12 Unforgettable Wedding Proposal Ideas
In the West, there’s no shortage of breathtaking backdrops for popping the question. We’ve rounded up our favorite creative wedding proposal ideas in the most romantic locales
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Bask in Big Sur Beauty
“For a romantic adventure, head to Big Sur’s Pfeiffer Beach—a hidden gem accessed via a narrow, unmarked road that creates suspense as it winds its way to your fantasy destination,” says Jolene Rae Harrington of Here Comes The Guide. “Time your arrival for sunset, and let the magic unfold.” Of course, must-have props, besides the ring, include a cozy blanket for snuggling and a bottle of bubbly. When the moment feels right, take your cue from nature and express your desire to spend a lifetime of sunsets with your beloved. To make it extra special, Harrington suggests bringing along a small picnic basket with chocolate-covered strawberries to enjoy after you’ve popped the question.
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Fly over Nā Pali Coast in Kauai, Hawaii
While it could take us weeks to list all the gorgeous spots where you can propose in Hawaii, Kauai’s Nā Pali Coast, with its lush vegetation and towering sea cliffs, really stands out. But don’t take it from us, listen to what the pros have to say. “The majestic Nā Pali Coast is one of the most spectacular wilderness areas in the Pacific, with its unforgettable blend of multi-colored sea cliffs, fertile valleys, and remote beaches. Located on the Northwest shore of Kauai, this area is unreachable by car, so one of the best ways to really experience it up close and personal and in all of its splendor, is by air,” says Bernadette Freitas, a senior event specialist for Maui-based Wild Orchid Wedding. And by air, we mean by helicopter tour, a popular way to experience the coast. This is the perfect opportunity to steal your sweetheart away into the clouds and proclaim your everlasting love with a truly memorable proposal. Toast the happy event at The St. Regis Bar in Princeville, where Champagne sabering on the balcony is a nightly custom as you overlook Hanalei Bay and Bali Hai.
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Reflect on Your Love at Lake Louise, Canada
Head to our northern neighbor for a proposal of a lifetime. Lake Louise, located in Banff National Park, is one of the most picturesque backdrops in the Canadian Rockies, let alone North America. “Complete with pristine blue lakes, glacial peaks, and endless mountain vistas, it's an incredible place to sweep someone off their feet,” says Alberta-based award-winning wedding planner Julianne Young. Just keep in mind that during the high season (June to September) the lake is pretty popular, so plan your proposal for sunrise or sunset to avoid the crowds and keep the moment as private as possible. Celebrate your engagement at the luxurious Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, located just steps away from the lake.
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Hike to Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park, Utah
If you are the outdoorsy kind of couple who like hiking and even have a favorite national park, because you’ve most probably visited all of them, then popping the question at the summit of Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park is a no-brainer. “An engagement that captures your adventurous spirit starts at this one-mile hiking trail. When you make it to the clifftop observation point, a panoramic view of slot canyons, sandstone peaks, and the rugged Zion landscape is there to greet you. This makes a fantastic backdrop for proposal photos, and since the hike wasn’t particularly taxing, you two still look fresh and camera-ready,” says Jenna Miller of Here Comes The Guide. To commemorate the moment, have the exact coordinates of Canyon Overlook engraved onto the inside of the ring, and hire a photographer to wait for you at the summit for an impromptu engagement photo session.
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See (Literal) Stars at Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles
There’s a reason why Griffith Observatory is a popular spot among couples—the panoramic views of L.A. are absolutely gorgeous. But don’t worry, you could easily find an intimate and hidden nook ideal for getting down on one knee away from people’s eyes. “You can take an evening stroll outside on the walkway, or take advantage of the many fun astronomy activities inside. To take the romance up another notch, check the schedule in advance for the free nighttime shows,” suggests Nahid Farhoud of Nahid's Global Events.
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Write Your Message in the Sand at White Sand National Monument, New Mexico
“The endless white sand and rolling hills [of White Sand National Monument ] make you feel like you're in a completely different world,” says Afeisha James-Kipps, co-founder of Wedspire. Write your message in the sand at the top of a hill, and drop to one knee when you hike to the top with your soon-to-be fiancée. “A photographer is a must since these photos will make for incredible memories,” she adds.
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Go on a Grape Escapade in California Wine Country
“Where there is no wine, there is no love,” proclaimed Greek tragedian Euripides, and who are we to disagree with this ancient literary mind? Head to beautiful Sonoma Valley, where there is plenty of wine to match your infinite love for your partner. “Going to a small winery, you will have your choice of locations onsite, but my personal recommendation is to take a walk into the actual vineyard, or find a special place on the property,” suggests Kalika Ansel of Runaway With Me, a Napa Valley luxury elopement and wedding planning agency. Her favorite spots are the back deck of De Loach Vineyards, overlooking the vineyards and the mountains, and the Rose Garden at Chateau St. Jean, a stunning spot that “feels like you are in an old European garden.”
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Explore the Lost Sierra, California
“The Lost Sierra is a hidden gem when it comes to picturesque moments for popping the question. Sardine Lake (pictured), Frazier Falls, and Lakes Basin in general have been known to be spots that encourage a yes,” according to Paulette Alkire, lead wedding planner at Chalet View Lodge. Leslie Smith of Ceremony App agrees. “Frazier Falls is an easy hike that takes less than an hour, so it's the perfect engagement site for couples who appreciate a beautiful backdrop but don't want a sweaty proposal. You could plan to have a photographer at the top to capture the big moment, and then surprise your new fiancé at the bottom with family, friends, and some bubbly,” she suggests.
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Enjoy an Enchanted Garden Dinner in SoCal
What if we told you that only a short drive outside of Los Angeles there is a place that looks and feels like you were suddenly transported to a serene winery in the South of France overlooking the ocean? “Catalina View Gardens is unlike any other location, making it a flawless setting for a proposal. It is intimate, yet the views are expansive and unparalleled,” says Mark A. Kaussner, senior director of catering and conference services at Terranea Resort, A Destination Hotel. “The secluded garden setting lends itself to unique proposals and the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop makes it magical. The views from all angles will take your breath away with the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Catalina Island, and the Los Angeles coast all within sight, making it an incomparable spot.” Bring your significant other for a romantic weekend here—Terranea Resort, A Destination Hotel is the ideal spot since it’s located minutes away from the gardens—and invite your friends and family to join you for drinks after your engagement.
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Tell a Whale of an Engagement Tale in Depoe Bay, Oregon
“There is so much to love about Delpoe Bay,” says Nora Sheils of Portland-based wedding planning and design company Bridal Bliss. “One detail that is extremely unique about this setting is the sea wall that runs the length of the town, meaning you can get down on one knee while dining oceanside.” But for those looking for a unique setting to pop the question, Delpoe Bay offers something very few other places do—a resident pod of gray whales that makes this area home for roughly ten months out of the year. Nothing can be more spectacular than proposing to the love of your life while surrounded by these majestic creatures in open waters. “The Oregon coast has some of the prettiest sunsets in the U.S., and taking your S.O. whale watching is such a romantic date idea. Before you get on the boat, pack a small picnic with sparking wine, cheese, and charcuterie. As soon as the sun hits the horizon, seize the moment and pop the question! After he/she says yes, break out your spread and enjoy the view,” adds Afeisha James-Kipps of Wedspire.
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Fly up, up, and away over Sedona, Arizona
Proposing on a hot air balloon is not just romantic, but it also has a nostalgic quality. If your loved one is an old soul, he/she will be thrilled. “The best part is that every hot air balloon trip is unique. Where you take off, what you see along the way, and where you land can be completely different each time. You and your new fiancé will be the only ones to ever have that moment! And Sedona and the red rock scenery will make for a totally gorgeous and dreamy backdrop for your romantic proposal," suggests James-Kipps. Make a weekend out of it and stay at the luxurious L’Auberge de Sedona, situated on the banks of Oak Creek. Indulge in a couple’s massage at the resort’s spa before grabbing dinner at Cress on Oak Creek restaurant, the resort’s romantic outdoor fine dining eatery.
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Ascend to New Romantic Heights in Colorado
Want to make your significant other feel like he/she is on top of the world? Head to one of the many mountain peaks in Colorado. Mount Evans in the Rocky Mountains, for example, is a scenic drive away from Denver. Road-trip along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, the highest paved road in North America, climbing to 14,260 feet above sea level. If you don’t feel like driving, then follow Amy Abbott of Amy Abbot Events’ advice and surprise your significant other with a helicopter ride to the top of the mountain with a stunning view of snow-capped peaks. The ring will simply be icing on the cake.