You're ready to pop the question, you've picked out the perfect engagement ring, and you can't wait to spend the rest of your life with the love of your life.
It’s time to plan the perfect proposal.
If you’re a fun, adventurous, and nature-loving couple, you may want to plan an outdoor proposal.
You can immortalize your marriage proposal by combining it with some of your favorite outdoor places or activities.
From intricate scavenger hunts to a DIY movie night, a hot air balloon proposal, or a night’s stargazing, we've outlined our top 9 picks for the perfect outdoor proposal for you and your partner.
1. Scavenger Hunt
Credit: Annie Spratt
Take your partner on a trip down memory lane and invite friends and family members to surprise them along the way.
Think of the places that mean something to the two of you – where you met, where you had your first date or kiss, or the first place you said, “I love you”. Then, create clues that lead to each spot and have notes or cards (or even a voice recording of yourself) describing what each place or stop signifies.
You can include memorabilia, couple-specific riddles to solve, and photos of you together.
At the end of the scavenger hunt, propose with a romantic view, a special song, or even a fireworks display in the background and invite friends and family members to celebrate.
In this example from HowTheyAsked, John sends Megan on a romantic journey around memorable spots from their life together.
John started by getting Megan’s friends to hand her a letter explaining what will happen and the rules.
Here’s where the hunt took Megan from there:
👨✈️ A ride in a limo
💅A trip to the nail salon
💋The site of their first kiss
🌹 The restaurant where they had their first date
🛍️Shopping for a dress
🏨To a hotel room to get ready for the weekend
👫The spot where they first met
Finally, the scavenger hunt led Megan back to her own backyard…where John proposed.
2. Beach Proposal Ideas
Credit: Dottie Mabry
There’s something romantic about proposing on the beach, whether it’s a white sandy stretch in the Hamptons or exploring famous rock formations and caves in Malibu.
🏖️ Write a love poem on parchment paper, roll it into an antique bottle with a cork and bury it in a well-marked spot in the sand the night before.
🏖️ Keep it simple and go for a walk at sunrise or sunset. When you reach the most picturesque area, get down on one knee and pop the question.
🏖️ Take a playful approach and build a sandcastle together. When your partner isn't looking, put the ring on the highest tower.
If these ideas appeal to you, check out the best romantic beach getaways in the USA to find your perfect spot and start planning your beach proposal.
Waikiki Beach, Hawaii: one of the most iconic beaches in the U.S.A, Waikiki can get quite crowded. Solve this by proposing early in the morning after watching the sunrise together.
Cannon Beach, Oregan: named by National Geographic as one of the world's most beautiful places. Its iconic Haystack Rock would make a perfect backdrop for a scenic proposal.
The Hamptons, New York: If seclusion is what you want for your proposal, the Hamptons offer the perfect beaches for you. Beaches like Tiana are secluded and free of sunbeds and other tourist clutter that might make your proposal less romantic.
3. Vineyard Proposal
Photo by Jo Leonhardt
If you and your partner love good food and fine wine, a vineyard may be the perfect place to propose. This is a great choice for couples who enjoy the outdoors but don’t want to do anything extreme.
There are plenty of ways to make your vineyard proposal memorable.
👫 A walk through the vineyard
🍷 Private wine tasting
🍾 Take home a bottle of wine as a souvenir
🍴 Have a picnic on the lawn or meal in the restaurant
Duckhorn Vineyards—Napa Valley, CA: Located on the Silverado Trail, Duckhorn has amazing views from its veranda. At the heart of the vineyard is a traditional colonial-style house set in beautiful gardens. This gives you plenty of options for a stunning backdrop to your proposal.
Sokol Blosser—Willamette Valley, OR: If wine tasting is you and your partner’s thing, then Sokol Blosser is for you. It has six tasting rooms, all of which are powered by solar power. You and your partner can enjoy some of the world’s best Pinot Noirs before you pop the question.
Jefferson Vineyards—Charlottesville, VA: This is the ideal location for a historic backdrop to your proposal. It is considered the birthplace of American wine. It was started 240 years ago by Founding Father and third U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson.
4. Ferris Wheel Proposal
Credit: Kieran White
If you share a love of amusement parks, a ride on a Ferris wheel is a fun and romantic scene to pop the question.
Ideally, ride at sunset to take full advantage of the views and time your proposal for when you reach the highest point on the wheel.
Make sure to bring:
🟥 A blanket for cooler weather
🍿 Amusement park treats such as popcorn or cotton candy
🍾 Champagne to celebrate after the proposal
An alternative to simply taking a ride on the Ferris wheel is to book out the entire wheel for added privacy.
The Pacific Wheel at Santa Monica pier provides a panoramic view of the Southern California coastline. With an LED lights display that comes on once the sun has set, it will add to the celebration once your proposal has been accepted.
Across the country, you are spoilt for options if Ferris wheels are your proposal destination of choice. Check out these top 10 biggest Ferris wheels in the U.S.
5. DIY Movie Night Proposal
Image credit: Garden Trading
There’s something romantic about outdoor cinema. Think candles, fairy lights and a projector-style set up outside.
You can hire a projector, backyard screen, and sound system from FunFlicks. You can even add their popcorn package which includes a retro popcorn machine delivered to your door, complete with kernels, bags, and full-service (they pop it, bag it, and hand it out). Set up a picnic or teepee-style tent and enjoy the outdoor romance.
🎬 The modern classic - The Notebook
🎬 The old school classic - Gone with the Wind
🎬 The comedy classic - Pretty Woman
How to Propose
💡 Cut your own message into the recording, so it plays when the film is ending.
💡 Put the ring at the bottom of the popcorn 🍿🍿🍿
6. Hot Air Balloon Proposal
Credit: Balloons over Letchworth
Popping the question high over a beautiful view at sunset or sunrise makes for a magical proposal setting.
From The Rocky Mountains in Colorado to Napa Valley in California, picturesque ballooning locations are abundant across the U.S.
Here are some of the most popular locations:
Letchworth State Park, New York
Remember to pack:
📷 A camera to capture the moment
☕ Hot chocolate to keep you warm
💍 The ring (perhaps a tungsten ring)!!
Balloon festivals also provide a wonderful backdrop for a proposal. Here are three of the top festivals that take place annually:
The New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning
7. Stargazing Camping Proposal
Credit: Vincentiu Solomon
If your love story was written in the stars, this option is for you. Pick a remote location where you can spend a couple of nights camping to get the best views.
Camping is a fun way to bond with your partner; you’re out in nature, it’s one of the most romantic settings, and you get to snuggle up near a warm campfire together. Be sure to pack ingredients to make your own s’mores, bamboo skewers included, and try to pick a night with clear skies to pop the question.
Bonus points if you can find a unique cosmic phenomenon to plan around. Meteors that only pass the Earth every 1,000 years, a lunar eclipse, or a space station that will become visible at a particular time are great events to look out for, making for an extra special moment.
Cool Extras 🔭
Take a telescope or laser pointer and enjoy pointing out the different constellations and stars. Apps like Star Walk 2 allow you to explore the night sky through your device’s screen, showing information about celestial bodies and sky events. Their ‘visible tonight’ option also allows you to learn about upcoming astronomical events and celestial objects visible from your location.
8. Hike Proposal
Credit: Wedding Wire
Planning a special hike for your proposal is the ideal way to combine a shared love of exercise with a picturesque setting.
Take a look at this proposal at the Stairway to Heaven for some inspiration on how the journey to the top can result in a spectacular proposal.
There are many options available for a hiking proposal. They can range from a gentle walk on your favorite trail, to a hike up to a waterfall. In deciding on the ideal route, bear the following in mind:
🚶Ensure the hike will be easy for both you and your partner to walk.
🌳Choose a location that is remote but safe.
🥡Pack a picnic in your backpack or decorate the end location prior to the hike.
Some ideal hiking locations include:
Mt. Le Conte, Tennessee
Haleakala National Park, Maui
Rio Celeste, Costa Rica
9. Outdoor theater
Seeing a play or musical under a starry sky is one of the best outdoor proposal ideas for a warm summer evening. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of open-air venues that let you enjoy live theater with a stunning backdrop and crisp fresh air.
From Broadway productions such as Chicago, Sweeney Todd, and The Color Purple held in the country’s oldest and largest outdoor theater in Missouri, to watching Shakespeare in the middle of Central Park, here are the country’s ten best spots for seeing live theater outdoors.
Shakespeare in the Park - Originally launched in Central Park, New York but now nationwide
The Muny - A series of Broadway shows in an open-air theater. Forest Park, St Louis
Theater Under the Stars - Outdoor theater in Houston, Texas
Let’s take a look at some more tips for making your outdoor proposal a winner.
Tips for Planning An Outdoor Proposal
We love outdoor proposals for their spontaneity and flexibility. You don’t have to have it all planned out and you can almost always expect to change some of your plans on the day thanks to mother nature.
To calm those nerves and help you feel prepared, here’s what to keep in mind when planning an outdoor proposal:
Check the weather beforehand
We know you probably want to plan this day well in advance. Still, if you can adapt and change plans from Friday night to Saturday night because it has a better weather forecast - your partner won’t be any wiser.
If you’re relying on other people like family, friends, or a photographer, ask whether they are flexible for dates and times over a weekend or plan your proposal during a season you can expect generally good weather.
Roll with the punches
Plan for a few hiccups along the way. If it’s raining, will your partner care? Could it make the whole outing more fun if you get caught in the rain and start dancing anyway? Or can you provide a warm rain jacket and umbrella to make the adventure more enjoyable?
Know what time the sun rises and sets
If you’re planning a romantic stroll on the beach that culminates in a sunset proposal, you’ll need to know exactly when the sun sets. Likewise, when the sun rises for a sunrise hike.
If you’ve hired a photographer, they may also suggest the best times to capture your special moment and some post-proposal snaps during the coveted ‘golden hour.’
Make sure the location is accessible
It’s best to visit your location before the big day to make sure it is accessible to you and your partner. Remember that your chosen outdoor location could be a private beach that you’re not allowed to use or the trail you want to hike could be closed due to rock falls. Also, make sure no significant events are taking place on the day that could restrict your access or dampen the intimate and romantic mood you were going for.
Keep your photographer out of sight
Nothing ruins a surprise proposal like your fiancée-to-be spotting the professional photographer you hired to capture the moment. Make sure they can remain hidden until the moment you choose to pop the question so as not to ruin the surprise.
Consider using a silicon activity band
If your beach walk turns into a swim before you’re able to pop the question, or you’re not confident you won’t drop the ring at the top of a mountain on a hike, consider proposing with a silicone ring and wait until you’re back home to give your partner the engagement ring you picked out.
Present it to them with a beautiful bouquet and a thoughtful note to make it just as special. Your partner will appreciate the silicon ring to use during future outdoor adventures with you, and if you get an Alpine Ring for the wedding, you’ll also get a free silicone activity band to match your partner’s ring.
In addition, they’ll get to relive the moment and talk about their unique double marriage proposal story to their friends and family.
Have a plan for after the proposal
Think about what you are going to say and do after they say yes! Have an activity or next step planned.
After your hot air balloon ride, have a great follow up - perhaps a great meal or a buggy ride through the desert.
🌲 After a hike, go back to a cozy lodge or a swim in a lake.
🎬 After your film, produce a photo album of your favorite pictures together.
The Next Step
At Alpine Rings, we know that while popping the big question is just the first step in your preparation for married life, it’s something that you’ll never forget.
You need to be sure that you’ve thought of romantic marriage proposal ideas that show your other half how much they mean to you.
This article outlined some unique outdoor proposal ideas that your partner will love. Now it’s time for you to start planning your perfect proposal and get that ‘yes’ from your special person!
If you are looking for even more inspiration, our blog has other valuable articles to help you surprise your loved one and guide you throughout your marriage proposal, wedding day preparation, and beyond.
Remember that things can go wrong, and no matter how perfectly you plan the day, it’s important to have fun and be in the moment. This is a special occasion shared by the two of you, and no matter what happens, it’s important not to get caught up in trying to keep things ‘perfect’.
Your partner loves you, and you’re taking the next step in your journey together – remember how wonderful and exciting that is!