First off, congratulations! If you’ve found this article, chances are you’re thinking of ways to propose at home, and that means you’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. It doesn’t get much more exciting than that – but we know it can actually be pretty nerve-wracking too.
Perhaps you’re weighing up a lot of different proposal ideas, or you’re already settled on proposing in the comfort of your own four walls. Ultimately, only you know what’s right for your relationship, but at-home proposals are a great option for a number of reasons.
For many couples, something a little more low-key is a much better fit than a public declaration, and can still be just as romantic and meaningful. Not only does proposing at home make for a moment with much less pressure and much more intimacy, it makes your surroundings totally customisable, meaning there’s lots of fun ways to put your love on display – literally.
So, if you think that it might be the right move for you, here are 25 sweet suggestions to help you do it. Good luck!
1. Spell It Out
One of the most straightforward (and photogenic!) ways to propose at home is to hang up a sign that will pop the question on your behalf: use anything from balloons to bunting, or even light-up or neon letters for a night-time proposal. How cute are these paper lanterns above – perfect for a cosy evening in!
If you want to get friends and family involved, you could also sneak them inside and get them to hold up cute homemade posters or banners – while your partner reads the messages and realises what’s happening, you’ll have time to get down on one knee so you can ask them out loud too.
2. Get Your Pet to Help
If your other half loves your four-legged friend just as much as they love you, incorporating your pet into your at-home proposal is a super thoughtful idea. Engagement rings are just the right size to carefully loop onto a collar, or you could get a tag engraved with the words ‘will you marry me’ if you want to present the actual jewellery in person. Bigger pets can also carry a piece of paper or card into the room for the ultimate sweet surprise.
3. Or Your Kids
Children will usually be super excited to be part of such a special milestone with their parents, and make the whole thing feel even more joyous. Some of our favourite ideas include getting little ones to wear clothing with a proposal printed on it, or asking older kids to craft a question poster that can be cherished forever. Or, if they want more of a behind-the-scenes role, why not task them with the photography? Set them up at a good angle and let them capture the moment in the own creative way.
4. Serve Breakfast in Bed
This simple at-home proposal idea couldn’t be more endearing – especially if your future fiancée is a pancake fan… Get a beautiful tray and dress it up with flowers and fresh fruit, then plate up an array of their favourite breakfast dishes on statement crockery. If you want to ask them right away, print out a sign and include it in a frame on your display, or – to keep it a secret for longer – hide the food under the silver cloches you often get in fancy restaurants. Leave one dish free of food, but still pop a cloche on top – that’s where you hide the ring.
5. Set Up Afternoon Tea
A traditional afternoon tea spread includes scones, sandwiches, cakes and patisserie, but if there was ever a time to customise, it’s now. If you’re a dab hand in the kitchen a homemade afternoon tea will have major wow-factor, but there’s also nothing wrong with ordering in, especially if you get the food from their go-to bakery – whatever you decide, just be sure to have the champagne chilling in the fridge.
This is a proposal that can feel super relaxed or incredibly elegant, so it’s down to you to set the mood – whether you go for cosy indoor picnic vibes or an intimate sit-down, candlelit affair, you know what’s right for you as a couple.
READ MORE: The 8 Most Popular Ways to Propose Revealed
6. Lay Out a Candlelit Dinner
Speaking of candles, a candlelit dinner is a classic for a reason – it doesn’t get much more romantic. Recreate a restaurant meal you both loved, cook the signature dish you know they can’t resist or even order your ultimate weekend treat takeout.
To amp up the atmosphere, adjust the lighting, sprinkle petals everywhere, make a playlist, and get the drinks flowing. It’s up to you which course you choose to actually ask, but fun ideas include icing your question onto dessert, or balancing the ring (carefully!) on top of one of the dishes. Just make sure it’s visible enough not to be accidentally eaten (trust us, it’s happened).
7. Or Invite the Whole Family to Dinner
If you often host meals for your respective families and everyone gets along, this could be the ultimate place to propose at home. Some like to tell their loved ones ahead of time so they can have their cameras at the ready, while others prefer to spring the surprise on the entire group, not just their other half.
Either way, popping the question at a family dinner or gathering is a wonderful way to make everyone feel included, and initiating it can be as simple as standing up to make a toast. The reactions of your guests will make it even more emotional. Just make sure you know this would be something your partner would like!
If you’re considering this option during Coronavirus lockdown, how about getting everyone sharing a meal over Zoom? You can record your call so you have the proposal moment preserved forever.
8. Organise a Scavenger Hunt
Image: Martha Brook
No matter how big or small your house or flat is, you can pull off this proposal – all you need is time to plan and a little imagination. Starting at the front door when your partner arrives home, set up a series of clues that mean something to the two of you (from ‘where I first told you I loved you’ to ‘the place where you sort your socks’), leading to them eventually finding either you down on one knee, or offering up a gorgeous ring. Set up a camera on a tripod facing your final spot so you can record the experience and watch it back together once everything has sunk in.
9. Play a Game
We still love a good Scrabble proposal, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using board games to ask someone to marry you. Classics that require you to decipher a phrase or message (think Charades or Pictionary) are perfect for a built-in ‘will you marry me’ moment, but you can also get custom board games that require your partner to get to the very end and uncover your plan as they play. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could even consider drawing up with your own.
10. Throw a Surprise Party
Decorations aplenty, canapes and fizz ready to go, and everyone you love in one place? We can’t think of a better setting than a party for a grand gesture proposal at home. Obviously this works well for dates that are already special, like birthdays or anniversaries, but the biggest surprise of all would be a choosing a totally random spot in the calendar. When they ask what the occasion is, it’s time to tell them how you plan to make it a new one – the date you got engaged.
11. Fill a Room with Balloons
For an idea that’s really visual and has major wow factor, set up a room that’s absolutely overflowing with balloons and kneel down amongst them (we love the idea of a red and pink theme here, or maybe gold and silver to match their new jewellery). The pièce de résistance? A strand of helium balloons asking ‘marry me?’ over the spot where you’ve settled. Once they’ve said yes, you’ll have so much fun taking selfies in this colourful set-up.
12. Have a Photoshoot
Everyone wants a great photo of their proposal, so why not incorporate yours into your plan all along? Set up a cool backdrop (bedsheets and fairy lights are your friends here) or simply tell your partner you want to get a nice picture together. Whether you set up a tripod or go handheld, make sure you’re in control of the camera, then once you’re a few photos in, pull the ring out of your pocket. The crucial part is to keep snapping so that you document the shock on their face in all of its glory – you’ll never get an image this candid again.
13. Host a Movie Night
For couples who love nothing more than a Netflix sesh, this low-key home proposal is nothing short of perfect. Suggest a chilled-out night in front of the TV, but have the film set up on the screen before your other half enters the room. When you hit play, instead of the movie they’re expecting, you can stream a slideshow or video of your happiest moments together, and have the last slide read ‘will you marry me?’ If you’re real cinema buffs, you could even theme it as a ‘trailer’ to your marriage. Don’t worry if you’re not a natural director – there are plenty of apps that make this type of editing much easier than you’d think.
14. Use a Puzzle
Image: Not On The High Street
You can buy proposal puzzles ready-made these days, but for something a little more individual, look to sites like Not On The High Street and Etsy. Both have lots of sellers who will craft a custom jigsaw, allowing you to include a name, specific message or sometimes even a photo. We also love the quirkier option of a map puzzle, which gets you to piece together a picture of the location where you first met, or the place where you officially became a couple. Some inventive proposers have even put crossword puzzles in the local paper.
15. Pick a Playlist
There are two main options for a proposal with a playlist twist. The first is to incorporate songs that have been significant throughout your time together – your first date, your first kiss, and ‘your song’, if you have one. The second is to string together songs that hint at marriage – from Bruno Mars’ Marry You to Billy Idol’s White Wedding, you’re literally spoiled for choice. For a direct approach, send them the link, or simply play it in the background until they finally figure out your intentions.
16. Do a DIY spa
You don’t have to go to a spa to get the same sense of relaxation. Draw a soothing bath with petals and tealights, have face masks and body scrubs at the ready and prepare all the tools for a DIY mani (neat nails are key for that first #isaidyes picture). You can join in with the pamper sesh or let your sweetheart unwind in peace – either way, leave a pile of fresh towels and fluffy robe for the them once they’re done, and put the ring in the dressing gown pocket for them to discover.
17. Recreate Your Favourite Trip
Maybe it’s your first holiday together, maybe it’s the city you loved exploring the most, maybe it’s the same sunny beach resort you return to year after year. Whatever means the most to you, spend some time recreating the best bits of that unbeatable holiday – hang up the hilarious photos, recreate the delicious cuisine and cocktails, even wear sun cream that will instantly remind them of the trip. If you really want to take things to the next level and budget allows, you could put the ring in an envelope with two return tickets.
18. Or Your First Date
Another brilliantly nostalgic proposal idea is to recreate your first date at home. If this happened at home, it’ll be easy, if not you’ll have to get a little more creative, but there are lots of ways to trigger the memories. Wear the same outfit or fragrance, send the same text you did before you arrived, or rustle up the same meal. This is one of our all-time favourite ways to propose at home; it’s sweet, a little silly (in the best way!) and will make the whole thing feel incredibly special.
READ MORE: 21 Of The Best Engagement Announcement Ideas
19. Step Up (Literally)
If the element of surprise is a major factor, you don’t even have to get to the front door for an at-home proposal – ask your partner to marry you on your steps or porch by letting them walk up ahead of you, and then calling their name to have them spin around and see you on one knee. This is an especially lovely idea if you’ve just moved in or bought your first home together; every time they walk over the threshold, they’ll remember becoming a fiancé.
20. Build a Fort
Twinkly lights, fresh flowers, artfully draped sheets and comfy pillows – we’re talking the familiar fort of your childhood with the romance turned up. Have dinner inside, watch a movie or TV show or just get straight to asking; the choice is yours. Who knows, if everything goes well, you may even want to spend the whole night snuggling up inside.
21. Make the Garden Gorgeous
Because of the natural flora and fauna, gardens are often the prettiest part of a home. You can use this to your advantage in the proposal, especially if your partner has a favourite season. You could opt for sunrise or sunset, or wait until nighttime and glow up the space with lanterns, candles and fairy lights. Some even go all out with a custom-made arch or a message on a projector, but a circle of petals or candles on a patio table can work just as well.
22. DIY It
Got a decorating project on the go? Put the writing on the wall you’re working on! Wait until you’re home alone (or at least until they’re out of the room) and paint out a heartfelt proposal to surprise your partner on their return. If you go big, realistically you’ll probably paint over it, so if you want a memento, consider adding a smaller heart or note of the date in an inconspicuous corner that you can keep permanently.
23. Create a Website
Tech-savvy partners, this is the proposal you’ve been searching for. Even if you’re not a pro-coder, building a website has never been easier, and there are lots of online tutorials to guide your progress (or amazing web developers you can hire to do the hard work for you, if you prefer). Use the page to play your other half a video, show them your favourite pictures, or display a message you’ve written (a tickbox quiz is a cute idea). Then send them the URL and watch as they scroll.
24. Write a Poem
Putting pen to paper to share your emotions can often make you feel pretty vulnerable, but if you can’t do that when you’re proposing, when can you? Throw out the rule book and don’t stress about making it a ‘proper’ poem – just work on conveying whatever you feel that makes you want to spend forever together, rhyming be damned! You can read it aloud, but there’s no obligation – you could also fold it up with a ribbon to hand over directly, or hide it in a beloved book and ask them to turn to a particular page.
25. Give Them a Gift
It’s simple but effective, and something they’ll remember forever. Wrap up an elaborate memory box (boxes inside boxes, plenty of tissue, pictures, ribbons), either for a special occasion or ‘just because’, and watch as they open layer after layer. By the end, they should find a ring-box sized parcel – and if they still haven’t figured out what you’re asking by then, that’s your cue to tell them just how much you love them, and that you want to make them your husband or wife.
Decided you want to propose at home? Here’s 36 gorgeous engagement rings you can buy online.