photos by Conie Suarez Bravo
So, you’ve decided to pop the big question. Congratulations! Now the next big decision is: how should you do it? The perfect proposal should be a sentimental and sweet surprise, which will look a little different for each couple. We do have a few pro tips for planning the perfect proposal and we always recommend that you should hire a professional to photograph your proposal. But, if you’re looking for actual ideas inspired by real couples who have pulled off the ultimate romantic surprise, here are 15 super sweet wedding proposal ideas to get those creative juices flowing!
photo by Myrtle and Moss Photography
For the Holidays
1. Set up a night in the fall to carve pumpkins together. Tell your partner that you want the designs to remain a surprise until they are finished, and then get to work either carving “Will You Marry Me” into the pumpkin or a design with a hole large enough to place the ring (still inside the box!) inside the pumpkin. When you’re both finished, offer to go reveal your masterpiece last!
2. On Christmas Eve, strategically place the wrapped ring box under the tree, hidden away from view so it will be the last gift your partner finds. On Christmas morning, open gifts as usual and wait for them to find the gift. After they’ve unwrapped it — and just before they open the box — get down on one knee and pop the question! (If you don’t celebrate Christmas, this could easily be adapted to fit any gift-giving holiday you celebrate.)
3. There aren’t many better ways to close out one year and ring in another than with a wedding proposal, which is why proposing at midnight on NYE will never go out of style! Whether you’re celebrating with friends, having the time of your life at a city-wide event, or cuddled up on the couch watching the ball drop, be sure to have the ring ready when that countdown starts. Before you exchange that lucky kiss, ask your partner to marry you just as the clock strikes midnight!
photo by Relic Photographic
At a Sentimental Location
4. As you get ready to start the beginning of your forever, it’s important to look back at where you came from. So, for a truly sentimental proposal, take your partner back to either the place you first met or the place you had your first date. If you can add a special little touch, like a bouquet of flowers, that would be nice, but totally not necessary. Simply the act of being in the place where it all began is enough to make it truly romantic!
5. Home is where the heart is, so setting up a proposal at home could be the ultimate romantic gesture for your sweetheart! Print photos of your dating journey, glue them to pieces of string, and hang them in a room for your partner to find at the end of the day. Make the last photo they see a photo of the unopened ring box and, just as they are about to ask what that photo is, get down on one knee and reveal the opened box! If words are more your style, write short love letters or memories on sticky notes, place them strategically throughout the house in a pattern your partner can follow. Have the last sticky note they find say, “Will You Marry Me?”
6. If you and your partner have already started dreaming about the perfect location or venue for your wedding, give them the ultimate surprise by popping the question at the same place you will say, “I do!” If it’s an outdoor location, plan a picnic or simply suggest you go visit just so you can dream about your future wedding. If it’s a venue, schedule a tour and let them know your plan of proposing while on tour.
photo by Peyton Rainey Photography
For the Adventurous Spirits
7. If your sweetheart loves big, romantic gestures, we’ve got the ultimate one: a surprise trip! Depending on your budget, this could be a weekend getaway or a week-long vacation. For a weekend getaway, book a plane ticket or plan to set off on a road trip on Friday after work or early Saturday morning. Tell your partner to back a weekend bag, but give no information other than the weather forecast. For a week-long vacation, call your partner’s work and request the week off (without them knowing), pack their bag, and either be waiting for them in the parking lot on Monday morning when they arrive at work. Instead of heading inside, you’ll be heading straight to the airport for the best surprise ever!
8. Another big, romantic — and totally unique — gesture is to plan a photo shoot that turns into a surprise proposal! Wedding photographers that do styled wedding inspiration shoots are always looking for models, so you could reach out to one to volunteer your modeling services in exchange for the perfect proposal set up. You’ll both be dressed up, the scene will be set, and every moment will be documented — what could be better? If you need a little inspiration, take a look at this Alaskan styled shoot turned surprise proposal!
9. Adventure can come in any form or fashion, and if smaller romantic gestures are more your style, then a romantic hike would be a super sweet option! Plan to hike to a beautiful look-out point and time it so you arrive just before sunset. When the sky begins to transform into a colorful masterpiece, that’s your moment to pour your heart out and take out the ring you’ve been hiding!
photo by Kristen Marie Parker
With an Activity
10. Set up a romantic scavenger hunt that takes your partner to some of your favorite places around town using clues and riddles that eventually lead them to you. Choose places that have significance to your relationship or to your partner’s favorite things, such as the place you had your first kiss or their favorite coffee shop. Coordinate with shop owners or friends to hand them the clues when they arrive, and make sure to include a cute little gift or token at each stop. The final clue should lead to where you are, waiting with the ring and a final riddle that pops the big question!
11. Do you love to do puzzles together? Etsy has lots of shops that create custom puzzles, which you could use to pop the question! Use a photo of you two, a photo of the ring, or a photo of you holding a sign that reads, “Will You Marry Me?”. Then spend a Saturday snuggled up, listening to your favorite music, putting it together. If a sign is included in the puzzle, try to hide those pieces until the very end, and then let your partner put them together for the ultimate surprise. Just be sure to have the ring ready for when they realize what’s happening!
12. If you or your partner are a musician, there really would be no sweeter way to propose than with a love song! This could be a song that’s already been written or, even better, one you write yourself. Grab your instrument of choice (or have a friend accompany you), and pour your heart out. If you decide to use a love song you both know, ask them to join you.
photo by Myrtle and Moss Photography
Including Family & Friends
13. For some couples, an engagement that involves family and friends is a must. So, ask a friend or family member to set up a picnic in a park and then have the group hide somewhere nearby. Plan a long, leisurely walk that ends at the picnic location. After you’ve enjoyed a bit of your picnic, raise a toast to your partner and pop the question. After they say, “Yes!” all your friends and family can come out and congratulate you immediately! You could even ask one of them to record the whole thing so you can relive the surprise forever!
14. Just like weddings that include animals, proposals that include furry friends are just too sweet for words! When you’re both at home, excuse yourself to a different room and bring your dog (or well-trained cat) with you. Secure the ring box to their collar and send them into the other room to find your partner. If you’re confident that your pet can immediately go deliver the ring, wait just out of sight until your partner finds the hidden treasure. If your pet isn’t quite so focused, pick them up and place them on your partner’s lap for a cuddle session that ends in the sweetest surprise!
15. If you know your partner would want to share the good news immediately with everyone you two love, plan an engagement party that takes place the same day! This takes some extra planning, but the epic look of surprise on your partner’s face will be worth it! Invite all your nearest and dearest and then ask your friends to set up the party while you’re out popping the question. This is the perfect option for couples who want the actual proposal to be private but want to celebrate immediately after! (Just be sure to give your partner a reason to dress up a bit so they’re party-ready!)
Once the deal is sealed, don’t forget to schedule an engagement session to mark this special time of your relationship! We’ve got all the inspiration and ideas you need right here: