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How to propose at the bookstore in New York

Planning a marriage proposal is an extremely personal moment, you need to know your partner well and create a perfect setting for them to say ‘YES’. If you are a lucky couple who loves books, a bookstore proposal is the first thing you will be thinking about. Here is everything you need to know in order to surprise your partner with the perfect bookstore proposal in New York:

Choose a perfect bookstore for your proposal.

There are around 80 bookstores in New York City. Some are more famous than the others, but each of them  is unique and special in its own way. The most popular bookstores like “Strand” and “Barnes and Noble” are easier to find and there will be more opportunities to find a quiet spot for a romantic surprise. Plus it will be easier for a photographer to blend in and photograph the proposal in secret.  Also, those stores usually have a cafe onsite where you can get coffee and tell your partner all about your proposal planning process.

If you are looking for a little, cozy bookstore “Codex Books” in Bowery would be a perfect fit. Another option would be a “The Mysterious Bookshop”, in Tribeca and “Yu & Me Books” in Soho. These are local stores that not that many tourists know about and chances are you can even get the whole store for yourself.

If you are looking for a bookstore where you also can do a photoshoot, we would recommend checking “McNally Jackson Independent Booksellers and Café” in Seaport, “Albertine” on the Upper East Side and ‘Housing Works Bookstore Cafe & Bar” in Nolita. Those bookstores are rather large and will have a quiet spot for a surprise proposal, but also have a lot of photo opportunities inside the store, so you can have an engagement session there.


Discuss your proposal with the store.

If you are planning to propose at the large bookstore, you can let the store know that you are planning to get engaged there, but also you can just come and do it on the spot. Again, as the big stores are roomy  you can easily find an empty section and propose in there.

If you choose one of those little stores, you need to let the store know that you are planning a surprise proposal there. Most of the time, the stores would try to accommodate you and even suggest best time to do so. Sometimes they can ask for a donation or a book purchase.


Proposal at the bookstore. 

When you get to the bookstore, don’t rush and act exactly as you would on a regular visit.  Walk around and browse books. This will give the photographer an opportunity to find the best angle and get some ” before the proposal’ pictures. Once you find the section you like, position your partner facing the exit, so that when you get on one knee the photographer can capture the surprise reaction and see your partner’s face.  Propose. Be respectful and don’t bring any confetti, champagne, sparkles and anything that could ruin the books. When taking pictures, be aware of the other people around you and make sure you are not disturbing anyone.  Purchase a book, this not only be a great souvenir but will also help the store to stay open.


Looking for something extra.

If you want to propose at the bookstore but not thrilled to do it with the other people around you can inquire about the rental. Many independent bookstores  do rent their stores for private events. Most of the rentals will happen before and after the hours of operation ( which are normally 10am-7pm), so chances are you can secure the whole store for your proposal. If you want to add a little bit of magic to your proposal, we can decorate the store with candles and flowers ( with the store approval, of course) and have a live musician playing the song of your choice. There is nothing like enjoying an intimate proposal at the place that you love.


After the proposal 

After the proposal, tag your bookstore on your pictures, leave them a review and revisit the place every time you are in the city.


If you are planning to propose in New York City and don’t know where to start, contact us know at and our experienced team will help you to create the most unforgettable marriage proposal experience.

Tatiana Caicedo

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