Best Places to Propose
When it comes to choosing the perfect place to pop The Question, aspiring grooms and ambitious brides certainly have their work cut out for them. Take a romantic stroll on the beach at sunset or fly high in a hot air balloon over the African savanna at sunrise? Canoodle at a trendy restaurant or ditch your dinner reservation to steal away to an exotic destination? Keep your life savings intact for the wedding or reserve a room at an ultra-romantic hotel to win her love?
Don't fret: We're here to help. We've compiled a list of enchanting and memorable (but not cliché) places that are sure to win over your soon-to-be spouse. Just don't forget the ring!
[In Pictures: Best Places to Propose]
If there were ever a time to imbibe in a trip to the City of Love, surely a marriage proposal would be it. Romance oozes from the Seine's cobbled walks and the lush green spaces, like the Jardin des Tuileries. Inside the Tuileries, visitors are greeted with exquisite 17th-century French landscaping. And in the summertime, amours have access to a Ferris wheel (read: superb engagement spot). But to avoid getting caught in a cliché, resist the temptation to declare your love in front of iconic monuments like the Eiffel Tower and opt for a more hidden location. For example, if your better half happens to be an art-lover, you'll find plenty of museums imbued with romance. We recommend the Musée Rodin, which houses Auguste Rodin's most-famous sculptures, including The Kiss.
Queenstown, New Zealand
If your beloved is a thrill-seeker, what better way to profess your love than taking a leap of faith and bungee jumping off of Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, New Zealand? Or if your counterpart's adventurous and looking to reach new heights, venture to the Skyline Gondola and admire breathtaking vantage points from Bob's Peak before getting your adrenaline pumping with a 2,624-foot luge ride back to ground level. Once you've caught your breath, steal away to Onsen Hot Pools to soothe your aching muscles or retreat to Chard Farm Winery to savor bold Pinots, Rieslings, and Chardonnays. You'll be able to check many an item off your (and your love's) bucket list, and you're sure to earn a nod of approval for your creative proposal location.
Sure, there's plenty of appeal in taking your amore on an enchanting gondola ride in Venice, but if you really want to prove your love is enduring, don't share a tender moment (or a ring) underneath the iconic 17th-century Bridge of Sighs. Instead, venture to fair Verona to lay your scene underneath Juliet's Balcony and propose where Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers first professed their love for one another. After you've made your intentions known, celebrate your impending "I Dos" with a sumptuous bottle of wine at Atelier Restaurant at the much-lauded Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà, a picturesque hotel nestled in the Valpolicella Vineyards that boasts a Roman-style pool and breathtaking scenery.
Serengeti National Park
Admittedly, planning a romantic retreat in Serengeti National Park will leave a burning hole in your wallet. But if money is no object, what could be a more incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience (and proposal story) than getting down on one knee on a hot-air balloon above the park, with giraffes and lions wandering the savanna below you? For a hefty sum (around $500 USD a pop), you and your sweetheart will be on cloud nine for at least an hour as you watch the sun rise over the magnificent national park and all of its exotic inhabitants. Looking for a balloon-ride that's a little less pricey? Consider heading to Albuquerque, N.M., in October during the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
As far as proposal locations go, it's hard to match St. Lucia's orange-tinted sunrises and chalky white sands. Whether you envision popping The Question from a private balcony at a secluded resort or along a wide, sandy beach, this island seems tailor-made for those thinking of marriage. Plus, the Pitons' majestic emerald peaks—which rise more than 2,500 above from the water—create the perfect backdrop for love-struck visitors. In fact, St. Lucia's landscape is so dreamy that you may not want to rule out this gorgeous Caribbean isle as a destination wedding or honeymoon spot. If you're strapped for cash, consider proposing closer to home and saving this romantic rendezvous for an indulgent post-wedding retreat.
This fairytale city of narrow streets, graceful bridges, and storied castles may not be the first place you think of to propose, but it should. You'll have plenty of enchanting spots to choose from, such as the iconic Charles Bridge and the fanciful Art-Nouveau Dancing House, both of which are as pleasing to the eyes as they are to the wallet. Plus, you can dazzle your future betrothed with a superlative opera performance at the National Theater, decadent (yet affordable) meals, and world-class art pieces showcased at the DOX Center for Contemporary Art. And what could be more romantic than asking for your love's hand in marriage as the famed Astronomical Clock strikes midnight?
This dreamy Indonesian island lingers in the thoughts of romantics everywhere, and for good reason: The proposal possibilities in Bali are endless. You can impress your beloved with a replenishing spa treatment at a high-end resort before exploring ancient temples like Tanah Lot and Uluwatu. You can stroll hand-in-hand along Kuta's powdery sands or get your fiancé-to-be's adrenaline pumping with a hike up Mount Batur's rolling hills. If you're nervous about dropping the ring from Mount Batur's staggering heights, stay closer to ground level at Bali's Elephant Safari Park (just north of Kuta), where you can pop The Question while on an unforgettable Sumatran elephant ride.
New York City
If you don't want to jet set to a faraway (and expensive) destination like Bali to get down on bended knee, you'll find that love is in the air in many more affordable spots across the good ol' U.S. of A. Prove to your partner that he or she is the apple of your eye by taking them on a weekend getaway to the Big Apple. You can book a candle-lit table at a romantic venue like The River Café, a great spot for gazing at the iconic Brooklyn Bridge and, of course, the love of your life. If you're looking to salvage your bank account after dropping three months' salary on a ring, there are plenty of hidden Manhattan gems that are free of charge, too. The Empire State Building, the MoMA, and Rockefeller Center all provide breathtaking backdrops and have stood the test of time as tried and true engagement spots.
Big Sur, Calif.
Imagine it: You and your partner cozying up in a picturesque Big Sur retreat, where you'll enjoy spectacular views inside and outside your luxurious digs. If you stay at the super-romantic Post Ranch Inn, you'll wake up to unparalleled views of California's coastline, with Santa Lucia's imposing mountains to the east and stunning cliff-side ocean views to the west. And when you're ready to escape your seductive accommodations, you can enjoy the magnificent scenery surrounding you with a dip inside the inn's serene infinity pool or an unforgettable drive along California Route 1 to Monterey, which offers commanding views of the Pacific and easy access to Pfeiffer Beach's isolated sands. And once you've mustered up the courage to pop The Question, you can pop open bottles of champagne and gaze at your better half over a romantic candlelit dinner at the inn's much-acclaimed restaurant, Sierra Mar.
If you've already traveled with your better half to the City of Love, why not embark on a new adventure to "the Paris of South America?" Buenos Aires is ideal for amorous couples searching for unexpected romance. You can meander through the National Museum of Fine Arts and savor a cafecito (espresso) and some churros in a charming Parisian-style café. Or, take a leisurely stroll along Palermo Woods' lush Rose Garden Walk (Paseo del Rosedal). And when night falls, you and your other half can let loose with some street-side tango dancing or catch a riveting performance at the majestic Colón Theater. However you imagine your proposal, this enchanting city offers plenty of opportunities to ignite passion and romance.
Jackson Hole, Wyo.
If you don't think Jackson Hole's striking landscape inspires romance, think again. You can kindle your love by the fire in an outdoor lounge or gaze at glorious views overlooking the Snake River Range and snowy Teton Mountains from a luxurious hideaway like Amangani Resort. And should you would prefer to stay active, there are plenty of opportunities to declare your love outdoors, too. If your honey is a snow bunny, you can pop The Question after shredding some powder. Or, wait to present the ring until you're both feeling completely relaxed after taking a soak in Granite Hot Springs, a thermal pool that offers dazzling views of Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Picture it: orange and purple-streaked sunsets, sugary sands, and endless sea views. This is Kauai. The island's awe-inspiring vantage points are sure to spark magical moments. Even if you're not looking to propose while lazing along a sunny stretch of Po'ipu Beach, you'll find equally impressive scenery (and ideal engagement spots) while stretching your legs along the Na Pali Coast or Kalalau Trail. Plus, the island's serene resorts ooze romantic appeal. Consider booking a suite in the lavish St. Regis Princeville for total seclusion and all the key ingredients to a successful proposal: jaw-dropping views, a divine spa, and superb cuisine.