Elegant wedding rings on a watercolor cactus print
Let’s be real, popping the question is no small undertaking. It’s kind of a big deal ... as in, one of the biggest decisions of your life. No pressure -- haha! Not to mention, you might feel like you HAVE to make it the most special kind of wonderful there is for your significant other. Proposals have the potential to be straight up terrifying with the planning and the desire to make it perfect in every single way. But don't fear! It's all going to be worth it once you hear the word, "Yes!"

The pressure to come up with a unique, creative and surprising proposal idea can be daunting (‘cause not EVERYONE can jump on a jet plane, fly to Paris and climb the Eiffel Tower for the big moment). To help you brainstorm some meaningful and fun and practical ways to propose, I’ve created a list of 10 ideas to inspire your proposal.

One quick note: I know that both men AND women out there might be planning to propose. But since nearly all of my clients tell me that the guy was the one who popped the question, I'm using female pronouns for the person being proposed to. But feel free to customize this to your situation! :)

1. Be inspired by HER!
Think of what makes her unique and build from there. What does she love? What makes her unusually happy? What do the two of you share a love for? For example, what if you share a quirky obsession with books and all things literature? Spell out the message in a favorite book by highlighting a favorite quote and writing your proposal message in the side margins. Tie the ring to a special bookmark to mark the page. Done!

2. Pop the question at her work!
If the woman of your dreams loves the work she does and is ok with being asked one of the biggest questions of her life in front of an audience (important information to gather before implementing!) … this might be the perfect idea for a proposal! For example, if she teaches kids at a school or organization, get the kids involved! Have them wear t-shirts that spell out the question. Maybe teach them a song or skit that could be performed to make it extra special for everyone involved.

3. Use her routines!
Think of the everyday routines that your girlfriend is relentlessly committed to. Does she do crossword puzzles every morning while drinking her coffee? If so, create your own crossword and have the words “WILL YOU MARRY ME” appear as a part of solving the puzzle. Or you could include a cherished pet. Does your honey have a consistent routine for giving her dog a treat? You could have the pet come running at treat-time with a sign attached to their collar. It would be such a fun memory you would both treasure forever!
Engagement shoot with a dog
Adorable dog in an outdoor engagement shoot
Walking their dog, hand in hand
4. Make a game out of it.
Do you guys have a heart for games? If so, create a scavenger hunt where she finds different parts of the message that eventually leads her to that final, shiny prize. Or maybe you both love Scrabble! This is a perfect way to make your proposal fun and creative without much set-up, as long as you know how to spell all the important words like “will” and “you” and “marry” and “me”. Easy peasy and also FUN!

5. Get back to nature!
This is an especially inspiring idea for couples who love the outdoors. You could draw a message in the sand near a beach and then take her on a walk to a perfect viewing spot (just be aware of the timing of high tide), or carve the question into a piece of driftwood that happens to be strategically placed on your walk along the shoreline. You could build your message out of sticks and pine needles on the forest floor. You could hike to an open field where a picnic lunch is waiting for you ... complete with a ring inside the picnic basket. The possibilities are endless here!

6. Incorporate the seasons!
If it is Christmas, spell it out with lights or hang an ornament with the ring inside and encourage her to open it on Christmas morning. If it is fall, carve pumpkins with each letter, spelling out the question. Easter? Send her on an easter egg hunt leading her to the biggest surprise of her life. Birthdays are a great opportunity to use the almighty balloon! Hide the ring inside one balloon tucked in a balloon bouquet. Tie a picture of a specific memory that you share to the bottom of each balloon and let her know that she will have to pop each balloon to find a prize. Seasonal celebrations offer so much room for a creative proposal!
Date night, snuggling on the sofa
Mantle holiday decor with mirrors
Warm and cozy socks
Above Photos: Art Directior/Influencer: Alex Evjen with AVE Styles // Stylists: Coley Arnold & Lindsey Holt with Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market // Food Stylist: Nicky Vender // Location: Rafterhouse

7. Get your friends on board!
We’ve all seen the flash mob proposals, right? This is such a cool idea, especially for those of you who are into the performing arts. You could get your best friends involved to help carry out the performance. This will take a little more strategy and planning than many other ideas, but the result has a major wow factor! Pick a location. Pick a song. Have someone help with choreography. Coordinate a few rehearsals beforehand. You can also modify this strategy by having your friends hiding nearby when you propose. Once you have popped the question (and it has been answered), they can emerge with a special song. Then? Dance party!!

8. Use community resources!
There are so many different ways to get inventive if you are willing to ask for help. For example, say the two of you are movie buffs or theatre geeks. Ask a locally owned theatre if you could rent the use of their marquee for one evening, spelling out your question so it can be read when you walk up for your movie date. Or, ask your favorite restaurant to serve the dessert you order on an engraved plate that will reveal the proposal once you eat it all up. Yum!

9. Include your families
For those of you who have a solid, close connection to your families, why not include them? Perhaps you could have an intimate one-on-one exchange for the actual moment of proposal, but have your family plan to join you right afterward. For example, take a walk along your favorite beach (bonus points for sunsets), have an intentionally placed bottle with a “message” in it for your girlfriend to “randomly” discover. Propose. Receive the “YES.” Then, celebrate on the beach with your waiting family for a bonfire celebration … with s’mores, of course!
Footprints in the sand
Waterline at the beach
Couple running through the sand, engagement photo
10. Keep it simple!
Keep it true. The biggest thing to keep in mind when contemplating your options is this: sincerity wins, every time. A long hug and the truest expression of your love for her? Cannot be beat! There is nothing more important than being genuine when you ask this all-important question.

No matter how you plan to propose, this is a moment you can look back on for years to come. Not only will people want to hear the story at your engagement party but decades from now, your grandchildren will be asking about how you proposed. You might even consider hiring a photographer to be on the outskirts, capturing the moment as it unfolds. There's nothing quite like the surprise and emotion that follows a well-planned, thoughtful, and personal proposal to the love of your life!
------> Once the proposal is under your belt, you're going want to find the right photographer for your engagement shoot and wedding! Click here to download a FREE checklist of 12 important questions you should be asking any potential wedding photographers you meet with! We've created a convenient form for you to print and take along as you talk with photographers. Make this big decision a little easier! Download your copy today!
10 ideas to get your creativity flowing & help you plan the perfect proposal!
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