How to UpLevel Your Marriage Proposal: Go Above & Beyond


You’re proposing?! That’s awesome. I’m so excited for you!

Deciding that you want to spend the rest of your life with someone is a big deal. That should be the biggest decision you need to make, but sometimes, deciding how/ when/ where to propose can be even more hard. 🤦🏽‍♂️

You’re trying to find the perfect balance of proposing in a unique, personalized, romantic, and not too cheesy way. You want to go above and beyond by creating a a fun and memorable experience for your partner. Experience is the key word here. This is about more than simply getting down on one knee.

Most people plan what they’re going to say, but honestly, that’s not the most memorable part. Most of the time, couples black out during their actual proposal. So, what you say during those moments doesn’t matter incredibly much. (Whew, that’s a relief, isn’t it?) 😅

This blog post will help you craft the FULL experience:

  • What location will you choose? What is is like to drive or walk there?
  • What will your partner see, feel, and hear during your proposal?
  • What will you do afterward?

And let me clarify something – going above and beyond doesn’t mean that you need to hire a flash mob or fly your partner’s entire family across the country to be there. Some of the best proposals are simple and private, but totally personalized and well thought-out. That’s the true definition of going above and beyond.

So, let’s get started! These are my favorite ways to uplevel your marriage proposal. 👇

How to UpLevel Your Marriage Proposal: Go Above & Beyond

Work with a photographer

Ok, I need to include this first, because I’m a proposal photographer. All the tips in this blog are from the perspective of someone who’s planned and watched over 250 proposals through a camera lens.

You’ll both LOVE having quality photos of these moments, because like I said, you’re going to black out and not remember a thing. Your photos will literally be the only evidence that it actually happened, other than the ring suddenly being on their finger. 😂

Working with a photographer who specializes in proposals is really important! Proposals are very different than other types of photo sessions and weddings. And this doesn’t even need to be said, but relying on a friend with a camera phone is usually more trouble than it’s worth.

You can read more on this topic here 👉 Blog: 6 Reasons to Hire a Proposal Photographer >

Bonus Tip: Contact your favorite photographer BEFORE choosing a date/time/booking a venue.

Choose a private location

Choosing where to propose is a whole other conversation, but in my experience, the more private, the better. Renting a venue or proposing at a public location in the morning, can help reduce crowds and lower the number of unknown factors that may affect your proposal.

Blog: Choosing WHERE to propose >

Blog: Best Proposal Locations in Austin, Texas >

Consider the Location + Time together (and don’t propose at sunset!)

It’s super important to choose the timing of your proposal based on the location, and even the specific spot at that location. If you want your photos to be taken in the best lighting, all of these elements should be considered at the same time.

Don’t assume every location looks best at sunset. I’ll go so far as to say 🚫NEVER PROPOSE AT SUNSET🚫.

Why? Because the romantic “sunset” look you’re imagining usually happens 1-2 hours before sunset. Think about it… at sunset, the sun is down… meaning it’s now dark. That means your photos will be taken after dark. And on cloudy days, it may start to look dark outside up to an hour before sunset. Most days, the sky doesn’t actually have a “sunset” look in the clouds, and that’s ok!

There are very few locations that actually look best at sunset. At locations with lots of trees or mountains, the golden sunset look may happen 5 hours before sunset! It’s important to do your research and ask your photographer for advice.

Also, remember to double check the time of sunset, based on the calendar! 🕠 After the time changes in the fall, I always have people inquire about sunset proposals at 6:30pm, when the sun now sets at 5:30pm!

How to UpLevel Your Marriage Proposal: Go Above & Beyond

Tell a story + Plan your route

After you choose a location, make a plan for how you’ll get there and what story you’ll tell you partner to explain having to be somewhere at a specific time. Here are a few ideas:

  • We’re meeting friends for dinner…
  • We’re stopping by this place before dinner…
  • My mom planned a family photo session here…
  • I’m taking you on a surprise date…
  • There’s a place I’ve always wanted to go…

Next, plan your route. Visit the location at the same time and day of the week to see how crowded it is. Research the best route get there and know if there’s usually traffic. If you run into traffic or an unexpected complication, stay calm.

Play music

This is one of the most simple and underrated parts of the experience! And it’s free! Having music playing during your proposal and afterward will automatically uplevel your proposal.

Music can make a huge difference in helping you relax and feel comfortable. Music can transform two people standing around ➡️ into a party. That’s why restaurants and stores constantly play music. Imagine how awkward it would be standing in a clothing store, browsing through racks of pants in complete silence. Without music playing, the sound of every conversation nearby – every sniff and gulp – is suddenly magnified. You begin to overthink every action. 😬

Instead, imagine your favorite song playing while you propose, followed by a playlist of fun music that’s meaningful to your relationship.

It’s like the scene at the end of a romantic comedy where two people finally get together. The perfect song starts playing right as they kiss for the first time. Well… YOU can do that! You can make your proposal a surreal, movie-worthy moment!

But wait… you might be wondering… “How I am I supposed to start a playlist at the right time? I’ll be a little busy.”

Well, that’s another reason to have a photographer there. I love playing the role of DJ while I’m taking your photos. I’d be happy to create a playlist, bring a speaker, and start the music at the perfect time. 😉

Roses, champagne, marriage proposal

Personalize with decorations

There’s nothing more surprising and romantic than “stumbling upon” something set up completely for you. Imagine your partner walking through a park to discover a beautiful overlook decorated with flowers, a picnic blanket, rose petals, and framed photos of THEM. 🤯  I mean, you’d instantly look so impressive.

But before you let your mind run wild with all of the “stuff” you can use to decorate your proposal location, I’d encourage you to keep it (relatively) simple. In my opinion, rose petals have the biggest impact for the least cost, and framed photos are the most personalized thing you could add!

“But won’t decorating my proposal spot will give away the surprise?”

Yes, walking up to dozens of roses makes it pretty obvious what’s about to happen. But is it so bad to let your partner realize what’s happening just a few seconds before you propose?

Consider adding some decor if you want to add to the natural beauty of a location and really blow your partner away with how thoughtful you are.

FaceTime family members

After you propose, it helps to DO something. The last thing you want is to just stand there awkwardly with no plans about what comes next. It’s fun to hang out in that spot, enjoy the view, and let your partner ask a million questions about how you pulled off such an amazing surprise. The next few tips are all about what to DO afterward.

One idea? Facetime your parents or your best friend! Your friends and family don’t need to physically be present to be included in your proposal. They’ll love getting to be involved, and this is a fun way to keep the excitement and emotions up. Plus, photos of these moments are always so good. 😊

If you plan to call someone afterward, it’s beneficial to fill them in on your plan and let them know that you’re going to call. It’s also best to keep the call short. 3-5 minutes is perfect.

And remember – after you propose, you can ask for your partner’s input on what you do next. If they need a few minutes to decompress before calling family, that’s totally fine. If they’d rather enjoy your proposal privately and call family hours later, that works too!

Eat and drink!

Want another idea of what to DO afterward? Pop champagne!! Throw your own little party + have something to sip on after you pop the question.

If you’re not crazy about champagne, feel free to choose a different drink. I worked with a couple recently who requested Topo Chico, because that’s their favorite!

If you have a photographer, there’s no rush to start taking posed photos immediately after you propose. I encourage my couples to hang out and enjoy the experience. Sipping on a drink or having a snack is a great way to unwind and make the experience last longer.

Make dinner or brunch reservations/ Throw an afterparty

There’s no reason for your plans to end after you leave the proposal location. You can keep the party going by making dinner, brunch, or lunch reservations for afterward! Let the restaurant know that you’re proposing, just in case they offer you a better table or free dessert. Ya never know. 😋

You can also consider gathering your friends and family for a surprise party! Rent a room/patio at a restaurant or rent an entire Airbnb!

You’ve got this!

Creating a romantic and personalized experience isn’t too difficult, right? You’ve totally got this. After you spend some time thinking about the experience you want to have, implement some of these tips and work with a pro who can help with the logistics. At the end the day, the most important thing is that you’re getting married! 🥳 Enjoy the planning process and never lose sight of that end goal.

How to UpLevel Your Marriage Proposal: Go Above & Beyond

More on the blog

Blog: Choosing WHERE to Propose: Somewhere Beautiful + Meaningful >

Blog: 6 Reasons to Hire a Proposal Photographer >

Blog: Best Places to Propose in Austin, Texas >

Learn more about proposal photography with Lauren >

#MarryMeMonday🥂 on Instagram >

comments +

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


senior photos

learn more > 

learn more > 


learn more > 

Tell me about

I'm looking for

I'm planning a

COPYRIGHT Lauren Garrison Photography LLC © 2016-2024


austin, Texas + ready to travel anywhere