Proposal

The Ultimate Park Proposal Guide

Aren’t parks great? They’re peaceful oases of grass and trees teeming with playful little critters and general outdoorsy goodness. Whether it’s one of our sprawling national parks or a more local patch of green, we can all agree that being surrounded by nature can be a prime place to prompt a proposal. As lovely as parks can be though, they also come with some cautionary tales courtesy of their denizens like skateboarding teens making fun of your display of love or that rogue posse of squirrels intent on defending their turf. And, of course, be sure to find the time when your park isn’t overrun with hobos (especially the stabbing-kind of hobo). That’s a lot to worry about, but we’ve got you covered. Through this comprehensive guide to park proposing—or, parkposing if you will, you’ll be able to navigate the perfect setting and scene for your to ask your big question.

The Decision:

So you want to propose in a park, huh? Maybe your girlfriend’s a geologist. Maybe she’s a painter and you both met when you were immortalized in the background of her watercolor of people sitting around the fountain. Maybe you both got drunk at the college bar down the street and sloppily made out at the park on the way home (aren’t first kisses the best?) Whichever of these are true, it’s important to make sure that the park and your proposal carries some meaning for you both. Parks make for great little vignettes, but that can’t be all they are—a tried and true (re: safe) proposal location. Whether the park is a centered point of proposing in your small town, or a destination like Central Park where you first went on the rowboats, make sure that it carries some weight emotionally beyond just having some grass and flowers.

The Pros: It’s sunny; The flowers and grass make for nice scenery; Other people will go “awww” after

The Cons: You’re relying on the weather; It could potentially get loud; Other people will go “awww” after

How To Plan:

Planning your parkposal (It’s going to stick, dammit!) is much easier than you’d think. It’s more about planning everything around the actual proposal that takes work. You want to make sure that you both won’t need to be somewhere. Park’s aren’t really for people in a rush. That means making sure in the weekends before you’re going to do it, you voluntarily go on a Bed, Bath, and Beyond run, or go to her parents’ house, or clean up the apartment. That way you can have a calm, relaxing day in the park knowing that all the chores are done.

Assuming you’ve got a ring already, pick out a somewhat shady spot that’s not going to be absolutely blinding in the sunlight. Scope out the locations ahead of time as much as you can to troubleshoot a congested area—and stay away. While other people will inevitably bear witness to this proposal, you don’t need to be sitting on a blanket directly next to them when you tightly turn to the side and pop the question.Next, wait for a with good weather day (remember weekends will be packed) when the skies are blue. You’re good to go.

Supplies:

Ring
Blankets to sit on
Picnic basket (optional)

What To Watch Out For:

Inclement weather…

Remember that the weather does not only have an effect the day of your proposal. For the picnicking bunch, the previous days may take a toll. If you were looking to propose on a shady, grassy knoll, and it rained a day or two earlier, the ground may still be soggy if the sun doesn’t hit it to dry things up.

Messy Food…

If you do plan on taking a picnic to the park, remember to pick food that works with what you’re going to be doing at the end of this. Nothing messy, nothing that could spill and ruin a dress or your shirt or anything. Sandwiches, not stroganoff, feel me? Don’t pick something that’s going to get stuck in people’s teeth.

Kids making jokes are everywhere…

The thought that kids can be cruel never went away, you just got older. The trouble with public parks is that they’re, well, public. If there are some kids fooling around and potentially going to disturb the moment you’ve worked so hard to perfect, steer clear and either come back another day or find a new spot on the fly. It may seem trivial to leave the scene because of some angsty kids, but then again this is your proposal, and everything needing to be perfect does not make you seem fussy.

The public eye…

While your local park may not be public in the same way plastering “WILL YOU MARRY ME SUSAN” on the JumboTron is, there is an element of other people seeing you. The first measure here is that you want to be certain she’s going to say yes, because if not this is going to get super awkward in a way that you can’t pretend didn’t happen. The second thing is that you need to be okay with onlookers going as far as to take photos or come over and want to talk to you. When that happens, remember: you didn’t just get off stage from the school play, you got engaged. This is still about the two of you. Bowie never left Iman on the sidelines to go chat up the crowd.

What To Do:

The planning for the proposal is more about planning to make a perfect day. The park is unlike restaurants or family gatherings where human error plays a big role. Your work for the proposal starts the minute you wake up. Make her breakfast, go out of your way for the little things. Hold doors open–create the kind of mood that one would like to be proposed to while in.

For the actual proposal, tactical elements come into play. Make sure the weather is right, the park doesn’t have some kind of mariachi band convention or sprinkler settings timed to when you’re planning on being there. Head over the park for a stroll or to walk the dog, whatever works.

Have a specific spot picked out. You should have scoped it out beforehand to know about if it gets crowded or if its too shady, etc. Post up here and put down your blanket.

As you start to feel out the situation, keep in mind that you shouldn’t be rushing this. Of course you’ll be excited to ask her to marry you, but as far as she knows, you’re just being your usual, good-guy self. (She will probably catch onto this, but will play along and let you go through this.)

Now that you’ve created this perfect setting, and the birds are chirping and the ducks are waddling, go ahead and ask her.

Assuming she says yes, have a plan in place. You shouldn’t have to ask her “What do you want to do now?” If you’re sure she’ll say yes, maybe you’ve organized her family to all be waiting somewhere or maybe there’s a restaurant you both love that you made a reservation at. You’re engaged now, you should be ready to always go the extra mile for her, your fiancee.

What Happens If:

The weather’s bad…

Don’t propose. Nobody wants to be proposed to in the rain no matter how many Meg Ryan movies tell you otherwise. Hold off and wait for a sunny day.

We forgot we have to be somewhere later…

Maybe propose. Where are you going? Out with a friend–propose. To the DMV for a meeting about your license plates? Hold off on proposing. Don’t propose if whereever you need to be either a) can’t be canceled or b) isn’t a fun thing.

There are mean teenagers or rogue squirrels in the park…

Turn and run. We’re not going to say which, but one of those two things terrifies us deepy.

A pigeon relieves itself on one of us…

Well, if everything’s gone so well up until this moment, than it’s just bad luck (don’t believe that old saying about pigeon poop being a good luck). Pack your things and move to another country where you can both swear never to tell a soul about that and leave it out of your story. You’re married now, keeping sworn secrets is part of the fun!

Bottom Line

Parks can make for great proposal venues, with very little pre-planning. The hardest part of the proposal is weather, which just requires poking your head out the door and looking up.

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