1 Lugano Diamonds Pink and White Toi Et Moi Pear-Shaped Ring. 2 Graff Heart-Shaped Diamond Ring. Photography: Elizabeth Messina Photography


Every couple has their own vision of the ideal engagement scenario. Some people love the idea of their friends and family being nearby to celebrate, while others would prefer their proposal to be a private moment in the comfort of their own home. Over the past few years, more couples have been choosing to celebrate love around the world by combining surprise engagements with a romantic getaway. With a bit of planning and foresight – not to mention, a top photographer in tow – destination engagements can be a unique opportunity for couples to experience a proposal amid beautiful surroundings, different cultures, and away from the distractions of their daily lives.  

The Benefits of Destination Engagements

An extravagant vacation certainly isn’t necessary in order to pull off the perfect engagement; but having a destination engagement adds a whole new layer of that “something special” to an already unforgettable moment. Traveling together is all about creating memories in a location that becomes part of a couple’s journey together. There’s something truly intimate about exploring a location, taking in the local culture, engaging in new activities, and experiencing “firsts” as a couple. The joy and thrill of experiencing a new city together – or simply returning to a favorite destination – only adds to the excitement when it’s time to get down on one knee.

Another reason why so many couples choose destination engagements is because it allows them to enjoy the process longer. Popping the question happens in the blink of an eye. If the person proposing has planned ahead, they may even be able to extend that excitement a bit with an engagement party that same day. But with a destination engagement, couples have their entire holiday to enjoy their newly engaged bliss. Even if the big question isn’t asked until the last day, they’ll still have the culmination of new travel memories, topped off with the perfect “grand finale.”

1 Harry Winston Classic Emerald-Cut Diamond Ring. 2 Harry Winston Bridal Couture Emerald-Shaped Diamond Ring. Photography: Paola Colleoni

Planning a Destination Engagement

The most important part about popping the question during a special trip – aside from remembering the engagement ring – is the planning process. Planning a destination engagement doesn’t have to be incredibly complex. However, details like location, modes of transportation, accommodations, and booking the right photographer should all be considered.

After choosing the perfect engagement location, whether it’s a European city or a remote island, the person planning the proposal may want to consider their travel options to make each detail of the experience as memorable as possible. Air Tahiti, for example, offers direct flights to Tahiti from Los Angeles, Seattle, Paris, Tokyo, and Auckland for a convenient journey to the South Pacific. The luxurious Aurora Anguilla now has chartered air service between White Plains, New York and Anguilla, should a destination engagement in the Caribbean be in the cards. And it doesn’t get any more VIP than booking a private Four Seasons Jet.

The next step is finding the right accommodations. Many hotels and resorts offer engagement planning services to assist in all the details, from private dinners on the beach to live musicians in the background. Even if one is planning to pop the question at a public location or monument, the property’s staff can help to set up a beautiful space for the newly engaged pair to find upon returning.

When George Tyler planned a destination engagement in Dubai for his (now) wife Danielle, he hired a yacht to take them on a sunset cruise, finally docking at The One&Only’s private jetty.

“We walked down the beach,” he describes, “with an incognito photographer following us in the bushes to Eauzone, an Asian restaurant where I had organized a private dinner on the beach. As we walked nearer to the private beach cabana, Danielle said, ‘Oh look, someone’s having a private dinner on the beach.’ Just before she could make out the ‘Will you marry me’ written in the sand with candles and rose petals, I was down on one knee.”

Daniel Uchitel opted for a destination engagement in Portugal, where he planned an early morning excursion that included a private tour of Sintra and Peña Palace.

“Daniel had rented out an entire palace to ask me to marry him,” says his wife, Jody. “Talk about a fairytale proposal. He got down on one knee and we both blacked out, but it was the easiest yes I had ever said.”

With Santorini being such a beloved destination for weddings and honeymoons alike, it’s no surprise that many couples choose its romantic setting for their proposals as well. When Daniel Mehmet popped the question to Natalie Guest, he arranged for a beautiful sunset dinner during the first night. When the couple returned to their room, the entryway was illuminated with candles and covered in rose petals leading to the bedroom for an intimate proposal complete with an extra special detail – a ring that belonged to Natalie’s late-mother.

1 Kwiat Solitaire Diamond Ring. 2 Graff Heart-Shaped Promise Ring. Photography: Steven Lyon

Top Destination Engagement Locations for 2024

Every year, there’s a few places that tend to spring up on the popularity radar, giving couples new inspiration for potential destination engagement and wedding locations. Canada is becoming increasingly popular, specifically for winter and holiday engagements, as its snowy wonderlands are second to none. Montreal is always a stylish destination, while the resort town of Banff in Alberta is rich with natural beauty.

The islands of Malta, Dominica, and Thailand are projected as being among the top destination engagement locations for 2024, and there’s no lack of luxury options for planning the perfect proposal. Couples may have their engagements at a Malta castle overlooking the Mediterranean sea. Adventurous types may find themselves scuba diving in Dominica for an underwater engagement, or saying “Yes” among the lush setting of one of the island’s waterfalls. Or perhaps a sunset boat ride will be in store, with a future groom getting down on one knee after setting sail from the private pier of the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok and popping the question while cruising the Chao Phraya river.

Of course, Paris and Greece – especially Santorini – still remain among the top destination engagement locations due to their iconic and timeless sense of romance. Whether couples are getting engaged atop the Eiffel Tower or while yachting among the Greek Isles, these are tried-and-true destinations that guarantee an unforgettable engagement experience.