Princess Diana Inspired Pink Sapphire Ring with Diamond Halo AngaraPrincess Diana Inspired Pink Sapphire Ring with Diamond Halo Angara

Six Simple Proposal Ideas

Simple doesn’t mean boring. Here are six simple proposal ideas to help you create a low-key but special and memorable experience for you and your partner.

5 Minute Read

IGS may receive customer referral fees from the companies listed in this page.

The most important thing to understand about low-key marriage proposals is that "simple" doesn't mean boring. No matter where or when you pop the question, you can make the moment special and unique. Here are six simple proposal ideas to get you started.
A low-key proposal doesn't mean a low-key ring. Here's a show-stopping diamond and sapphire engagement ring set in 14K white gold. © Blue Nile.
Find this Ring
at Blue Nile

Keep Your Partner Front and Center

Jumping out of airplanes? Orchestrating a flash mob?

You can find lots of dramatic proposal stories online involving elaborate and expensive scenarios. Looking for inspiration can be intimidating. You might feel pressured into putting on a complicated public exhibition. However, proposals don't have to be over-the-top to be meaningful and memorable.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the perfect marriage proposal puts your partner's personality front and center. Although some people do enjoy big productions, most prefer proposals that just involve each other and, perhaps, their closest friends and family. If your significant other falls into the latter category, keep it low-key and romantic. 

Propose at Home

Home is perhaps the most intimate setting you can choose for your proposal. "Home" could mean the place where you're currently living or a meaningful childhood/past dwelling.

Fortunately, there are many creative ways to pop the question in this familiar place. Most importantly, consider where exactly you want to propose. This could be a particular room, but you can also create a temporary special space specifically for the occasion. Decorate your dining table with beautiful flowers and candles or arrange blankets and pillows in your living room.

Many people like to incorporate food into their proposal. Some couples enjoy cooking together. If that's you, plan something romantic like hiding a ring with the ingredients or slipping a message into the recipe. If cooking isn't your thing, try something inexpensive but effective. For example, there's the tried-and-true method of ordering a pizza with a special message in the box. You could even spell it out with toppings.

This romantic, vintage-inspired engagement ring in 14K white gold is perfect for proposing during a candle-lit meal. © James Allen.
Find this RIng
at James Allen

Propose Outdoors

If your partner's happy place is in nature, proposing in a cherished outdoor setting can be extremely special. This beloved location could be at the end of a trail, a particular bench in a park, or even a rooftop garden.

What's the biggest Pro of proposing outdoors? Mother Nature can take care of most of the setup. All you need to bring is the ring. Time your proposal to coincide with romantic moments like sunrise or sunset.

The pink sapphire featured in this platinum engagement ring is reminiscent of a gentle sunrise. © Angara.
Find this Ring
at Angara

Food can also play a role in outdoor proposals. Picnics are a great setup because they already involve packing special foods and drink. You can easily slip a ring into your picnic basket without your partner noticing. This will help you maintain the element of surprise until the right moment.

You can also take advantage of seasonal outdoor activities like apple picking, pumpkin carving, or Christmas tree decorating to set the stage. Just hide the ring with your supplies.

Some outdoor locations can even let you actually write your proposal in the landscape. You can trace your message directly into the environment on sandy beaches and snow-covered ground. This is a discreet and easy way to propose in a majestic outdoor setting (and you won't leave a permanent mark).

The two rows of pavé-set diamonds along the shank of this 18K white gold ring glitter like fresh snow. © James Allen.
Find this Ring
at James Allen

Piggyback on Another Meaningful Event

One way to add a personal touch to your proposal is to pop the question on a significant date for you and/or your partner. This might be a birthday, favorite holiday, or job promotion.

You might also visit a location that was the site of an important event for both of you. Think of where you shared your first kiss, first date, or first said "I love you." Your significant other will already be in a mood to celebrate. Plus, the event and place will now be doubly meaningful for them. 

Another advantage to piggybacking your proposal with an established celebratory event is that loved ones may already be gathered for the occasion. This means they won't have to make an extra trip to celebrate your engagement. 

The featured garnet in this 14K yellow gold ring makes it a perfect choice for individuals born in January. © Angara.
Find this Ring
at Angara

Find Inspiration in Mutual Interests

Think about the interests you share with your partner and you're sure to find some interesting simple proposal ideas. It's an easy way to inject some playfulness and fun into the occasion while still keeping things low-key.

For instance, maybe you and your partner both love the same kind of music. This can lead to many proposal opportunities. You can propose during a concert by your favorite band. Want to keep things private? Set the tone by playing a favorite album at home during a romantic dinner.  

A shared love of movies can also lead to many similar proposal prospects. Imagine asking your partner to marry you when you're at a premiere of a highly anticipated movie. Prefer a private setting? Try proposing at home while you watch a favorite film you've seen a million times.

Many couples share a love of games. Game nights, whether just with each other or a select group of friends, are an intimate and very versatile setting for a proposal. Word games, charades, scavenger hunts, and karaoke nights are a fun way to lead up to the big question. 

If your partner is a reader, you could read or listen to a romantic book together. For the actual proposal, leave a note in the book.  

This semi-halo design paired with a central emerald, set in a 14K rose gold engagement ring, is both elegant and playful. © Blue Nile.
Find this Ring
at Blue Nile

Get Others Involved

Just because you want to keep your proposal sweet and simple doesn't mean that others can't be involved. This is especially true if you and/or your partner have children. Consider asking your partner's kids if it's OK for you to marry their parent before proposing. Try to find a way to involve the kids in the actual proposal. This is a considerate way of making everyone feel included and important.

Similarly, you can find creative ways to involve treasured pets in your proposal. Tying a ring to your dog's or cat's collar is a classic example. Alternatively, you can place the ring in a spot where your significant other will find it while tending to their animals.

Choosing a design that features multiple gemstones set in a 14K white gold engagement ring can represent the existing children in your life. © Ritani.
Find this Ring
at Ritani

Emily Frontiere

Emily Frontiere is a GIA Graduate Gemologist. She is particularly experienced working with estate/antique jewelry.

Never Stop Learning

When you join the IGS community, you get trusted diamond & gemstone information when you need it.

Become a Member

Get Gemology Insights

Get started with the International Gem Society’s free guide to gemstone identification. Join our weekly newsletter & get a free copy of the Gem ID Checklist!