DIY | Money Saver

A Guide to Planning the Perfect Pandemic Proposal

Written by Monica Luhar | March 15, 2021

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Planning a proposal during a pandemic can be stressful. Luckily, there are many DIY resources and budget-friendly planning tips that can help make your proposal a memorable one.

Although the wedding industry took a hit in 20201, couples have been forced to be more creative when it comes to wedding planning and brainstorming original proposal ideas during the pandemic. Many industry experts and bridal expo organizers are hopeful that the wedding industry will resume normal operations in the latter half of 20212.

If you’re planning to propose during the pandemic, there are still plenty of great, inexpensive (and safe) outdoor proposal ideas to consider. Plus, if you’re struggling with a proposal idea, we’ve come up with a few romantic proposal and location ideas that you can pull inspiration from. Our pandemic proposal planning guide below offers some tips to help you stay within budget and create an unforgettable experience. Between figuring out what decor to buy, or opting to become your own “savvy" event planner, we’ve got you covered.

Prepping for the Proposal

Whether you’ve decided to go all out for the proposal or keep it as intimate as possible, we’ve compiled a list of important things to consider. From budget, venue, decor to dessert—there are a lot of things to keep tabs on before you execute the perfect proposal. Let’s get started!

The Budget

When you’re on a budget, finding inexpensive yet quality items that capture a life-changing moment can be challenging. Fortunately, there are several tips to help you stay within budget for your proposal.

  • Postpone Professional Proposal Photographs - Posing for professional pictures on top of trying to get all the details right during your proposal can be stressful. If you’re hoping to save money, consider postponing a professional photoshoot for the proposal. While some people might prefer candid photographs, you can choose to hold off on professional photos if it’s not a priority. Instead, you can consider booking engagement photos at a desired location for another time. Leaving the photoshoot for a later date can free up some of the proposal planning. You can always take a selfie version of the proposal and post that to Instagram instead.
  • Say “Yes" to DIY Opportunities - Another money-saving option to consider is setting up your own DIY photoshoot for the proposal. The Home Depot has plenty of DIY inspiration for setting up professional backgrounds using rustic brick or floral wallpaper. You can even consider painting wood panels to create your very own outdoor-themed proposal with champagne or other beverages. If you’re planning to propose in the comfort of your own home, The Home Depot also has some helpful landscape lighting ideas for transforming your backyard into a proposal oasis.
  • Buy Wholesale Flowers - What’s a proposal without beautiful roses or flowers that will make your partner say, “Yes!" For more savings, shop wholesale flowers. You can even preserve the flowers from the day of your proposal and create a DIY resin art or jewelry project on the side. Repurposing items from your proposal can be a memorable side project. Think about it: Years from now, you’ll still have the same flowers that you gave to your significant other on your proposal. If succulents that require less maintenance are more your jam, Etsy has plenty of vibrant and eco-friendly options to choose from.

The Decor

Decor doesn’t have to be expensive in order to make a statement. When purchasing decor, it’s important to create a to-do list of all the items you plan to purchase. Try to create a spreadsheet to help with budgeting and do a cross-comparison of prices from other competitor brands. Instead of hiring a professional event planning crew to help with decor, you can get inspiration from Pinterest and consider saving the event planning budget for the engagement party or wedding. For a proposal, all you need is some good lighting, personalized items/decor, food, and a ring to make it work.

Here are some great decor deals and ideas:

  • Papermart has wholesale packaging supplies including decorations, balloons, and tableware to make it easy for you to become your own DIY proposal and event planner.
  • If you’re planning to have an evening candlelight dinner near the beach or in the comfort of your own home, we recommend buying this L.E.D. Light Garland to transform your evening into a romantic light show. You can even put the LED lights inside mason jars or use it to accentuate a banner or wood engraving that asks, “Will you Marry Me?" The best part is that you can reuse the LED lights and string them up in your home after the proposal.
  • If you’re planning to personalize a wooden board with the initials of you and your partner, you can purchase this set of acrylic paint from the Home Depot. You can even purchase a Heart Bentwood Box set and get as creative as you’d like by inserting love notes or messages that set you up for the proposal. You can also buy a pack of wooden clothespins to hang photos underneath a string of lights in your backyard for a unique touch.

The Food

Food is the way to anyone’s heart. In the midst of proposal planning, don’t forget all the food prep and be sure to save some room for dessert.

  • If you’re planning a picnic-themed proposal, Sam’s Club has all the essentials to get you started. Consider making your own charcuterie board with an assortment of your favorite cheese and wine. Instead of purchasing a ready-made charcuterie board, you can “cut" the expenses and make your own assortment. You can even pick out your favorite wine from Sam’s Club’s extensive wine selection.
  • For storing wine or champagne, you can purchase the Natural Bentwood Wine Box from Papermart. To customize the box, consider using acrylic paint to etch the initials of you and your loved one. If you’d like to skip the alcohol and go for H2O with a bit of sparkle, pack Fizi sparkling water by SodaStream to stay hydrated.
  • There’s also DoorDash when you want some good old fashioned take-out to keep the proposal low key without giving the special day away. You can always reach out to a restaurant or bakery of choice and ask them to personalize a cake or place the ring inside when it arrives.

Miscellaneous Items

If you’re still looking for additional elements for your proposal, look no further. You can celebrate in style and still stay on budget. The Personalization Mall has everything you need to personalize your special day. Choose from engraved champagne glasses to personalized picture frames that you can display on a table or during your beach or outdoor proposal. We’d suggest getting this “"You’re All I Need" personalized jewelry box to drop hints (or the actual ring inside).

Chalkboard easels are the perfect way to personalize your proposal. The Simple Whitewashed Chalkboard Easel by Kirkland’s Home adds a special rustic flair with a distressed white frame to help you pop the big question. You can also make the proposal an Instagrammable moment with this minimalistic White and Gray Peg Letter Board.

Looking for flowers or stems? Add this Frosted Boxwood Bush Stem by Kirkland’s to a personalized vase along with Purple Heather Lavender Stems, which come in a set of two. Adding a variety of flowers to your vase can help set the mood right.

The Ring

It’s no doubt the ring will be one of the most important aspects of the proposal (second to the actual will-you-marry-me part). Shop for beautiful diamond engagement rings that fall within your price range and preferred style from our partners Zales and Kay Jewelers. Before you start you search, check out our article on diamond-buying hacks that’ll ultimately save you money and get you more diamond.

Fortunately, you can still plan ahead and stay within budget by speaking to a diamond specialist and letting them know the price range, size, cut, and colors you are hoping to purchase. Whether you’re looking for a budget friendly ring that’s under $500 or under $2,500, there are plenty of options that fit your taste. Pro tip: If you’re having a hard time finding the ring of your partner’s dreams, Kay Jewelers has set up a helpful forum called “The Union" where they feature questions and advice from the bridal community.

And, if you’re busy planning other aspects of the proposal, you can always schedule a virtual consultation with a Zales jewelry expert to help you navigate finding the perfect ring.


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