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Best Locations + Tips for Planning an EPIC Wedding Proposal in Laguna Beach, CA

By: Christopher Todd

Award-winning Orange County photographer specializing in people with 20+ years of experience

Best Locations + Tips for Planning an EPIC Wedding Proposal in Laguna Beach, CA

By: Christopher Todd

In this article I’ll explain everything you need to know to plan an epic wedding proposal in Laguna Beach, CA.

Table Of Contents
    couple kissing on beach during sunset after surprise marriage proposal

    Laguna Beach is a Romantic Destination

    Nestled along the rocky coastline of Orange County California, Laguna Beach stands as a quintessential romantic destination, enchanting visitors with its breathtaking natural beauty and undeniable charm. Renowned for its pristine beaches, azure waters, and dramatic cliffside vistas, this coastal gem offers couples an idyllic backdrop for an unforgettable marriage proposal.  

    Looking for a local photographer to help plan & capture your proposal?

    We would be excited to help you with any family, Instagrammable photo spots or proposal photography in Laguna Beach.

    How To Plan A Memorable Proposal

    Planning for a wedding proposal is a key step in ensuring that the moment is not only memorable but also reflects your unique experiences together and your commitment to each other. Incorporating personal touches that symbolize the journey of your relationship will contribute to the magic of your proposal. 

    Most men who hire me to photograph their proposals need some help planning the details to ensure their proposal feels spontaneous and romantic.

    We are happy to share good ideas we’ve seen in the past or help guide you through the entire process from planning to executing.

    Planning A Memorable Proposal In Laguna Beach Ca

    Choosing The Perfect Location

    Laguna Beach has no shortage of beautiful spots to propose. Here are my three favorite locations

    Laguna Beach Map

    Top Of The World

    Perched atop the rolling hills of Laguna Beach, Top of the World offers a breathtaking vantage point that is unparalleled in its panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. As the name suggests, this overlook feels like ascending to the pinnacle of the world, with the Pacific Ocean and the rugged beauty of the coastline below. The 360-degree view provides an awe-inspiring backdrop for a romantic proposal.

    One thing to understand is Top Of The World is a well-known attraction at the confluence of multiple hiking trails. You will most definitely encounter walkers, and mountain bikers aiming to catch a nice view also.  

    What I like:

    Top Of The World for proposals because the views really are spectacular at any time of the day. 

    Best for:

    Outdoorsy adventurous couples that like nature and don’t mind walking on a short trail.

    Map/Directions (pin on google map) 

    Parking:  Street parking on Alta Laguna Blvd, or in the public lot for Alta Laguna Laguna Park, next to the trailhead.

    Crowd factor: There are always people at the Top Of The World, but crowds usually aren't enough to interfere with a proposal.

    Best time of day to propose: I like early morning because its almost always windy in the afternoon.

    Guy down on one knee proposing to girlfriend at overlook location with ocean views.

    Directions To Top Of The World

    The Arch At Treasure Island Beach

    Treasure Island Beach beckons couples with its secluded coves, golden sands, and iconic rock archway that stands as a symbol of enduring love. Proposing on Treasure Island Beach next to the arch is chosen by many couples.

    What I like:

    Treasure Island Beach for popping the question because it is a little larger than most beaches in Laguna which makes the beach more accessible when the tide is higher.  It's also an easy spot to find and get a parking space compared to Main Beach Area further North.

    Best for:

    Couples that want an incredibly beautiful beach with easy access to PCH and parking.

    Map/Directions: (pin on google map)

    Parking: Between the Montage Resort and PCH or Public lot at Wesley Dr & PCH. 

    Crowd factor: Usually Empty early in the day. Except in Summer. Busy in the afternoon most days.

    The best time of day to propose: Early Morning for a bit of seclusion.

    Boyfriend on one knee proposing to girlfriend under Treasure Island Arch at Laguna Beach

    Directions To Treasure Island Beach

    Shaws Cove

    Proposing at Shaw Cove in Laguna Beach offers an unparalleled blend of natural beauty and intimate seclusion, making it an idyllic setting for a heartfelt declaration of love. Tucked away from the bustling crowds, Shaws Cove boasts a tranquil shoreline framed by rugged cliffs and lush vegetation. This neighborhood beach provides a sense of intimacy and privacy, allowing couples to savor the moment without distractions. 

    What I like:

    How Shaws Cove is off the beaten path. Most of the people on the beach are typically locals who live in the area.

    Best for:

    Someone who wants a more private proposal experience.

    Map/Directions: (pin on google map)

    Parking:  Free neighborhood parking can be limited. This is the best address to map 100 Fairview St. Laguna Beach, CA 92651

    Crowd factor: Minimal since this beach is very secluded in a residential neighborhood. It's mostly locals unless it's a beautiful beautiful day in the summer.

    Best time of day to propose: Late afternoon 

    PRO TIP: Shaw Cove is a small beach and will be underwater at very high tides. Be sure to check a tide chart while planning.

    Couple walking on sand after marriage proposal in Laguna Beach

    Directions To Shaws Cove

    Factors To Consider When Selecting A Proposal Location

    Timing is Everything.  The Timing of your proposal can have a huge impact on your experience. The factors below are worth considering.

    The Time of day

    Most of the proposals we photograph happen in the morning hours. Many guys like to use the excuse of going to brunch in Laguna as a means of getting their girlfriends to dress nice and head out for a day of fun without arousing suspicion. The morning hours are also less busy in Laguna making it a bit less stressful. 

    Sunset is always a beautiful time of day in Laguna Beach. So late afternoon proposals are typically awesome also. However, one factor to consider is the wind.  Afternoon Seabreeze is the norm on the local beaches.

    The Time of the year

    Laguna Beach has consistently mild temperatures year-round.  It's not unusual to have a 75° day in the middle of the winter.

    Average Temps Laguna Beach Ca

    Crowd Factor In Laguna Beach

    Laguna Beach is a very popular tourist attraction, and as a result, it’s usually pretty crowded.  However, despite the popularity of Laguna, you can often find yourself alone on some beaches from November to April.  Summer is always busy as well as any weekend with good weather all year round.

    Traffic In Laguna Beach
    Traffic is common on PCH in Laguna Beach

    Personalizing Your Proposal

    Incorporating Personal Touches and Shared Memories

    Personalizing your wedding proposal allows you to create an unforgettable experience tailored to your unique relationship. Start by reflecting on your shared memories and interests as a couple, and consider incorporating elements that hold special significance to both of you. 

    Whether it's revisiting a favorite beach where you shared your first kiss, arranging a surprise picnic at a secluded cove, or hiring a musician to serenade you with your favorite song against the backdrop of a stunning sunset, 

    You can also incorporate elements of Laguna Beach's natural beauty, such as a romantic walk along the shoreline, a scenic hike to a panoramic overlook, or a private boat ride along the coast. 

    Finally, consider enlisting the help of family and friends, or even hiring a professional photographer to capture the moment, so your proposal becomes a lasting memory.

    Man proposing on one knee at beach to surprised girlfriend wearing white dress

    Unique Ideas For Adding Personal Flair To The Proposal

    If you're looking to do something special that she's talking about for months, read the tips below to get your creative side working on an incredible idea.

    couple at a picnic on the sand with flowers and blanket after their surprise marriage proposal

    Capturing the Moment

    Hire a professional planner to create a special picnic or seaside dinner. Start by selecting a suitable beach location that permits picnics, ensuring you have permission to set up your romantic rendezvous. Once you've secured your spot, prepare a delectable spread to enjoy. Pack your picnic basket with an array of her favorite treats. 

    PRO TIP: Take it to the next level by Hiring a wedding planner to help provide and style the decor for your picnic.

    Hire a Scuba diver to deliver the engagement ring

    Imagine waves gently lapping at the sand, when a figure emerges from the depths of the ocean, clad in scuba gear, holding a scallop shell aloft. As the mysterious diver draws closer, it becomes apparent that nestled within the shell is a shimmering engagement ring.

    Visit or call Beach Cities Scuba to connect with a diver at

    949-494-6965.  925 N Coast Highway
    Laguna Beach, CA 92651

    Scuba Diver Delivers Engagement Ring
    Message In A Bottle Wedding Proposal

    Plant A Proposal Message In A bottle

    This idea taps into childhood nostalgia, recalling the excitement of finding messages in bottles while playing at the beach. Write your proposal message, hide the bottle along your planned walking route, and have your partner discover it as you pop the question against the backdrop of a beautiful beach sunset.

    Engagement Ring In The Sand

    Write your proposal in the sand or have the ring in a sandcastle

    For a romantic beach proposal, consider writing your proposal message in the sand or concealing the engagement ring within a sandcastle. Choose a quiet spot along the shoreline, away from the crowds, and use a stick or your fingers to carefully inscribe your heartfelt proposal in the sand. Alternatively, craft a sandcastle together, hiding the ring within its walls for a delightful surprise. As your partner admires the picturesque scenery, reveal your heartfelt message or the ring itself, creating a memorable and intimate moment against the backdrop of the serene beach.

    Capturing The Moment

    Hiring A professional photographer or enlisting a friend's help.

     

    A wedding proposal is a once-in-a-lifetime event that you will want to remember. Be sure to get someone to help you capture her expression and excitement.  Hire a professional photographer who has experience with surprise proposals. They will be able to be part of the planning process during anything smoothly with less stress.

    Tips For Discreetly Capturing The Proposal Without Spoiling The Surprise

    One of the best things about hiring a professional photographer is their anonymity. Having a friend photograph, your proposal is an easy way to blow the surprise or arouse her suspicions. A random person on the beach with a camera won't stand out on a beautiful beach in Laguna.

    Proposal Photographer In Disguise

    Ensuring a Seamless Execution

    Devise a plan that seems plausible. The more outlandish your outing seems to your girlfriend the more difficult it will be to disguise your true intentions.

    Rehearsing The Proposal Plan And Timeline

    Once you have an idea. Be sure to rehearse what your story is so you can regurgitate it realistically if questioned. Plan time to accommodate for any delays. Laguna Beach is notorious for traffic if the weather is nice. 

    Sawdust Festival Traffic Laguna Canyon Road

    Contingency Planning For Unexpected Situations

    The biggest contingency to plan for is weather. Luckily for us in Laguna Beach, the weather is beautiful most of the year. Other contingencies to think about are travel time with traffic.

    Communicating With Vendors Or Venue Staff, If Applicable

    If you hire anyone to help, coordinating your timeline becomes even more important since you have multiple people working together to bring your idea to reality.  Be aware communicating with vendors on the day of the proposal can oftentimes be difficult to mask.

    Hiring Vendors For Wedding Proposal

    Post-Proposal Celebration

    Here are some suggestions for the best dining options in Laguna Beach based on my personal experience.  My 3 favorite spots to celebrate engagements are:

    The Deck in Laguna Beach with people dining
    The Deck Laguna Beach

    The Deck

    Great venue for celebrating with a group.

    Address: 627 Sleepy Hollow Ln, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

    949-755-8788.  https://www.deckonlaguna.com/

    Why I like The Deck

    The Deck has the ultimate location. Just steps above the sand tucked away from the hustle and bustle of PCH.

    Be aware they don’t take reservations so don’t expect to arrive at 5 pm on a Friday to lots of open spots. 

    I Recommend having friends or family go early to get some space.

    Las Brisas

    Great venue for celebrating with a group or a romantic table for 2.

    Address: 361 Cliff Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA

    949-497-5434  https://www.lasbrisaslagunabeach.com/

    Why I like The Las Brisas

    Excellent location in Laguna Beach

    Call ahead so they can make you a solo table for two outside on the side deck

    They have an awesome private room if you want to celebrate with family and friends.

    Las Brisas Rose Garden Patio
    Pre- arrange a private table in the Rose Garden
    Las Brisas Private Event Room
    Las Brisas private room capacity 55 people
    The Beachcomber
    The Beachcomber Restaurant

    The Beachcomer At Crystal Cove

    Address 15 CRYSTAL COVE NEWPORT COAST, CA 92657

    949-376-6900  https://thebeachcombercafe.com/

    Why I like The BeachComer

    The Beachcomber is the only location in this part of Orange County, where you can eat on the sand. 

    Be aware parking is a 10 min walk or short Shuttle Ride.

    Park in the Los Trancos parking lot located on the North side of Pacific Coast Highway. For additional parking information and rates, download the Park’s Yodel app.

    Additional Tips And Advice

    Having been a part of many proposal celebrations, I have three tips that would help anybody planning to Pop The Question🍾.

    1. Hire Pros To Help

    If you're stressed out, keep the plan simple. And if you don't want to keep it simple, higher professionals to help.

    2. Recruit Friends & Family

    Turn your proposal into a celebration. Be sure to involve your friends and family, as they would love to be part of such a special moment and will add to your experience.

    3. Relax and Enjoying the Moment

    A little bit of pre-planning and rehearsal will make a less stressful and smooth experience that you will be able to enjoy.

    Meet The Author & Photographer

    Call Me Chris

    Thanks for checking out my tips for proposing in Laguna Beach. I'm excited to share my experiences having photographed many surprise engagements throughout Orange County. I hope you can plan something. Incredible with these tips.

    Male photographer holding camera.

    Meet The Author & Photographer

    Male photographer holding camera.

    Call Me Chris

    Thanks for checking out my tips for proposing in Laguna Beach. I'm excited to share my experiences having photographed many surprise engagements throughout Orange County. I hope you can plan something. Incredible with these tips.

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