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50 Surprise Proposal Ideas: The Ultimate List for Popping the Question

Posted by Katherine Lovage on Feb 23, 2018 4:15:21 PM


Photo credit: www.howheasked.com


Your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.

There’s butterflies in your belly, and the ring is ready.

You’re nervous.

When it comes to proposing, we know that you’ve only got one shot. So Burrells have got your back.

We’ve spent decades assisting people in their search for the right engagement ring, and over that time we’ve learnt a few tips and tricks when it comes to proposals.

So if you’re trying to find the perfect surprise engagement idea, take a look at our handy list below!


1. The classic proposal

Treat your date to dinner and propose when it’s time for dessert. The champagne will start flowing once they say yes!


2. A holiday proposal

Going on holiday is already great fun, so why not make it even more memorable by asking for your partner's hand in marriage? Remember, if you’re packing a ring, don’t get accidentally busted at airport security!



Surprise your boo with a ring and a tasty breakfast (complete with Bucks Fizz, of course). Trust us - your partner will think they’re still dreaming!


4. Propose at a memorable place

Choose a location that you both have a deep connection with to remind your loved one of other special moments.


Beautiful forest proposal - Pinterest

Photo credit: courtneysmithphoto.com


5. A fortune cookie surprise

Recipes for these tasty treats are pretty easy to find, and you can personalise the message inside.


6. A Serenade

If you’re musical, then prepare a number for your partner. Music is full of emotion, which makes this the perfect way to express how much your partner means to you.


7. Y’arr, it’s time for a treasure hunt matey!

If your partner likes puzzles and mysteries, then aye aye captain, it’s time for your partner to hunt down their engagement ring.



Send in Fido with the ring on his collar, or pop it on top of your tortoise. Whatever pet you have, they could be the ultimate ring-bearer.


Proposal with couple and dog

Photo taken from Pinterest


9. The proposal party

If your partner loves their family and friends, then they may enjoy their loved ones sharing in such a precious moment.


10. The happy hobbyist

Some of us like cycling, some dancing, and some prefer ice skating. Proposing during a hobby is great because it serves as an excellent distraction while you reach into your pocket!


11. Lights, camera, action

Use your creative streak to propose on camera. Perhaps you could re-enact a music video or recreate a scene from your partner’s favourite film.



If you or your partner have children, then let them play a part in your engagement story. Baby Max in a Tuxedo? Adorable.


Cute proposal with children

Photo credit: www.howheasked.com



Try surprising your partner with a fantastic flash mob. – Hey, why are all these people suddenly dancing?!


14. A scrapbook or photo album

Document the most inspiring moments of your relationship, and leave the last page blank with only the words “when we got engaged” at the top...


15. ‘The reasons why I love you’

If you’re a hopeless romantic, tell your partner how much they mean to you by creating a jar full of love notes.


16. Landmarks

From the Eiffel Tower to the Empire State Building, proposing at national monuments is as awe-inspiring as the buildings themselves.


Beautiful proposal in Paris with champagne and a view of the Eiffel Tower

Photo taken from Pinterest


17. Say “cheese!” Or rather, say “yes!”

Capture your proposal on camera, by revealing an engagement ring in the middle of a photoshoot. The pictures will last you a lifetime.



Hire a professional sky-writer and have the big question written out amongst the clouds.


19. A magic trick

Cast a spell and POOF! A ring appears!



If you’re a good cook, why not try writing ‘will you marry me’ on your partner’s favourite dessert. Red velvet cake, anyone?


Marry me biscuit proposal

Photo credit: www.weddingchicks.com



If your significant other loves musicals, then why not treat them to their favourite show. Get the actors and theatre staff involved, and set up the best finale of all time!


22. A deep sea surprise

Some aquariums offer proposal packages, where professional divers swim underwater and greet your beau with a very special sign to read.


23. In a glass of champagne

It’s traditional, but who wouldn’t want to celebrate with a glass of bubbly? Warning: make sure your partner realises there’s a ring in their drink, or your proposal will turn into a hospital trip!


24. A message in a bottle

What’s in this mysterious bottle that has washed to shore?!

If you're interested in this proposal idea, head over to Not On The High Street to personalise your message in a bottle. We've found lots of companies on there offering this service.


Message in a bottle proposal

 Photo taken from Pinterest


25. A parachuting proposal

Jump out of a plane and land in your new life. There could even be a special message printed on your parachute!


26. As star-crossed lovers

The night sky is beautiful, so try proposing beneath the twinkling lights. Visit an observatory for an experience that’s out of this world!



Arrange a date and have a taxi collect your partner. Tell the driver where to go, but don’t let your partner know! They’ll be totally confused until they get out and see you down on one knee.


28. In a hot air balloon

While you and your partner are flying high, it’s time to pop the question!


Hot air balloon proposal

Photo credit: www.stylemepretty.com


29. Gone fishing

Tell your partner that they’re the perfect catch and reel in a ring.


30. Role reverse!

Not a ‘traditional’ couple? Then why have a regular engagement! Ignore customs and propose your way, whether you’re a lady who wants to propose to your man or a fabulous member of the LGBTQ+ community.


31. Ask with art

Are you a good artist? Then try creating a piece of art to assist your proposal.



Follow the yellow brick road to find the emerald city (or in this case, perhaps the diamond city!)


Flower trail proposal - Pinterest

Photo credit: www.chantilly-rose.co.uk


33. Dancing cheek to cheek

Propose on the dancefloor with a little help from a DJ friend.


34. The ‘no-ring’ proposal

Want to pick out an engagement ring together, but still want a surprise engagement? Then why not propose with something else, whether it be an engraved ornament, handwritten letter, or a bag of their favourite sweets.



Get your partner's co-workers (and boss) in on it and arrange for an elaborate proposal surprise. Quick! Hide!



If your partner likes big surprises, then begin with a boom. Light up the sky with some sparkling fireworks to celebrate your engagement.


Proposal with fireworks - Pinterest

Photo credit: www.theyesgirls.com


37. Ring-ception

It feels fab to gift your loved one, so take inspiration from Leonardo DiCaprio’s famous film Inception and hide your ring within many layers. Just like a Russian doll, conceal a gift, within a gift, within a gift.


38. The techie proposal

Does your partner love IT and/or gaming? Geek-chic proposals can be cool and unique, from hidden Super Mario levels to binary cryptographs. It’s time to ask: “Will you be my player 2?”



Does your lover have a green thumb? Then go back to basics and propose with a bouquet or elaborate floral display. If you want to drop hints around the house, Convallaria (Lily of the Valley) and Stephanotis (Madagascar Jasmine) are flowers commonly associated with marriage. 

Our favourite flower companies are Philippa Craddock and Maison de Fleurs.



Both avid sports fans? Arrange a pitch-side proposal!


Sports (baseball) proposal - Pinterest

Photo credit: www.howheasked.com


41. The warmest welcome back

Is your partner coming home after a long trip away? Meet them at the airport, with friends, family, and one very important


42. Personalised product

It’s possible to customise all manner of items, so if there is a particularly important item you have in mind, why not add a message to it? Bonus points if it’s something pretty which your partner can keep afterwards. 

We recommend heading over to Not On The High Street, where there are many companies offering personalisation.


43. A newspaper advert

Hold on – what’s that on page 7?!



Proposing on a boat is romantic and whimsical, but if you can’t make it on board an Italian gondola, consider a picnic and some punting in Oxford.


Beautiful proposal on a boat - Pinterest

Photo credit: www.fabmood.com


45. During a LARP

A ‘LARP’ is a ‘live action role play’ - where you and your partner take part in events whilst being fictional characters. Great for those with an interest in all things fantasy, it’s easy to find a LARP near you by having a quick look online.


46. The 365-day proposal

Write or film yourself every day for a year, asking your partner to marry you. This will take incredible amounts of dedication, and is a fantastic beginning to the rest of your lives together.



Think of this as a double whammy: if it’s your partner’s birthday, then pretend that’s what you’re celebrating. They’ll definitely be shocked when the birthday party turns into a marriage proposal!



Photo credit: www.howheasked.com


48. Games night

Whatever board game tickles your fancy, use it to propose. Don’t know how to begin? Try brainstorming concepts, such as creating your own “Will you Marry Me?” chance card in Monopoly.


49. During a zero-gravity experience

Are you and your partner sci-fi fans? Perhaps you both love the idea of space exploration? If so, maybe you’d like to propose during a zero-gravity Your partner will be floating on cloud nine!


50. Make their dreams come true with a Disneyland proposal

If your partner loves romance, then get engaged in a castle, along with fireworks and a few familiar faces.


Good luck!

Here at Burrells, we wish you good luck with your proposal and a happily ever after.

If you’re currently looking for the perfect engagement ring, why not book an appointment with our fabulous staff who can assist you with your search.


Related Articles

We think you might also be interested in reading one of these articles our experts have written:

The Ultimate Guide to Finding an Engagement Ring

Three-Stone Engagement Rings: the Hottest Trend of 2018

Breakdown of the Most Popular Engagement Ring Settings

Filed Under:

Engagement and Wedding


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