Eiffel Tower, Paris
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Cliché? Definitely. But that doesn’t make a Paris proposal less romantic. On any given day, you’ll spot scores of couples locked in a happy embrace under the structure itself, in the gardens around the 324-metre-tall tower, at the Jardins du Trocadéro across the road from the tower – basically anywhere in proximity to the famed edifice. Bonus points for dropping to one knee during the twinkling light show.
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Prince Harry may have proposed to Meghan Markle over a roast chicken at home but his elder brother went all out when he presented Kate Middleton with that sapphire stunner in October 2010. The couple was on holiday in Kenya when Prince William handed over Princess Diana’s engagement ring to his future bride after carrying it around in his bag for several weeks. Rumour has it that the proposal took place at rustic Rutundu log cabins near Mount Kenya, which are available for hire should you want to add a royal touch to yours.
Empire State Building, New York
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It’s played a role in countless fictional love affairs – Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr were supposed to meet there in An Affair to Remember; Tom Hanks finally met Meg Ryan atop it in Sleepless in Seattle; King Kong scaled it with Fay Wray in hand – so it makes sense lovers want to capture some of that cinematic romance. In fact, the Empire State Building has become such a popular proposal destination that building management recommends proposing between 10pm and 1am Thursdays to Saturdays, when the resident saxophonist is playing on the 86th Floor Observatory.
Charles Bridge, Prague
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A fairy tale city for a fairy tale romance. This Gothic structure over the Vltava River joins two parts of the medieval city – a fitting symbol for starting your lives together. It’s on most tourist’s hit lists so for a greater chance of acquiring the best spot along its length, visit in the early morning before the crowds come out. Once you’ve secured the sought-after response, walk to the Lesser Town to admire the spires of the city’s famed castles.
Heart Reef, Queensland
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A proposal above an actual heart? You’ll dine out on this romantic story all the way to your diamond anniversary. The Heart Reef, in the Great Barrier Reef’s Hardy Reef, is best viewed via plane (you can’t snorkel to the site) so let the pilot in on the secret before you take off so they can help you nail the timing
Northern Lights, Finland
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Viewers don’t soon forget this seemingly surreal interplay between ripples of yellow, pink, green and blue lights in the inky sky. Propose during one of these dreamlike evenings (may we suggest hiring a Kakslauttanen Glass Igloo in Finnish Lapland for a warmer way to watch the show?) and you’re basically guaranteed a “yes.”
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This is the perfect spot to be affianced for London-lovers. You’ll get points for the broad outlook over the entire city but not necessarily for originality – the Ferris wheel was host to its 5000th proposal in 2013. Our hint? Book a private capsule rather than dropping to the ground in front of a gaggle of strangers trying to snap Big Ben. A proposal capsule costs £450 and includes a photographer, box of pink champagne truffles and a glass of bubbles.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
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You can only hope that the sight of the immense striated rocks and gorges don’t impress your partner more than the ring. There are plenty of places to propose at this national park, as well as several helicopter operators that offer proposal packages should you want to ask the question in the air. You’ll get even more beautiful images of the special moment if you visit at sunrise or sunset.
Cherry blossoms, Japan
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Picture this: you’re standing under cherry trees, when a gentle breeze blows through the branches, sending a shower of soft pink petals cascading all around you as your partner pulls out a ring. Perfect, no? Cherry blossom season lasts between March and early May so book your hanami visit in April to ensure a healthy level of buds.
Machu Picchu, Peru
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Getting a “yes” from your future spouse amid these ancient ruins will certainly be worth the gruelling, multi-day hike – even more so if a friendly llama makes an appearance nearby. Stash the ring deep in your backpack so there’s no chance of accidentally revealing it as you search for another jumper along the trail. Your partner will be awed by both the ancient Inca city and your ability to keep such a secret.
Puerto Mosquito, Vieques
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Starry skies are one thing; starry seas are even better. This bioluminescent bay on the shores of Vieques in Puerto Rico is made to twinkle by tiny creatures called dinoflagellates that glow blue when they touch another organism. Follow a night-time proposal here with a kayak out even further into the water, where the little creatures shine even more brightly.
Love sculpture, Philadelphia
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People pay hundreds to have “Love” letters strategically scattered around their wedding venue for impromptu photo shoots but it’s free to drop to one knee in front of this iconic statue. There are many versions of this pop-art image around the world – including in different languages – but the one in John F. Kennedy Plaza is set to be repainted in early 2018 so you know it’s going to pop in the photos.
Na Pali Coast, Hawaii
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If Maui is for honeymooners, then Kauai is for the soon-to-be-betrothed. Less visited than some of the other islands in the archipelago, its beaches are infinitely more secluded, making them ideal for a sweet, private minute like a proposal. Kauai’s Na Pali Coast, on its northern edge, is a stunning collection of staggering green-and-red cliffs that hide tiny beaches only accessible by boat or helicopter.
Victoria Falls, Zambia
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You might have to raise your voice so the question gets heard over the five hundred million cubic metres of water thundering down these falls each minute but sharing a moment with your fiancé at these beautiful rapids would be worth the strained throat. Time it right and you could see a lunar rainbow – a faint arch that appears over the falls during a full moon that can last up to three days.
Central Park, New York
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There’s no shortage of picturesque places to pop the question across Central Park’s 341 hectares. There’s the Bethesda Fountain Terrace, the buzzing square seen in a hundred films, the colourful Carousel for sneaking a kiss as the horses rise and fall, or the Ladies Pavilion, if you’re after views of the lake. Not to mention a horse-drawn carriage ride for two. Need help narrowing down the best stage for the big moment? The Central Park website has a whole section dedicated to proposal planning.
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This Greek island might be a trendy place for a destination wedding but the very qualities that make it ideal for the ceremony – impossibly blue water, bone-white buildings perched on cliff edges and near-perfect weather – make it great for actually asking the question, too. Head to Fira or Oia just before sunset so you can ask the question as the sun fires off its last rays over the water.
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The Disney Princesses may cop some flack for pinning their futures on finding a handsome prince but a Disney proposal still comes with a certain amount of magic. And Disney knows that its whimsical worlds in California (as well as Walt Disney World in Florida) are in hot demand for putting a ring on it – there are dedicated Disney Engagement Planners available at each site as well as a custom range of Disney-princess inspired engagement rings.
Harbour Bridge, Sydney
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Since the Bridge Climb opened 20 years ago, more than 4000 proposals (and 25 weddings) have occurred at the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. In fact, it’s such a popular spot for engagements the company designed a special engagement ring device for transporting the precious jewel to the top (climbers aren’t actually allowed to carry anything on them for safety reasons).
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Casanova may not have been the marrying kind but don’t take his amorous legacy into account when proposing in Venice. If you want your gondola-bound extravaganza to be private, consider visiting during the winter when the canals are just as beautiful but the crowds have lessened. Just add a candlelit dinner, complete with red-and-white checked tablecloth and a long strand of spaghetti, and you’re in the middle of a wonderful cliché you’ll remember forever.