So you’ve found the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with. How do you ask her to be yours — forever? You should push your nervousness aside and remember that, once you have a full plan and know what to expect, you’ll be able to propose to your girlfriend without any blunders at any stage.
You don’t have to do anything over-the-top or crazy, unless you think that’s what she wants and its what you want. Make that grand gesture if you want to and think she will appreciate it. The most important thing is that you speak from the heart, and that you find the perfect way to let her know how much she means to you. Remember, you may wish to, or have to, ask her parents if you can marry her first, otherwise they will not be happy with you and buying an engagement ring might be useful. Proposing marriage is a big step, get started at step one below.
Public Marriage Proposal Ideas
1. Choose a favorite place—whether it’s a fountain, hotel rooftop, monument or national park—that has personal significance to the two of you. Once you’re there, ask someone nearby to take a picture of you together. Instead of posing, drop down on one knee.
2. Have a choir, brass band or drum line show up for a surprise performance of your fiance-to-be’s favorite love song in a park or public location for your proposal. For a really personal touch, ask the performers if they can incorporate your fiance’s name into the lyrics.
3. Get in touch with the stage manager of your favorite production and propose after the cast’s curtain call. Call ahead and see if you can have a special note or ad placement added into the playbill so you have a keepsake of the proposal.
4. Arrange a surprise proposal with a street caricaturist. Have the caricaturist sketch a picture of you two with word bubbles that say, “Will you marry me?” and “Yes!”
5. Ask the divers at an aquarium to put on a proposal show inside their biggest fish tank. Give them a (waterproof) sign that says, “Will you marry me?” to hold up against the glass and then position yourselves for what will, at first, seem like feeding time.
6. Send your unsuspecting fiance-to-be on a treasure hunt that ends with your marriage proposal. Start with a clue at home (a handwritten note or text message) that leads to a tour of your favorite spots all over town.
7. Go out for a night of dancing and ask the DJ or bandleader to pass you the mic so you can dedicate a song and propose on the dance floor.
8. Hire a skywriter to spell out your proposal for everyone around to see.
9. Take out a full-page ad in a newspaper then pick the perfect spot to have a relaxing morning of catching up on current events.
10. Call into a radio station, make sure your fiance-to-be is listening then propose on the air.
Destination Marriage Proposal Ideas
11. Plan a romantic destination getaway for two. When you’re on the plane, use the loudspeaker system (of course, run your plan by the flight attendants first) and propose at 35,000 feet.
12. Rent a Vespa, scooter or bikes to tour the city and invite your soon-to-be fiance for a ride, but remind them to be safe and wear a helmet. Hand over the helmet (with the ring box already in it) then zip around town to celebrate.
13. Searching for beach proposal ideas? Go to the shore and build a sandcastle together (at a safe distance from the ocean).When your partner isn’t looking, put the ring on the highest tower.
14. After a long day of sightseeing, have a drink in the hotel bar. When it’s time to go, have roses, candles and champagne all set up in your hotel room—everything for a perfect surprise proposal.
15. Add this to the list of outdoor proposal ideas: Go on a hike and pop the question once you’ve reached the top of your climb. (But please be careful not to lose or damage the precious proposal piece in the wilderness.)
Homemade Marriage Proposal Ideas
16. Gather a bunch of your friends and family for a party and have everyone put on a T-shirt or carry balloons filled with helium (otherwise they won’t float) bearing one of the letters in the phrase, “Will you marry me?” Then during the party suggest a group picture to reveal the message.
17. Spell your proposal out in glow-in-the-dark star stickers on your ceiling. Get into bed, turn the lights off and wait for the gasp.
18. Or, use refrigerator magnet letters to write out your marriage proposal. They’ll never be so happy to have gone to grab a snack.
19. Throwback to your childhood with a proposal written in sidewalk chalk on your street or driveway.
20. Create makeshift letters that spell out, “Will you marry me?” using anything from colored duct tape (against a wall or a piece of poster board) to scrapbooking materials. Surprise your partner with your creation at work, home or the park. (Not crafty? Hire a graffiti artist to write out an artistic marriage proposal in huge letters. While you’re at it, hire a proposal photographer to snap you two in front of the masterpiece.)
Marriage Proposal Ideas at Home
21. Fill a favorite room in your home with photo memories from your relationship; you can hang them from balloons or cover the walls with them for a jaw-dropping surprise.
22. Turn off all the lights in your apartment and make a trail of candles that leads to a circle of votives positioned around the ring. (But use extra caution when dealing with flames.)
23. Slip the ring on while your soon-to-be fiance is sleeping then do a romantic morning wake-up call with champagne and strawberries.
24. Tie a red velvet ribbon from one spot in your home to another. Attach little notes recalling perfect moments in your relationship along the way. Wait for your partner at the end of the ribbon with the ring in hand.
25. Cook a five-star-worthy meal of all your fiance-to-be’s favorite foods, or hire a personal chef for the night. Propose over dessert.
26. Have a custom jigsaw puzzle made with your picture and the words “Marry me?” On a rainy day, suggest this activity. When you’ve finished enough that you can clearly see the photo and read the words, it’s time for the marriage proposal. (Hint: This works well with Scrabble too.)