Romantic ways to propose are usually pretty steeped in tradition. Let’s face it, if she’s been dreaming about this day since she was a little girl, there’s probably a hit of traditionalism and some serious romance imbedded within her personality. Take advantage of that and parlay it into some fantastic romantic ways to propose!
It doesn’t have to be supremely creative to make her swoon. Sometimes there’s a reason why the tried and true is the tried and true!
In a Canoe
Being near the water can make for exceptionally romantic ways to propose. Why not take her on a canoe ride at sunset? Row to the middle of the lake (streams might be a bit tougher to navigate) and, just as the sun is about to set, reveal the ring and tell her that you would like to watch every sunset with her for the rest of your lives. Then paddle your butt back to shore before it gets too dark to see!
Riverboat at Night
There’s just something about being on the water at night that makes your average excursion seem much more romantic. If you can afford to rent the entire riverboat—great! However, you could just propose in a private corner on deck with nothing but the water beneath you and the stars above. This is especially romantic if you are on the River Thames in London!
Fountain at Night
Nothing says romance like sitting near a fountain at night. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Italy or Nebraska, it’s a romantic setting for the perfect proposal. It’s traditional, personal and picture-perfect. And not to mention, easy on the pocket.
This is one of the top romantic ways to propose if you include a coin toss to make a wish. You can always toss in your coin and, when she asked what you wished for, get down on one knee and say you wished she’d say yes to being your wife!
Long Distance Love
If you and your love are going at it long distance, pop up as a surprise with a ring in hand. You will have to be super organized to do this one. Visit each mail carrier (UPS, USPS, FedEx) and give them the charge of delivering a box to your girlfriend. Each box should be a gift of some sort. Make sure that you choose the delivery type that will request her signature so that each time one of them visits, they rang the doorbell.When the last package is delivered, go to the door yourself. Ring her doorbell. You’re her last gift. When she opens the door, kneel down and pop the question.
A city skyline in the middle of the night, now that’s what romance is made of. It might sound cliché but a romantic dinner on the rooftop is still a tear-inducing favorite. If you don’t want to go for the full-blown dinner, you can always have champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries waiting instead.
Illuminate the Night
Light a path to a romantic setting where you plan to propose using flameless candles in paper bags. Not only is it romantic, but it’s environmentally friendly and a safe way to lead your love to your arms. You can couple this idea with many others including the fountain proposal plan mentioned earlier.
Decorate her car
It might be a little cheesy, but nothing says I love you and I want to spend my life with you like a car decorated in gaudy letters and hearts. Take your arts and crafts skills to the next level and propose in front of your handiwork.
Glow in the Dark Footprints
Using any glow in the dark material, place a trail that leads from your girlfriend’s backdoor to a romantic spot in her backyard that you decorated just for the occasion. Once she finds you, tell her that she followed the footsteps to your heart.
Your Limo Awaits
Arrange to meet her for lunch. Instead of showing up personally, send a limo for her. Have the driver take her to a predetermined location where you’re waiting. Wear a suit and invite her friends and family to witness the proposal.
Plan a special dinner cruise with your girlfriend. Many ports offer evening cruises that simply circle for hours until arriving back at the port. After dinner, drinks and dancing, propose to her. These kinds of cruises are used to being the backdrop for romantic ways to propose so definitely let them in on the secret. You could be unlocking the VIP treatment!
Does your girlfriend like experiencing a little bit of history? If so, you can mix romance with history by taking a scenic steamboat ride down the Mississippi. She’ll feel like she stepped back in time. And when you have a moment alone, you can propose.
Sign up for a trail ride. There is something so romantic about exploring nature while on horseback. Choose a scenic area to pause for a break. While resting, use the scenery around you as the perfect backdrop to a perfect proposal. For extra romance, add in a picnic with champagne to celebrate.
Yes, it’s been done before, but few things quite as instantly suggest “romance” as a fancy dinner at the nicest restaurant in town. Romantic ways to propose usually center around something of this sort. Find a way to do it that recalls something special to only the two of you– maybe a particular song or bring up a certain memory– to make it unique! dAn absolute classic gesture is to drop the ring in a champagne glass. It doesn’t get more romantic than that!
Outdoor Movie Night–“Backyard” Style
You need nothing but a white sheet and a projector to make this proposal idea work. And what’s best about it is that it appeals to the romantics and to the reserved girls who prefer to keep their personal lives private. Sitting outside with a few glasses of wine, play the movie with the sheet acting as the movie screen. While she’s engrossed in the movie, pull out the ring and declare your love for her.
If you’re good at it, this could be your chance to shine. You might not be an Olympian figure-skater, but if you can master a one knee glide to your girlfriend all while maintaining your balance, she’ll be impressed. But let’s face it, she’ll be even more impressed by the ring you’ll be holding in your hand. There’s no way she’ll say no to a proposal on ice. It’s a winter wonderland, romantic fairytale.
Hot Air Balloon
Expensive, but worth it, if your girlfriend isn’t afraid of heights. This is one of THE most romantic ways to propose. You could even bring food and make it into a light dinner excursion. And of course, bring champagne so that you can toast to a life of happiness. Extra points for getting the balloon operator to take pics and/or video of the whole thing.
A gondola is a Venetian rowing boat seen in countless romantic comedy movies. Trite? Yeah. Overdone? Probably. However, it’s romantic and she’ll remember it forever. Hence, if you can afford it, book a trip to Italy. Take her to Venice and ask her to be your wife as you float down the waterways of Venice. It might be a bit of a cliche, but it’s a cliche because it’s one of the most romantic ways to propose you’ll be able to find on the books!
Fill her living room with 100 balloons. On 99 of the balloons write something that you love about your girlfriend. On the one-hundredth balloon, write: “I love that you’ll say yes.” The trick to making this work is to have all of the balloons out except for the last one. Make them all one colour and the last one a different colour. As she’s overwhelmed by all of the reasons why you love her, tell her there’s one reason that’s extra special. Write, “One of the biggest reasons why I love you is because you make me want to marry you.” Drop down on one knee and go for it!
A popular day to propose, and for a good reason. The day is already all about love and celebrating relationships. And if you’re going to propose in winter, you may as well make it on a holiday! My trick is usually to pull out all the stops on Valentine’s Day…give her the roses and chocolates…take her first a nice dinner. Basically, throw her off. Just before you go to sleep that night, tell her there’s something you forgot to say. Propose right there in bed (BEFORE romantic relations, mind you!).
Horse Drawn Carriage
There are only a few places that really have these on hand, but a horse drawn carriage ride can be a one of the most romantic ways to propose. Set the mood with a horse-drawn carriage down Central Park or some other historic location. Let the driver and the company in on your secret so that they can help you plan (and give you a little extra VIP treatment). No doubt they’ve done this kind of thing a thousand times before.
Inside a box of chocolates
Hide the ring inside a box of chocolates. Don’t go overboard and hide it INSIDE one of the chocolates or anything, but simply hide it where it will be found after she grabs a few. Bonus points for having the chocolates customized with a witty saying or hint!
A great twist on presenting a ring as a Christmas gift: hand her ornaments one by one to decorate the tree with. Have the last thing you pass over be her ring box, and instead of handing it over kneel down and propose to her!
At A Hotel
Hotels provide all the comforts of home with all the excitement of a vacation. My first suggestion is to have the hotel contact your fiancee and tell her she’s won a weekend stay (that you’ll be paying for, of course). This will throw her surprise meter off.
Then you call ahead and have a room at the fanciest hotel in town be filled to the brim with flowers and a box of chocolates.
Get their take on romantic ways to propose. Fancy hotels have often been the host of many such events and can tell you what will result in an amazing engagement…and help you avoid an epic FAIL!
Learn to play a song on “her” instrument
This can be such a romantic gesture if she’s the musical type and you’re generally not. Learn how to play a sweet, simple song on her instrument of choice, and play it for her. The same can be done if your sweetie is a crafter. Cross-stitch a proposal or paint her portrait (no matter how bad). She’ll appreciate the gesture!
In a Foreign Country
While your own country’s all well and good, sometimes it can feel a little blasé (you know, since you’ve lived there all your life). Try taking her to a Swiss chalet (no, not the restaurant!), a French chateau, or a Portuguese palace. The exotic locale will make the moment that much more memorable and surely inspire a litany of romantic ways to propose!
In a Waterfall Cavern
There’s something very romantic about being inside a cavern behind a waterfall; the water rushing down outside, distorting the image into a beautiful mélange of image and sound (not to mention they’re often only found in very exotic places!) What better place to propose than in this idyllic spot? You can switch it up and propose by a frozen waterfall too! My fave spot for this has to be in Jasper National Park. See my blog post about it here…
On the Anniversary of Your Meeting
The right date goes a long way in romantic proposal ideas. Some couples like to celebrate the day where they first met (or started dating, or however you’d like to define it). What better way to show how much you care by not only remembering the date the two of you met, but also proposing to her with the ultimate commitment your love can express?
A Time Capsule
This is one of my absolute most favorite romantic proposal ideas! This one requires a little foresight, and the knowledge that you want to marry your girl beforehand! Make a time capsule with her, but say it’s a short-term time capsule; say for six months or a year or so.
Put the ring in the time capsule (Somewhere safe! Like your backyard, or something – or hey, be crazy and use a Safety Deposit box!). When the two of you open the capsule, get down on one knee and say “I knew I wanted to marry you since [X date]” or something to that effect!
See the Leaves Change
Romantic proposal ideas don’t have to take you far from home. If you live in a climate without huge seasonal changes, travel somewhere like upstate New York to see the leaves around early Autumn. The lush browns and yellows provide a very interesting backdrop for picture-perfect romantic proposal ideas!
One day, when she’s not home, arrange a few pictures with text around / next to them. Place them in a linear fashion to wherever you want to pop the question, and make sure they’re chronological and are pictures of important things (First trip, first time you said I love you, etc.) The last one leads to where you are, ring in hand with the next important event in your lives!
In a Jacuzzi
Jacuzzis are very often associated with the sleazier side of love and lust, but in reality they’re a very romantic place to propose to your future spouse! Put the bubbles up, light some candles, and have the ring hidden for when she comes into the Jacuzzi! Variations: Have the ring floating on a cushion on the surface, or attach to something that floats and let it pop up next to her when she enters!
Sometimes the most romantic proposals ideas are the simplest ones. One day, as she leaves to work or anywhere else, let her get out the door. Then, as she’s leaving to get into the car or walk away, run out to the door and yell “Wait! I forgot something important.” Get over to her and tell her how much she means to you, how much you love her, and pull out that ring and propose!
At the Airport
Running past airport security these days can get the whole airport shut down and might get you arrested, so despite it being done in movies, it definitely won’t be something she sees coming. Arrange to buy a cheap ticket on the same day as hers and surprise her at her terminal!
Where You Met
The best proposals are ones that are of personal significance to the couple, and few things are more significant than the first time you met. Any other places that have served as the setting for big milestones would be great to revisit! This can include your first date, the first kiss or the first time you told her you loved her. Not only will she be touched that you remembered, but you’ll have secured “your spot” for years to come. Make sure the spot you pick is a cool one.
In A Zen Garden
If she’s the quiet type, this is the perfect proposal for her. It’s sweet, romantic, exotic, and best of all, gorgeous (Feng Shui in action!). Take a quiet walk through the carefully trimmed gardens and reflecting pools, popping your question at the perfect moment!
In Front of Family
Get your families involved, especially if she’s very close to them. Arrange for them to all be close at hand for after when you propose, or bring her someplace like a public park and have her realize that she knows everyone there. It’s very romantic to have your love and commitment expressed for all to see (and perhaps be a little jealous of)!