How to propose on a budget

Being in love is expensive, but money isn’t everything! Here’s how you can avoid shelling out unnecessarily on a proposal.

I don’t buy the trope that proposals have to be over the top, expensive affairs. And they’re certainly not worth struggling with credit card payments for. The wedding industry is big money-making business, with the average cost of a wedding now standing at a whopping £15,000.

That’s a lot of cash to put down on a single day. It’s practically a deposit on a house, for Pete’s sake! So with that in mind, who says the bit before the wedding needs to be expensive too?


It’s true that the thought really does count, so I’ve compiled some budget-friendly ideas for proposing to the love of your life.

Preparing for the proposal


The setting for your big question doesn’t need to be an amazing place that looks ‘Instagram-ready’. It could be somewhere that means something special to both of you! Scope out local locations that don’t cost money to travel to, such as:

  • Where you had your first date
  • Where you saw them for the first time (be careful with this one. If you were crouched in a bush at the time, things could turn creepy!)
  • The spot where you first realised you loved them

The meet-cute list goes on!

Think about the whole day rather than the moment itself. Putting effort into the day and setting will help you decide what you really want to do, and avoid panic-buying props or expensive trips. You could make them their favourite meal and plan a day of little adventures in your local area.

But, if you know your partner would appreciate a dazzling location, you can save money by popping the question while you’re on holiday. Plus, you’ll already be relaxed!

If you do go the holiday route, make sure you check out our top holiday bargain hunting tips.


Choosing ‘the’ ring


According to a survey earlier this year, the average person in the UK spends £1,471.01 on an engagement ring. I know – how much?!

Here are some tips for finding a beautiful ring that’ll make your eyes water for all the right reasons.

  • A band of smaller diamonds are more affordable that a large centre stone, and they sparkle just as bright
  • Gold and platinum are very pricey metals. Sterling silver is much cheaper and looks virtually identical to platinum, but if your partner prefers yellow or rose gold, consider plated silver
  • Don’t buy one! Well, you know what we mean – if you search for rings that aren’t sold in engagement collections, you might find a gem that looks the part but doesn’t have the ‘wedding’ price tag
  • What about your partner’s birth stone instead of a classic diamond?
  • Don’t get a traditional ring to propose (but be sure that your partner would be okay with this) and instead buy them a less costly jewellery piece or ask them to be a part of choosing the ring with you


It’s time – the big moment


You’ve planned the whole thing out, bought the ring, chosen the location, and probably written out a heartfelt speech. Now it’s crunch time, but how can you create the perfect moment without spending a fortune on literal fireworks? When your partner realises what’s happening, they’re guaranteed to be surprised!

You can ask friends and family to get involved, either by being a part of the proposal (flashmobs are still cool!) or helping you make handmade props.

How about going all out on holiday cheer? Everyone’s finished opening their presents, but oh what’s this? Another secret present just appeared under the Christmas tree!

Talking about Christmas, you could use a snow day to your advantage. Build a snowman together and then hand them the final piece. It’s the ring!

If your partner wouldn’t mind a public proposal, you could treat them to a meal out and ask the restaurant to write the proposal in chocolate on their dessert plate? Just be wary of putting the ring in a cake – no one wants to swallow it, or crack a tooth!

Have you got any clever ideas for proposing on a budget? Share them in the comments below.

Posted by in Budgeting