The Most Stunning Places to Get Engaged
Every year, 2,245,404 Americans get married. While it is harder to know what the worldwide statistics are for marriages, we do know that on average 4.8 people of every 1,000 get married every year. Needless to say, that’s a lot of weddings.
But before you and your beloved walk down the aisle, you'll want to get engaged first.
Whether you're planning on popping the question in your hometown or getting down on bended knee while on an epic vacation, we have some fantastic ideas on places to get engaged. From glaciers to mountain tops to the world’s most stunning beaches, these are some of the ultimate places for your partner to say, “Yes.”
The quaint, coastal village of Carmel-by-the-Sea has long been a popular spot for the rich and famous to get married. In fact, Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman, Nicolas Cage and Brooke Shields all said “I do” here. Plus, many more actors, writers and other celebrities have called Carmel home, including Clint Eastwood, John Steinbeck and Doris Day, who also owns the local Cypress Inn — an ideal retreat if you want the full Hollywood experience.
Travel + Leisure included it in its list of most romantic destinations in the world, and it is easy to see why. This village on California’s Monterey Peninsula has beautiful ocean views, dimly lit restaurants with award-winning chefs, fairytale architectural elements and hidden gardens. And you're a short drive from redwood forests if you're looking to bring the great outdoors into your romantic moment.
Just because the rich and famous love it, though, doesn't mean Carmel-by-the-Sea is off limits for the rest of us. Romantic activities that won’t break the bank include enjoying oysters and champagne at happy hour, driving the 17-mile stretch of ocean views from Pebble Beach Resort and Pacific Grove, strolling through the whimsical downtown and admiring its abundant art galleries, and walking the Scenic Road Walkway at sunset.
Chianti Classico, Italy
If your sweetheart loves wine, then take the celebration to Villa Mangiacane, a luxury villa in Chianti Classico, Italy. The powder-pink, 15th-century villa is nestled among vineyards in the heart of the winemaking region of Chianti Classico. According to its owner, Villa Mangiacane was "built by the Machiavelli family and bears the unmistakable hand of the Renaissance master, Michelangelo."
Pop the question in the flourishing vineyards and olive groves or over a bottle of one of the estate's award-winning wines. They also make grappa and olive oil. Once you are in celebration mode, enjoy the gourmet restaurant, infinity pool and sculpture garden, or head to nearby Florence, San Gimignano and Siena to continue the festivities.
If you're looking for an award-winning location that also happens to ooze New England charm, then consider popping the question at Madison Beach Hotel in Madison. The intimate seaside hotel specializes in creating romantic moments. Each room has a view of the water, so proposing at sunrise or sunset will ensure some Instagram-worthy snapshots. Relax at the spa with various couples' treatments, and celebrate the moment at The Wharf, the hotel’s restaurant that overlooks the Long Island Sound.
There's plenty to do once you leave the property, too. For stunning views of the water, consider a scenic drive along Connecticut's coast. Stop along the journey and visit Lighthouse Point, which also has a carousel during the summer months. Or hop aboard the Sea Mist and explore the Thimble Islands, where you might see some seals. Consider stopping at Harvey’s Beach and the borough of Fenwick, which became well known after Katharine Hepburn said it "is and always has been my other paradise" in her memoir “Me: Stories of My Life.”
If your partner has a sweet tooth, sample some of the states best desserts on the Connecticut Chocolate Trail. Or taste your favorite blend at one of the many vineyards and farm wineries in Connecticut. Grab lunch and do some light shopping on the boardwalk at Ocean Beach Park before immersing yourself in New England nature at nearby Harkness Memorial State Park or East Rock Park, which includes the mountainous ridge of the same name.
If you and your partner love hitting the slopes, then head to a magical mountain retreat when it comes time to ask the big question.
Ski in and out of the Snow Bear Chalets — the world's first luxury treehouse — located slopeside at Whitefish Mountain Resort. This place is so picturesque, with its wood-paneled cottages complete with turrets, that it feels like it was made for an engagement shoot. Each chalet is tucked between tall, snow-covered trees. Inside, guests can rest in their private hot tubs and fall asleep under murals of the night sky. It is so cool, in fact, that TIME Magazine named it one of the 100 Greatest Places in the World.
In addition to excellent skiing, you'll have mountain views of nearby Glacier National Park, a private balcony with a hot tub, and a 7-foot round microfiber bed with mattress warmers. "Imagine falling asleep in a plush master bed cantilevered out over the forest floor, surrounded by windows with the most decadent bedding in the world," says Gail Lynne Goodwin, Whitefish Mountain Resort owner. "There's nothing like it in the world!"
Koh Yao Noi, Thailand
If you love nature and are hoping to propose in an exotic location, then we have the perfect option for you: The Island Hideout, an electricity-free luxury treehouse retreat in Thailand. Avoid the tourist traps and, instead, unplug and unwind on the lush jungle isle of Koh Yao Noi.
"There are no walls, and it is a true romantic luxury escape for adventure seekers or people who want to connect with themselves or their loved ones," says Anita Ritter, the creator of The Island Hideout. "Candles and stars light the sky in the night, and the only sounds people hear are those of nature and the waves washing ashore."
Ritter's property proudly features sustainable open-air treetop suites crafted from local materials by island artisans. It'll be a trip of a lifetime for couples who enjoy immersing themselves in the local culture when they're traveling. Just a few of the activities available are jungle hikes, forest-bathing, bird watching, southern Thai cooking classes, and sunrise and sunset cruises.
If a midwest proposal is part of your love story, consider the city Vogue called the Midwest's coolest and most underrated: Milwaukee. There are a ton of picturesque spots to get down on one knee, including Lake Park, Boerner Botanical Gardens Arboretum, Seven Bridges Trail at Grant Park and the ice rink in Red Arrow Park. Not only is Milwaukee affordable, but there are stunning views of Lake Michigan, some fantastic restaurants for foodies and craft breweries — all of which lead to a fun, laidback experience.
Theresa Nemetz, the founder of Milwaukee Food & City Tours, told us how she's helped couples celebrate engagements in unique ways. Take the example of one couple, Mike and Kristin, who loved trying new craft beers during their courtship. (We've excluded their last names for privacy purposes). Nemetz and Michael organized a surprise proposal, and when Kristin said yes, her friends and family were already there to celebrate.
And while the city’s Harley-Davidson Museum won't be the right option for everyone, die-hard motorcycle fans would disagree. For true devotees, the venue is extraordinary. Plus, they have a whole team that loves to organize special events like engagements and weddings. "Now, I realize that you might have a vision in mind when I mention the Harley-Davidson Museum, but I assure you we can create a stunning ceremony no matter your affinity for the Bar & Shield," says Tim McCormick of the Harley-Davidson Museum.
There are several spots to ask the big question here: inside the museum, outside where they have a beautiful field and sculptures throughout the property, or in one of the places on the ground where there are views of downtown, Walker’s Point and the Menomonee River.
Coco Plum Cay, Belize
If staying at an award-winning hotel on a private hotel is on your bucket list then consider visiting Coco Plum Island Resort, a private island resort in Belize. The adults-only resort has won countless awards for its dedication to creating a romantic atmosphere.
"This commitment led to a four-year sweep (2016-2019) of the No.1 spot for Top 10 Hotels in Belize in the category of Romance, according to TripAdvisor reviewers," says Coco Plum Representative Charlene Fedoroff. "Due to the island's accommodations — only 18 private, beachfront cabanas and one three-bedroom overwater villa — guests experience the exclusivity and intimacy of vacationing essentially on their own private island.”
Coco Plum is the only resort on the small 16-acre island, which is about 9 miles off the coast of Southern Belize. But there's still plenty of activities to check off your list before popping the big question. Guests can fish, snorkel along Belize’s Barrier Reef, hike the Mayan Ruins of Xunantunich, zipline above the Belize rainforest and cave tube down rivers.
If you're craving a trip of a lifetime, but want to stay in the states, consider popping the question in Alaska. There are a few Instagram-worthy proposal options in Juneau, the state’s capital. You could even take a helicopter to the top of a glacier and get down on bended knee. Can you imagine telling your grandkids that story? If heights aren't your thing, consider one of the many beaches — many of which have glaciers in the backdrop.
If you're looking for something a bit different, though, then the enchanted rainforest garden at Pearson's Pond Luxury Inn and Adventure Spa might be the right fit. Pearson’s Pond is a serene garden filled with Sitka spruce and Hemlock of the Tongass Rain Forest. Plus, the property’s won several recognitions.
The Three Rondavels, South Africa
If planning an elaborate proposal isn't your thing, but you like an adventure, then consider borrowing this idea, and get down on one knee during a tour led by Acacia Africa. "[We] recently had a surprise proposal on an overland adventure. The truck stopped at the Three Rondavels in South Africa — a pretty impressive backdrop as you'll see from the picture," says Siobhan Erum-Credo with the tourism group.
With the gorgeous views of mountains and lakes before them, Levi Umena dropped to one knee and asked his bride-to-be, Megan Hayward, to marry him. She said yes, and the couple continued their adventures with something extra special to celebrate.
The couple was on the 20-day Kruger to Cape Town tour that includes adventures in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. Couples who choose to get engaged this way will have a plethora of options for adventures as the tour includes visits to the Kruger and Addo Elephant national parks, the clear waters of St Lucia and the rugged beaches of Durban.
If mountains and glaciers aren't sending your heart aflutter, consider hopping on over to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world in the Aloha State. This volcanic archipelago located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is known for epic honeymoons, but it's also a great place to pop the big question, too.
If you're going, you might as well visit the state's capital, Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. Perhaps a romantic stroll along the city’s iconic Waikiki Beach will feel right. Or you could head to the island’s North Shore, which is known for its views and its vast waves. Tours of volcanoes, sunrise mountain hikes, festive luaus, snorkeling cruises and hikes to waterfalls are just a few of the options to organize a proposal. But a simple walk along the beach at sunset can also create the perfect time for one of the most romantic parts of life.
Patagonia, South America
Stunning green-blue water sits below soaring mountains in this South American region that is considered one of the more remote parts of the planet. The area is shared by Argentina and Chile, and the Andes Mountains divides the two vastly different climates. On one side you'll find grasslands and deserts, and on the other, you'll experience glacial fjords and a temperate rainforest.
"Known for being home to some of the most spectacular landscapes on earth, Patagonia is the perfect destination for nature lovers and adventure-seeking couples looking to get engaged," says Amanda Hackney, a spokesperson for Quasar Expeditions, which organizes tours in the region.
Since the region is still very wild and rugged, it's best to travel by Jeep and ideal if you can hire a guide to help navigate across the lakes and fjords, which make beautiful backdrops for an unforgettable proposal. It's also essential to go during specific seasons, as Patagonia's winters are beyond brutal. The regular season runs from September to April.
Art! History! Romance! Rome has it all. Italy's capital has about 3,000 years of beauty on display in the form of art, architecture and culture. It is a traveler's paradise. Whether it is under Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel or outside the Colosseum, there's a nearly endless list of spots to propose in Rome.
"My husband and I got engaged in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome one December," says Keziah Holman, who runs the travel lifestyle blog, So Today We Found. "It was full of people who all clapped and cheered when I said yes … Then, we walked back through the little streets to find a place for dinner and heard a busker playing ‘Wonderful Tonight’ on his guitar, which ended up being our first dance.”
How romantic and fun does that sound?