Updated: Oct 29, 2021
The inspiration for proposals mainly comes from Hollywood rom-coms.
The problem with them, of course, is our fictional Romeo has all the dollars he needs to give his Juliet the proposal of a lifetime.
And, unfortunately, this just isn’t realistic.
But we’re here to save you, Romeo.
Here are 10 of the most romantic ways to propose on a budget.
(Thank us later.)
Not sure if you’re ready to propose? Check out our post on ‘How to Know if You Should Propose’ to guarantee you’re ready to make an unbreakable vow.
1) Propose on the beach
There’s something beautiful about the beach. Whether it’s the rolling waves or the trillion grains of sand, the whole setting screams out romance.
We recommend visiting the beach during sunset. Have a walk along the sand, allow the waves to swim between your toes.
Point out the sunset, and while she’s looking, get down on one knee.
With no dollars spent, a stunningly romantic setting and a simple surprise strategy, the beach is our number one way to propose on a budget.
Pro Tip: Encourage her to wear sandals. Wearing high heels for your stroll may cause frustration as her heels will either stick in the sand or you’ll end up carrying them. When you drop down on one knee, the only things you should be holding are the ring and her hand. Kick the shoes to the curb!
Check it out: Doris got engaged after her partner popped the question on the beach. She tells us that she wouldn’t change a single moment of it - and we don’t blame her! This proposal screams out ‘romance’. Congratulations, Doris!
Follow Doris on Instagram here.
2) Propose with breakfast in bed
While this may not live up to your own proposal fantasy, there’s such a purity to this strategy that it makes us think of ultimate romance.
Tom Kaulitz proposed to Heidi Klum over breakfast in bed. Despite his massive bank account, he selected simplicity over glamour.
The best thing about this is that she won’t expect it. You’ll take her massively by surprise.
You’ll be spending money on the ingredients for her breakfast and her ring. Other than that, your bank account remains untouched.
Simple, sweet and romantic.
Pro tip: Make sure you make her her favorite breakfast. And, have a bottle of bubbly in the fridge waiting for when she says ‘yes’. You’ll also need to think carefully about positioning. You’ll need her to be sitting on the edge of the bed so you can get down on one knee without looking like you’re stretching.
Plan this out beforehand. If you don’t, it can cause panic and add more pressure to the proposal.
Check it out: Brittney’s partner proposed with an insanely delicious breakfast spread in Santorini. After confirming that this proposal definitely made it on her short-list of the best days of her life, we’re fawning over the cuteness.
Follow Brittney on Instagram here.
3) Propose on a picnic
Picnic proposals are a firm favorite. The beauty of popping the question during a picnic is that it’s easy to disguise. You can make it appear like any other picnic that you’ve organized 10, 20, 100 times before.
To keep that element of surprise, act totally nonchalant. Allow her to help you pack the picnic.
Take her somewhere quiet and tranquil. Perhaps you have a favorite picnic spot. You could have a park-picnic or on the top of a mountain after a hike - try to pick somewhere that means something to you as a couple or that perfectly captures your relationship.
Your wallet has been out for only the snacks you’re taking, the bottle of wine or bubbles and the ring. A perfect way to propose on a budget.
Pro tip: Pack some chocolate covered strawberries to add an extra element of romance to the trip. You could also suggest taking a selfie, pop on the 10 second timer, wait for the last 3 seconds and get down on one knee. You’ll then have the photo of the exact moment you proposed. She will really appreciate that and shows added effort.
Check it out: Chris sure has an eye for creativeness, with this beautiful picnic proposal on the beach. When Sara finally let him ask the question, of course, her answer was "YES"! Congratulations!!
Follow Chris and Sara on Instagram here.
4) Propose using technology
Now, this proposal takes time and effort. But, keep in mind that you’re about to promise your partner a lifetime of happiness. There’s no better way of starting this promise than by showing her that you have spent your time and effort on something unforgettable.
And, it doesn’t need to be expensive. This will be time-costly, but your pennies will be totally safe.
Collect all the photos and videos you share together and save them in a separate, (password protected), folder on your laptop or PC. You can edit them in Canva and add text to caption the date and time, and perhaps even a few sentences about the memory.
Put the videos over a song that means something to you both and add some personalization to make it beautiful.
Stick your film on a USB stick and place it inside a box. You can wrap this box up for a special touch, and give it to your partner when you’re at home, doing everyday tasks.
Toward the end of the film, get down on one knee and propose.
No money spent other than the ring in your pocket, but a whole cave of wonders for purity and love.
The romance of technology never gets old!
Pro tip: Make sure the last clip on your video has the words ‘will you marry me?’ Watch it a few times to recognize when this is about to come up, and at that point, get down on one knee. She’ll be so touched that you have gone to an incredible amount of effort. She’ll also be surprised, and she can cherish this film for the rest of her life.
Check it out: How stunning is this beautifully British proposal set up in the Cotswolds? James certainly put his best foot forward before getting down on one knee by combining the serenity of nature and the modern edge of technology. Ornate Moments were brilliant in helping him achieve his vision. Congratulations, you two!
Follow Ornate Moments On Instagram here.
5) Propose over dinner
With a twist! If you’re trying to save money and want to propose to your partner, cook a 3 course meal. Don’t panic if you’re not Gordon Ramsay. There are hundreds of recipes online that make things super easy.
For extra points, you can create your own menu, light a candle and put up some fairy lights. If you have a garden, having your meal outside would be a beautiful touch.
When the time feels right, get down on one knee and propose.
Your money goes on the ingredients for the meal, (but there are hundreds of budget friendly recipes), and the ring. Delicious and romantic. Yes, please.
Pro tip: Hook up your Spotify or Apple Music account to a music source. Ahead of time, create a playlist of all the songs that are special to the pair of you. If you have ‘a song’, position this on the list at the time you’d like to propose so it’s playing in the background. That can be your cue to get down on one knee.
You’ll need a decent bottle of vino or champagne, so get yourself an ice bucket to make your home feel like The Ritz.
Oh! And try to keep the kitchen as tidy as possible. Scrubbing pots and pans isn’t the dream ending to a proposal, (plus, she won’t want to dirty the ring!).
6) Propose with a fur baby
Is your partner a cat or dog mom? Is she totally in love with her fur baby? If so, use her love for them to propose. There are many ways you can do this.
Firstly, you can get an engraved pet tag. We opt for ‘will you meow-y me?’ for a kitty.
Or, you can get yourself a small blackboard with a chord. Write ‘will you marry me?’ on the board and place the chord gently around your pet. Call her over as if the fur-baby has done something funny.
Make sure you say ‘quick! Before he stops!’ so she hurries into the room.
You don’t want the dog to shake it off before she sees it.
You could also play it simple with a card. There are hundreds around that are ‘from the cat’ or ‘from the dog’. Pick your favorite one and write a message from your fur-baby to their mom.
Something like “I like dad. Will you marry him?” works wonders.
No dollars spent, and the most a-paw-able proposal around!
Pro tip: Set up your phone to record the moment she runs in. Place it on a holder or windowsill where the light doesn’t ruin the quality of the image. Make sure this is perfect before you call her in so she can keep that video for the rest of her life.
We’d also highly recommend a test run. There’s a reason why people avoid working with animals! They can change your plans faster than you could say ‘meow’.
Trial it first and expect a few mishaps. But don’t panic - it all adds to the charm!
Check it out: Have you ever seen something so utterly a-paw-able? These 2 cockapoos are ecstatic that their mom and dad are tying the knot. Congrats, dad, on purchasing a timeless momentum that can be cherished for the rest of your lives. (And the proposal wasn’t half bad too!)
Follow these pampered pooches here.
7) Propose at a family gathering
This proposal depends massively on your future bride’s personality. If she’s ultra-family orientated and adores being around them, then this is a great choice.
The beauty of this proposal is the element of surprise. Don’t phrase it as if it were a ‘party’, as that’ll give the game away. Instead, involve her in the plans. Just, conveniently forget to tell her that you’re about to propose.
Explain to your partner that you’d like to have the family round for dinner. Make it as casual as possible.
Whether you tell the future in-laws that you’re going to propose is totally up to you. If you think they can keep a secret, go for it. If not, it’ll be as surprising to them as it is to her.
With the family support, a room full of love and an electric atmosphere, this is a truly lovely way to propose that doesn’t put a massive strain on your wallet.
Pro tip: Try to let at least one family member know what you’re doing so they can capture the moment on video. When everyone’s settled and the time feels right, propose a toast. Turn to your partner at this point and relay your proposal speech. Make sure, if the in-laws are there, you thank them for allowing you to be a part of their family. At this point, get down on one knee and propose.
8) Propose at a bookstore
If your partner is a lover of Shakespeare’s sonnets or JK Rowling’s wizarding world, a bookstore may be the perfect place to pop the question.
Choose an aisle of books that resemble your relationship or her passions.
The element of surprise here is huge, because she’ll never be expecting it. Simply guide her to the aisle by telling her that you think you’ve found something she’ll love.
When she comes round the corner, get the ring out, get down on one knee and propose.
Absolutely no dollars spent and a proposal she’ll never forget. Win, win!
Pro tip: Talk to the bookstore owners way ahead of time and fill them in on your plans. Explain that your partner loves books and that you’re aiming to make this unforgettable.
The owners may then add decorations and fairy lights to help you with your plans. They may ask for a photo of the moment so they can share it on social media, which makes the romance even more wholesome.
9) Propose on a hike
If you and your partner love nature and climbing mountains, this is the perfect way to propose on a budget.
Surround yourself with fresh air, a beautiful setting and the woman of your dreams and a proposal is inevitable.
Other than the ring, you won’t need to spend a dime. Despite the money being safe in your wallet, this is one of the most romantic ways to propose of all time. If you can find a waterfall, even better!
Pro tip: Be cautious of weather. The rain can dampen spirits and romance, while the extreme heat can cause aggravation and stress. Check the weather ahead of time. The beauty of this proposal strategy is that you can propose at any time. If you were planning to propose this weekend but there’s a storm coming, postpone it to the next weekend.
Try to take a photo of the exact time of proposal by holding it up against a rock. Explain to your partner that you’d like to take a photo of the beautiful landscape. Once the timer hits ‘3’, get down on one knee and propose.
Check it out: Sammi’s dreams came true after a long hike to the top of a mountain. Timed perfectly, her partner proposed just as the sun was setting. She confirms that it was, without a doubt, the most magical day of her life.
Follow Sammi’s engagement journey here.
10) Propose in a flower field
This can be slightly tricky if you’re living in the centre of a city. But, there are always ways around it.
Take your partner flower picking. Google some local farms and orchards and get in touch with the owners.
You can’t get much more romantic than a field full of colorful petals. A beautiful setting, the scent will be stunning and the romance levels are off the chart.
Pro tip: This proposal strategy requires planning. Think carefully about the season you’re planning to propose. Different flowers bloom at different times, so try to tie her favorite flower into the time of your proposal. Sunflowers, for example, thrive in the summer. So, if your future wife’s favorite flower is a sunflower, you’ll need to propose in summer.
This is also a day-time engagement rather than an evening one, so it’s likely that she won’t be expecting it!
Check it out: Strolling through fields of lavender, this proposal was helped by The Proposal Company who help you organize the biggest moment of your life. This photo is the definition of ‘true love’. Congratulations to the beautiful couple!
Follow The Proposal Company here.
Proposing on a budget
Proposing on a budget doesn’t need to compromise on romance. When it comes down to it, your partner will love any of these proposal strategies. Not only because they are all ultra romantic, but because you’re the one proposing.
Just make sure you plan ahead and consider every step you need to make to get to that ‘Yes, I’ll marry you!’ stage.
In the meantime, get choosing the perfect engagement ring.
Struggling? Download our ‘Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring’ for free!
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