Jewelry Blog

52 Unique Marriage Proposal Ideas for 2024

marriage proposal images in artistic layout

So you’re thinking of proposing to your SO, congratulations! Now, you want to plan the perfect, cute but not cliché, romantic but not cheesy, exciting but not over-the-top marriage proposal of a lifetime. Here’s our list of our top 50+ creative ideas.

Public Proposal Ideas

proposing in candlelit heart on beach at sunset

1. Magician Proposal

There’s a bit of planning involved in this one. You’d need to find either a local illusionist or a magic show that’s happening near you. Arrange with the magician beforehand that toward the end of the show, he should “select” you and your fiancée as an audience volunteer. The trick should involve her ending up with the ring either on her finger or in your hands with you down one knee. Then, the audience erupts in cheers.

2. Recreate Your First Date

It’s not the most creative proposal idea, but it’s popular for a reason. It’s romantic, shows you put thought into it, value your memories together and is tailored and unique to you as a couple.

3. Fake Arrest Proposal

In order to execute this proposal idea, you need to have a friend or acquaintance who’s both a cop and a good sport. On your way to dinner, have the cop pull you over and say, “A suspect matching your description stole some jewelry.” Then have him pat you down and discover the ring, at which point you’ll turn to your shocked girlfriend and propose.

4. Caricature Proposal

If you’re going sightseeing, this could be a cute way to propose that she won’t expect. Arrange with a caricaturist beforehand, then casually happen upon the artist and suggest sitting for caricatures. When he turns the picture around, it’ll be an image of you on your knee with a word bubble saying, “Will you marry me?”

5. Charades Proposal

If you regularly host or join game nights with friends, proposing while playing charades could be really cute. Partner with your girlfriend, and when it’s your turn, act out, “Will you marry me?”.

6. Concert Proposal

You’ll probably have the most success with this idea at a smaller concert with a niche band. Arrange beforehand with the band, then during the concert have them announce “we’d like to invite our friend (your name) to the stage”. Pull out the ring and propose. Be prepared for intense cheers from the crowd.

7. Party Proposal

The catch here is making her think she’s surprising you with a birthday party. Obviously, this involves friends or family arranging with her to throw you a “surprise” birthday. She plans the party, and one of them will say they’ll take care of the game. Then, while playing the party game (something like Wheel of Fortune), you’ll ask her to help you solve the puzzle, which will read, “Will you marry me?”. Boy, will she be shocked.

8. Name a Star Proposal

This will work best at a time when she is expecting a gift from you, like her birthday. Name a star through the National Star Registry, “__________ Will You Marry Me,” and give her the certificate as her gift. Have the ring ready for when she looks up in surprise.

9. Photoshoot Proposal

The reason this proposal idea is popular is because it solves the issue of capturing the photos of the proposal while you’re both dressed up without tipping her off. The best way to suggest it would be to casually mention that you want photos for your wall that you want to send photos to a grandparent, or even just to update your social media profiles. Follow it up a few days later by telling her you found a limited deal on professional shots and schedule the photoshoot. Obviously, arrange with the photographer, and if you think she’d want family and friends there, arrange to have them pop out after the proposal for the celebration.

10. Karaoke Proposal

You could either host an in-home karaoke night or arrange with a local karaoke bar. Choose her favorite song and edit in a line asking her to marry you. Either way, your companions or the crowd is sure to erupt in cheers.

11. Graphic T-Shirt Proposal

Plan a day out at your local mall or boardwalk. Scout out a graffiti t-shirt booth and arrange with the vendor beforehand. Then, happen upon the stall and suggest getting tees made. When they hand you the tees, yours should say something like “Will you marry me?” and hers “I said yes” or “Yes!” and be ready for the ring. As a bonus, the T-shirts will become a memento of your proposal that you can keep forever.

12. Winery Proposal

Suggest a trip to a local winery and arrange with the management beforehand. Have a custom label created, and toward the end of the tour, have the staff offer you an exclusive chance to try their special reserve bottle at a discount. Try to arrange that you’ll be in a scenic location when the bottle arrives which will have a custom label saying “__________ and ____________ engagement” and the day’s date below. Be ready with the ring.

Bonus: Choose a wine that will age nicely and order a few extra bottles to open on future occasions like anniversaries and even your kids’ weddings.

13. Beach Proposal

Plan a beach day and when she heads to the water write “Marry Me?” in big letters in the sand. When she gets back, be ready with the ring. Make sure you plan ahead with champagne or something else with which to celebrate so it doesn’t feel like a last-minute unplanned proposal.

14. Jumbotron Proposal

Jumbotron proposals are the cliche of all cliched proposals, but that doesn’t mean they’re a bad choice. The scale and visibility of a Jumbotron turn the proposal into a grand public spectacle. For some being the center of attention and the crowd’s response creates an epic experience.

Warning: This idea transforms a private moment into a very large public celebration, making it an ideal choice for ONLY those who appreciate a bold and theatrical approach. Make sure she will say yes, or you will be an instant viral video – and not in a good way!

15. Treasure Hunt Proposal

Create a scavenger hunt with clues around your local town. Bonus points if the locations include places that are meaningful to both of you, like where you first dated, etc. If you think she’d appreciate having her friends and family there, include them in the hunt and end at a predestined location that’s set up for the proposal. Don’t forget to have a photographer ready as well.

16. Family Gathering Proposal

This proposal idea assumes that both you and your future wife have a good relationship with your family. If that’s the case, invite her to join you at the next family gathering, and at the right moment, say something along the lines of how much you love your family, but it feels incomplete. Will she help make it perfect by joining? Have tissues ready as the rest of the family congratulates and celebrates with you.

17. Social Media Influencer Shoutout Proposal

If your fiancée is a huge fan of a particular influencer, see if you can get in touch with them to have your proposal posted on their social media account. You’ll obviously have the best chance at success with a smaller influencer, and make sure that it doesn’t get posted at a time when she might see it before you’re ready. Have something recorded to have the influencer post of you asking her to marry her and make sure to be sitting near her when she watches it.

18. Graffiti Proposal

Hire a local artist to create an artistic graffiti proposal for you at a local graffiti spot. Bonus points if you come up with a cute customized message that ends with “Will you marry me?”. Take a walk with your girlfriend and get down on one knee in front of the mural. For an added touch, hand her a can of spray paint so she can write “yes”.

19. Work Proposal

Obviously, only try this idea if she doesn’t hate her workplace. Her boss also has to be a good sport for it work. Arrange with her boss to call her in and assign her a task that sounds daunting or to tell her that she’s been called into an HR meeting. When she gets to the assigned spot, instead of a client or HR rep, you’ll be waiting with roses and the ring.

20. Trivia Night Proposal

This is a fun way to incorporate your friend group into the proposal. Host a trivia night with your friends. For the last question, have the card read to her team, “___________ will you marry ___________?”.

21. Podcast Proposal

You’ll probably have better chances of this working out with a smaller podcast. Contact them and ask if they’ll help you propose. Then tell your girlfriend you’ve been featured on a podcast for a work-related conversation. Of course, she’ll want to hear how you came out, so plan to sit together and listen when the podcast is released. Watch her expression change when she hears you asking her to marry you instead of answering work questions.

22. Airport Arrival Proposal

If she has a solo trip planned in the near future or if you have long distance relationship, you can propose when you pick her up from the airport. Create a name sign with “Mrs.” in front of her name and a question mark at the end.

23. Security Proposal

We think this will work better in a local establishment with metal detector security (like a museum), although an airport can work too. You’ll need to arrange with the security personnel on duty prior to the proposal. As you walk through security, have them pull you out and say that metal was detected. (Maybe even make sure the ring box is next to something that will for sure set off the detectors). Have them do a wand detection until it detects the box, and watch her face when you pull out the box.

Private Proposals

man offering red ring box to woman near window

24. Check Your Pockets Proposal

We like this proposal idea because while it involves the classic dinner and getting dressed up, it still takes place in private, with dinner being the celebration afterward. Suggest going to dinner, someplace nice. Place the ring in her jacket pocket and hand it to her as you’re about to leave. Then, ask her, “Do you have your keys, phone, etc.” and tell her to check her pockets just to be sure. She’ll discover the ring, you’ll propose, and then head to dinner to celebrate.

25. Journal Proposal

Your fiancee needs to be interested in journaling for this to work, but you could also use a planner instead if that’s more of her thing. Pick out a pretty journal or personal planner. On the first page of the journal, write, “Today (insert your name) asked me to marry him. I said _______”. Leave the answer blank, and when she looks up at you, hand her a pen. Then, pull out the ring. For a planner, fill out “get engaged” on the day’s tasks.

26. Customized Perfume or Lipstick Proposal

We like this idea because it creates a special memento she can keep forever. Order a lipstick or fragrance you know she likes from a brand that offers customer engraving (YSL, Estee Lauder, and Valentino all offer custom engraving). Try to order something refillable so she can use the product without worrying about running out. Engrave the tube or bottle with “__________ will you marry me” or “_______ and _______ engagement” and the date. Most luxury brands also do really nice gift wrapping.

This could be a particularly good proposal idea if you want to propose without the ring because you know she’ll want to pick it out herself. You’re still proposing with a highly thoughtful and beautiful luxury gift that she can keep forever, but without having to choose a ring that she might not want.

27. Personalized Drawing Artwork Proposal

Have a personalized proposal drawing created (Etsy and other online vendors are good places to look). Choose a style that matches her home aesthetic, something she’d enjoy displaying on the wall. Have the sketch or painting made to depict an image of you proposing to her and labeled with your names and the date you plan to propose. Then tell her you got something to decorate the walls and gift her the framed art. Of course have the ring ready for when she says yes.

28. Laptop Proposal

This really sweet proposal idea is credit of one redditor who proposed to his girlfriend this way. It’ll work especially well if she’s been commenting that she needs a new laptop and it’ll throw her off because she’ll think it’s just a gift.

Invite your SO over. When she shows up, have her let herself in to find the lights off and a trail of rose petals or candles leading to a laptop open to the login screen. The username reads “click me,” and the mouse is placed over the password hint, which reads out “Will you marry me” when she clicks it. Upon which, you show up with the ring, and you both start crying (or not; hugging is good, too).

This could also work as a public proposal if, say, she needs a new laptop anyway. You can suggest going to try them out in-store and arranging the login beforehand with the shop.

29. Build-a-Bear Proposal

The Build-a-Bear factories allow you to customize a voice message button to add to your stuffed bear. Pick out a stuffed animal or toy you think she’ll like, and customize the voice button with you asking, “Will you marry me?” Then, gift her the bear and have her press the button to hear the proposal. It makes a cute memento of the proposal that you can keep forever.

30. Rom-Com Proposal

This is a low-key proposal strategy, which is perfect if you really want to catch her off guard. It could work for both the hopeless romantic type or the cynical, practical girl. If your girlfriend is the latter, it’s probably the perfect idea if you’ve got that relationship where you show affection by teasing her while she playfully rolls her eyes at you.

Suggest an in-night with a dinner and movie and choose a rom-com with a cliché proposal scene. When she sighs and says, “How romantic,” or cringes and says, “How cheesy,” pull out the ring and say, “Who me?”. Either way, she’ll be surprised and find it romantic or endearingly humorous.

31. Short Story Proposal

If you dabble in writing or you have writing assignments for school, create a short story about the two of you and end it in the proposal scene that you’ve planned. At the arranged moment, ask her if she wouldn’t mind looking over your short story and watch her react as she reads the ending that describes you pulling out the ring with your heart pounding, hoping she’ll say yes.

32. Custom Mug Proposal

Create a mug with “Marry me” printed on the inside bottom of the mug. If she’s really into coffee, add to the experience by purchasing a home espresso maker, which you surprise her with. Then try it out by making her a cup of coffee and wait till she finishes drinking it for her to discover the message on the bottom.

33. Home Movie Proposal

Sticking with the movie night theme, unlike the previous entry, this proposal idea is actually romantic. Create a film of all the good moments you’ve had together, complete with an emotional soundtrack. The ending credits should be something along the lines of “here’s to a lifetime of making memories together, will you marry me?”. Another cute line could be the typical “End” text, which then gets crossed out to read, “Only the beginning, __________ will you marry me?”. Keep the tissues handy because this proposal idea is bound to induce tears.

If you’re not handy with the editing, you can find video editing services for affordable prices on sites like Fiverr.

34. Breakfast in Bed Proposal

This proposal idea depends entirely on how lightly your fiancee sleeps and if she sleeps straight through the night. The element of surprise here involves carefully placing the ring on her finger while she sleeps. Then, when she wakes up, it’s a fun waiting game until she notices it on her finger. To complete the experience, prepare a breakfast tray to share together to celebrate the moment.

Of course, this only works if you know you can wake up before she does, you can get the ring on her without waking her, and you’re certain she won’t wake up in the middle of the night and discover it there herself.

35. Photobook Proposal

A photobook proposal is very similar to the home movie idea but a bit easier to execute. Create a photobook of your memories together. Label each memory as “the day we went on vacation, the day we went for a run, etc.” Label the last page as “the day we got engaged.” Then, over dinner or whatever setting you like, present her with a book, and when you get to the end, say, “We need a photo to fill this page up,” and pull out the ring.

36. Fridge Proposal

To add a spin to the classic dinner-at-home proposal, have “Will you marry me” letters set up in the fridge. Make sure she doesn’t open the fridge before dessert. Then ask her to get dessert from the fridge while you clear up and be waiting behind her with the ring for when she opens the fridge. This can also work at a group dinner if you think she’ll want family and friends there. It’ll also be easier to keep her from accidentally opening the fridge early with more people around.

37. Pair of Gloves Gift Proposal

Winter season would probably be the best time to implement this proposal. For an occasion like her birthday, when she’s already expecting her gift, pick out a pair of nice gloves. Hide the ring in the left glove ring finger. Since it’s not the most romantic gift, she probably won’t suspect anything and may even be a bit disappointed. Then, encourage her to try them on for fit and watch her face change when she discovers the ring.

38. PowerPoint Proposal

If your fiancée appreciates your geeky humor, create a PowerPoint presentation outlining the case for why she should marry you. End the last slides in, “Now for the million dollar question” and then “Will you marry me?”.

39. Memory Box Proposal

Create a memory box by filling a decorative box with mementos of your time together (photos, concert ticket stubs, personal notes, etc.). Then, gift it to her and go through each item, reminiscing about the good times. When you get to the end, suggest adding one more item to the memory box and pull out the ring box.

40. Marriage License in the Mail Proposal

If your fiancee really doesn’t go for cutesy, this idea feels less romantic but still contains an element of surprise. Fill out half a marriage license and mail it to her. Make sure to time the arrival and her opening it while you’re there. Your could also take it up a notch by using a courier service to hand-deliver it to her.

41. Custom Reel Viewer Proposal

Along the same lines of photobooks and home films, you can create a custom reel viewer using photos of the two of you. For the last slide, use an image saying will you marry me. Gift it to her at the right opportunity and have the ring ready when she gets to the last slide.

42. Escape Room Proposal

Technically, this still counts as private unless you choose to involve family or friends in the experience. Work out with the escape room before to have the final clue lead to the ring box. It might be a good idea to try out the escape room yourself before so that you don’t risk getting stuck along the way.

43. Monopoly Proposal

This can work well if you typically do game nights together; otherwise, it’ll be a dead giveaway. Start a game of Monopoly but purposely lose. When you run out of money to pay the rent due, pull out the ring and ask if she’ll accept it instead.

44. Box-in-a-Box Proposal

It’s not like this hasn’t been done before, but there are ways to make it less predictable. Placement of the gift here is key. Have the large gift-wrapped box set up on a counter or table, but make sure you’re positioned behind her as she opens it. She gets through a few boxes within boxes to find the last box saying on top, “Turn me over”. The bottom side reads “turn around,” and there you are with the ring.

45. Bonfire on the Beach Proposal

Proposing on the beach is probably one of the most popular ideas, and for good reason. The ambiance and scenery make for a picturesque backdrop and really set the mood. Give it a unique twist by building a small bonfire together and watching the sunset as you roast marshmallows. Then, at the right moment, hand her a skewer with the ring hanging from it instead of marshmallows and ask her the big question.

46. Radio Station Proposal

The timing needs to be on point here, but if done correctly, it can be an adorable way to propose. Email your local radio station and ask if they’ll help you propose. Have them play your favorite song and then read out the proposal you’ve prepared. Be ready with the ring when she turns to you in surprise.

47. Game of Chess Proposal

If you both play chess regularly, this would be a really cute way to propose. Play until one of you takes the queen. If it’s you, say, “I took the queen, how about I go two for two?” and pull out the ring. If she takes yours, say, “I don’t need a queen when I have you,” and then give her the ring.

48. Cameo in Her Favorite Movie Proposal

This involves some video and editing work, but you can easily find affordable options on sites like Fiverr. Choose her favorite romantic movie and shoot a video of yourself proposing to insert at the appropriate spot in the film. To make the proposal even cuter, have the scene end with on-screen you tossing the ring toward the camera and “catch it” in real life.

49. Custom Jigsaw Puzzle Proposal

There are several ways to configure this proposal idea, but since we want to keep the element of surprise and you usually use the finished puzzle picture and a guide when solving it, this is our suggestion.

Create a custom jigsaw puzzle of a picture of the two of you with photoshopped speech bubbles. You’re saying, “Will you marry me?” her speech bubble reads, “Yes.” Assemble the puzzle while she’s not around, but leave out the last piece with the word yes. Then call her in and tell her you’re almost done this new puzzle you got, but you want her to do the last piece and hand her the “yes” puzzle piece for her to complete. As a bonus you can later glue the puzzle together and have it framed as a memento and wall decoration for your home.

50. Virtual Reality Proposal

Everyone loves the idea of proposing in an iconic location, but sometimes, getting there isn’t feasible. Do the next best by recreating it in VR and be waiting with the ring when you get to your “destination.”

51. Box of Chocolates Proposal

If she’s a chocolate lover this can be a cute way to propose. Order a box of filled chocolates, each with a different filling. A local chocolatier would be best since you’ll be able to customize the box. Have them create one chocolate with the ring inside (have them wrap it in plastic so it doesn’t get dirty). Gift her the box and suggest trying each but guessing the filling first. Save the proposal chocolate for last. Make sure you split each chocolate open so she doesn’t try biting into it and hurting her teeth.

52. Drone Proposal

Find a secluded spot outdoors, like a field or open park. Suggest a day out for a walk or picnic lunch. While you’re lounging on the grass, have a preprogrammed drone drop in unexpectedly, carrying the ring.

What to Know Before You Plan Your Proposal

A couple of vital things to consider when planning your proposal.

1. Will your SO appreciate a public or private proposal?

This is crucial to work out before you choose how to propose, and it really comes down to how well you know your future (hopefully) wife. Some might absolutely love the idea of being surrounded by family and friends or attention from passerbys. For others, all they want is to share the experience with you alone, and anything that involves anyone other than the two of you will spoil the intimacy of the moment. So, give it some thought and choose carefully before you start planning.

One other thing to keep in mind is if you’re keeping it private but still want photos of the moment. You’ll need to do some strategic planning so that you have a camera ready to catch the moment without needing another person there.

2. Does she want to be ready for the proposal or caught off guard?

Again, this will vary greatly depending on personality type. For some, it’ll be really important that she’s all dressed up and looking her best with a photographer capturing the scene. If she generally enjoys the process of creating a perfect ensemble and getting ready for big occasions or if she likes getting good photos for events, that might be a good indication that she’ll want to look the part when the proposal happens.

Additionally, here’s a detail that she might really care about, specifically because proposals usually involve a ring. If you know she likes having her nails done, she’ll likely not want to be trying the ring on for the first time and taking photos of it with chipped polish or undone nails.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be a surprise, but you’ll need to choose a setting where it would make sense that she’d be dressed up anyway, such as dinner at an upscale restaurant.

If your girlfriend tends to be low maintenance and prefers comfort and spontaneity, you can probably choose any setting, even if it means she’ll be in leggings and a t-shirt when you pop the question.

3. Does she want a classic or more out-of-the-box proposal?

There’s a few elements to consider here that, once again, she’ll either find incredibly corny or be nothing less than what she expects for her proposal. We’re talking about things like getting down on one knee, already having the ring, giving her a bouquet of flowers, toasting with champagne, etc. The down-on-one-knee part, in particular, can really go either way. You’ve got staunch advocates and firm haters, so you really need to know what she’ll want. Talk to her close friends or sister to get a better sense, or pick a cheesy romantic comedy to watch with a classic proposal scene to get her reaction.

Remember that some women have been dreaming about the traditional proposal for years, and for others, it can come off as cliché and overdone. They’d much prefer a creative idea with thought put into it or something personalized for the two of you. So, think it over before deciding which elements to incorporate.

4. Does she want you to pick the ring or to choose one herself?

This one’s kind of a biggie because if your fiancée has very particular taste, she’ll most likely not appreciate a ring that’s not her exact style. If you know that to be the case, you’ve got a few options.

Firstly, you can do some research if she has a Pinterest board or follows jewelers on Instagram. Try to get the best sense of what she’s looking for, and then find a jeweler who’ll work with you that has a solid return and exchange policy. Discuss with the jewelers beforehand and choose a piece you think she’ll like, but with the expectation that you’ll be back to the showroom to let her exchange for her exact preference. Then, once you propose, you can let her know that you picked something you think she’d like, but it’s just a placeholder, and you’re heading to the jewelers within a few days so she can choose herself.

Alternatively, you could plan your proposal around the actual jewelry showroom. So think of maybe asking her to accompany you for some fictitious errand or appointment. Then, when you get to the showroom or jewelry store, that’s where you propose.

Again, you’ll want to plan this carefully with a jeweler who can provide the right setting and experience (so not the Macy’s jewelry counter). Preferably, it would be a jeweler that isn’t in an actual storefront because that would be a dead giveaway, but if that is the case, it can still work. You’ll need to come up with a valid excuse, like getting your watch battery replaced.

Lastly, you could propose without the ring, but if you do, at least get an empty box as a placeholder.

Talk to an Engagement Ring Expert

Afshin Estate Diamond Jewelry in Jewelry Showroom

So, now that you’ve hopefully chosen a direction for your marriage proposal, are you ready to look for a ring? Contact one of our expert jewelers here at Estate Diamond Jewelry. We’ll help you find a ring that perfectly fits your style and budget. We can also help you plan an NYC proposal from our 5th Ave. showroom.


About Afshin Shaddaie

Afshin moved to New York City in the 1980s, and a few years later, he began his career in the fine and rare jewelry scene. He teamed up with Michael Khordipour, and they've been curating vintage jewelry ever since. He also regularly contributes to Forbes, Rapaport, CNBC, The Knot, and Insider. Afshin constantly travels to international shows and private viewing events in the hope of finding rare vintage rings that will be important enough to make an impression. He is available for appointments at our New York showroom when he's not traveling. In 2019, Afshin authored his book called The Engagement Ring Guide for Men. He is considered one of the world's foremost authorities on vintage jewelry and antique diamonds. His favorite jewelry era is Art Nouveau, and he loves rare Italian jewelry from the 1950s - 1970s. The Natural Saltwater Pearl is his favorite precious jewel.