The MANual: Proposal

Romance Vs. Danger: Where To Propose

Where should you pop the question?  Your first thought might be the most spectacular place you can think of, but remember that the most spectacular places can be the most dangerous. Before you settle on a place, take a moment to weigh the romance of your location against the potential for disaster.

We’re not talking about a real disaster, by the way. A real disaster is taking your girlfriend to the top of Mount Everest to propose, then both of you falling into a thousand foot crevasse on the way back to Base Camp.

We’re more concerned with the kind of disaster that makes it into a “10 Best Wedding FAILS” video on YouTube. If our admittedly non-scientific research is to be believed, the most common danger seems to be dropping the ring into a waterfall, usually before you’ve put it on your girlfriend’s finger. If you just spent a couple thousand dollars on the diamond and setting, that’s going to sting. Not as much as fatal hypothermia at the bottom of an ice cave, but still.

Below are some of the most common romantic spots, along with a breakdown of their romance-to-danger ratio.


Romance score: 7
Danger score: 9

Waterfalls are undeniably romantic and inherently dramatic, so we understand why so many guys choose this as the best place to propose. On the other hand, they are usually pretty rocky, and always wet, which leaves plenty of potential for the ring to slip out of your hand and into the water, where it will roll down the river and be discovered, Smeagol-style, by some fisherman a hundred years from now.


“Romantic” Proposal Ideas That Don’t Suck


Romance score: 8
Danger score: 9

Rooftops are definitely romantic, and we recommend them for everything from the proposal to the bachelor party to the marriage itself. Another property of rooftops is that they can be fallen off of if you’re not careful. So unless plummeting to your death is part of your proposal plan, stay away from the edge when you pop the question.

Shopping Malls

Romance Score: 2
Danger Score: 8

Aside from the fact that a mall is the least romantic place we can think of, it’s also completely impractical. There are thousands of people going about their business in a mall, many of them rushing to get their shopping done–you think they’re going to be considerate of your big moment? And, of course, there are the mini-train rides.


Romance score: 6
Danger Score: 8

Photo by Jon Hwang

Beach proposals are obviously quite common, and understandably so. Crashing waves and the sound of surf make a romantic and sweeping backdrop. But as any sailor will tell you, the sea is a fickle mistress, and proposing by the shore is just asking to get swamped by a rogue wave before she can say yes.

Single Prop Airplanes

Romance Score: 8
Danger Score: 10

There seems to be a trend of pilots asking girlfriends to marry them while flying prop airplanes. Sometimes they spice things up by pretending the engine has failed, or by actually popping the question during a 360 degree barrel roll. Yes, this can be exciting, but remember that flying is inherently dangerous. Not only can the plane crash, but less dire things like hurling chunks can spoil the mood.


Don’t Go Into Your Proposal Without A Plan


Romance Score: 5
Danger score: 9

Skydiving is presumably fun, probably extremely exciting, and no doubt completely terrifying. What it is not, we are going to venture, is romantic. Romance arises from moments of intense emotional anticipation and release, not from intense fear, vertigo and windburn.

It doesn’t mean it can’t work, as evinced by this guy, who really did not play things safe here. Not only did his proposal involve jumping from a plane AND popping the question, he also let his girlfriend be strapped back-to-front to another guy for the most exciting forty seconds of her life.

At Someone Else’s Wedding

Romance score: 6
Danger Score: 10

There have a been a spate of videos on YouTube of people who have proposed at other people’s weddings, usually during the reception, though in one case the guy did it in the middle of the ceremony.

We’re not going to mince words here. Anyone who proposes at someone else’s wedding–even if he has the permission and cooperation of the couple getting married–is a plutonium-level douche. Not only are you taking the spotlight away from the people getting married, you’re taking it away from the woman you’re asking to marry you. The whole point of a proposal is to make the woman being proposed to the center of attention. She can’t be that at someone else’s wedding.

Bottom Line

Choose your proposal location carefully. While you want it to be exciting and memorable, you’re there to do a job. If anything about the location is going to interfere with that job–or, even worse, be more exciting than the proposal itself–then you should look somewhere else.

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