15 Times Romantic Men Simply Nailed the Marriage Proposal

The most creative, inspiring, and over-the-top ways to pop the question.

Thinking about taking your relationship to the next level but not sure how to do it? Just ask yourself what George Clooney—or Matthew McConaughey, or Seal, or Ludacris—would do. These guys have money to burn and tabloid-readers to entertain, so the pressure's on in a way the average guy can only imagine. Some of them opted for an over-the-top proposal, asking the question on safari or in a private igloo atop a mountain. Others went more down-to-earth, with nothing more elaborate than a home-cooked meal and a heartfelt declaration of love. But whatever approach they took, there are lessons an average guy can take to heart when looking to make his girlfriend his fiancé.

They're celebrities, so not all of these bonds have proven everlasting. But they definitely got off to a good start. If you're thinking about popping the question, here are Five Sure Signs You're Ready to Get Married.

George Clooney, Amal Almuddin

Proposals George Amal

He was the world's most eligible bachelor. He could've proposed in any manner—on top of the Eiffel Tower, in a sports stadium, on the freaking moon—and anyone would have said yes. And yet, Clooney proposed to Amal in the simplest of ways: over a home-cooked dinner, in his Los Angeles home. Allegedly, it took her 30 minutes to respond. Hey—better late than never. Now, Clooney and his wife are expecting twins, and you should see what women everywhere are saying about it.

Kanye West, Kim Kardashian

Proposals Kanye Kim

Kanye West doesn't do anything half-assed, and definitely not something with as much potential for showmanship as a proposal. West popped the question on Kim's 33rd birthday at the San Francisco's AT&T Park—with the help of a pyrotechnic display, a Jumbotron, and a 90-piece orchestra. It was a pretty nice birthday gift for Kardashian, with the bonus that her family was hiding in the dugout—and exclusive rights for the proposal went to E! for the next episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Kanye's nothing if not thoughtful. And if you want to cop something else from Kanye, you could do worse than imitating his white-t-shirt nonchalance.

Matthew McConaughey, Camila Alves

Proposals Matt Camilla

Right on the brink on the McConaissance (Dallas Buyers Club, True Dectective, Interstellar, back-to-back-to-back, for those who don't remember), Matthew McConaughey got engaged to Camila Alves. How'd he do it? At Christmas, by burying the engagement ring in seven boxes, Babushka-style. Was this genius proposal a harbinger of the genius acting to come? Well, we're not explicitly saying that; we just can't but help pointing out the timing. As it happens, Matthew McConaughey is a master of timing, having mastered both the timing of line delivery on screen and line drives on the golf green.

Tim McGraw, Faith Hill

Proposals Tim Faith

Back in the '90s, country music's king and queen, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, used to teasingly drop hints about getting married. But one night, McGraw actually went for it. In his dressing room, he asked Hill to marry him; before she could answer, he went on stage. When McGraw retired to his dressing room, he saw that Hill had written "yes" on his mirror—a true reflection of love. And if you want to follow Faith's lead, learn how to say "I love you" with more than just words.

Seal, Heidi Klum

Proposals Heidi Seal

Seal elevated his question-popping game by taking Klum, via helicopter, to the top of a mountain in the Canadian Rockies. As they landed she saw that he had an igloo built, kitted out with a bed, candles, champagne, and (naturally, for the "Kiss From a Rose" singer) rose petals all over the place. Klum eagerly accepted Seal's proposal, but would later admit "It was a little scary, too, because you're so cut off from the world. No trees, nothing—it was hardcore. But I was ecstatic." Heidi Klum, by the way, is one of the The 30 Sexiest Women Aging in Reverse.

Ludacris, Eudoxie Mbouguiengue

Proposals Luda Eudoxie

Also a believer in taking his love to great heights, Ludacris proposed to his girlfriend on their way to Costa Rica for a Christmas vacation. As their private jet approached its destination, Mbouguiengue looked out the window to see, emblazoned across the rural landscape, "Will you marry me?" It seemed to go over well, if the rapper's Instagram post is any indication: ""She didn't say yes. She said HELL YES! #milehighproposal." If you plan on a mid-flight proposal, you might want to look into maximizing your airline miles.

Tara Lipinski, Todd Kapostasy

Are you considering a holiday proposal? Take note: if you're not in New York City around that most magical time, consider waiting a year. TV producer Todd Kapostasy was walking hand-in-hand with Tara Lipinski, the gold-adorned Olympian figure skater, through Manhattan when he pointed out a window display. In it was a painting of Kapostasy proposing to Lipinski. She turned around, and there he was, on one knee. Sometimes life really is picture perfect. Ice skating happens to be one of the creative dates that make guys over 40 shine.

Russell Brand, Katy Perry

Proposals Russell Katy

If her stage shows are any indication, Perry is a fan of spectacles, so Brand went big. During a getaway to Jaipur, India, he arranged for a candlelit garden dinner on New Year's Eve, followed by an elephant ride. Atop the pachyderm, as the clock struck midnight and a fireworks display burst across the sky, welcoming the new year, Brand asked Perry to marry him. There was no Left Shark, but it was still a pretty impressive display. Before you propose however, make sure you know The 10 Pre-Marriage Solidifiers All Savvy Couples Agree On.

Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel

Proposals Justin Jessica

Did we mention that Christmas was a good time for proposing? Timberlake helped demonstrate that by popping the question in the winter wonderland of the snow-covered mountains in Jackson, WY while the couple were on a snowboarding trip (the two actually were first spotted together during a snowboarding break back in January 2007). After she said yes, the two celebrated with friends at the singer's home in Big Sky, MT, and dining on Thai food at a local restaurant, throwing back sake shots. In addition to McConaughey, Timberlake is also a world-class celebrity golfer, so you may want to learn a few secret tricks in case you run into him on the green.

Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen

Proposals Tom Gisele

Tom Brady raised the bar on the Mile High Club by at least a mile. (Romantically, man. Get your head out of the gutter.) En route to Boston, on a private plane, Tom showed Gisele with white roses, near-unlimited champagne, a boulder of an engagement ring—and her parents, so they could witness their daughter's lovely moment, proof that Tom can both inflate (parental opinions) and deflate (well, you know…) with equal aplomb. While you're learning love tips from Tom, you should also learn his top 5 leadership tips.

Prince William, Kate Middleton

William doesn't wear a wedding ring

A proposal is probably going to go over pretty well when you're not only asking her to marry you, but to be promoted to princess. But William went a few extra miles anyway, taking a knee in the couple's private cabin while they were on a 10-day safari at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya. For an added bonus, he gave her the engagement ring of his late mother, Princess Diana. Romance sure runs in the family: just look at the myriad ways Prince Harry wooed Meghan Markle.

Hunter Pence, Alexis Cozombolidis

Who? Oh, right—Hunter Pence, an outfielder for the San Francisco Giants, took his then-girlfriend, Alexis Cozombolidis, to Disney World, where a film crew was recording a mock interview (planned in accordance with Pence) about their favorite memories. Pence then said, "My best memory…is right now," turned to Cozombolidis, and proposed. Now that's how you knock it out of the park. For more advice on how to nail this crucial moment, here is How Smart Men Propose.

Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union

Proposals Dwayne Gabriella

When you get older, proposals can often involve the kids you've got from a previous marriage or relationship—and making them part of the proposal can add significance and fun to the proceedings. That's something Wade took to heart, getting his sons (ages 11 and 6 at the time) to help orchestrate the whole thing. As the Being Mary Jane star was touring the under-construction house she and Wade were to move into, the kids told her they had a presentation to show her. "They like to do skits and songs and stuff, so we turn around, and they're like, 'Okay, we're ready!'" Union told Good Morning America. "And I turn back around and all the boys were holding up signs that said, 'Will you marry us?'" Next thing she knew, Wade was down on one knee and she was saying "yes."

Taylor Kinney, Lady Gaga

Proposals Taylor Lady

Timing is everything in a proposal—whether that's taking a knee on a birthday, a special holiday, or, in the case of actor Taylor Kinney, Valentine's Day. He and girlfriend Lady Gaga were in her hometown of New York City, as snow was coming down, when he asked if she'd like to get hitched. He kept it simple, though it didn't hurt that the ring he produced was shaped like a heart.

Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor

Proposals Ben Christine

This one didn't exactly go to plan. Stiller flew to Los Angeles to surprise her, putting a trail of candles and rose petals through Taylor's house to her back deck, where he got settled and prepared to pop the question. When she arrived, he realized he didn't have the ring on him—it was in his backpack in the other room. Stiller recovered, Taylor said "yes," and the couple's together more than 15 years later. So it goes to show you that when it comes to proposals, don't sweat the small stuff.

Now, after you nail the proposal, check out The 7 Ways to Make Your Marriage Last Forever.

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Alex Daniel
A journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. Read more