You’re planning to propose, but you have a dilemma: your partner is going to remember that day forever and you don’t want the memory to be lackluster, but you spent all of your spare money on a ring.
Despite what idealistic romance movies tell us, you don’t need a blockbuster budget to express how much you love your significant other. Here are five ways to propose without breaking the bank.
- Write a letter.
This is the perfect option for those of you who are eloquent with a pen—or afraid of slipping up. Writing a letter allows you to profess your love in your exact words, free of any nervous stutter or unplanned verbal vomit. A letter is a versatile proposal option. You can use the card as a prelude to your face-to-face proposal; for example, conclude the letter with directions leading to you and your finale. Alternatively, you can do it all through text (but not text message!). Write a poem. Leave a box to check “yes” or “no”. Want to really surprise your sweetheart? Send the letter through the mail. No one expects to receive love letters mixed in with the bills anymore.
- Skip the fancy restaurant.
Instead of a big ticket dinner, try your hand at being a master chef by preparing a home-cooked meal. Even if you’re no Gordon Ramsey, cooking a multiple course meal will certainly make an impression, especially if you decorate your dining room accordingly. Chicken parmesan is an easy, restaurant staple entrée comprised of affordable ingredients. Follow the main course with a homemade dessert (and the big question). Cute idea: write “Will you marry me?” in icing on a cake. Not-so-cute idea: baking the ring inside of said cake.
- Plan a getaway that isn’t far away.
Take your sweetheart for a walk down memory lane. If possible, revisit locations that hold sentimental meaning to the two of you: the place you first kissed, where you went for your first date, and so on. Finish the walk by bending on one knee and creating the next important memory. If you’ve moved far away from those milestones, then there’s always the following alternative.
- Reminisce with mementos.
If you keep souvenirs of your dates, you can employ them in your proposal. Be creative! Put together a scrapbook of ticket stubs from your favorite movies or concerts, printed couple selfies, cards from Valentine’s Days passed, and more. Present it to your partner and re-experience the good times together. Affix the engagement ring to the final page, saving the best memory for last. For those of you who aren’t keen on arts and crafts, you can always make a scavenger hunt.
- Make your own movie.
You’ll likely need a little help from your friends, particularly if you have a pal who’s skilled with a camera and editing software. Perform your proposal in film and have fun with it. Aspiring filmmakers out there, shoot a music video set to your favorite love song. And if you’re a musician, write and perform a new song just for the occasion. When you’ve wrapped up the short video, invite your sweetheart over for a movie night.