7 Less-Obvious Tips For Making Your Marriage Proposal Unforgettably Romantic

How long-lasting memories are made.

Last updated on Dec 05, 2023

Man proposing to woman Gabe Pierce | Unsplash 

You’ve found the love of your life, and you’re excited to spend the rest of your lives together!

The next step is deciding how to propose and find a memorable way to pop the question when you surprise them with that ring.

As someone who's been a professional wedding officiant for over 20 years, I’ve probably heard all variations of marriage proposal ideas and stories you can imagine.

One of the favorite questions to ask couples when we start working together during their engagement is how the proposal happened.


Along the way, I’ve learned that before you start planning any elaborate schemes, there are a few basic things to keep in mind to make the occasion special and romantic for both of you.

RELATED: 30 Best Marriage Proposal Stories Of All Time

Here are seven less obvious tips for how to propose in a way that makes your engagement truly unforgettable:

1. Consider your sweetie’s personality as much as your own.

Maybe you’re a major party animal, and they love to cuddle at home (or it could be the other way around).

Consider your mutual balance of introvert vs. extrovert energy to see if you can blend the two.


You could plan an intimate proposal, then whisk them off to a gathering of family and friends to celebrate together. Or start big by creating an over-the-top flash mob proposal, followed by plenty of quiet time for your private celebration.

One of my grooms surprised his then-girlfriend with a very public proposal in a fancy restaurant, and she freaked out! He requested a “do-over” and designed a sweet little moment for the two of them a few weeks later, which she officially accepted.

They’ve been happily married for five years now.



2. Involve your families.

You can always go the uber-traditional route of asking their father for their hand in marriage.


Asking parental permission may not be as common nowadays, but it’s still a nice touch and gets you off on the right foot with your future in-laws!

Likewise, the family can be particularly helpful with ideas for choosing engagement ring stones and styles.

You could even plan a special family gathering after you pop the question so everyone can celebrate with the two of you at a nice restaurant or with a pre-planned meal arranged at one of your family member's homes.

Of course, going that route means a whole bunch of people will know your plans ahead of time, so be sure they can keep a secret before you get them involved.

RELATED: How To Have The Perfect Marriage Proposal From Start To Finish, According To Real Couples


3. Pick a memorable location.

Deciding on a proposal spot can go in a few different directions.

You could choose a place that already holds a special meaning to the two of you, like your favorite beach or the place where you had your first date.

One of my couples got engaged in Riverside Park in New York City because it’s where they always went for walks when they were getting to know each other.

Or, you could go for a place on your joint bucket list. That might mean going to a local eatery, vineyard, or even farther away for a destination proposal.

The time and energy you put into choosing the perfect spot will make the whole experience feel more thoughtful and romantic for both of you.




4. Create a good story to keep it a surprise.

This is probably one of the few times it’s OK to lie to your beloved!

If you want to surprise them, you could come up with a creative way to get them where you want to propose or to keep them from becoming suspicious.

Our younger son, Chris, proposed to his now-wife when we were all together on a family trip to Florida. The story he told her was they would go out for a romantic dinner while my husband and I stayed at the resort to babysit our granddaughter.


As soon as Chris left, we quickly changed out of our shorts and followed them to the restaurant. We even managed to get a sneaky photo as he proposed to her on a private balcony, and then we surprised her with a joyful engagement dinner celebration!

RELATED: How To Harness The Powerful Lunar Energy Of The Moon Phase Closest To Your Wedding Date

5. Prepare what you want to say in advance.

I’m all for letting your heart lead you. However, this is not the time to wing it. You certainly don’t want to sound like you’re reading from a script, but it’s still a good idea to jot down some ideas beforehand.

Make notes about what they mean to you, what you love about them, and what you’re looking forward to throughout your life together. Then practice your proposal out loud.


And in the excitement of the occasion, don’t forget to ask them to marry you!

One of my couples told me that when she realized what was happening, she jumped in and popped the question before her overly emotional husband-to-be could get it out. There was lots of laughing and crying for both of them.

man proses on one knee in rural setting

Photo Eldar Murkovic via Shutterstock


RELATED: 50 Romantic Love Quotes To Use In Your Proposal Speech & Wedding Vows

6. Be flexible.

Yes, even the best-laid plans can get messed up. If you’ve envisioned an outdoor proposal and it’s pouring rain when you wake up, be sure you have an alternate inside spot picked out.

Maybe your sweetheart feels lousy the weekend you’ve planned your beautiful proposal getaway. As nerve-wracking as it might be, be prepared to delay your big ask a few days or weeks so they can be fully present and enjoy the moment as much as you do.

It could also be that they are not in the mood for whatever cool idea you had in mind when the time arrives. My older son had lovely plans to go on a bike ride to Brooklyn Bridge Park with his now wife — a favorite activity of theirs — and propose there before heading to brunch at a new neighborhood place.


She nixed the idea of a bike ride that morning and was excited about going to a new place to eat, so he ended up proposing on the stoop of their brownstone apartment building. It was just as romantic.

Then they met us at the new restaurant, as by that time, she was completely on board with going wherever he wanted to take her!

7. Plan to make sure you have digital support.

That could be as simple as being sure you bring your fully-charged cellphone with you, ready to call your family and friends with the exciting news that they said yes.

And if it’s just the two of you, you’ll want to take that classic engagement selfie with your newly-minted fiancée flashing their engagement ring.


Depending on the kind of proposal, you can also arrange for a photographer or a videographer to capture the moment. Your sweetie will appreciate having that memento since they probably won’t remember many details in all the excitement!

The only hitch is figuring out a way to keep that third party hidden until you spring the question.

Whether you’re planning an elaborate proposal or a private little moment in your backyard, you want to be sure all goes smoothly with a minimum of stress.

Take the time to consider all these basic tips, along with your romantic ideas and logistical maneuvering, and you’re guaranteed to end up with an unforgettable memory for both of you.


No matter what happens, it all becomes part of the proposal story you’ll both look back on with a mix of affection, humor, and starry eyes.

RELATED: 10 Beautifully Unexpected Ways Husbands Proposed To Their Wives

Deborah Roth is a Life and Career Transition Coach and Interfaith Minister who founded Spirited Living™ to help guide spirited women and men through life’s big changes with joy and ease.