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01 2023


02 2023

Man proposing to his girlfriend

Marriage Proposal Ideas That Are Meaningful, Romantic & Unique

“He has a whole trip planned but won’t tell me where we’re going, he said it’s all a surprise. I wonder if he’s making this an engagement trip!”

For couples who’ve been talking about tying the knot, engagement trips are one of many growing trends that have turned the marriage proposal into one of the most anticipated parts of getting married. And that makes this such an exciting time to be a bride or groom.

But if you’re the one planning on doing the proposing, you may feel like the pressure is really on now. Let us ease that for you. After all, this is one of the most exciting times of your life, and sure you want to get it right, but this should also be a lot of fun. To help you out, we've collected some of the most romantic, personal and original marriage proposal ideas we could find for a little inspiration. 

How to plan the perfect proposal - without the sweaty palms

It’s hard to say who is about to have more fun, the one planning a proposal or the one about to be surprised by it. If you’re the one with the big question on your mind, pulling it all together comes down to three things: planning far enough ahead, choosing a personal style and building anticipation.

  1. Plan far enough ahead. What makes for a perfect proposal? Let us be the first to suggest letting go of the idea of “perfect” in place of something even better: personal. To pull that off, give yourself plenty of time – a few weeks to months even – to coordinate with venues, calendars and anyone you may need to help you pull off something special.
  2. Choose your theme or type of setting. Do you want a romantic proposal? Or maybe a more fun and adventurous proposal? Do you want to be indoors or have an outdoor proposal? In addition to settings, a theme is also fun to consider. Maybe it’s a weekend getaway, or a live concert by a favorite artist, or a beautiful meal by an award-winning chef who is in on the surprise, or even a much-needed spa day for two.

  3. Give subtle hints. It’s fun to drop playful hints leading up to the proposal. You can even let your partner know something big is coming, since anticipation always amplifies the excitement. If your proposal is traditional, you may want to ask your partner’s parents’ permission before you propose.

Choosing a theme or type of setting - one that's personal to you

Where a wedding usually maintains some elements of tradition, engagements are a fun place to get creative and make them really personal and fun. A lot of that comes down to the style of proposal you have in mind.

Both love to travel? Engagement trips are increasingly popular, and just one of the fun ways couples are celebrating this milestone moment. Want to make your partner feel like a prince or princess? Spa days can be a decadent treat – just remember, it’s your day, too. Plan a pampering couples massage with a mani-pedi afterward (bonus if you’re planning to pop the question with a ring!). Or maybe your spouse-to-be is crazy about confections. You could incorporate a ring into the topping of a custom cake.

When picking a location, put yourself in your partner’s shoes if you plan to pop the question in public. If you’re marrying an introvert, having all eyes on her in a fancy restaurant while you’re down on one knee may be downright uncomfortable. (Sweet for sure, but…) It may not ruin the moment, but it could sure make it awkward.

If you both lean toward the traditional side, a romantic proposal may be just your style. Or maybe you’re the exact opposite and are the type who could see yourselves competing on reality TV adventure shows. If so, an over-the-top adventure may be more your speed.

22 Romantic, Fun and Adventurous Wedding Proposal Ideas

We asked our wedding team for some help coming up with fun, romantic, memorable and original wedding proposal ideas, and wow were they on a roll. Here are 22 ideas to get you started.

Couple getting engaged

Romantic proposal ideas

1. Wine pairing: To show you’ll be the perfect pair, reserve a wine pairing dinner like the Palettes and Pairings dining events at Wildflowers, a romantic AAA Four Diamond and Forbes Four-Star restaurant at The Lodge at Turning Stone.

2. Winery tour: From the Hudson Valley to the Finger Lakes, New York winery tours are a romantic and fun way to spend the day together. Arrange with the sommelier to serve a final empty glass with only the ring inside.

3. Hire a photographer: Let your partner know you have something special planned and what attire to wear, then how much of the surprise to give away is up to you. You can even have the photographer pretend to be taking pictures of something else, ask if he or she can take yours so it feels kind of spontaneous and fun, then pop the question and let the magic happen.


Don't forget the fun: Adventurous proposals and engagement trips

4. Set-jet to the scene of a favorite show: From Ted Lasso’s pub to the lawn of Downton Abbey’s Highclere Castle to old school classics like Katz’s Delicatessen (and Meg Ryan unforgettable “Yes!”) in When Harry Met Sally, jetting off to a favorite movie or TV set is all the rage in travel these days, and could take your proposal over the top.

5. Choose the right venue: Plan a long weekend or a vacation to a place where you can relax, unwind and have fun together in a way that’s true to you. Someplace like The Lodge at Turning Stone is a more upscale, all-suites getaway with an award-winning restaurant, Wildflowers.

6. Set the stage: If music and dancing are more your scene, Exit 33 is right on property at Turning Stone, letting you dance the night away to celebrate your engagement. If your partner is a little bit country, head to Tin Rooster Dancehall & BBQ for live country music and BBQ. Planning something a bit more glamorous? Check out the Turquoise Tiger, a Gatsby-style cocktail lounge.


Cultural traditions for wedding proposals that borrow from traditions - even if they aren't your own:

7. Blessings ceremony: Many Native American cultures have rituals for the blessing of a couple or their relationship, which are beautiful, timeless ways to show how sacred this union is to you. Often spas that have a connection to Native American tribal traditions will honor rituals like these as part of their services. Don’t see it on the spa menu? Ask the spa manager if they can help you incorporate a cultural tradition.  

8. Celebrate her or his heritage: If your future spouse loves their culture’s traditions, it’s fun to incorporate these into your engagement. Present the ring in a pretty piece of Polish pottery. Check Etsy for trinket boxes from their country of origin, which are often hand-carved or painted.


man proposing to woman at dinner

Hungry for more? Here are some wedding proposal ideas for foodies:

9. Private chef: Set a beautiful table at home and hire a private chef to create a spectacular meal.

10. Cater a small celebration: Hosting a small, catered gathering of your closest friends can be a way to have the people you love most be there to help you celebrate when you pop the question at the end.

11. Engagement cake: have a custom cake designed with your proposal on top – or a pretty bit of bling. Did you know? Opals at Turning Stone Resort Casino creates beautiful pastries, holiday confections, custom cakes and even wedding cakes. 

12.  Head for the top: Choose a restaurant with an incredible view like TS Steakhouse on the Penthouse level at Turning Stone and let your partner know you’ll be on top of the world if they say yes.

13. Bring breakfast in bed. Who doesn't love breakfast in bed? Especially when it's from room service in an elegant hotel. Yes, please! Arrange for it to be delivered along with a bouquet of favorite flowers. Have the ring ready? Order a beautiful box and include it on the tray.


Cute and fun marriage proposal ideas:

14.  Incorporate the holidays – oh what fun: So many people can’t wait for the holidays, and if your future spouse is one of them, this may be the most romantic time of the year to propose. The hint of a surprise hidden on a Christmas tree is a fun way to present the ring.

15.  Sweeten the deal, gingerbread style: The Gingerbread Village at Turning Stone Resort Casino is an absolute delight that combines romance and fun. The annual village has been named one of the best gingerbread villages in the country by Forbes Travel Guide, with more than 700 pounds of gingerbread dough, 2000 pounds of icing and 750 pieces of candy. As the fifth top tourist attraction in New York State, Turning Stone also makes a great engagement trip destination.

16. Strike up the band: Plan a walk in a nearby park and arrange for a string quartet to be there and begin to play as you approach.

17.  Flashmob signs: Plant some reliable co-workers or friends in a park or public place, each with a sign with an individual letter that spells out “will you marry me?” As you approach, have them all hop up, come together and turn over the signs in unison on queue. (And yes, practice ahead of time is a good idea!)

18. Must love dogs: Get your dog in on the job. Who can say no to that face? Have a custom bandana made that says, “Will you marry us?” and teach your pup to shake on the deal.


engagement ring on a calendar

Design the rings:

19.  Make picking the ring – or creating it – part of the event: Sometimes part of the fun is planning the engagement around the ring. New York City’s Diamond District in midtown Manhattan is home to more than 4000 jewelers and wholesalers, from diamonds to natural sapphires to rare and wonderful stones. Do your homework ahead of time to make sure you’re working with someone reputable, then surprise your partner when the cab lets you out at their doorstep.


man proposing to woman on a picnic

Outdoor proposal ideas:

20.  Stadium signs: Many professional baseball stadiums let you purchase a message to show on their jumbo signs. Treat them to a surprise game at their favorite stadium and be sure to get seats where you can get a photo of their face and the message board in the same photo.

21. On par with the best: Marrying a golfer? If they have a favorite number between 1 and 18, pick that hole to propose. Or you can even have a “just engaged” sign ready to put on the back of your golf cart. Turning Stone Resort Casino is home to three pristine 18-hold and two nine-hole courses with beautiful clubhouses to raise a toast afterward.

22.  Arrange a romantic picnic: Did you know? Sylvan Beach Supply Co. at The Cove offers read-to-eat dishes from some of Turning Stone’s favorite restaurants, making it super easy to put together a sure-to-please picnic. In fact, The Cove at Sylvan Beach is a beautiful place to reserve for a week-long retreat, with your own pontoon boat included. Imagine a sunset proposal on the water, how romantic is that!

Asking permission to marry (you've got this)

There are some traditions that endure for generations, and for many people, asking the parent’s permission to marry is certainly one of them. In many cultures, in fact, it’s still considered quite important.

That said, this is one of those instances where you may want to lay your cards on the table ahead of time so that you and your future spouse are on the same page. While you may be well-intended, some partners may feel it violates their own independence.

How long before the proposal to ask the father

If you do agree to ask, parents will assume you have not formally proposed yet, so be sure to give yourself at least a few weeks.

Marriage proposal FAQs

Which knee do you propose on?

Time to channel your inner knight in shining armor, because this tradition dates back to medieval times when knights would bow down before noblewomen. Traditionally it’s the left knee that is on the ground, with the ring (if you have one) in your left hand and your right hand held out as you ask for your partner’s hand in marriage.

Do you have to propose with an engagement ring?

While it’s a romantic notion, you’d want to really know your partner’s preference here before picking out a ring without their input. Silver, gold or platinum? Diamond or no diamond? Vintage or classic? Is there an heirloom in the family? These days, if you want to propose with a ring, it’s typically best to include your partner in the hunt. In fact, you can design it together, and still have the official proposal event be the surprise. In a way, that builds its own wonderful kind of anticipation.

Should I propose before or after dinner?

If you’re planning to propose around a romantic dinner, at a restaurant by a beloved chef or even the place where you had your first date, take your cues from the style of the venue. Some restaurants let you linger while others are quick to want to turn the table. Choose a nicer restaurant if you’d like to savor your evening together. Also, remember dinner is only part of the evening. If you’re planning to propose outdoors or are in a venue known for its view, before dinner may be better while there’s still enough daylight. Dinner can then be an even more romantic celebration.

Our wedding experts are here to help

Getting married is a big step, but don’t let the pressure of popping the question overshadow this being one of the best times of your life – because it is. And what’s great is the best is yet to come. So have fun with this, make it your own and savor this special time in your relationship. 

We hope you’ve found some fun ideas and new inspiration here. Once the happy tears have dried, talk to the expert wedding team at Turning Stone to help you make the next steps toward planning your wedding. From our own in-house florists and ice sculptor to a variety of accommodations to tons of entertainment options for your guests, Turning Stone is a favorite destination wedding location in Central New York.


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