From Simple to Extravagant: 38 Proposal Ideas for Every Style Engagement

Say "yes" to these perfect plans.

engaged couple kissing in background while bride-to-be shows off engagement ring on finger


Planning the perfect proposal can be daunting. There are thousands (if not millions) of proposal ideas floating around the internet, and settling on a plan that your partner will love—not feel disappointed by—can be a lot of work. Deciding whether to plan a proposal that’s simple, extravagant, or somewhere in between is a lot of pressure, but there are a few ways to ensure you’re planning the best possible proposal for your partner. The first best step? Consult with a professional, if you can. 

As Brett Galley, director of special events and owner of Hollywood POP Gallery explains, the key to a perfect proposal is really understanding what the person you’re proposing to loves in life. “If you are proposing to a quiet, low-key partner who doesn't like the spotlight, you would plan a proposal that is special and private, perhaps at home or on top of an isolated mountaintop, as opposed to in front of a group of people or any large public displays,” Galley says. “If your partner is extroverted and is a ‘more is more’ type of person, you might hire a flash mob, have a fireworks display, or propose on an action-adventure based outing.” 

If you’ve talked about the future and considered your partner’s personality type, the next step is getting into the details of the proposal. Below, Galley, wedding photographer Iris Mannings, and event planning experts JoAnn Gregoli, Jen Avey, Faith Folayan, Juls Sharpley, and Kristen Gosselin share 38 ideas that would be great for nearly every person.

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Set Up a Picnic

Woman dressed in black proposing to woman in white turtleneck at oceanfront picnic

Photo by Khoa Photography

A picnic can be one of the most romantic activities if you plan it the right way. Add some candles, a nice bottle of wine, and some chocolate-covered strawberries (or whatever your significant other’s favorite food is) to a basket, and you’re off to the races. Plus, a picnic makes it easy to incorporate other people, like your partner’s family and friends, or keep it intimate. 

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Take a Hike Together

Man proposing to surprised woman in white dress and hiking boots on top of a cliff with panoramic mountain views

Photo by Kmac

Proposing at the end of a hike is a classic for a reason. It’s intimate, memorable, and picturesque, and it gives you a fun, physical activity to distract yourself from nerves before you pop the question. 

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Embrace the Season

If you’re hoping to propose during a certain season, why not embrace it? Plan a proposal for the biggest, most impressive snow day of the year. Add some twinkle lights to the mix, and it’ll be an absolutely gorgeous scene that requires almost no prep work on your part. 

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Include Your Children

Man holding baby proposing to woman in orange dress on snow-covered hill overlooking small town

Photo by BCJPhotography 

Finding ways to incorporate you and/or your partner’s children is sure to make for a proposal that will be just about as memorable as it gets. Plus, it’s pretty much guaranteed to make them cry, which is always a bonus. 

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Do It on a Rooftop

Man with curly bun proposing to laughing woman on urban rooftop


If you’re lucky enough to have a rooftop (or have a friend with a rooftop) with a killer view, consider dressing up the space with floral bouquets or other details. Go up to watch the sunset and then get down on one knee. Beautiful, intimate, and budget-friendly.

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Go to a Local Park

Spruce up your most beautiful, beloved local park with some flower petals (or whatever else you might want) and ask the question there. It’ll be a familiar, comfortable location that is made to feel that much more magical. Plus, you can relive the moment every time you walk by the location in the future.

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Climb Into a Treehouse

Find a local treehouse (or something that looks like a treehouse) and pop the question amidst a romantic video montage, string lights, and any other special touches you can think of. The setting will feel straight-up magical.

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Put It in Writing

Newly engaged couple kissing in front of candlelit garden

Photo by Passionate Wedding; Event Planning & Styling by The Wedding Wonderland; Floral Design by Flor de Laranjeira; Letters by Back Up Agency

Having friends or family hold up a sign that spells out the proposal is a WOW moment that can seamlessly incorporates your partner’s favorite people. If you have them display the sign from a distance, it also means you get to ask the question outside of the earshot of other people for a private romantic moment.

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Recreate Your First Date

This idea is a classic for good reason. There's something unassuming yet totally romantic about popping the question at the restaurant where you first met. Bonus points for adding additional touches like hitting the bar where you had a nightcap after.

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Create an Insta-Worthy Moment

groom on one knee proposing to bride dressed in white and standing in front of fireplace decorate with heart-shaped floral arrangement and candles

Photo by Iris Mannings; Event Planning & Design by Elegance by ACE; Flowers by Bella Blooms Floral

Want to go all out? Hire a florist, set a generous budget, and let them work their magic. Add some candles to the mix and it will be the most romantic, Instagram-worthy proposal you’ve ever seen.

When planning an epic proposal, such as the above, photographer Iris Mannings says it's important to "plan, communicate, and execute." As for the photos, specifically? "Communicate the best possible locations with optimal lighting that would be the backdrop for the Insta-worthy image," she adds.

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Go on a Boat Ride

Man on one knee proposing to standing woman dressed in white on boat overlooking harbor

Photo by Sydney Noelle Photography

Love sailing? Pack a picnic and some bubbly and hit the open waters. We love the idea of proposing while doing an activity you love. Plus, what's more poetic than popping the question on an actual journey?

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Take a Pre-Proposal Photo

There’s something so exciting about a simple pre-proposal DIY photo. The notion that your partner has no idea what’s coming or that you’ve been planning such a special event is thrilling, so why not create an image to remember that feeling forever? 

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Incorporate Music

Man on guitar singing to woman

Photo by Alyssa Marie Evans Photo

If you’re musical, there’s nothing more romantic (or vulnerable) than playing a special song for your partner pre- or post-proposal. You could even work the proposal into the song if you really want to surprise them with something unforgettable.

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Embrace the Rain

Man on one knee proposing to excited woman on rainy mountain cliff overlooking rolling hills

Photo by Kmac

No matter what type of proposal you plan, it’s worth remembering that even proposals that don’t go exactly as planned can be as romantic. If it’s raining, embrace it. Turns out, the whole kissing-in-the-rain thing can be quite beautiful, so just go with it. 

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Incorporate Baked Goods

‘Will You Marry Me?’ donuts are perhaps the cutest, most delicious proposal accessory ever. Whether you’re doing a long-distance proposal or are together in real life, spelling out a message via your partner’s favorite sweet treat could be fun.

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Plan a Selfie-Taking Session

After your special someone says "yes," consider taking some memorable selfies together. Including furry friends is encouraged.

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Let Your Pet Join the Fun

Man and woman dressed in black kissing golden retriever between them

Photo by Vanessa Rivas of Miss Meow Studios

For couples with pets, choosing to involve a furry friend in the proposal will be the “aww” moment you’re hoping for. Get a customized dog tag that has the big question engraved on it or opt for a bandana as this couple did. 

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Take a Secret Video

A great way to capture the surprise of a cozy, at-home proposal but still keep the intimate, just-you-two feel is to capture it yourself. Grab a mini tripod and your cell phone and you’re good to go.

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Ask While Christmas Tree Shopping

Couple embracing in the middle of a Christmas tree farm

Photo by Sarah Ascanio

Going Christmas tree shopping sometime soon? Why not include a proposal? “Preselect the tree and have the tree farm owner place a ‘will you marry me?’ ornament on the selected tree,” says JoAnn Gregoli, event designer at Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli. “I suggest having warm blankets and hot cocoa once the proposal has been made. If allowed, have a sleigh on standby to whisk you both away to a wonderful dinner.”

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Bring a Bottle of Champagne

No matter what your proposal plan is, bring a bottle of Champagne. It will make the entire experience that much more special. Save the cork after to write the special date on it.

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Use a Waterfall as a Backdrop

Waterfall. Backdrop. Need we really say more?

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Wrap the Proposal Into a Family Tradition

Couple dressed in white kissing in background while bride-to-be shows off engagement ring on finger

Photo by Katey McClenny Photography

Cara McClenny tells Brides that her fiancé proposed on the same annual family friends’ trip that originally brought them together. The trip in itself was a tradition, but the proposal was a total surprise. The combination meant that the setting was familiar, but the proposal was still as exciting as can be—plus, it was sentimental, too. 

“It was truly the best weekend with our favorite people in our favorite place—I still cannot understand how he pulled it off! The best part was hearing all of the different stories from my family and friends about how they kept it a secret from me for so long. My sister even had to turn off her 'Find my iPhone' setting so that I wouldn't see that she was on her way to South Carolina,” McClenny shared.

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Plan It Around Your Partner’s Favorite Holiday

Have a significant other who’s really into Halloween? Christmas? Easter? The Fourth of July, perhaps? Plan the proposal around that day so it’ll make their favorite date better than they ever thought it could be.

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Use a Dock

A dock sounds a little simple in theory, but it’s actually a very romantic proposal spot. You’re out in the middle of the water without actually being in the water. Plus, they’re relatively easy to find if you do a little research—and you can make sure that it’s just you two.

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Style a Loft or Other Unique Space

newly engaged couple kissing after candlelit loft proposal

Photo by Anna Elizabeth Photo

As this proposal proves, sometimes all it takes is creating a romantic space somewhere unexpected to build a proposal that’s truly unique.

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Take a Spontaneous Trip

“What better way to up the ante on your outdoor proposal than jetting off to paradise? Many all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean offer amazing proposal packages that make popping the question extra special,” says Jen Avey, VP of marketing for Destination Weddings Travel Group. There are also cooler destinations to consider, like, say, Iceland or a place you've always dreamed of visiting together.

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Make an Ordinary Spot Romantic

“Choose a location that is either already meaningful to both of you, or choose an exotic or cool location that will then hold significance after the proposal!  Maybe you have a favorite hike, favorite beach spot, or favorite city park,” suggests Kristen Gosselin, owner and creative director of KG Events & Design. “Choosing something that already holds significance to the two of you will only make the proposal more meaningful! Alternatively, choosing a spot that you've never been to but know your fiancé would love will then always be remembered as the proposal spot and will hold significance from that day forward.”

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Choose the Spot Where You First Said "I Love You"

“Choose an outdoor location that’s important to both of you. Where you first met, had your first kiss, or the first place you said ‘I love you,’” Faith Folayan of This Love Weddings suggests. “Set up a picnic for two at one of these significant spots. Be sure to provide family and friends with blankets to use as they hideaway.”

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Incorporate a Family Dinner

Following a proposal with a family dinner is never a bad idea, especially if you and your partner are especially close to your families and/or they live nearby. 

“Two of my friends were hiding in the bushes (one of whom is a professional photographer) to capture the moment,” Juls Sharpley of Bubbles & Bowties explains about her own proposal. “We popped the Champagne, took some photos, and went to our dinner reservation with my parents!”

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Take a Sunrise Hike

Man on one knee proposing to surprised woman in front of ocean
Photo by Kmac

Ending a morning hike with not only a gorgeous sunrise but the proposal itself is what dreams are made of. Plus, it’s a good way to switch up your usual hiking routine if you tend to go in the late morning or afternoon. 

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Throw an After-Party

“This past summer, I was contacted by a man who wanted to propose to his girlfriend in the iconic living room at the Hotel Jerome [in Aspen, Colorado], followed by a party for 50 of their closest friends and family on one of the hotel's private patio spaces,” says Sharpley. “He requested balloons covering the ceiling, rose petals to 'mark the spot' of where he should propose, and then for the party: a U2 cover band, sushi from Matsuhisa (Nobu), sliders from Hotel Jerome, and lots of candles!” 

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Rent a Float Plane

man on one knee proposing to woman in front of seaplane

Photo by Nicole Alex Photography

Want to get really creative? Involve a plane. Sure, it might be a little complicated, but as this picture proves...very worth it for the memory.

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Incorporate Your Partner’s Favorite Things

If your partner is a fan of something very particular (say, Friends), then get creative and find a way to incorporate that into the proposal whether through reciting quotes or reenacting a scene.

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Create a Romantic Beach Scene

“If you're lucky enough to be near a beach, do a romantic beach setup to surprise your significant other upon your arrival,” Gosselin suggests. “This will elevate any beach proposal by adding some beauty, context, and additional thought into the proposal.”

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Find a Winter Wonderland

Man on one knee proposing to woman in green dress in snowy landscape surrounded by mountains

Photo by Nicole Alex Photography

If you can manage to find a great stretch of space covered in snow, it’ll make for a beautiful proposal spot. Chilly, yes—but absolutely beautiful. And if your partner happens to love winter, this will be their dream. 

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Incorporate the Proposal Into Your Favorite Activity

If you and your partner love a certain activity or sport, weave your proposal into the time you spend doing that activity together. Bonus points if that activity happens to take you to some spectacular views.

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Make a Flower Delivery

If your partner is a total romantic who appreciates the gesture of just-because flower delivery, make it part of your proposal. Organize for four arrangements to be delivered, each with a note that says one of the following words: "will you marry me?" Of course, you'll want to deliver the last one!

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Plan a Fake Wedding Shoot

Bride and groom walking into field


If you can manage it, tell your partner that you’ve both been selected to be models for a faux wedding shoot. Get all dressed up, and then during the “photo shoot,” ask the big question.

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