It’s one of life’s weightiest conundrums: how—and where—to pop The Question. Assuming you want the answer to be a resounding yes, the choice of locale is paramount—and as every aspiring groom should know, some scenarios capture the mood better than others. Certain classics, of course, stand the test of time: the sunset stroll along a deserted beach; the postcard moment in front of an iconic backdrop (one of the Seven Wonders, perhaps); the candlelit dinner at a chichi restaurant. But how to narrow down the list (and avoid becoming stuck in a cliché)?
According to Phillipe Kjellgren, president of the luxury travel site Kiwicollection.com, the key is creativity. “Try to find a unique place,” he advises, “a place you might not immediately think of. The element of surprise can be very powerful.” This worldly traveler has a special affinity for the Antipodes, citing New Zealand as “the last place most people visit before they die, but I would highly recommend it at the start of a relationship instead of the end.” He also stresses, though, that Paris is an amorous mainstay for good reason. Famed New York–based wedding planner Colin Cowie also sings the praises of Paris, suggesting “the Ferris wheel at the Tuileries when at the 12 o’clock position,” for extra impact.
Warm-weather destinations, not surprisingly, topped our experts’ lists (nothing kills a love buzz like frostbite). Certain tropical spots like Fiji and Hawaii seem custom-made for great proposals, thanks to their wealth of secret beaches and castaway-style islands where couples can be assured of having the place to themselves. For seriously adventurous paramours, an African safari has all the trappings of high drama…the right kind. “Now that your other half is focusing on the Big Five,” Kjellgren notes, “you can truly surprise her.”
Not everyone wants to blow a big-ticket overseas trip on a proposal, though. If you’d rather save up for the honeymoon, consider a nearby urban setting. New York’s Central Park provides an inimitable setting, as does a candlelit corner table at one of the city’s acclaimed restaurants. Whatever the context, each setting we’ve chosen is packed with drama and imbued with enough romance to guarantee the right answer. Now all you have to do is choose the ring.