I recently proposed to my beautiful wife not too long ago, so today I thought I’d share a few tips to help make this special day one to remember.
These suggestions are what I think would make a good impression if you have access to a lake—but be sure to tweak these ideas or blend them together if you want.
Tip: Find a good reason to spend time at a lake; if the two of you have visited the lake you have in mind, plan an afternoon or mini-vacation. Check the weather beforehand too—the time of day (and time of year) will make it more comfortable for everyone involved!
1. Foggy morning dock proposal
If you are looking for a beautiful proposal shot with fog hovering over a lake, consider an early morning proposal. Normally the most fog exists in the early morning hours just before sunrise from 6:30 am to 7:00 am.
You can pick a lake that has a nature trail surrounding it, and convince your significant other to go for an early morning job. Many lakes that are part of the National Park system have campsites as well.
If you have a group of friends (one of which happens to be a photographer), a lakeside camping trip that ends with an early morning proposal on a dock should be an engagement to remember with fog settling on the lake.
2. The nighttime candlelight gangway walk
Most lakes have docks, and many docks have gangways—the narrow portion of the dock that leads to the large platform at the end. You can line the gangway with candles, and capture a beautiful shot either at sunset or later at night.
I’ve seen people form a heart at the end of the dock, as well as a combination of candles and rose petals. You can also choose to propose when there is a full moon in the forecast.
You can get elaborate with an illuminated pergola overlooking the lake, just be sure what you set up won’t blow away on the big day.
3. Shoreline lake proposal with a beautiful backdrop
Depending on where you live, proposing on a large lake with a skyline in the backdrop can be another great idea for a lakeside proposal.
On the shores of New York or Chicago makes a great backdrop for a proposal, but if you have a local lake this may be a better option.
You can go the mountain lake route, the city skyline route, or the middle-of-nowhere route when it comes to lake proposals; a shoreline photo is an easy way to do it, especially if you don’t have a dock nearby you can use.
4. Candlelight dinner or lunch on the lake
You can also set up a candlelight dinner at the end of a dock or on the shoreline and either propose before or after the meal. If you go all out and drop petals, light candles, and lead her to the table beforehand, I would go ahead and drop down on one knee before the meal.
Otherwise, she may be wondering what’s up (or see it coming) if this is out of the ordinary. I like to get these things out of the way to enjoy a nice meal, but that’s just me.
I’ve also seen proposals happen on the bow of the boat, which makes for pretty good proposal picture if you ask me.
5. Sunset cruise for two
If you have access to a large boat like a pontoon, arranging for a sunset boat ride is a romantic way to propose. If you live in a state where fireworks are legal, you can text a friend to shoot off fireworks in the distance after you propose for an added effect.
Fireworks trails at night look pretty cool in my option. Just an idea.
I’d involve other people to help with this proposal idea if you can unless you can multitask (or prefer a private setting). It’s a lot easier to have other people do things for you, so all you need to think about is getting down on one knee, giving your proposal, and showing her the ring.
One last note on lake proposals
From my experience, some lakes can be difficult to find at night, so I scout out the location and logistics the day before if possible. You’ll want to coordinate with your photographer if you have one, so be sure to run through all the details and the game plan ahead of time.
Lighting can be tricky for photographers if you propose on a lake mid-day which is why I think early morning or sunset is ideal if you really want soft, great-looking photos to share.
In my experience, finding a good hiding spot can also be challenging depending on the shot you want. You can always re-create your proposal, but make sure your photographer has a lens strong enough to capture the proposal from a distance; you can even scout out hiding spots if this is the case.
And as always, if bad weather pops up…have a backup plan on the books with your photographer and/or friends involved.
Good luck :), and let me know how it goes in the comments.