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10 Mistakes to Avoid When Proposing in New York

New York City, celebrated for its iconic skyline, scenic parks, and dynamic vibe, creates the perfect romantic setting for a marriage proposal. The city’s diversity ensures there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Yet, the hustle and bustle of such a busy metropolis can make planning a proposal quite challenging. To help ensure your special moment is flawless, here are ten common mistakes you should avoid when organizing your proposal in New York.

1. Ignoring the Weather


New York’s weather can be unpredictable. A sunny morning can quickly turn into a rainy afternoon. It’s difficult to predict the weather accurately more than a week in advance, so having a backup plan is essential, especially if your proposal is set in outdoor locations like Central Park or the Brooklyn Bridge. Make sure to discuss a plan “B” with your planner and be prepared to reschedule if sudden weather changes occur. If your proposal is planned outdoors, ask your planner about alternative covered locations where you can move if needed.


For instance, Central Park offers great flexibility for rain-or-shine proposals. You could plan to propose by the scenic Bow Bridge on a clear day or move under the sheltered Bethesda Terrace if it rains. Also, it’s wise to always carry an umbrella just in case. This preparation ensures that no matter the weather, your proposal moment remains beautiful and memorable. To learn more about the proposals under the rain please check this article “ Rainy Day Proposal Ideas in New York”

2. Forgetting About the Crowds


NYC is known for its bustling, lively streets. When selecting a popular public location for your proposal, consider the timing carefully or seek out a quieter spot to ensure the moment remains intimate. The city’s streets are typically crowded with official parades, street fairs, and protests, and even on a regular sunny day, places like Dumbo with its picturesque view of the Brooklyn Bridge can be packed, especially on Friday and Saturday evenings.


To avoid the crowds, think about proposing on a weekday or choosing a time when fewer people are likely to be around, such as late at night rather than at sunset. If you’ve dreamt of a grand proposal in Times Square complete with a big billboard and a flash mob of dancers, planning for an early morning can help you avoid the usual crowds of people. Additionally, always allow extra travel time on public holidays due to parades and street closures.


For those seeking privacy and a more controlled environment, consider proposing on a secluded rooftop or at a rented venue. This approach not only guarantees an intimate setting away from the unpredictability of public spaces but also ensures a relaxed atmosphere where you can focus solely on the special moment. This setting provides not just privacy but also a unique and memorable experience that public spaces cannot always guarantee. Remember, the essence of a successful proposal lies in the details and the atmosphere, making it feel personal and heartfelt.


Therefore, choosing the right location and timing can make all the difference in creating a perfect proposal scenario in New York City.

         3. Overlooking Permit Requirements


Some public spaces in New York require permits for organized events, including proposals with photography, decorations, or gatherings. Always check the rules to avoid any legal hiccups. Many popular spots like Central Park, the High Line, or Brooklyn Bridge Park have specific guidelines and permit requirements for special events. Without the proper permits, you could face fines or even be asked to leave the area, which can disrupt your plans and spoil what should be a memorable day.


Before you set your heart on a location, contact the local park’s office or city website to understand the necessary procedures and fees involved. Applying for a permit is typically straightforward and worth the effort to ensure everything goes smoothly. This small step can prevent significant setbacks and ensure that your proposal is both legal and stress-free. Moreover, having a permit often grants you access to specific areas that might otherwise be restricted, allowing for more privacy and exclusivity for your special moment.


Keep in mind that most permits require 21-30 days notice so plan accordingly.

4. Underestimating Travel Time


The city’s traffic is notorious. Whether you’re taking a cab or the subway, allocate extra time to get to your proposal destination to avoid unnecessary stress and delays. New York City is well-known for its unpredictable traffic and often delayed public transportation, particularly during peak hours or any city events. It’s vital to factor in additional buffer time, especially if your proposal involves strict timing, such as sunset or a dinner reservation afterward.


Consider using real-time traffic apps to plan your route more effectively and get updates on subway delays or road closures. If your proposal spot is hard to reach or typically crowded, you might even want to do a trial run a few days before to time it accurately. Additionally, choosing a more accessible location near major subway lines or less congested areas can reduce the likelihood of any travel issues. Remember, the last thing you want on such a significant day is to arrive flustered and rushed, so plan wisely to ensure you and your partner can enjoy every moment stress-free.


Remember that most permits and venue rentals are typically issued for a one-hour duration. If you are late, the venue or location may not be able to extend your time since there’s likely another booking immediately after yours. Being punctual is crucial; it’s your responsibility to ensure you arrive on time to fully utilize your reserved slot without any issues.

5. Choosing the Wrong Location


While the allure of proposing at a well-known landmark can be strong, it’s important to consider whether the location holds personal significance to your relationship. Often, a spot that means something special to the two of you will be more impactful than a famous but impersonal setting. Additionally, landmark locations tend to be the busiest and might not offer the intimacy you desire for such a personal moment. For instance, the Brooklyn Bridge is a popular proposal site, but it’s also one of the busiest, making it nearly impossible to get a clear photo without early morning timing. Plus, the bridge does not permit decorations due to its status as a major tourist attraction.


Social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok can make certain locations seem ideal, but they often don’t show the full reality, such as crowds or restrictions. If you frequently see a location featured, it’s likely not very private, and your partner might already be familiar with it, which could diminish its personal touch.


To truly find the best spot for your proposal, consider working with a professional proposal planning company. A dedicated planner can help navigate these challenges, find a meaningful and less crowded location, and tailor the experience to fit your unique story, ensuring your proposal is as personal and memorable as possible.

6. Not Hiring a Professional Photographer


Capturing the proposal moment is priceless. Look for a professional photographer who knows the city well, rather than relying on passersby or less experienced friends. A professional will not only know the best angles and locations for capturing the big moment, but they will also be skilled in handling the lighting and crowds that come with a busy setting like New York City.


Furthermore, a professional can offer guidance on the best time for photos and how to pose in a natural, flattering manner. They’ll ensure that your photos look stunning and that the moment is captured with all the emotion and beauty it deserves. Investing in a professional photographer ensures that you’ll have high-quality memories to look back on for years to come, without the stress of wondering if the shots turned out well.


As a company founded by professional photographer Vlad Leto, we place a high priority on photography and videography. We consider the photographer to be the second most crucial element of your proposal because the emotional moments they capture will be cherished forever. Having open and direct communication with your photographer is essential to ensure you feel confident and at ease on your special day.

7. Lacking a Post-Proposal Plan


After the big question, you’ll want to celebrate. Whether it’s a cozy dinner at a nearby restaurant or a surprise engagement party, think ahead about how you’d like to continue the special day.


Planning the post-proposal activities is just as important as the proposal itself. Consider booking a romantic venue or planning a gathering with close friends and family to share the joy. You might also want to think about a quiet place to reflect and savor the moment together. Whatever you choose, ensure that these plans are in place well in advance to avoid any last-minute scrambling that could detract from your engagement celebration. Having a seamless transition from the proposal to the celebration will make the entire experience more enjoyable and memorable for both of you.

8. Failing to Communicate with the Venue


If you’re planning to propose at a restaurant, bar, or another venue, it’s essential to inform them in advance. Many venues are eager to accommodate your needs and can make your proposal even more memorable. For instance, some rooftop bars offer the option to rent privately before they open to the public, providing you with the privacy you need for your special moment. It’s also important to inform the venue if you plan to bring a photographer, have additional guests, or if you’re planning to bring decorations to enhance the setting.


Keep in mind that many restaurants may not allow photography or videography during regular business hours to avoid disturbing other guests; in such cases, opting for private dining could be the ideal solution. Similarly, items like balloons, sparklers, or real rose petals might not be permitted, so it’s crucial to check with the venue first. This also applies to private venues, which often have strict rules regarding food, alcohol, sparklers, confetti, real rose petals, and the number of guests allowed. Failing to communicate effectively with your chosen venue can lead to unnecessary restrictions and complications, so always be clear and detailed about your plans to ensure everything runs smoothly.

9. Neglecting Your Partner’s Preferences


When planning a proposal, it’s crucial to consider your partner’s preferences and comfort level with public attention. While some may relish a grand gesture like a flash mob in a busy setting, others might prefer something more intimate and low-key.


Gauge your partner’s comfort by discussing other proposals, observing their reactions to public engagements, or choosing a semi-private setting that balances intimacy with a small group celebration. Personalizing the proposal with meaningful details that reflect your relationship can make the moment feel special, regardless of the setting.


Above all, ensure that the proposal respects your partner’s wishes, making it a memorable and joyful experience for both of you.

10. Not Being in the Moment


Finally, amidst all the planning and coordinating, don’t forget to soak in the significance of what you’re about to do. This is a heartfelt commitment, not just a logistical event to manage. It’s easy to get caught up in the details—ensuring the photographer is in place, the music starts on cue, or that every petal is perfectly positioned. That is why we highly recommend hiring a planner for all of that.


However, the true essence of a proposal is the emotional connection and the commitment being made. For instance, when you open the ring box, take a moment to look into your partner’s eyes before the words “Will you marry me?” come out. Those few seconds of genuine, heartfelt connection can make all the difference.


Let the world slow down around you and focus on the emotions and the love you share. Consider taking a few deep breaths before you start, or even plan to have a moment of quiet together before the actual proposal. It could be a simple walk through a park, holding hands in silence, reflecting on your journey together. This not only helps calm any nerves but also deepens your connection at that moment, making it more impactful and memorable.


Remember, this proposal is a story you will both tell for years to come, so make it as personal and present as possible. This isn’t just about creating a perfect scene, but about creating a moment that you both will cherish forever, where the world seems to pause, and nothing exists but the two of you committing to a future together.

Proposing in New York City is as exciting as it is daunting. By steering clear of these common mistakes, you can ensure that your proposal is as flawless and memorable as the love you share. Remember, it’s all about celebrating your unique bond in a way that feels right for both of you. With thoughtful planning and a focus on what truly matters, your New York proposal can be everything you’ve dreamed of and more.


We know how hard it is to plan the whole event so if you looking for help, reach out to us directly at and our experienced team will help you to create the most unforgettable marriage proposal experience in NYC.

Tatiana Caicedo

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