Should I buy an engagement ring before or after I propose?

Proposing marriage with a ring dates back to the ancient Romans. While the material and cost of a ring have fluctuated over time, there is one thing that has never changed: the ring is a piece the receiver will enjoy wearing for the rest of their life.

Finding the right ring for someone you want to spend the rest of your life with can be a daunting task and in more recent years, some couples are choosing to shop together for an engagement ring.


Is it better to buy an engagement ring before or after the proposal?

In almost all cases the official proposal is completed with the ring ready to be slipped onto the left ring finger. That’s not to say that there can’t be a spur of the moment proposal with a Cheezel or plastic ring won from a gumball machine. However the formal event is usually signified with a diamond engagement ring.

This article will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of buying an engagement ring before or after the proposal and how you can propose without an engagement ring if you choose to buy it afterwards.

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What are the advantages of buying an engagement ring before the proposal?

Element of surprise

Not everyone loves surprises but when it comes to proposing marriage, the element of surprise is what makes it both nerve-wracking for the person proposing and exhilarating for the person being proposed to (hopefully!). Being presented with a beautiful diamond engagement ring by the love of your life is sure to light up anyone’s face and that can’t be re-created when shopping for an engagement ring together.

Show them you know their style

This is probably the biggest chance you’ll ever have to show the person you love that you understand who they are, what they like, and more importantly, what they don’t like. It makes it even more impressive if they’ve never expressed to you what their taste in jewellery is so it’s completely up to you to gauge what will dazzle them. If you’re completely stuck for ideas on what kind of ring they would like, speak to a close friend of theirs to get some advice but someone who you know won’t spill the beans on the proposal.

It’s romantic

While shopping for an engagement ring as a couple can be an enjoyable experience, there’s something special about someone you love presenting you with a symbol of your future life together. That’s something that can’t be re-created afterwards. Buying from a well renowned and experienced jeweller will ensure that you are purchasing a beautifully designed ring, so your chances of her saying yes are almost guaranteed.

The ring is a piece the receiver will enjoy wearing for the rest of their life.

– Chris Holdsworth

What are some pitfalls of buying an engagement ring before the proposal?

Planning in advance

Finding the right ring can take time and it’s recommended that you allocate up to three months to find the right ring. You might need to have something specially customised and it’s important to do research into diamonds so you have a basic understanding of what you should be looking for before you walk into a jewellery store. Take a friend or a family member along to get a second opinion, before deciding.  Don’t expect to walk into a jewellery store and walk out an hour later with the engagement ring you’re planning to propose with. You might get lucky finding the perfect ring in a quality jewellery store, but be prepared and think ahead.

Worried they won’t like the engagement ring?

The biggest challenge of buying an engagement ring before the proposal is finding one that your partner will love. Engagement rings are a huge investment and getting one they don’t like could cost you a lot later on if any adjustments are made. Shopping for a ring together removes that stress, as your partner can choose the exact style and setting that they want. You will know your partner better than anyone else, so you will probably already know whether they would want to be involved in the purchase process.

The ring doesn’t fit

Making sure the ring fits the finger is vital for an engagement ring. If your partner has other rings lying around you could sneakily trace around it on a piece of paper to use as a reference. Rings can be resized but it’s better to have the ring too loose rather than too tight as it’s easier to readjust. Plus you don’t want to propose and not be able to put the ring on their finger.

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How can you propose without an engagement ring?

You might find yourself on an overseas holiday, or out and about on a perfect day and decide that now is the perfect time to pop the question. All you have on hand could be a length of string or a daisy you plucked from a garden. In these cases, it’s all about the moment and running with your heart. Don’t let that stop you, seize the moment and make your proclamation – the engagement ring she will show off to all her friends can come later.

Ultimately there is no right or wrong way to go about a proposal with or without a ring. It’s all a personal choice and your partner will always remember how you proposed, not how you could have.

About Author

Chris Holdsworth is a member of the Gemmological Association of Australia and the National Council of Jewellery Valuers and has diplomas in Gemmology and Diamond Technology. His family started Holdsworth Bros. Jewellers in 1884 and Chris now runs the business with his brother Tim.

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