wrap the engagement ring nicely along with your other presents, and place it somewhere underneath the Christmas tree. To keep the whole thing a secret, you might want to place the ring box into a larger box. This will help ward off any suspicions!

Christmas Marriage Proposal

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On Christmas Day, you two can unwrap your gifts together. You’ll be giving your bride-to-be the ring box as the last gift, so ensure it's somewhere in the back or just select it last. Get down on one knee as your special gift is being opened — this will surely be an unexpected surprise. You can include family and friends in this proposal easily if you want to, and it’ll all flow effortlessly along with the Christmas spirit.

3. Create a photo montage of your love story

A photo montage will certainly be appreciated by the one you love, especially if you find just the right moments to include in this. On the day or night of your proposal, you can fill a room in your home with pictures and mementos of your relationship. This can be things from over the years, from the moment you started dating, until now.

Couple Moments Picture Collage

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Candles and rose petals can really up the romance factor of this proposal. Spend some time together looking back on the good times, and once you’re done looking at the various photos and memories, get down on one knee. If you can arrange at that point for her favorite song or a special song you both love to come on, then yours would indeed be in the realm of perfect proposals.

4. Go stargazing

If you want to wow your loved one, it helps to get out in nature. Stargazing is one of the ways you can do this and pour in lots of romance as well. Plan a romantic picnic beneath the stars that includes you and your significant other’s favorite foods, some wine, and snacks. Pack everything up along with a blanket and head to a good stargazing spot. Soak in the good times as you two enjoy every moment of being together.

Couple Camping Proposal

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As you gaze up at the stars, talk about everything… your life together thus far, plans for the future, and your undeniable love. Right at that moment when everything feels aligned, ask the burning question that will forever seal your love.

Unique marriage proposal ideas

When it comes to marriage proposals, there are endless options to choose from, some more unique and spontaneous than others. If you're going for something that will really make an impact and be memorable, then here are a few of the best options:

5. Create a scavenger hunt

A scavenger hunt is one of those playful and romantic proposal ideas that will really stand out. You can get friends or family to help you get the whole thing together, or you can do it yourself. Hide sweet and romantic clues throughout your home for your significant other to find. One thing should lead to another, and you can include clues that lead to photos of you as a couple and helpful hints in the form of trinkets and locations that are meaningful to you.

Couple Scavenger Hunt Proposal

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For something a little more extreme, you can take your scavenger hunt out on the town. If you go with this option, it will be particularly useful to include friends and family who can help lead your partner to various spots. The last clue in the scavenger hunt should lead to the ring box, where you’ll hopefully be waiting down on one knee. The scavenger hunt idea can be modified to suit your specific needs.

6. Design a jigsaw puzzle

Feeling creative? How about designing your own proposal jigsaw puzzle that you and your loved one can figure out together? Your puzzle can include your favorite photo of you and your love together, or even a photo of them solo. Add the words 'Will you marry me?' for the best proposal puzzle effect. You can gift this puzzle to your partner and allow them to complete it themselves, or you can do it together. As the words start coming together, the excitement of the whole occasion will start to kick in. It will be right at that moment that you’ll be able to get down on one knee to make it official!

Couple Puzzle Solving Proposal

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Expert tip: If you'd prefer not to embark on the actual puzzle creation process yourself, you can order a custom puzzle and have it delivered to your home a few days or weeks before you ask. You can choose to pop the question jigsaw puzzle style at a board game cafe, during an all-inclusive resort vacation, or even just on a rainy day at home.


7. Capture the big moment in a photo booth

There’s something special about how a photo booth picture captures so much of the moment, in the moment. To have some super nostalgic photos of your wedding proposal, you can actually plan to propose somewhere special where there is a photo booth. Go on a date at the location of your choice and pull out all the stops to ensure it's a magical evening. When it’s all said and done, invite your lady to take a photo with you in the photo booth. You can pop the question while inside, and that way you can capture the raw emotions of the moment. This is a cool way to get photo keepsakes without the high cost of hiring a photographer, although we do admit photographer quality beats photo booths every time!

Couple Photo Booth Proposal

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8. Ask the question in a fortune cookie

In case you didn’t already know, getting personalized fortune cookies is absolutely a thing. You can use these to help make your proposal a little more exciting and, well, surprising. Arrange to get a personalized fortune cookie made with a note inside with your proposal request. This proposal will work best if you’re looking for a more private way to propose that’s still unique and fun.

Fortune Cookie Proposal

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To get your fortune cookie proposal underway, plan a casual night with your partner during which you can order Chinese takeout. You'll need to make the suggestion that you specifically feel like eating Chinese food for this to work. When your significant other isn't looking, swap the fortune cookie that comes with your meal with your custom-made one that contains your proposal on the inside. Wait until dinner is finished, and then you can hand your partner the fortune cookie for them to open. As they start to open the cookie, get down on one knee with the engagement ring and pop the question!

Beach Proposal Ideas

The beach is a good spot for pretty much anything, and a proposal here won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Even better if this beach is in an exotic location straight off the pages of a magazine. Put beach romance to the test with these exciting beach proposal ideas:

9. Hire a professional photographer for a beach photoshoot

If you want an impressive, memorable proposal, then there’s no better way to do it than with a romantic beach photo shoot. You don't even have to tell your significant other that a proposal has anything to do with the beach photo shoot, just that you want to capture the wonderful moments you’ll be spending together.

Beach Sunset Marriage Proposal

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With this sort of proposal, it will help if the photographer is aware of what is going on, that way they know which moments to look out for as they snap. The photographer will be able to suggest various poses as well which can help you get down quickly on one knee with your significant other being none the wiser. You’ll want to ensure the photographer gets photos that capture the moments just before you propose, during the proposal, and after. These will be photos you’ll cherish for a lifetime!

10. Spell it out in the sand

If you’re looking for a beach proposal idea that’s both simple and romantic, then writing your question out in the sand is definitely it. If you're confident and artsy, you’ll be able to create something eye-catching on your own, otherwise, you might need to request professional help from staff if you’ll be staying at a resort.

Marry Me Written Sand Proposal

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Rather than just writing words in the sand for this proposal, you can jazz things up with rose petals, sea shells, and other beachside items. Do some research ahead of time if you’ll be doing this on your own so you can get ideas on how to put the whole thing together. Once the design is done, you can suggest a romantic walk on the beach to your partner. Stroll together all the way to the location of your special, sandy request.

Expert tip: Want to write something sweet, down in the sand for your proposal? Try this at one of the best romantic island getaways for couples to make your proposal that much more memorable.


11. Bring in professional sand sculptors

A sand sculpture can be a great option for a proposal if you’re going for the surprise factor. You can work with professionals to get an impressive castle structure made, with your proposal inscribed in the castle. Have the words ‘Will you marry me?’ prominently displayed somewhere on or around the castle. It is also possible to design a simple sand structure/castle yourself for this proposal. If you do, be sure to have the design personalized as well, with the name of your partner, the date, and anything else you think will add to the special moment. Friends and family can possibly help with the sand castle building as well!

Sand Sculpture Couple Proposal

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If you really want an attention-grabbing marriage proposal, then an airplane banner can be a great idea. This is one of those proposals that you can easily plan without your significant other getting suspicious, and it comes with an exciting element of surprise as well.

You can organize your wedding proposal banner with a company offering this service and then plan a beach date that takes you to the best spot to view the banner. Some people choose to have the airplane and banner with the words ‘Will you marry me?’ fly by as they’re relaxing beachside, and this can add some real excitement to a beach day. If you go with this option, just make sure your partner is paying attention when it flies by!

Destination proposal ideas

Take your proposal abroad if you really want to create lasting memories. There are lots of romantic and memorable destinations you can choose from where you can try to fit your proposal into some of the best tours and excursions. Here are some of the best destination proposal ideas:

12. Propose underwater

Make some real magic under the sea with an underwater proposal. This is the sort of proposal your significant other will never expect as they're exploring the deep blue sea in an exotic location. Somewhere warm and tropical will be best for this type of proposal, and you can plan to do this during a snorkeling or scuba diving trip.

Scuba Underwater Proposal

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An underwater proposal will take some planning as you'll need to liaise with your dive team to ensure your proposal is done in the safest way possible. If you stay at a resort with free scuba diving like Sandals Resorts, the dive team might also be able to give you some ideas on how to go about this proposal in the best way. Amid the vibrant coral and mesmerizing sea life, you’re almost guaranteed a ‘yes’!

13. Go for a private catamaran cruise at sunset

There’s hardly anything more romantic than taking a private catamaran cruise out at sunset. This is something you can plan with your significant other during your vacation without filling them in on the big surprise. If you want to propose on a catamaran out in the middle of the ocean, you can usually book this tour at a resort if you'll be staying at one.

Sunset Cruise Proposal

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Usually with private catamaran cruise excursions, food and drinks are included. If you're not sure, you can ask the tour operator and even organize to bring in special items, like champagne and desserts. Or, you can just enjoy what's provided, and save the celebrations for once you're back at your resort. Either way, with the ocean backdrop and the sun dipping ever so slowly beneath the horizon, there will be no time more perfect than this to ask the big question.

14. Organize a treasure hunt around your resort

Planning is key for a successful marriage proposal and that's just what you’ll need to do to organize a treasure hunt around your resort. Of course, you’ll first need to choose a resort and a destination in the first place! Go for a destination with great scenery like an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean, which can add to the ambiance of your proposal treasure hunt photos.

Treasure Hunt Proposal

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For your proposal treasure hunt, use clues to guide your significant other closer to the final surprise, which will be the ring box. You can bury the ring box somewhere safe in the sand, just make sure that there’s a marker in the area or even someone who can keep their eyes on the ring. To ensure your proposal goes smoothly, coordinate with resort staff who can help make things especially magical.

If you'd prefer not to bury your ring in the sand (even with supervision), then you can choose to let the final clue lead your lady into a private dinner location that’s well-decorated for the occasion. A garden setting or another cozy spot in the resort that your partner loves will work as well. The options are endless! Once she gets there, it’ll be time to pop the question.

15. Hike to a waterfall and pop the question

For the more adventurous, an outdoor proposal is ideal. With a waterfall in the backdrop and also the possibility of a scenic hike together, you’ll be well on your way to an exciting and surprising proposal. Some waterfalls are more private than others, and these will be the ones that are best for your proposal as crowds are unlikely at these locations.

Waterfall Couple Proposal

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The Caribbean has a number of pristine waterfalls where you can hike as well. These can be the ideal proposal settings, and you can even organize to have a professional photographer there to capture the big moment. Let your hike together on tropical shores lead the way to the amazing proposal that will set things in motion for your happily ever after.

16. Room service proposal

A room service proposal is a private way to ask the one you love for their hand in marriage. This is perfect for the woman who appreciates low-key, romantic gestures with luxury incorporated as well. To do this, all you’ll need to do is plan a restful night with your significant other, just to ‘spend some time together’.

Room Service Hotel Proposal

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Your partner doesn't even need to know what you’re planning, you can simply coordinate with the resort beforehand to have your ring included in your order. Your meal can be delivered with a special note with the words, ‘Will you marry me?’. Don’t forget to order champagne and desserts as well for bonus points.

Grand gesture proposal ideas

Does your significant other like grand gestures and being in the spotlight? If so, then you should definitely consider a grand gesture proposal. This type of proposal is often public and grandiose, and it’ll be something neither of you will be able to stop talking about anytime soon. Here are some of the best ideas in this category:

17. Hire a skywriter

Look up into the sky, it's a bird… it’s a plane… it's your proposal! A little corny, perhaps, but this proposal won't be. Your significant other will hardly expect to see your proposal written in the sky and the type of effort and cost required to organize this whole thing likely won't go unnoticed. To make this proposal work, you can plan a date somewhere that'll perfectly position you to take in the sights. This proposal will not only wow your significant other, but anyone else around who witnesses it. To create a celebratory atmosphere, perhaps you can invite some friends and family members to your special outing as well.

Skywriter Marry Me Proposal Plane

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18. Go up in a hot-air balloon

Want a memorable proposal story? Plan a romantic hot-air balloon ride! This proposal will be pure exhilaration for you both as you soar in the skies to surprise your partner with the best engagement ever! Whimsical and romantic, your partner will likely already be over-the-moon for the experience, and they’ll be ever more enthused once you pop the big question mid-air.

Hot Air Balloon Proposal

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There are quite a few locations that offer hot air balloon experiences, you’ll just have to search around for a place near you. You can also opt to skip off somewhere special where you can vacation together and also have a hot air balloon experience that will end with a proposal. Some of the beautiful and couple-friendly destinations where you can plan this include The Bahamas, San Diego, Park City, Tuscany, and Punta Cana.

19. Enlist the help of a flash mob

If you don't mind being the center of attention and know that your bride won't either, then you can consider a flash mob proposal. This type of proposal takes quite a bit of planning as you’ll need to work with a local flash mob or group of dancers to pull the whole thing off. One thing about flash mob proposals is that they are guaranteed to get attention, and even possibly go viral depending on how the whole thing plays out.

Flash Mob Proposal

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To plan a flash mob proposal, you can organize with the flash mob to dance to a song both you and your partner like, or just one that you know is their favorite. Proposal flash mobs are even more exciting and unexpected when the man doing the asking jumps in and starts dancing too. Get on your knee at just the right moment as the flash mob proposes the big question in unison, either by shouting it out, with intricate signs, or both!

Expert tip: If you go for a flash mob proposal, it can be fun to pull your significant other into the mix for a quick dance as the flash mob's performance comes to an end. You’ll have great photos of the whole experience as well.


Wedding proposal ideas FAQs

What should you say in a proposal?

What you'll say in a proposal is something that will be entirely unique to you and your situation. While there are a few keywords that’ll usually stay the same, like 'Will you marry me?’, there's a lot more you can say when you propose to that special person that you want to spend the rest of your life with. Here are some useful pointers that can come in handy for your proposal:

Don’t use a template - Be natural. Say what’s on your mind in your own words, not what you think you’re expected to say. It's your marriage proposal, not a movie script. Talk about your experiences together as a couple and how much your love has grown over the years.

Read the room - Proposing or receiving a proposal can be equally as nerve-wracking. Pay attention to your partner’s emotions as the whole thing plays out. Yes, you want to get your message across and get an answer, but you also want to pay attention to whether or not your partner is nervous or overwhelmed so that you can slow down and reassure them.

Don’t be afraid to get emotional - If there were ever a moment to wear your heart on your sleeve, this would be it. Your proposal is your 'now or never’ moment, so get all the way into it.

Talk about your future - As much as you can mention some of the things that you two have overcome over the years and how your love has grown, don’t forget to speak to the future as well. Talk about your hopes and dreams together, and how there is no other person that would fit as perfectly into your life as your partner.

Go with your gut - When it comes to proposal planning, ideas will come from all sides regarding what you should say. Don’t overthink it. Just do what feels right and get those heartfelt words across to the love of your life.

If you really want to make sure you say all the right things in your proposal, plan and prepare in advance. Even the most prolific speakers can get caught up in their own emotions on the day, so sometimes it helps to write things down just in case. Practicing your proposal by reading aloud from a piece of paper, or even your phone, can help seal it into your memory banks. If you find that you don't remember every single thing you’ve written down on the day, speak from your heart.

How do you propose in a unique way?

There are so many unique, fun, and romantic ways to propose. Selecting the best one will really depend on what feels right for you and your union. Choose an idea or theme that is memorable for both you and your bride-to-be, and try to make it as authentic as possible. You can choose from ideas that are artsy and romantic to undertakings that are more spontaneous and fun.

Knee Beach Proposal Ring

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If you’re looking for unique marriage proposal ideas, you'll need to get creative. Even once you have a starting point, you may need to use your own creativity to tweak things to suit your situation. Some people use their pets, plan a scavenger hunt, take a trip, or even organize a flash mob to pop the big question. Sometimes friends or family can be included to help pull the whole thing off, but it all depends on the idea you’re going with and what is required. Overall, the key to a successful proposal really is just making sure that it's something that'll be memorable for you!

For maximum impact with minimum stress, Sandals Resorts has you covered! A range of exclusive proposal packages tailored for various preferences and experiences are available, ensuring a magical and personalized engagement experience at Sandals. Each package shares common inclusions such as a picturesque location, engagement concierge services, a proposal photoshoot, and a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate the occasion.

Which knee do you propose on?

Traditionally, the left knee is the one you should get on when proposing. There’s a lot behind the whole history of proposing on one knee as well. This is a tradition that dates back to medieval times. Knights would get on one knee to show respect to royalty. Proposing on a bent knee is a sign of respect and also shows loyalty.

One Knee Beach Proposal Ring

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Over the years, the act of proposing down on one knee has continued with men, and sometimes even women, getting down on one knee to pop the question. Once the person making the proposal is down on one knee, then they'd likely hold the ring with their left hand, and open the box with their right hand. So, there’s a method to the act of proposing and knowing this could help your proposal go that much more smoothly.

Do you put the ring on her finger when you propose?

The ideal scenario is that you wait until you have an affirmative answer once you've made a proposal, and then place the ring on the finger of your bride-to-be. Ahead of your proposal you and your soon-to-be bride should have already discussed ring sizes and possibly even styles she likes, so the ring should go on smoothly marking the end of your proposal.

Proposal Ring Beach

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Crafting everlasting memories with the perfect proposal ideas

There you have it, some of the best proposal ideas around. If you’ve found something you love or you’re not quite sure, keep in mind that these unique proposal ideas are intended to spark your creativity. You can make any of these proposals your own by simply customizing it to suit you, or taking particular elements of one proposal idea to add to another. Whatever the case, you’ll be well on your way to a picture-perfect engagement.

Sunset Couple Proposal Fall

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Speaking of picture-perfect, Sandals Resorts are located on some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean. These include Antigua, Barbados, The Bahamas, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, and Grenada. Any of these islands can be the backdrop of your proposal story. Sandals Resorts are adults-only and have packages created just for couples in love. At Sandals, you’ll be able to get help with planning your proposal and other special couples dates including candlelight dinners, spa experiences, and more. Whatever direction you want to take your surprise proposal, Sandals engagements will be there to help!

Expert tip: There are lots of exciting ways to ask a lady for her hand in marriage including letting your proposal play out at a luxurious Sandals all-inclusive resort. While you’re at it, you can find out more about the Sandals Institute of Romance, which is all about modern romance, relationships, and intimacy.


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