A destination wedding proposal sets the tone for a lifelong partnership filled with love, adventure, and many cherished moments. But this type of proposal involves serious planning.
Don’t assume you can arrive on location with a ring and then scrap together a last-minute plan. That’s the quick path to proposal disaster…
That’s why we’ve compiled 10 must-have tips to ensure your destination marriage proposal goes off without a hitch.
1. Let Your Family-to-Be Know What’s Afoot
While it might feel old-fashioned to ask for your significant other’s hand in marriage, communicate with their immediate family before the proposal.
Why? Because you’re about to become a member of their family and want to start out on the right foot. You also want to make sure family doesn’t grow concerned if they can’t get in touch with your significant other (SO) during the trip.
Let your SO’s immediate family know where and when you plan on making the proposal. This is also a great time to ask for insights into your SO that might make the event more personalized and special.
Just be careful about who you tell and who’s listening. For example, little kids are notorious for repeating what they hear. Find an ally in your SO’s immediate family and enlist them to help you pull off your surprise without any spoilers.
2. Decide on the Type of Destination Proposal
You’ve got three solid options when it comes to a destination proposal:
- You can propose during a trip that you’ve both planned to take.
- You can propose on a trip that your SO knows nothing about.
- You can propose at the airport or another location on the way to your final destination.
While whisking your SO off to a surprise location for the proposal proves the most difficult of the three options, it also comes with the greatest “wow” factor. That said, you’ll need lots of help from friends and family to make it happen.
No matter which kind of proposal you go with, do as much pre-trip planning as possible. Don’t assume you can get there and wing it. What’s special about that?
3. Know Your Partner
As you begin planning the perfect destination proposal, you may feel overwhelmed by all of the options that you have. But no two people are alike and neither are proposals.
Think carefully about which type of marriage proposal will make your SO’s heart sing. Do they shy away from crowds? Then, arrange for an intimate, in-room experience complete with rose petals and champagne.
Does your SO love the water? Then, opt for a boat ride, gondola, or catamaran tour where you pop the question.
Does your better half love adventure? Consider proposing after a hike they’ve always wanted to take or during a helicopter ride.
The more closely you can custom-tailor your proposal to your SO’s unique personality, fantasies, and style, the more romantic it will prove.
4. Get Creative!
Do you and your other half have a song that you cherish? Play it as you take one knee for your big speech. Or, consider hiring live musicians to serenade you and your love.
Are you and your honey into scavenger hunts or geocaching? Create a trail of clues based on important moments in your relationship that lead to a ring.
Do you want to reflect back on your most cherished memories together before the proposal? Craft a photo album or slideshow filled with your favorite photographs and a proposal at the end.
The more special touches you add to your proposal, the more memorable and moving it’ll be. Planning ahead will also ease some of your pre-engagement jitters.
5. Explore the Romantic Options
Contact the staff at the destination where you’re planning on proposing and ask them for ideas about how to make your moment even more special. Employees at romantic destinations see more proposals than you might realize.
They may provide you with options that you didn’t even know you had. They can also assist with crowd control, ring storage, and ring delivery so that the proposal goes smoothly.
Most resorts have an events management team who specialize in special moments. Some even have romance coordinators!
These staff members can help with everything from ordering your loved one’s favorite flowers to your room to helping you find the best sunset beach proposal spot.
And even smaller hotels will have a concierge who can help you make reservations at a romantic restaurant or scope out an off-the-beaten-path proposal spot.
6. Pack the Ring Carefully
Wedding rings and travel don’t always mix. Especially if you’re trying to remain inconspicuous yet keep your investment safe and secure.
If your travel plans involve a road trip, place the ring in an inconspicuous box in your locked glove compartment or inside a coat pocket.
If you’re flying to an exotic locale, don’t carry the ring on you. All it takes is one TSA search to ruin all of your best-laid plans. And don’t pack it in one of your checked bags, either. Luggage gets lost all the time.
Pack the ring in a nondescript, medium-sized box. Place it in your carry-on bag with items like an extra hoodie, paperback book, or magazine. Avoid toiletries, electronics, and other items that could lead to a thorough TSA inspection.
Make arrangements in advance with your hotel or resort to store the ring in a secure location such as a safe. That way, you don’t have to worry about your SO stumbling upon the ring and ruining your surprise wedding proposal.
7. Timing is Key
Consider proposing at the airport before your flight if your SO doesn’t mind a crowd and would enjoy your vacation more without much suspense. Again, planning is key. Don’t simply get impatient and drop to one knee.
Instead, make it clear through some type of pre-arrangement (like a banner over the gate, announcement over the intercom, or some other assistance from airport staff) that you’ve been planning this for a while.
In most cases, though, you should let the suspense build a little. Yes, you’ve made up your mind, and you’re ready to pop the question. But your SO probably senses this on some level.
Keep things playful and lively by making them wait a bit. That said, timing is everything. Wait no more than a day or two for the proposal so that you can enjoy the rest of your trip together engaged.
Whatever you do, don’t wait until the last day. If your SO’s tipped off in any way to the impending event, they’re likely to get annoyed, anxious, or grumpy after such a long wait. Can you blame them?
8. Make Necessary Arrangements
If your SO doesn’t know you’re going on a vacation, you’ll need to tie up loose ends for them in advance. Otherwise, your dream vacation could turn stressful.
Get in touch with their employer and confirm their schedule is clear. Even if you’ll only be gone for a weekend, make sure your SO doesn’t have a huge Monday deadline looming.
But be careful with how many people you contact in advance. The more people who know what’s going on, the more chances someone will accidentally spill the beans.
And remember that ally you forged when you spoke with your SO’s family? Enlist them in helping you pack for your loved one. This trusted individual can also help you get your SO to the correct departure point without raising suspicion.
9. Hire a Professional Photographer
Sure, you can bring along a selfie stick and snap a few post-proposal photos. But that won’t be the same as hiring a professional photographer to capture the moment on film.
Not only will you and your SO cherish these photos for a lifetime, but you can even incorporate the photographer into your plan. They can help you and your SO get in the right spot for a surprise proposal. They can also discreetly pass you the ring.
Professional pictures of you and your loved one in an exotic locale will also make great images for wedding invitations and decorations.
10. Have a Plan B
What happens if your stunning beachside proposal gets rained out? Or, your on-ground transportation to a time-sensitive event falls through?
Always make sure you have a backup plan. If all else fails, an intimate, champagne-punctuated balcony proposal at your hotel room is a great option.
The Perfect Destination Wedding Proposal
Looking for more travel tips to plan your perfect destination wedding proposal?
Check out our travel blog to ensure your dream getaway is both romantic and memorable.