15 Best Proposal Ideas for a Fairy-Tale Engagement

Alesandra Dubin
·5 min read
Photo credit: yacobchuk - Getty Images
Photo credit: yacobchuk - Getty Images

From Good Housekeeping

It’s hard to top the sheer joy and comfort that comes from knowing you’ve got the partner of your dreams and you’re ready to spend your lives together. But staging the perfect proposal? Well, that’s icing on the cake! A dream proposal doesn’t have to mean an expensive one, either — far from it. In fact, some of the best proposal ideas for a fairytale engagement are simple, timeless, and cost absolutely nothing. All you need is a bit of planning… and nerves of steel! Let these proposal ideas inspire you for a magical engagement with your kids, pets, or alone with your true love.

On a Hike

Meh, perfect makeup is way overrated: Nothing beats the exhilaration of getting engaged while soaked in sweat at the top of a mountain you just climbed together. An endorphin rush on top of a dopamine rush? Now that’s an intoxicating combination.

In the Rain

Definitely don’t let a little precipitation foil your engagement plans; in fact, make a plan to propose in the rain on purpose! Proposing under an awning is utterly romantic — even cinematic. And it’s perfect symbolism for how you’ll greet life’s inevitable storms hand in hand.

Photo credit: jacoblund - Getty Images
Photo credit: jacoblund - Getty Images

With the Kids

Maybe you already share children with your partner. Or maybe you’re planning to blend families with children on either or both sides. Show your commitment to a lifetime of love for the whole family by involving the kids in the big moment.

At the Site of Your First Date

Think back to your first date: Was it at a restaurant? A coffee shop? A park bench? Go back to the scene of that fateful meeting and propose at the very same place. (Alternatively, you might choose to propose at the same place where you first said “I love you,” or some other unforgettable moment you shared.)

Photo credit: yacobchuk - Getty Images
Photo credit: yacobchuk - Getty Images

Hidden Video

Getting engaged is such a whirlwind: You’re so wrapped up in emotions that memories can feel like a blur as soon as it’s done. Plan ahead to replay those precious moments over and over again by planting a video recorder somewhere in the room — or even on your body! (Hey, depending on how it goes… you might even go viral.)

Write it in the Sand

A beach proposal is a timeless choice, and it doesn’t cost a thing. Make it ultra memorable — not to mention photo ready — by writing the big question in the sand. The waves will eventually wash away your message… but your partner will be by your side for life.

Doggy Delivery

If you share a special pup in your life, get that pet involved with an ultra-adorbs proposal. Maybe it’s a ring tied around the collar. If you don’t have a dog, but you know your partner’s always wanted one… maybe now’s the time to adopt one to help make the big moment even bigger!

Photo credit: svetikd - Getty Images
Photo credit: svetikd - Getty Images

Surprise Photo

Say cheese! Only when the shutter snaps, don't just smile: Ask the big question your partner never saw coming. And now you’ve got the moment captured on film (or more likely, in pixels) to cherish forever.

At the Top of a Ferris Wheel

Board a Ferris wheel and wait until it pauses at the very top to pop the question. And hey, while your basket climbs, you can always blame your nerves on the heights. Of course, if you go this route… make sure you hold on tight to that ring!

On a Picnic

Pack a perfect basket for two: Think wine, cheese, chocolates, and all the indulgent accoutrements. Take it to a secluded spot for a wholesome picnic-turned-proposal. For added drama, set the scene at night, under the stars.

Sunrise or Sunset

You can pop the question over dinner or a tranquil beach stroll at sunset. But you’ll have to be an early riser — or a major night owl — for a sunrise proposal. Either way, a sky filled with kaleidoscope of colors makes for a fairytale proposal backdrop (and drool-worthy photos).

Photo credit: Georgijevic - Getty Images
Photo credit: Georgijevic - Getty Images

On a Boat

Getting engaged on a boat is romantic and picturesque; being out on the water elevates the big question and make it feel altogether magical. A boat charter or a cruise imparts a feeling of luxury, whereas a canoe or kayak for two feels ultra intimate.

On a Birthday or Holiday

Make a big day even bigger by planning the proposal around your partner’s birthday or favorite holiday. Every season of the year provides opportunities to make it extra special, whether you get engaged in couple’s Halloween costumes or matching Christmas PJs.

Dessert With a Twist

Bake the big question right in to a homemade dessert: Top a cupcake with a ring, or ice the question onto your partner’s favorite cake. If you’re not the DIY type, enlist the help of the staff at your chosen restaurant or hotel to get it ready behind the scenes, serving up the pastry’ chef’s surprise for dessert (while standing by with a camera!).

Pre-Planned After-Party

Sure, getting engaged is about you two — but it’s also about the community that has supported your relationship as it grew, and will continue to support you on your marriage journey. So plan ahead to invite close friends and family to an intimate celebration timed right after the proposal. Maybe it’s a surprise at a restaurant, in the backyard… or Zoom works, too!

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