6 Simple Steps to Making Your Proposal Go Viral

It has nothing to do with being over the top

Updated 03/20/19

Chuy Photography

We’ve all seen those viral proposal videos with massive flash mobs, dramatic helicopter entrances, marching bands, and surprise (famous) performers. They take over our social media feeds and our dreams, so we don't blame you if you also want to make your proposal go viral. (Although there is something to be said for the private, intimate, and heartfelt proposals that don’t make the evening news!)

The thing is, the key to making your proposal go viral isn’t an over-the-top dance performance or throwing a ton of money at the event—it’s making it genuine, personal, and true to your relationship. For some inspiration, we reached out to two professional proposal planners for their top tips for popping the question.

Make It Organic

The biggest mistake couples make? Creating a proposal with the intent to go viral, explains Michelle Velazquez of The Heart Bandits. She says that it’s obvious to viewers when the proposer is trying too hard. “People want to see something real, so it has to come from the heart.” Avoid outrageous ideas that you think would go viral online but don’t feel authentic. For example, Velazquez cites a video with a fake plane crash ending in a proposal. “No one wants to see that,” she adds.

Set a Realistic Budget

Expensive proposals may be lavish and beautiful, but that doesn’t correlate to the story going viral. Spend what you want to on the proposal, regardless of its viral potential, and be honest about how much your idea will cost. For example, if you plan on shooting fireworks, be prepared to drop some cash—but know that it’s the thought that really counts, at any budget. A well-executed, caring proposal beats the costly one every time.

Be Personal and Creative

Megan Ellis of The Yes Girls advises not to find an example on Pinterest and re-create it from start to finish. “No one wants to watch the same movie over and over again,” Ellis explains. “Be clever with the details. Adding unique details not only makes the video more interesting, but will add to the romantic factor.” Think about what sets your relationship apart. If your future fiancé is more of a beer girl than a Champagne lady, have a chilled pint ready for the toast instead of a bottle of Veuve, and include sentimental touches, such as hiding the ring in the teddy bear you won her on your first date at the country fair.

Choose the Destination Wisely

The dramatic landscape of a national park or the vibrant foliage of the Tuileries in Paris can surely look impressive, but it’s meaningless if it doesn’t relate to your love story. Select a destination that fits who you are: the restaurant where you had your first date, the rooftop of the apartment building where you live together in New York City, or on the slopes during your annual ski trip. Ellis cites one of her favorite proposals as a couple that got engaged amid the skyscrapers of San Francisco—the city where they met, fell in love, and still live. “From the ‘Marry Me’ marquee letters to the pink ombre petal aisle and the gorgeous view of San Francisco, everything about this proposal was just perfect,” Ellis says.

Set the Mood

Think about the vibe you want and choose details accordingly. If you’re going for romantic, consider adding pillar candles for a dreamy glow to the room. If you want it to be sentimental, make a highlight reel of your relationship that can be projected onto the wall. If you’re going for playful, plan the proposal during a game night, such as staging answers in Cards Against Humanity. “It’s the content that makes it go viral, like the cutest, teddy bear-like dog that delivered the ring” explains Velazquez.

Hire a Pro

If your budget allows, consider hiring a professional photographer or videographer to capture your proposal. While the content matters more than the quality of the imagery, having great shots will not only memorialize your magical moment but also increase the chances its shared online. “When you watch viral proposal videos, the best tearjerker proposals always put your right in the heart of the love story,” Ellis says. “You feel as if you’re living in that moment with them, which is why we keep coming back for more.”

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