How to Shop for Your Own Engagement Ring Without Missing Out on a Surprise Proposal

Our experts have a few ideas

Updated 06/23/17

Gonçalo in Paris for Flytographer

You’ve dreamed of the day your partner will get down on one knee and ask you to spend the rest of your lives together, all the way down to the sparkler in that velvet box. And while you want the moment to be a big surprise (with or without a photographer capturing it all), not knowing what you’ll be wearing on your left hand every day might not jive with your curated closet and expertly chosen accessories. How can you have a say in what your engagement ring will look like without ruining the surprise? Our experts have a few ideas.

You’ll love your engagement ring, no matter what it looks like, but wouldn’t it be great to know that you’ll love the design as much as the sentiment behind it? Even if your partner isn’t excited about the two of you shopping together, there are still a few ways you can make sure the style truly speaks to you.

The first thing to do is try on a whole bunch of rings. Visit stores with a variety of designers, or head to a few different stores to really explore your options. Take photos of what you love, as well as what you hate, and start to narrow it down. That might be a style of band, the shape of the center stone, or an alternative gem that’s not a diamond. And don’t forget to think about your lifestyle! You might be partial to a lower setting if you’re more active, or may lean toward a stronger metal like platinum if you do a lot of work with your hands.

Next, loop in your partner. The two of you may head to the jeweler together, or he or she might just want a rundown of what you love and then be left to their own devices. If you found a store you love, connect your partner with the same jeweler who helped you try things on. They will be able to set aside the rings you really loved and give your partner some insight into what you were thinking while you were browsing. Otherwise, arm your partner with key words (think metal color, any accent details like a halo or pavé band, and the shape of the stone) so they can bring that information to the jeweler of their choice.

The best way to both know you’ll love your ring and also be totally surprised is to narrow it down to three or four rings you adore, then let your partner make the final tweaks and decision. Seeing what they pick for you will be super romantic and exciting, even if you’ve had every ring on your finger once before.

Another great hint to set your partner in the right direction? Invite them to your curated Pinterest board. To make the process easier, narrow it down to only a few rings (five-ish) so they don't get overwhelmed with choices. And don't forget your one of the best tools in your arsenal—your BFF. Tell them, show them, hammer it into them what exactly you want so they can relay the info to your S.O. Even better: if your BFF and your partner have a friendly relationship, have your friend tag along when your partner goes shopping. That way, you'll have a touch more confidence that your voice will be heard (even if by proxy).

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