There's no wrong way to propose to your significant other, but it's becoming popular for couples to pop the question while on vacation. Planning an elaborate proposal from afar is more complicated than you may think, though. While the idea of getting down on one knee on a beautiful beach or in your favorite far-flung city sounds romantic, the logistics of pulling it off—and keeping it a surprise—can be tricky. To help you make sure all the behind-the-scenes details are taken care of, we asked professional proposal planners to share their best tips for nailing your destination proposal.
Ask for help.
There are plenty of people who plan proposals for a living, and enlisting the help of a professional will ensure all the details are taken care of ahead of time. But hiring a proposal planner isn't in the budget, know that there's nothing wrong with turning to a friend or family member for help. Just make sure it's someone who can keep a secret and is able to consider the options with you. "If hiring a professional isn't an option, the best way to plan is to do a lot of research and look up reviews for any vendors you plan on using," Michele Velazquez, owner of The Heart Bandits, suggests. "Also, always get a contract before making any payments."
Give yourself time.
At a minimum, you'll want to devote at least month to planning your destination proposal, which will give you ample time to make travel arrangements, book accommodations, and secure any vendors you have in mind. Some men and women like to surprise their significant other with live music, beautiful floral arrangements, and a hidden photographer, so it's important to give yourself time to secure these pros if you want them. In addition to having fewer vendors to choose from, Megan Ellis of The Yes Girls says that you may also run into unexpected fees if you wait too long to book. "The prices for vendors and décor are much cheaper if there aren't any expedited fees," she explains. If you can swing it, giving yourself three months to organize the proposal is even better.
Understand what you can and can't do.
Want to get down on one knee in front of the Eiffel Tower? Go for it. Thinking about setting off fireworks over the ocean as soon as you pop the question? You'll need a permit for that. "Proposals that involve government permits in some countries like a helicopter landing, fireworks, reserved venue usage, or special guarding services would need to spare longer preparation time," says Pailin Thipayarat of Lynx Marriage Proposal.
Decide how you'll hide the ring.
It seems simple, but where are you going to stash the engagement ring so that your significant other doesn't see it? Whether you're boarding an international flight or hopping in the car for a day trip, you'd hate to ruin the surprise with one small slip up. The pros suggest investing a thin ring box that can be easily hidden, like Ring Stash, or buying socks with a special hidden pocket for the ring, which are available from Box Sock. As for those traveling with the ring, our experts say you should always keep the ring in your carry-on luggage—not your checked bag (which could get lost) or your pocket (which could set off the security alarm).