50 Unique Marriage Proposal Ideas [+ Printables]

Thinking of popping the question? Arrange the perfect proposal for your partner with these creative ideas. From romantic to adventurous, there's one for you!

proposal idea hero image of person holding engagement ring box
Photo by Zola

Your partner means the world to you, and you want to express that in the perfect marriage proposal. After all, asking for someone’s hand in marriage is an unforgettable and life-changing moment.

While men were once the ones to propose in traditional settings, we recently surveyed 1,040 people and found that over 80% of respondents see nothing wrong with women proposing to men. That’s why we’ve put together a list of over 50 unique proposal ideas for all genders and types of couples. From playful and romantic to adventurous and imaginative, there’s one here for you!

Skip to your ideal proposal plan:

Indoor Proposal Ideas

Is your partner more of an introvert who prefers quiet quality time together? They’ll love these intimate, indoor proposal ideas.

1. Hire a Chef at Home

Instead of dining out at a favorite restaurant, have a date night dinner at your place with a hired chef. Set the stage by sending your partner a photo of the menu before their arrival. Have the chef prepare your partner’s favorite appetizer, entrée, and dessert. After finishing your entrées, have the chef bring out the dessert: the engagement ring.

2. Create a Video

If you’re savvy with video content creation, consider creating a video. Compile different moments that you and your significant other have spent together, such as snippets from your phone and social media. You can create a story timeline from the time you both met to your most recent moments, followed by you proposing.

3. Candlelight Home Surprise

Create a pathway in your house using candlelights and romantic quotes. Once your partner enters, they will follow the dimly lit path of love quotes to the engagement ring. Proposal idea mockup love quotes

4. Breakfast-in-Bed Proposal

Treat your partner to a delicious breakfast-in-bed. You can get creative by serving heart-shaped pancakes or strawberries as a symbol of your love. Bring in the dish on a meal tray with a love message hinting to your partner where you’ve placed the ring.

5. Photo Booth Proposal

Pull your partner into a photo booth for some impromptu couple’s photos. Then, when they least expect it, put out the ring. This surprise moment in the photos can become a cherished keepsake and fun way to share the news.

Outdoor Proposal Ideas

If your partner is more of a people person and prefers being out and about, they’ll love these creative outdoor proposal ideas.

6. Plan a Surprise Photoshoot

Suggest that you and your partner hire a professional photographer to take fancy couples’ photos of you two. Inform the photographer in advance that you plan to propose during the shoot. At a moment when the photographer distracts your partner’s attention, pull out the ring. Once they turn back to you, the photographer will capture the moment.

7. Pop the Question on a Hike

Does your significant other love a good hike? Take them out on a hiking adventure in the mountains and propose to them with the beautiful backdrop of nature.

8. Propose on a Boat Ride

Do you live near the beach? Enjoy a romantic boat ride for the day and propose while sailing.

9. Spontaneous Weekend Getaway

What better way to surprise your significant other than a spontaneous trip! Instruct your partner to pack their bags without revealing the destination. Slip the ring or a proposal note in their luggage for them to see once you all arrive and unpack.

10. Take a Guided Tour

Tour a luxurious or historical site that your partner would enjoy, such as a famous winery. When the moment feels right, propose!

Proposal Ideas for Favorite Hobby

Incorporating your proposal into your partner’s favorite pastime is a great way to catch them by surprise. Check out a few of our favorite hobby proposal ideas below.

11. Take a Couple’s Paint Class

Plan a fun couple’s paint class. You can check for art studios and restaurants that host paint nights for special occasions. During the session, paint your proposal question, making sure your canvas isn’t visible to your partner. Then, once the paint session ends, turn your canvas around to reveal your message.

12. Fishing Surprise

If you or your partner enjoy fishing, spend a romantic afternoon by the lake. When your partner isn’t looking, place the engagement ring on your fishing hook. Call your partner over and say you’ve caught something big. It’ll be the “perfect catch.”

13. Trip Down Memory Lane

Put together a collection of treasured memories that you both share in a box. This can include items such as you and your partner’s favorite games, songs, photos, books, and snacks. Hide the ring box beneath the other items for your partner to discover.

14. DIY Scrapbook

Recreate the above idea as a scrapbook! Put together a decorative book full of you and your partner’s favorite things using photos, images, stickers, and written messages. Dedicate each page to a particular hobby or activity, such as your favorite vacation trip or music. Reserve the last page for the written proposal or the engagement ring taped to the page.

15. Felt Letter Board Message

Proposal idea felt letter board message Does your partner enjoy using felt letter boards? Rearrange the letters on it one day with a funny or romantic message hinting at your proposal.

16. Bookmark Proposal

Is your partner a bookworm? Sneak in this creative bookmark proposal in the book they’re currently reading. Your partner will never suspect it!

proposal idea bookmark

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Playful Proposal Ideas

One of the best things you love about your significant other is their sense of humor. Share some laughs and great memories with these playful proposal ideas.

17. Bathroom Mirror Message

Use lipstick or a dry erase marker to write your proposal on the bathroom mirror. This will be one trip to the bathroom your partner won’t forget!

18. Ring-Pop Proposal

Does your partner have a sweet tooth? Pop the question using the tasty Ring-Pop candy. This could be a fun photo to share with your family and loved ones to announce the engagement.

19. Game Night Proposal

Insist that you and your partner host a game night with family and friends (who can also be in on the surprise). You can use a word game like Scrabble to spell out “will you marry me?” with the letters. For artsy games like Pictionary, you can draw a ring or a figure down on one knee.

20. Music Song Playlist

Create a music playlist of all the favorite songs you and your partner share. Towards the end of the list, add in some romantic songs about love and marriage, such as Marry You by Bruno Mars. Choose an evening where both of you can enjoy listening to the playlist, such as while cooking dinner. The end of the playlist can be the moment you pull out the ring.

21. Scavenger Hunt Surprise

Leave notes of clues around the house for your partner to find. Each clue can lead to the next, and the final clue will reveal the hidden engagement ring. proposal idea scavenger hunt

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Holiday Proposal Ideas

Since the holidays are generally a time when people gather with family and loved ones, this could be the perfect opportunity to pop the question. Here are a few creative holiday proposal ideas to try.

22. Jack O'Lantern Carved Proposal

Throw a Halloween party and initiate a jack o'lantern carving contest. Surprise your significant other with a carved out “marry me” message.

23. Proposal in Christmas Lights

You can use Christmas lights as decoration around your proposal message or assemble the lights as the message!

24. Easter Egg with the Ring Inside

Insist that adults join in on the Easter egg hunt game. This way, you can hide the ring into one of the eggs that your partner collects.

25. Fourth of July Fireworks

Set up a romantic evening to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July. That way, you can propose beneath a beautifully lit sky of sparks and colored flames.

26. Thanksgiving Dinner Surprise

When your partner is distracted, sneak the ring box in front of them onto the dinner table. You can also write the proposal message on their napkin, and pull out the ring once read.

Proposal Ideas with Pets

Pets are family too! Try these cute proposal ideas that incorporate your furry friends.

27. “Marry Us” Collar Sign

Hang an adorable proposal sign around your dog’s collar before your partner takes them out for a walk. Proposal idea pet collar sign

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28. Paw-print Proposal Cards

Create a thoughtful card with a hand-written message of your proposal. You can decorate the card with your cat or dog’s paw prints. You can use water-based, non-toxic paint that is pet-friendly, as well as non-toxic ink pads.

29. “Fetch the Ring”

If your dog loves playing fetch, have him or her fetch the ring! Secure the ring onto an item that’s easy for the dog to bring, such as a frisbee or stuffed animal.

Social Distanced Proposal Ideas

Social distancing measures during the pandemic may put a dent in your original proposal plans, especially if it involves travel. If that is the case, we found a couple of creative proposal ideas that comply with the guidelines.

30. Surprise Message with Family and Friends

Take your partner out on a walk in an open area, such as a park. Tell your partner’s family or friends in advance where you’ll be and when to come to celebrate your engagement at a distance. You can have each of the family members or friends hold up poster boards in the order of “Will you marry me?”

31. Face Mask Message

Design or purchase a customized face mask with your proposal message. You can also purchase a mask for your partner that says “I said yes!” to wear for engagement announcement photos.

Bridesmaid Proposal Ideas

Once engaged, you may have a few people in mind for your wedding party. If you’re the bride-to-be, check out these fun bridesmaid gifts and proposal ideas to ask when celebrating with your closest guy and gal pals.

32. Bridesmaid Proposal Gift Box

Surprise your friends with a gift box full of skincare essentials for the perfect spa day at home. This thoughtful care package includes a facial cleansing mask, delicious chocolate, scrubbing brush, and more.

33. Scented Candles

These cute, travel-sized candles are an easy yet thoughtful gift for your friends to light up their day! The candle is designed with handwritten “Will You Be My Bridesmaid” calligraphy and comes in delicious-smelling scents including White Tea. You can pair the candle with this matching bridesmaid matchbox.

34. Custom Wine Proposal Labels

Having wine at your engagement party? Create or order custom wine labels on the bottles. The wine bottles will be a unique and fun way to ask your friends to join your wedding party.

35. Personalized Coffee Cups

If you and your friends share a love for coffee, then they’re sure to love personalized “be my bridesmaid” proposal cups!

Throwing a virtual celebration can be just as fun as an in-person one when well-planned. Check out our post on virtual bridesmaid proposal ideas for more inspiration!

Additional Fun Proposal Ideas

When it comes to expressing your love, the possibilities are endless. Here are several more fun and creative proposal ideas to try.

36. “Pop the Question” Birthday Balloons

If it’s your partner’s birthday, slip a note of your proposal inside one of the birthday balloons. Have your partner pop the balloons to reveal their surprise proposal gift.

37. Propose at Disney World

What better memory than a proposal in front of the iconic Cinderella castle at Disney World? The amusement park is full of other entertainment and attractions, such as a fireworks cruise and Disney characters, to create the perfect moment.

38. Hire a Serenader

Go out for a romantic dinner or stroll in the park. You can have a serenader arrive at your location to perform your partner’s favorite love song. End the night on one knee with the ring!

39. Hot Air Balloon Proposal

Propose to your partner up in the air! Plan a hot air balloon ride together for a breathtaking view of the city when you propose.

40. Include the Kids

If you or your significant other have children, include them in the surprise! Consider planning a family outing, such as at a beach. While your partner is distracted, the kids can help set the scene, such as drawing “will you marry me?” in the sand.

41. Personalized Lantern Message

Simple yet thoughtful, order a personalized lantern with your marriage proposal carved inside. Once your partner lights the lantern, your message will display on the wall.

42. Fortune Cookie Surprise

Fortune cookies are hard once opened, but completely malleable when warmed. You can quickly heat up a fortune cookie in the microwave for a few seconds and, once soft, gently open the sides to slip in your “fortune” proposal note. The cookie will cool and re-harden within minutes. Your partner won’t notice the difference!

43. Message in a Bottle

Write a love letter or poem with your proposal message on a sheet of paper and roll it up in a bottle. You can place the bottle somewhere fun and mysterious, such as in the sand at the beach, where you both can walk past and “discover” it.

44. Pizza Box Proposal

Cheesy and adorable! Order delivery from your partner’s favorite pizza spot and ask the staff to write “will you marry me?” inside the box.

45. Re-create Your First Date

If your first date was a memorable moment, re-create it! For example, take your significant other to the first place you both had dinner together and order the same meal as the first time. Wear the same or similar outfit as a hint.

Proposal idea recreate first date

46. Dance Proposal

Get dressed up and go out together for an evening of dancing. You can make a special request to the DJ to play your favorite love song. It will be the perfect moment to pop the question.

47. Proposal Movie Trailer

If you have phenomenal videography skills, create a faux movie trailer. This will require a lot of planning in advance, so give yourself ample time to ask for help from family or friends, as well as development. Once complete, host a ‘movie night’ with your partner where you will reveal the trailer.

48. Lip-Dub Proposal

For theatre lovers, a lip-dub proposal would make a wonderful performance. A video of this idea has ranked on YouTube as the best proposal ever for eight years straight!

49. Aquarium Proposal

Plan a nice afternoon trip to your local aquarium. You can ask the staff in advance if they can assist in the surprise. Once your partner is surrounded by exotic sea animals and tranquil blue scenery, you’ll have the perfect backdrop for your proposal!

50. Coffee Mug Surprise

If your partner starts their morning with coffee, insist on preparing the cup. Secretly write “will you marry me” inside the coffee cup before pouring in the batch. Once your partner begins to drink, the proposal message will gradually appear!

We hope this gives you plenty of ideas to choose from for your surprise proposal. Once engaged, Zola has everything you and your fiance-to-be will need to plan your dream wedding. From vendors to invites, we’re your one-stop shop for all things wedding.