When you've found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, it's time to start thinking about how you're going to propose. There are so many ways to pop the question, and it can be tough to decide what's right for you and your relationship. But don't worry, we've got you covered.
In this guide, we'll explore things you need to consider before proposing. We'll also share some fun and unique engagement proposal ideas – from the traditional to the creative. And finally, we'll also look at practical matters like how to choose the right ring, how to document the occasion and how to announce your engagement to the world.
Planning an engagement might be stressful, but it will be worth it in the end. Provided you have given it some serious thought, you are sure to land on a proposal plan that your partner will love.
So what are you waiting for? Let's get started!
What to consider before proposing
Making the decision to take your relationship to the next level is not one to be taken lightly. So, think carefully before you start shopping for rings and picking the perfect location. Here are just some of the things you should consider when planning the perfect engagement.
- First things first: are you confident your partner will say yes? A proposal shouldn't be used to fix problems in a relationship – unless the problem is that your partner really wants to get engaged. Before you move forward, make sure you're confident that your partner is ready to take this next step.
- While you might be feeling pretty confident that your feelings are reciprocated, there's still a chance they could say no in the heat of the moment. They might want more time to think about it, or they might feel unprepared for the question. If this sounds likely, you might want to choose a private proposal instead of risking public rejection.
- Think about whether your partner would want a public or private proposal. Some people are very self-conscious and wouldn't want to draw attention to themselves, while others will want to share the moment with as many people as possible. You know your partner best, so follow your instincts.
- Has your partner expressed any desire for their proposal to go a certain way? If they've been dropping hints about wanting a specific type of proposal (like a flash mob or skydiving), take them seriously! A great proposal is one that's personal to you both as a couple, so try to incorporate your partner's wishes into your plans.
- Involve outside people with caution. The more people who know about the plans, the more risk there is that your surprise could be ruined. While people might not intentionally spill the beans, their conversation could be overheard by your partner, or they could let slip to the wrong person. Think very carefully before involving outsiders.
- How will you hide the ring? We've all seen the videos of individuals dropping the ring in a lake right before they propose. Don't make yourself into a viral video, and think about how you will keep the ring secure and hidden in the run-up to the proposal.
Now that we've considered the basics, it's time to think about how you will pop the question.
The Traditional Proposal
If you're a traditionalist, there are plenty of ways to propose that will feel classic and timeless. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Get down on one knee in a romantic setting. This could be during a sunset hike, at your favourite restaurant or in your own backyard. Wherever you decide to do it, make sure you have a plan B in case things don't go to plan. If something ruins the mood, abort and try proposing another time.
- Write a heartfelt letter expressing your love and what you hope for in the future. You could even include a photo of the two of you together. If you're feeling really creative, you could make a video instead. When they've finished reading the letter, you should be nearby, ready to pop the question.
- Hide the ring in a special place and leave clues for your partner to find it. This could be around the house, on a nature walk or even hidden in their food. Just make sure they don't bite into the ring by accident.
- Take your partner on a scavenger hunt that leads them to you, waiting with the ring. This is a great way to involve friends and family in the proposal if you want to keep things low-key.
- Propose in front of all your friends and family. This is a big gesture, but it's sure to make a lasting impression. Just be prepared for things to get a little hectic afterwards.
- Plan a big holiday and surprise your partner with a proposal at the airport or on the plane. This is a great way to add some excitement to the proposal, and it's sure to take them by surprise. It's usually best to propose at the start of the holiday so that you don't have to spend the whole trip worried and concerned about the outcome.
- Hire a skywriter to write out your proposal in the sky. This is a grand gesture that's sure to make an impact. Just be sure to check with your local authorities first to make sure it's allowed in your area.
- Propose during a halftime show at a sporting event. This is a great way to involve your partner's favourite team in the proposal. And if you're lucky, you might just capture the attention of the cameras to make your proposal even more special. If you'd like to propose on the field, you'll need to get the management involved.
- Sneak the ring into your partner's pocket or purse and take them out for a night on the town. When they reach for their wallet or phone, they'll be surprised by the ring. Just make sure you have a backup plan to encourage them to reach into their bag. And don't let them misplace it!
- Put the ring in a box of chocolates and give it to your partner as a gift. This is a classic way to propose, and it's sure to put a smile on their face. Just make sure they don't suspect that you're up to something.
The special occasion proposal
There are plenty of opportunities to propose on special occasions throughout the year. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Christmas proposal: There's something extra magical about proposing at Christmas time. You could hide the ring in a stocking, under the tree or in an advent calendar. Alternatively, you could give your partner a present with a note attached that says, "will you marry me?"
- Birthday proposal: What better way to celebrate your partner's birthday than with a proposal? You could hide the ring in their cake, write it on a card or even put it inside a balloon. Proposing on their birthday is a great way to combine celebrations and make a big deal out of milestone birthdays such as 21, 30, 40 or 50.
- Valentine's Day proposal: Valentine's Day is a risky day to propose because some people find it cheesy or even lazy. But if you are confident your partner will view this as a romantic gesture, then go for it! You could cook dinner together and hide the ring in the desert, or take them on a romantic outing and propose at the end of the night. Just make sure you don't propose during a busy restaurant dinner as this could ruin the moment.
- New Year's Eve proposal: What better way to start off the new year than with a marriage proposal? You could put the ring in a champagne flute, write it on a banner or even drop it while counting down to midnight. Just make sure you're prepared for a big celebration afterwards.
- Anniversary proposal: Anniversaries are a great time to reflect on your relationship and all that you've accomplished together. They're also a great time to propose. You could plan a special anniversary outing and propose at the end of the night, or hide the ring in a gift that you give to your partner. Just make sure you've got the right date, as getting this essential detail wrong isn't the ideal way to start your proposal.
- Mother's Day proposal: If you're looking for a unique way to propose, then why not do it on Mother's Day? You could hide the ring in a bouquet of flowers, write it on a card or even put it inside a box of chocolates. This is a great option if you have kids together but aren't married yet.
- Father's Day proposal: Asking for your partner's father's blessing before you propose is a tradition for many couples. If your partner is close to her father, you could propose during a father's day celebration to help make the occasion even more special. You could also hide the ring in a gift or write it on a card.
- Halloween proposal: Halloween is all about fun and creativity, so why not use that to your advantage when proposing? You could hide the ring in a pumpkin, carve the message into a pumpkin, or hide it in the sweets. Halloween is a great choice for creative and playful couples because you'll likely already be doing something fun on the occasion.
- Easter proposal: If you're planning to propose around Easter, then you could hide the ring in an Easter egg, write it on an Easter egg or even put it in your partner's chocolate bunny. This is a great choice for couples who have kids together as it's likely that they'll be celebrating Easter anyway.
- New Year's Day proposal: New Year's Day is all about starting afresh and setting resolutions for the year ahead. It's also a great time to propose. It's a popular tradition to go for a walk with the family on New Year's Day, so this would be the ideal time to pop the question.
The holiday proposal
Proposing while you're away on holiday is an incredible choice for adventurous couples. If you decide to go for this option, make sure you have a solid plan in place so that everything goes smoothly. The last thing you want is for your proposal to be a disaster!
There are a few things to keep in mind if you're planning on proposing while you're on holiday. First, choose a location that has meaning for both of you. It could be somewhere you went on your first date or perhaps a place that's significant to your relationship.
Once you've selected the perfect location, it's time to start planning the details of your proposal. You'll need to book a room at a nice hotel and then figure out how you're going to pop the question. Here are a few creative ideas to help get you started.
- Propose on the beach: If you're planning a beach holiday, why not make the most of it and propose on the sand? This is a romantic way to pop the question, and it's sure to make for some beautiful photos. To pull off a beach proposal, you'll need to pick the right spot. Choose a quiet section of the beach where you won't be interrupted. You might also want to consider doing it at sunrise or sunset for an even more romantic setting.
- Write it in the sand: Another great idea for a beach proposal is to write your proposal in the sand. This is a fun and unique way to ask your partner to marry you, and it's sure to make for some memorable photos. You'll need to slip away earlier in the day to write your message, or you could ask someone else to write it for you before you arrive. Then, lead your partner down to the beach and wait for them to notice the message. When they turn around, you'll be ready with the ring.
- Propose at a restaurant: If you're planning to propose while you're on holiday, why not do it at a nice restaurant? This is a classic and romantic way to pop the question, and it's sure to make for an unforgettable experience. When choosing a restaurant, make sure you find one with the right ambience. And be prepared for the staff to make a big fuss once you've popped the questions.
- Go for a hike: If you and your partner love spending time outdoors, why not propose while on a hike? This is a unique way to ask your partner to marry you, and it's sure to be a memorable experience. Pick a spot with a stunning view, and then pop the question when you get there. Just be prepared for some sweaty photos!
- Propose at your hotel room: If you want something private and intimate, proposing in your hotel room is a great option. You can decorate the room with candles, flowers and champagne to make it extra special. Just be sure to check with the hotel staff beforehand so that they don't interrupt you during the proposal. If you can find a room with a balcony and a stunning view, this will be even better.
- Propose on a boat: If you're planning a holiday with a difference, why not propose on a boat? This is a unique and romantic way to pop the question, and it's sure to make for an unforgettable experience. You can charter a yacht or go on a sunset cruise; just be sure to pick the right spot to pop the question. Don't forget to pack the champagne to celebrate.
- Propose at an amusement park: If you're looking for a fun and unique way to propose, why not do it at an amusement park? This is sure to be a memorable experience for both of you, and it's bound to get your adrenaline pumping. You could ask the question while on a ride or choose a picturesque spot in the theme park to ask. If you're at a location such as Disneyland, you might need permission to pop the question in certain areas.
- Propose on the plane: If you're both fans of travelling, don't wait until you arrive at your destination to pop the question. Start your holiday on the right note by asking for your partner's hand in marriage on the flight. And if you really want to surprise someone who was expecting a proposal for the entire trip, why not keep them guessing by proposing on the flight home? This is a great way to keep the holiday vibes flowing.
- Propose at a museum: If you're both culture vultures, why not propose at a museum? This is a unique and romantic way to ask your partner to marry you, and it's sure to make for an unforgettable experience. Whether you choose to pop the question in front of a famous painting or sculpture or in one of the quieter halls, this is sure to be a proposal they'll always remember.
- Take a hot air balloon ride: If your partner has always wanted to see the world from above, a hot air balloon ride is the perfect way to propose. This is an unforgettable experience, and it's sure to be a memorable proposal. You can either pop the question while you're up in the air or wait until you land to ask. Just be sure to have the ring ready so you can slip it on their finger when they say yes.
The big event proposal
If your partner doesn't mind the attention, you could score some serious points by popping the question at a big event. This could be anything from a football game to a concert; just make sure it's something they'll really enjoy. If you can manage to get on the pitch or the stage, this will make for an even more memorable proposal. But don't forget, with this kind of proposal comes the possibility of public rejection, so be prepared for that too.
- Propose at a wedding: You never want to upstage a friend or family member's big day, but proposing at a wedding can actually be very romantic when timed well. Make sure you get the couple's permission before doing this and get them involved if you can. A great way to propose at a wedding is to have the bride hand their bouquet to your partner rather than throwing it into the crowd. They'll be confused for a moment until they see you down on one knee, and then it will all become clear.
- Propose at a sports game: This is a great option for couples who are sports fans. If you can get tickets to a big match, this will make for a very memorable proposal. You could either propose before the game starts, during halftime or even on the pitch if you're brave enough. Just be sure to get permission beforehand, or you won't have much of a chance of getting on the pitch otherwise.
- Propose at a music festival: Music festivals are all about having fun and enjoying the moment, so what better place to propose? If you can get backstage passes, this will make for an even more special experience. Just be sure to pick the right moment when your partner is in a good mood. If you're tired, sweaty and covered in mud, this might not be the best time to ask.
- Propose at a film premiere: If you or your partner are big film fans, this is a great way to propose. You could either buy tickets to the premiere of a much-anticipated movie or try to get passes to an exclusive after-party. Either way, this is sure to be a proposal they'll never forget.
- Propose on stage: This is a great option if your partner is a fan of live music. You could go to see their favourite band or singer in concert, and then propose on stage during the encore. You'll need to get in touch with the artist's management beforehand to make arrangements, and you might also have to stick to a pretty tight schedule to make sure you don't interrupt the show too much.
The simple proposal
If you enjoy the simple things in life, don't be afraid to make your proposal low-key to match. Romance isn't always about sky writing and grand gestures. Some of the best proposal stories have happened during everyday moments.
- Go back to where it all started: The location of your first date, the office block you both worked in, or even the dog park where you first locked eyes. Finding an excuse to return to where it all started will give you a chance to reminisce about how far you've come before popping the question. This is the ultimate in romance and a reminder to your partner that your story matters to you.
- Get personal: A proposal should be unique to you as a couple. It should reflect your personality, interests and relationship story. One of the best ways to do this is to incorporate things that are special and significant to you into your proposal. This could be a song, poem, inside joke or even your pets. The key to the personal proposal is to think about what matters to you as a couple.
- Put it in writing: Sometimes, the best way to say what you're feeling is to write it down. A handwritten letter or note is a beautiful way to express your love and can be kept forever as a cherished memento. You could even hide the note in a special place for your partner to find.
- Propose while stargazing: Keep an eye out for meteorological events like meteor showers and be ready to plan a night of stargazing. After you've seen your first shooting star, tell your partner to make a wish and then be ready to pop the question.
- Take them ring shopping: If you aren't sure what type of ring they are looking for, take them ring shopping and let them pick out the style they like best. This is a great way to ensure you are getting them a ring they will love and cherish forever. They might think you're just fooling around and getting ideas for the future, so they won't suspect when you pay for the ring and ask for their hand.
- Get your pets involved: Cats, dogs and even birds can be the ideal accomplices when you pop the question. Try tying the ring to a ribbon on your dog's collar and hang a sign around their neck that says, "will you marry my other human?" Then all you need to do is ask your partner to call the pet into the room, and the hard work is done for you.
- Propose at a family gathering: Some people want to have their family around during these momentous occasions, so don't leave them out of the engagement. If you're planning to get engaged soon, let your family know in advance so they can be there when you pop the question. This is a great way to involve everyone in the special moment and make it even more memorable.
- Host your engagement party. Plan a party for all of your friends and family under the guise of another event, and then pop the question. This works great if everyone but your partner knows that you're going to propose, but you could also keep it quiet from everyone.
These are just a few ideas to get you started, but there are endless possibilities when it comes too proposing. Just remember to be creative, thoughtful and romantic, and your partner is sure to say yes.
How to choose the right ring
You can't propose without a ring, but how on earth do you go about choosing the right one? While some people will have a very specific idea about what kind of engagement ring they want, others will be more open to your choices. Knowing your partner is the first step in choosing the perfect ring. Here are a few things to consider when choosing your partner's ring:
- If your partner is the traditional type, they might want a simple solitaire diamond ring.
- If they're more unconventional, they might prefer something with coloured gemstones or a unique design.
- It's also worth considering their lifestyle when choosing a ring. If they travel a lot or work with their hands, a delicate ring might not be the best option.
- If you have a family ring that you'd like to use, consider updating the setting or just using the stones from the ring to create something new and unique to you.
- You're going to need to find their ring size. If you take the size from an existing ring, make sure that it's one they actually wear. You don't want to choose the size based on a ring they don't wear because it's too large or too small.
- The best way to get their ring size is to go to a jeweller and have them measure it for you.
- You can always choose a placeholder ring and then let your partner choose their dream ring at a later date. It's also possible to upgrade at a later date when you have a bigger budget.
The next step is to set a budget. Engagement rings can be very expensive, so it's important to have an idea of how much you're willing to spend before you start shopping around. Once you know how much you can afford to spend, you can start looking at different styles of rings within your price range.
There is no right or wrong amount to spend on an engagement ring. Think about what you can afford, and then consider your partner's expectations and wishes. While some people would be happy with a cheaper ring, others will want to know that you have made a sacrifice to be able to afford it. Others would prefer a cheaper ring so that you have more money to spend on the wedding.
If you're not sure where to start, try speaking to your partner's friends and family. They might have a pretty clear idea of what your partner is looking for. And if all else fails, you can always ask your partner directly. Just be prepared for them to give you a few hints!
Keeping the proposal a secret
Keeping your proposal is the biggest challenge. You might want to ask your partner's family for their blessing, and you might also want to let your own family know that you're thinking about popping the question. But at the end of the day, it's up to you whether or not you want to keep your proposal a secret.
If you're worried about keeping the proposal a secret, here are a few tips:
- Think carefully before revealing your plans to anyone. Keep it on a strictly need-to-know basis so you don't have to worry about someone letting slip. Well-meaning friends might think they are doing your partner a favour by telling them, but this will just ruin the surprise.
- If you absolutely have to tell someone, make sure they understand the importance of keeping it a secret. This person should be someone you can trust implicitly. If you have to tell strangers to help with the engagement plans, remind them that they need to keep quiet. You don't want restaurant staff to let slip that you have something special planned before you've had a chance to get to the ring-laden dessert.
- Be wary about putting anything in writing. Having a secret group on WhatsApp, for example, could lead your partner to be suspicious of your actions. And there's also the risk that they could see a message preview that ruins the surprise.
How to document the occasion
Once you've finally popped the question, it's time to start thinking about how you're going to document the occasion. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so you'll want to make sure you capture it in all its glory.
- If you're not a professional photographer, don't worry – there are plenty of ways to get great photos without spending a fortune.
- Ask a friend or family member to snap some candid shots of you and your partner during the proposal. You could also set up a hidden camera to capture the entire proposal.
- A camera box is another great option. This is a ring box with a camera hidden inside. The camera starts recording as soon as the box opens, allowing you to capture the look on your partner's face when they see the ring.
- You might have a lot of other things on your mind when you pop the question, but make sure you document it for those people who can't be there. Family and friends will appreciate the thought, and your future spouse will also love that they can remember the moment forever.
Announcing your engagement to the world
Your partner has said yes, and you're ready to shout it from the rooftops – congratulations! These are some of the best ways to announce it to the world.
1. Social media
If you're the type of person who loves to share everything on social media, then this is probably the first place you'll want to tell everyone about your engagement. You can post a photo of the two of you with your new engagement ring or write a sweet post about how happy you are. Just be sure to tag your partner so they can see it too! It's important to make sure you tell important people like close family and friends before you post this on social media, as they should be told the news in person.
2. Host an engagement party
If you want to make a big announcement, why not throw an engagement party? This is a great way to celebrate with all your friends and family, and you can even use it as an opportunity to start planning your wedding. Just be sure to send out the invitations in advance so everyone can clear their schedules.
3. A phone call
If you're not big on social media or parties, then you can always just pick up the phone and give your loved ones a call. This is a more personal way to tell people about your engagement, and you'll be able to chat with them about all the details. Just be sure to have your partner by your side so they can share in the excitement too!
4. Send out announcement cards
For something a little more low-key, you could send out cards to announce your engagement. You could arrange an engagement photoshoot to capture some beautiful photos of you both and then use these to spread the word. This is also a good opportunity to make sure you have postal addresses for all of the people you plan to invite to the wedding.
5. Word of mouth
Of course, you don't have to go public with your news if you don't want to – you can always just tell your closest friends and family members first. Once the news has had a chance to sink in with them, you can gradually start telling other people. Some people are more private about their lives and don't want to make a big announcement, and this is fine too.
And there you have it: your complete guide to planning a foolproof proposal, including surefire ways to pop the question and get a resounding YES! Once the hard work of proposing is done, the process of planning the wedding will be much easier in comparison.