It is a moment of blurred bliss, of bundled nerves and utter surprise.
On bended knee and with ring in hand, eyes look up longingly and filled with hope.
Popping the question remains one of the few points in life where nerves crash harmoniously with joy.
While you can worry about the response on the other end of the proposal, the proposer can calm those nerves and perhaps sweeten the chances for a response of “yes” by selecting the perfect location for the engagement.
In the United States, you could pop the question in any number of iconic American sites from the very public proposals at sporting events to the less than appetizing restaurant meal with the ring baked into dessert.
Rather than going with a cliche proposal, the American engagement can come at any number of wondrous places, from the raw beauty of a national park to the top of the town.
You could get down on one knee in any old landscape, but you probably won’t have the seclusion and natural wonder that one of the US National Parks lends.
While tromping through muddy hiking trails doesn’t always trigger romance, these spaces provide the backdrops for a proposal one would naturally never forget.
The country’s protected lands allow for private couples to find their stretch of wilderness away from prying eyes.
In fact, with 398 areas spanning over 84 million acres, the national park system offers plenty of room for engagement settings.
Just over an hour from Denver, couples can frolic through alpine glaciers and romp around wildflower meadows at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.
Over in Arches National Park, proposals can take place in a landscape like no other of red, red rock.
Those who capture an engagement under one of the wondrous arches already have the most romantic engagement shot.
A couple can even go beyond the famous national parks of the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone.
Quirkier proposals can come in any number of protected landscapes, from the caves of Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky to the bubbling lava of Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park.
If you are out of ideas as to where to propose for a jaw-dropping natural setting, you need look no farther than your nearest national park.
Tops of This World
The song Climb Every Mountain in the Sound of Music appeals to those couples taking the plunge to get hitched.
Just as you can climb every mountain, search high and low and follow every path you know, as the sound mandates, you can do the same with your future fiancé.
The United States offers dozens of opportunities to climb to the highest points in town and make a top of this world proposal.
From the Willis Tower in Chicago to the classic Empire State Building in New York, the city slicker couple doesn’t mind scaling skyscrapers and stories to write their own tale.
Proposals are not just limited to manmade highpoints across the country.
From the Appalachian Mountains to the Sierra Nevadas, those on bended knee merely need to find the highest mountain within their proposal’s distance for a truly panoramic proposal location.
Historic Hotels of America
If you want to plan a romantic proposal in the US that takes a step back in time, you can find a whole laundry list of heritage properties for cozy retreats.
While the United States might lack the history of some countries, its hundreds of heritage hotels evoke a sense of place and the past for a weekend stay.
Used as the backdrop for love stories throughout the ages and frequented by everyone from presidents to actors, the Historic Hotels of America lend amorous circumstances for proposals.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation began its Historic Hotels of America program in 1989 in order to promote heritage tourism.
Its listings total over 200 hotels across the country that have kept up their historic integrity, architecture and ambiance.
In order to classify for this romantic list, the hotel must be at least 50 years old and either on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
With their crystal chandeliers and ghost stories, these properties across the United States hint at history with a night’s stay.
In Scottsdale, Arizona, you can rest up in the retro Hotel Valley Ho, also the site of Natalie Wood’s wedding.
Over in Louisville, Kentucky, proposals are turn of the century at the Brown Hotel, where spaces like the Crystal Ballroom and hotel lobby hark back to a different time.
Those fresh out of ideas as to where to get down on one knee can take a look at the Historic Hotels of America listing for a taste of the past on a romantic weekend away.
European Inspired Cities
If you can’t have all of the love in Paris or the fountains of Rome to set the engagement tone, you might as well find their American impersonators.
The United States has its fair share of cities layered in grease and grime.
However a number of US cities practically fall out of European dreams.
The French settlement of New Orleans provides that old world, European feel for a proposal.
The Big Easy laced in wrought iron balconies and quiet streets where that ultimate question practically rolls off of the tongue.
Then there are other European-inspired cities like Charleston, South Carolina.
Its colorful kaleidoscope of manors and cobbled streets causes a few to do a double take as to whether they have jumped the pond eastward.
Some American cities perhaps accidentally mirror a few European capitals.
San Francisco compares notes with Lisbon, spread out across a series of hills, known for its rickety cable car rides and orange Golden Gate.
It might not be Lisbon’s yellow trams or even Ponte 25 de Abril, but it is a close contender for a worthy proposal spot with a suggestion of a more exotic European destination.
On the Water
The United States enjoys a fine drink of water.
The glassy surface of rivers and lakes or the crashing of ocean waves is enough to induce a proposal.
The country borders a number of bodies of water, including the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and the Great Lakes.
Going near the water for an engagement is always easy in this country.
Those future and hopeful fiancés out of ideas for incorporating water into their American proposal can always take to the seas.
It is relatively easy to hire a sailboat, go on a day cruise, stroll through a city’s river walk area or simply find a stretch of sand with reservations for two.
Just be sure to hang on to that engagement ring near sand and water!