Romantic Proposal Ideas You Can Try
The Family Gathering Proposal
If she likes: Awkward public moments.
Pros: Very few. If her parents already love you, perhaps they’ll love you even more. Also, you won’t have to spend hours serially calling all of her relatives and repeating how-you-proposed stories and announcing your engagement–they’re all there already. Whhooo.
Cons: This type of proposal can put crushing pressure on her, is awkward for the family, and can rob the moment of all its privacy and dignity. Plus, proposing in front of the family is what the bad guy does in romantic comedies–Bradley Cooper in Wedding Crashers, Cal from Titanic, and the Soul Glo guy from Coming to America. Don’t be the Soul Glo guy.
Airplane Letters in the Sky
If she likes: Attention, aviation
Pros: Can be dramatic. Creates the sense that this is NEWS, something that everyone within a 3-mile radius must know about, and must know about now. Also, if you’re truly daring and want to risk some pinpoint timing, you can combine this with any other proposal idea and use it as the punch line for when you’re ready to ask the question, “Will you marry me?”
Cons: There’s risk. Do you know precisely when this will happen? Are you absolutely convinced you can get her outdoors at the right place at the right time in the right weather…and that the pilot spells the right name?
The Sporting Event
If she likes: Attention from 16,000 strangers.
Pros: This one’s tricky. Remember that the marriage proposal is about her, not you. So if you’re a die-hard Orioles fan and think it would be badass to propose to her at a game, well, don’t. Only do it if she’s the die-hard Orioles fan, and even then, only do it if she’s obsessed. And don’t do this in a playoff game. That last “playoff game” rule is less about romance and more about male-etiquette. Dude it’s the playoffs. Show some respect for your team.
Cons: If the answer’s not “Yes,” you’ll blow $60,000 on therapy over the next 10 years to get over your humiliation.
Cook Her Dinner
If she likes: Quiet evenings at home more than trendy hotspots
Pros: This works best for guys who never cook. Seriously. It’ll mean that much more to her. Besides, cooking a meal isn’t really that damn hard. You just find a recipe and follow it.
Bonus: sometime in advance, get her to confess her absolute favorite dinner ever—including details on side dishes, appetizers, and dessert. If you’re desperate for information and she’s tight-lipped, resort to the old “What would you order for dinner as your last meal before you’re sent to the Chair?” trick. Recreate this meal faithfully down to every last detail, minus the electrocution.
Cons: You need to dress it up (flowers, a cartoonish amount of candles, you wearing a tie, etc.), otherwise it might be too ho-hum.
If she likes: Mountain Dew, the X-Games, saying the word “bitchin’”
Pros: We suppose this could work for a certain kind of woman, but you need to be abundantly certain that she has thought about getting engaged, is ready for it, expects it any day now, and the marriage proposal itself is just a formality. A sudden surprise or shock could lead to her freaking out and forgetting to open the parachute, which might cause the not-ideal downside of…
The Romantic Restaurant
If she likes: Stability, tradition.
Pros: It’s the right setting: flickering candles, white-gloved waiters, soft music. You’ll both feel like celebrities as you soak in the thrill of the spotlight. You already have a venue picked out for your 5-year anniversary dinner, so there’s that.
Cons: While it’s not quite as garish as a hockey game, there is still a public audience. Make sure this is a done-deal.