Getting engaged is the most exciting, nerve wracking, and potentially important day of your life. For years to come (hopefully!), your story about the planning, thought process, and personal touches behind how and, perhaps more importantly, where you ‘popped the question’ will be told and retold on countless occasions. The pressure for a memorable and unique proposal location is undoubtedly increasing, while finding the perfect destination to propose can be a confusing process.
The following ‘top ten’ cities cover all the bases by providing amazing locations which will stimulate those creative proposal juices. From the classic romance of Paris and Venice; to the bustling metropolis and skyline of New York; to the glitz, glamour and modernity of the city of diamonds, Dubai; for better or worse, all of these locations have huge impact and huge potential.
Remember, romance comprises both a visionary and personal thought process, so the location really matters. Some of my lady friends have gone as far as to say that the better the setting, the more chance you have of her saying yes. We’re not sure that this is the best foundation for marriage, but it is certainly food for thought.
New York is the original ‘city that never sleeps’. As you would expect from the world’s economic capital, the city boasts a vast array of beautifully elegant and luxurious hotels, hundreds of insanely good restaurants, Broadway, and a large collection of world class museums, parks and destinations of interest. The challenge with New York will be finding the time to propose!
The Big Apple has an eclectic mix of options when it comes to popping the big question. Skyline lovers (and New York has one of the best) can make a beeline to 86th floor of the Empire State building. Here you’ll find the observatory which offers views to die for, as well as the option of having a personal Saxophonist play you your favourite melody once the proposal is successfully complete.
For those who want a quieter engagement experience, Central Park offers a large patch of serenity and tranquility amidst a sea of hustle. A romantic Central Park champagne picnic could be a beautiful summer time option if the weather is good. Other popular locations include the Statue of Liberty, Time Square, as well as the observation deck of the Rockefeller Center.
Dubai; the jewel of the Middle East, the city of gold and diamonds (the ideal place to buy a tax free diamond engagement ring), and holder of its fair share of ‘largest/tallest’ records, is probably one of the most fantastical cities on the planet. Whilst nobody would describe Dubai as a romantic city, this larger than life destination has a large variety of high impact, memorable proposal options.
For animal lovers the Atlantis Hotels dolphinarium offers an option where your diamond engagement ring box is secretly handed to a dolphin that personally swims over and delivers it to your wife to be. Those with a head for heights would be suited to ‘Atmosphere’, the highest restaurant in the world situated in the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building), which has both food and views to die for.
A romantic, luxurious personal desert safari will provide you with a carpet of stars and the serenity, emptiness and silence of the desert. Or, why not hire a private luxury motor boat for an hour or so and anchor off the impressive Burj Al Arab for a sunset proposal?
For those adrenaline junkies amongst you, try a skydive proposal at the largest skydiving centre in the world, Skydive Dubai. Other options include desert balloon rides, a sunset cruise in a traditional Dhow, or a private sunset beach proposal and meal outside one of the city’s many luxurious hotels.
London is arguably the most cosmopolitan city on the planet with a bucket list of attractions and things to do. Whilst London is by no means the most romantic city on the list, like New York, it has numerous exciting locations for popping the question.
Those seeking Royal approval may consider the fountain outside the gates of Buckingham Palace. Who knows, the Queen may even be watching over the romantic moment from her upstairs window (whilst drinking a cup of tea of course)! Another option might be to head over to the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, hire a boat, and row out into the middle with a diamond ring, tasty treats and bottle of bubbly for some glamorous courage.
The most popular proposal location in the city is the London Eye: Having seen well over 5000 successful proposals to date, this old timer pretty much guarantees the right result. The views are superb and will make both of you feel – if not on top of the world – on top of London. London’s biggest challenge is probably the weather. Make sure you come prepared with a poor weather back-up plan, such as the OXO tower restaurant situated on the South Bank of the River Themes, where the views and the food are both fantastic.
Just the word ‘Venice’, or Venezia to be precise, stimulates a plethora of romantic images in the mind: Masked balls, a seemingly never-ending number of quiet, narrow waterways perfect for a leisurely gondola ride, and beyond beautiful architecture. Venezia is truly one of the most gorgeous places on earth. Proposing anywhere here is probably enough.
For the classic Venice proposal, rent a private gondola and head for a beauty spot in the water ways. For those of you who suffer from seasickness, or worry about dropping the diamond ring overboard, then St Mark’s Square, or the Bridge of Sighs, are also good locations.
For those of you who would like something a little less clichéd, then head for one of the hundreds of quieter waterside vantage points. The high volume of tourists in Venice can be a real challenge, so consider visiting out of season or proposing early/late in the day to ensure that you do not share that all important moment with a group of snap-happy tourists.
As the saying goes ‘all roads lead to Rome’. But does this former Roman powerhouse offer a good option when it comes to that all important question? As you would expect from the Italians, in Rome romance is weaved into the very fabric of the city. The stunning beauty of this city ensures that lovers have a wide variety of excellent options for that special moment.
The most popular place to propose is the iconic Trevi Fountain. This work of art celebrates the incredible achievements of those Roman engineers who devised an aqueduct system to bring fresh water to the entire city. Thousands of years on, the water, and the love, still flow around this national monument. To avoid the crowds, and capture the most beautiful part of the day, an early morning trip is strongly recommended.
Other iconic locations include the vista point of St Peter’s Basilica, Piazza Navona, the Baroque Fountain or the Hotel Forum rooftop bar. For something a little more private and secluded, try one of the array of stunning winding back streets, picturesque public gardens, or vista points to die for.
Paris has a reputation for being the romantic capital of the world, whilst the Eiffel tower is leading the way as most popular proposal location on the planet. The annual count of proposals, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, runs into the thousands, making it something of a cliché. If you are willing to look beyond the Eiffel Tower, however, there are a number of stunning locations that will provide you with an original moment in the city of romance. Like Rome, Paris is blessed with hundreds of beautifully picturesque side streets and alleys that could provide the perfect setting to ask the question.
Other excellent options include the stunning Pont des Arts, breathtaking views from the fantastic ‘Le George Au Centre Pompidou’ restaurant, the Parc de Belle Ville, or the Palais de Chaillot located just across the Seine from the Eiffel tower. All in all, with Paris, you are spoilt for choice.
Prague is a stunning city with a variety of excellent options to ask the all important question. Whilst Prague is no Paris, it will appeal to those of you looking for something less cliché. The most iconic proposal spot in town is the Charles Bridge. This classic 14th Century monument is a pedestrian foot crossing that connects the Old Town with the Lesser Town and Prague Castle.
Like Venice, timing is critical so, to avoid the crowds, visit out of season, and/or propose early morning or evening. For lovers who enjoy a view, and with a head for heights, you may want to consider Powder Tower or Jindrisska Tower. Both of these locations offer fantastic views of the city. For a musical couple the Krizik singing fountain will appeal – it delivers musical water displays and creates a very special atmosphere, particularly in the evening.
If you are looking for something a little more private, Prague has a long list of gardens and vineyards. The Vrtbovske garden, Vinicni Altan vineyard, and the Havlickovy Sady Park are but a few of many excellent options.
Las Vegas provides you with glitz, glamour, action, excitement, and the possibility of a very short engagement! Many people propose in Las Vegas and find themselves at their own shotgun wedding within the next 24 hours. In fact, more people get married in Vegas every year, per head of population, than any other city in the world.
Whilst it may not be an obvious choice for a proposal, Vegas does provide some really unusual options. The fountains in front of the Bellagio offer water drama, music and excitement; whilst countless rooftop bars and restaurants give you some superb and dramatic views.
Moving slightly outside of Vegas, you can book a balloon flight in the nearby Spring Mountain Range, which includes Mount Charleston, or even take a flight from Vegas over the immensely beautiful Grand Canyon. Whilst Vegas may not appear to be the most romantic place in the world it can definitely deliver a proposal, and experience, to remember.
Sydney is a city of beaches, beauty and modernity, all focused around a harbour which is dominated by the world famous Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The city’s most popular proposal location is the ‘bridge walk’ over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This experience provides an adrenalin rush as well as some of the best views in the city. The operators of this activity can also arrange for some ‘proposal privacy’ if you notify them of your plans well in advance. Take care from the top of the Harbour Bridge as it’s a long way down, so pay extra attention to not dropping the diamond engagement ring!
Bondi Beach provides an excellent sunrise/sunset beach option, whilst the Royal Botanic Gardens offer many beautiful opportunities around the water’s edge of Sydney Harbour. If a restaurant with a view is something that appeals then Level 36 restaurant is probably as good as it gets.
The Pearl of the East is a bustling energetic metropolis with amazing views, food and experiences, as well as a host of excellent options to ask for your partner’s hand. The peak, which rises 552m above the city, provides fantastic views and is an excellent proposal destination. It is easily accessible via tram.
Why not take a bottle of bubbly, a tasty spread of gourmet nibbles, and wander off through the Victoria Peak Gardens in search of a quiet secluded spot with a view? If a top class restaurant with a vista is more your style then the Peak Tower is made for you. This iconic piece of Hong Kong is a celebration of modern architecture, and offers a number of very tasty fine dining options. Make sure that you book early and specifically request a table with a view.
Other Hong Kong options include the Giant Buddha in Lantau Island or the Tsim Sha Tsui located at the end of the Kowloon Peninsula. For me though it’s all about a night time proposal on the Peak with the lights and buzz of Hong Kong dancing away in distance.
Fergus Appleton is Founder and Owner of Dubai Rocks.