You’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, scoured stores filled with engagement rings until you finally found The One, and now you’re ready to take the next step: popping the question. There are endless locations to propose, but being outdoors adds a special element of wonder. After all, Mother Nature offers an array of romantic settings that seem to have been made for love stories. Here’s our list of 19 outdoor proposal ideas to inspire you, help you plan, and encourage the answer you want to hear: Yes.
Tip: Take photos during the proposal, enough to fill a photo album so you don’t forget a second of this experience. If you prefer to live in the moment, you can hire a photographer (who’ll be happy to hide!) to capture the scene.
1. Hiking Proposal
Work for your outdoor proposal by hiking a trail until you come to a dazzling cliff, a source of water, or another natural setting. While your love is preoccupied with all the beauty, pull out the ring and summon those special words. If you’re both avid hikers, go all out by going on a backpacking trip to a stunning location. As backpacking food is usually akin to cardboard, bring your honey’s favorite non-meltable dessert along, and serve it to them with the ring on top.
2. Wooded Wonderland
Here’s an outdoor proposal idea fit for a fairy princess: Find a clearing off a hiking trail or in a wooded area you won’t get lost in and adorn it with a canopy of battery-powered twinkle lights, blankets, throw pillows, rose petals, champagne, and a portable speaker to play sentimental tunes. Then, take your paramour on a casual stroll that ends in the wonderland you thoughtfully created.
3. Put a Ring on It — on a Boat
Boats are hard to beat when you want to set an intimate tone for your outdoor proposal. Take advantage of the lovey-dovey vibes by booking a private sunset cruise on a gondola, sailboat, or catamaran. From there, ask the Big Question when you reach a spot that’s so extraordinary it almost makes you speechless.
4. Christmas Tree Surprise
If you’re planning to propose in December, take your honey to a Christmas tree lot for the ultimate Christmas gift: promising them a lifetime of love and support. Before your special outing, order an ornament with some version of Will you marry me? printed on it. Hide it on your person and pop it on a tree while you’re exploring the lot. After a while, lead your sweetheart to the special tree and support them in finding the ornament, like it’s a treasure hunt.
5. Pumpkin Proposal
Host a pumpkin carving party for your friends and family that will end in your momentous question. Carve a Will you marry me? pumpkin ahead of time, and hide it to ensure your surprise isn’t revealed prematurely. End the party by having each guest reveal their final product. Then, grab your pre-carved pumpkin and reveal it to the group.
6. Secret Garden
For a simple yet delightful outdoor proposal idea, get a friend or family member to help you set up a picnic at your favorite botanical garden—before you arrive with your beloved. Then, arrange to have them hide behind some flowers, and peek out to take photos, after you hear the best yes ever.
7. Hide the Ring in a Rose
How about a simple proposal overflowing with romance? Find a gorgeous rose in a garden and hide the engagement ring within its petals. Then, lead your special person to the rose, instruct them to have a whiff, and hope they see the sparkly ring within the flower’s folds. (If not, help them out.) You’ll create a moment that’s frill-free and focuses on what’s really important: honoring your everlasting bond.
8. Surprise Proposal in the Sky
Achieve the ultimate outdoor proposal with a romantic hot air balloon ride as the sun sets. Pack a bottle of bubbly, a box of chocolates, and the ring, and take to the sky for your big ask.
9. Picture-Perfect in Paradise
Craft a destination proposal by whisking your love off to a tropical oasis, where you can set up a proposal at one of its enchanting spots. Hawaii, for example, is filled with stunning waterfalls that create an idyllic setting for proposing marriage.
10. Sunrise and Sunset
Utilize the majesty of a sunrise or sunset by taking your girlfriend or boyfriend to your favorite spot to see the sun arrive or depart. Then, in that dazzling moment when the sun kisses the sky in just the right way, open the box.
11. “Thrilling” Proposal
If you’re both adrenaline junkies, combine your love for thrills—and each other—by proposing at an amusement park. While we don’t recommend pulling out the ring while on a ride, you can still say the words as the roller coaster is clacking up the track to the big drop, right before the drop tower releases, or as the log-ride makes its way to a watery plunge.
12. Serenade at an Outdoor Café
Give onlookers something to ooh and awe over by hiring 1 or 2 musicians to stroll up to your table at your favorite outdoor eatery and start playing a song that has a special meaning for you two. Then, as the song concludes, assume the position for a perfect proposal.
13. Write It in the Clouds
Create a movie-worthy outdoor proposal moment by hiring a skywriter to paint the sky with your notable question. While they’ll help you organize where to be and at what time, it’s up to you to create a convincing excuse for the potentially unusual outing.
14. Ferris Wheel Romance
An iconic site for romantic moments, a Ferris wheel has the uncanny power to awaken your sense of childlike wonder. An ideal place for your outdoor proposal, it’ll kick off your journey on a merry note thanks to its light, airy, and breathtaking vibes.
15. Surprise BBQ
If you’re sure your proposal will garner a yes, and your family and friends are an integral part of your lives as a couple, why not plan a surprise BBQ? Fill your outdoor celebration with décor like engagement ring balloons, a Will you marry me? banner, and lots of flowers. Then, swear your guests to secrecy and get down on one knee when she or he arrives.
16. Scuba Love
If you live near a body of water that offers prime scuba diving conditions, or you plan to travel to such a place, use the mystical nature of the realm beneath the surface for your outdoor proposal. Simply bring an underwater slate on your dive, and when your almost-fiancé is distracted, write and present your question.
17. Romantic Summit
If rock climbing is an activity you share with your main squeeze, select a summit you can reach by car and climb. Then, prepare a sentimental spread replete with flowers, drink, and tasty treats your partner will see when they reach the top. To ensure you have enough time for set-up, and the surprise is hidden, ask your love to meet you at the base of the climbing site.
18. Propose with a Bang
Pull off a truly shocking outdoor proposal by hiring a company that crafts customized fireworks. (Yes, they really do exist.) These firework professionals will help you choose a safe and legal site for the display and take care of igniting the Will you marry me? blast.
19. Ask with a Flash Mob
Create a real-life rom-com moment by hiring a flash mob to bust out in dance to your love’s favorite song. Plan it for while you’re on a walk in a park, beach, or another outdoor area that typically has people roaming about. Add to the moment by asking the choreographer to craft a dance that ends in the performers encircling the two of you, creating a perfect frame for your proposal.
Bailey Gaddis is a travel writer and author of Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood. In addition, she works as a childbirth preparation educator and birth doula who supports mothers-to-be and new mothers. She is also a regular contributor to media outlets including Disney’s Babble, Working Mother, Pregnancy & Newborn, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and Woman’s Day. In addition to her childbirth-prep work, she volunteers for families in need of postpartum support. She lives in Ojai, California.