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Proposals have always been a big deal, but they’ve certainly upped their game over the past couple of decades. And why shouldn’t they? Love, especially in times like these, is worth celebrating.
That said, the location and backdrop for your big moment has become quite the big decision — one that has the power to add an extra layer of magic to your already moving love story. So, how do you make the perfect proposal selection?
Luckily, in a sprawling place like the United States, you’ve got plentiful options to choose from — ranging from the world-renowned to the lesser known. Let’s take a look!
I’m not much of a romantic comedy girlie, but from what I’ve seen, there’s a very basic formula for making a successful movie in this genre: 1) A quirky and unexpected first encounter (AKA, a meet-cute), 2) a gorgeous, successful woman who’s (let’s be honest) way too good for her male counterpart, and 3) New York City.
All the romantic comedy greats — “Sleepless in Seattle,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “27 Dresses,” to name a few — take place in NYC. Maybe it’s the bright lights. Or the Michelin Star restaurants. Or the unmatched sunset skyline. Or maybe it’s the messages of love written in graffiti on the buildings.
Any way you look at it, romance is embedded in the blueprint of this hustling, bustling city that never sleeps. So, if you’re thinking of popping the question here, you’re on the right track. And you’ve got plenty of options within NYC to choose from.
For those of you looking to bring some earthy vibes to your proposal, try the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Bridge Park, or Central Park. If your ideal “She said yes!” Instagram post features a killer backdrop, give some hotel rooftops — such as Westlight, The Water Tower Bar, or Rooftop Reds — a try.
Pro tip before you hit “Send” on this last idea: Make sure your partner doesn’t have a deathly fear of heights.
Say what you want about the South — hell, I’ll join you — but you can’t deny it’s got charm. There’s just something so Rachel McAdams about walking hand in hand down the cobblestone streets of Savannah’s historic district. Something so whimsical about laying out under the shade of an oak tree draped in Spanish moss. Something so elegant about the antebellum architecture, with its impossibly long porches and towering white columns…Feel like you’re in “The Notebook” yet?
If your partner appreciates a classic, perhaps more intimate atmosphere, this idyllic Southern city may be the perfect setting for popping the question.
The three most popular spots to look into are Forsyth Park Fountain (complete with lush greenery, hundred year-old oaks, and, of course, a massive white-water fountain), Wormsloe State Historic Site (featuring a majestic tunnel of Spanish moss-covered oak trees), and the Tybee Island Lighthouse (for lovers of all things nautical). Factor’s Walk, Savannah’s Waterfront, and Top Deck are a few honorable mentions.
Just to be clear, this Manchester is not the same as in “Manchester By the Sea” — an incredible film with a very sad ending. Manchester, New Hampshire, is a place for new beginnings and lovely experiences. Let’s talk about what makes this city a great place to begin the next chapter of your love story.
The New Hampshire city’s biggest appeal is that it represents a delicate balance of urban charm and natural beauty. On one hand, Manchester is decorated with well-preserved red-brick buildings and striking churches ideal for making your proposal pics pop. If this urban and/or historical skyline look is more your vibe, you should check out any bridge on Merrimack River (especially at sunset), Manchester City Hall, and the New Hampshire Institute of Art.
On the other, there are a handful of scenic gardens, lakes, and rivers scattered about, making sure nature aficionados get their earthy fix. If this sounds more like your cup of tea, we suggest taking a look at Livingston Park, Rockingham Recreational Park, and Lafayette Park.
If you’ve always imagined starting the biggest chapter of your love story with Mother Nature as your witness, Flagstaff, Arizona may be the perfect place to do it.
This lesser-known Arizona city offers handfuls of opportunities to capture your special moment with jaw-dropping, unforgettable natural backgrounds.
Surrounding you is the Coconino Natural Forest (home of the famous Sedona red rocks and Ponderosa Pine Forests), the San Francisco Peaks, and — you didn’t really think we would forget about this one, did you? — the Grand Canyon.
Flagstaff also touts plenty of appealing backdrops within city lines. A couple of fan favorites are the top of the hill at Lowell Observatory (a great choice if you and your lover are the stargazing type), the outdoor gardens at Arboretum at Flagstaff, and in front of the Museum of Northern Arizona.
There are many words one could use to describe the Californian city of San Diego. The one that really sums it all up, however, is “stacked.” As in, it’s got just about everything you could ask for in a city: stunning beaches, breathtaking views, vibrant culture, endless activities (land and sea), and, of course, feel-good weather all year round. That said, when it comes to planning your fairytale proposal, you’ve got more than enough to work with.
Consider planning an intimate sunset picnic at Coronado Beach. Hike down to the secret caves at Luscomb Point and pop the question at low tide. Book a private yacht and enjoy a bottle of champagne as you gaze upon the city skyline. Or, if you want to take a page out of Pixar’s book, you could rent a hot air balloon and savor a kiss with the Encinitas coastline glittering below you.
Regardless of whether your vibe is “cute and intimate” or “go big or go home,” San Diego has what it takes to make it happen — in ways you won’t soon forget.
Maybe you’ve never heard of the city of Cheboygan, Michigan, but you can’t deny it’s a fun name to say. And that’s a pretty good place to start.
This Northern coastal city has a modest population of 4,770 and sits nice and snug upon Lake Huron. It’s cozy, quaint, and has just the right amount of small town charm to make your special moment that much more intimate.
To inject a dose of both history and natural beauty into your proposal, take a lighthouse tour and pose in front of the Cheboygan Crib, or hop on a river cruise to Bois Blanc Island and find yet another lighthouse (from the Civil War-era) decorating one of its many secluded beaches.
Michigan, thanks to its dark sky preserves, also boasts an incredible celestial landscape. So, if your perfect proposal itinerary features glasses of red wine and stargazing under the light of the Milky Way, we highly recommend looking further into Cheboygan.
Las Vegas is a little like cilantro: Either you have the taste buds for it or you don’t. And that’s perfectly OK! If it’s not your thing, give the idea a swipe left and keep scrolling.
However, if you and your partner are looking to start your engagement with a bang, Las Vegas has the big, chaotic party energy to make that happen. You can pop down on one knee surrounded by the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip, or time the moment just right so it coincides with the famous water fountain shows at the Bellagio.
Or, if you’re looking to set a scene of luxury and romance, you can book a dinner for two at Jöel Robuchon, Guy Savoy (located in the world-renowned Caesar’s Palace), or Twist — all fine-dining restaurants boasting several Michelin stars.
And the best part about proposing in Sin City? It gives you the opportunity to enjoy a very short engagement. If you’re not into the big, fancy venues, five-tiered cakes, and months (or years) of wedding planning, you can choose to skip straight to the good stuff and head to a nearby chapel. We’re sure you’ll find them pretty easily. Just look out for the half-drunk Elvis impersonator!
Nestled smack dab in the center of the southern U.S., Houston has evolved into one of the most diverse cities in the country. It’s home to a number of immigrant populations — Mexican, Indian, Nigerian, and Vietnamese, to name a few — infusing the city with a unique blend of cultures, language, food, and art. Plus, Houston has its fair share of architectural and natural beauty, all in all making it a top contender for date nights and marriage proposals.
For a more intimate proposal complemented by a background of lush greenery, you can enjoy a picnic at McGovern Centennial Gardens or a stroll around the Japanese Garden. For a stunning city view, day or night, book a reservation at Z on 23, or any one of Houston’s highly-rated rooftop bars. Or, if any of you lovely couples out there are baseball fans, hit a home run by proposing on the big screen at Minute Maid Park,
Twin Falls — like Manchester or Cheboygan — is a great small town for couples who prefer the simpler things in life. This small northwestern town is filled with stunning natural landscapes, plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures, and local charm up the wazoo. Shoshone Falls Park is the reason this Idaho town ranks on our list of the most scenic places to propose.
For those of you looking to venture outside of city lines, head over to Canyon Rim Boardwalk and catch the panoramic views of the Snake River Canyon and Perrine Bridge. For a quite literal immersion into nature, take a dip into the Kirkham Hot Springs and savor the proposal in the heat of the naturally-purified water.
Lastly, keeping our adrenaline-junkies in mind, consider booking a skydiving or base jumping trip and enjoy the prospect of forever with the breathtaking landscapes of Idaho laid out beneath you.
Hold onto your hats folks, we’re taking it all the way down south. Bay St. Louis, with a population of less than 10,000, is an adorable seaside town located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Comparable in many ways to New Orleans, this unique Southern haven is home to an eclectic mix of local seafood cuisine, historical landmarks, and a thriving art scene that ranges from the bohemian to the contemporary.
Couples looking toward engagement have several options when it comes to selecting the perfect proposal setting. For cozy and warm seaside vibes, a popular go-to — especially at sunset — is the Bay St. Louis Harbor. Another popular spot for a romantic photo op is Biloxi Lighthouse Park, one of the first cast-iron lighthouses erected in the South.
To capture the more vibrant, inner-city energy in your proposal pics, head to two of the most popular strips in the Old Town: Bridge Street and Blues Alley, where you’ll find ample restaurants, bars, art galleries, and music clubs to set the tone for your special moment.
If you’re committed to the Southern charm theme, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, deserves a spot on your list — and I’m not just saying that because I was raised there. (…Or maybe I am. Sue me).
Home of one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the country, this small Southern town is buzzing with knowledge, history, and a thriving art and music scene.
If you’re looking for a historic backdrop to pop the question, try The Chapel of the Cross or the Old Well (pictured above) on UNC Chapel Hill’s campus. Outdoorsy couples may want to consider the sprawling natural landscapes at the North Carolina Botanical Garden and Eno River State Park.
Maybe you’re hoping for some urban architectural views and inspiring murals. No matter your tastes, this low-key North Carolinian city has got what you need.
Disney adults, this is your moment to shine. Kissimmee is a large city in central Florida, just half an hour or so south of Orlando — which means it’s a short drive to some of the world’s most popular theme park destinations, including Disney World (otherwise known as the happiest place on Earth), Universal Studios, and SeaWorld, among other attractions.
Disney World — with its colorful scenery, magical castle, and nightly fireworks — is a hot spot for marriage proposals. But here’s the thing: The Disney park employees don’t like it. Unfortunately, marriage proposals can attract big gatherings that make crowd control difficult. This can take away from other guest experiences, so the Disney World team would prefer couples enjoy their proposals outside the parks.
The best way to do it is to pop the question at Disney Springs, a bustling shopping area on the water. Or you can plan an intimate proposal on the balcony of your hotel during the nightly firework show. This way you can still embrace the magic of the Disney parks without all the hassle!
A proposal in Hawaii? Need I say more? (No, but I will anyway). Honolulu has everything that an unforgettable proposal needs: jaw-dropping natural landscapes, white sandy beaches, and more romantic outdoor excursions than you could ever ask for.
You want a stunning sunset backdrop that’s going to break the internet? Hop on an intimate boat tour along the Oahu Waikiki Coast. You want to start off this next chapter with a challenging but rewarding adventure? Grab your hiking gear and make your way to the top of Koko Crater, Diamond Head, or Ka’au Crater.
Want to keep it nice and simple while still taking in the luscious island views? Grab some fresh local seafood, pick out a nice bottle of wine, and set up a dreamy picnic for two on the sandy shores of Waikiki or Lanikai Beach.
Whether it’s on land or at sea, at sunrise or sunset, Hawaii sets the scene for proposal memories to last a lifetime.
Like most things in the game of love, marriage proposals are not one-size-fits-all. What seems like a romantic setting to me might be “too fancy” or “not fancy enough” to someone else. At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong place to propose — just as long as it feels good to you!
So, do your research. Learn as much as you can about your partner’s preferences from family and friends. And follow your gut. Or follow their Pinterest board – that works, too.