You’re hoping to get engaged to your sweetheart, but you’re nervous about the proposal. It seems like there are a lot of rules that you have to follow about this big decision. You don’t want to make a mistake.
Don’t worry. The good news is that you don’t have to follow some of those outdated proposal rules at all. Read ahead to see what you can do instead.
Rule #1: It Has to Be a Complete Surprise
Your partner should be surprised by the moment that you propose — not necessarily by the proposal itself. If you’ve never broached topics like marriage and spending a future together, you’re taking a big risk by getting down on one knee. What if they’re not ready? What if they don’t want to get married? It might not sound romantic to talk these things out, but it’s better to find out that information now than to get an unexpected answer when you show them the ring.
Speaking of the ring, you don’t have to keep that as a surprise either. Lots of couples nowadays go ring shopping or go to a custom jeweller to craft a one-of-a-kind engagement ring together. It’s a good way to guarantee that the ring fits your partner’s finger, along with their personal style. They’re going to be wearing it for the rest of their life, after all. You’ll want it to be the right pick.
If you don’t like the idea of proposing empty-handed, you can always give them something small to prove that you’re serious about the engagement. You can give them a token, a love letter or even a sweet placeholder ring on the night you ask. Then, you can get the official ring together.
Rule #2: Spend 3 Months’ Salary on the Ring
You’re probably familiar with this old rule: you have to spend at minimum 3 full months of your salary on an engagement ring. It’s a daunting rule for anyone that wants to propose to their sweetheart but doesn’t have the budget to make this kind of purchase, especially when you’re preparing to foot the bill for a wedding and a honeymoon in the near future.
Where did this rule come from? In the 1930s, the company De Beers started a marketing campaign saying that men should spend one month’s salary on a diamond engagement ring for their fiancée. Then, in the 1980s, they boosted that number to two months’ salary. Over time, the public pushed the expectation even further, landing on three months’ salary. There’s no telling whether it will stop growing.
So, what should you do? Don’t put yourself into a bad financial spot for a ring. Your partner doesn’t want you to dive into debt because of them. You can find top-quality rings at affordable prices when you know where to go and what to look for.
These are some quick tips that can help you get a beautiful ring that won’t break the bank:
- Go to a professional jeweller instead of a generic big box store or designer jewellery chain. Chains will markup ring prices because they need to cover steep overhead costs. A small jeweller won’t have that. Take a look at the website Alexisgallery.com to see what gorgeous engagement rings and wedding rings a custom jeweller can make within the boundaries of your budget.
- Use heirloom gems. If you have any heirloom jewellery that’s still in good condition, you can go to a jeweller to appraise the piece and see if they can use the stones for a custom ring.
- Diamonds tend to be more expensive than other gemstones, so pick a budget-friendly alternative like moissanite.
- If you really want a diamond, consider lab-grown diamonds. They’re less expensive than mined diamonds, which makes them popular with couples that are conscious of their budget and the environment.
- Don’t go too big. A bigger stone typically means a bigger price-tag. Remember: the stone doesn’t have to be enormous to make a statement.
- Consider a gold band over platinum. Platinum is usually the pricier metal.
If you’re not happy with what ring options you can afford at the moment, you can always set up a strict budget and try to pull in some more savings. A few months of budgeting could really make a difference.
Rule #3: Ask Her Father First
Asking your partner’s father for permission to propose is a divisive rule. Some people like the tradition and think it’s an essential step before getting down on one knee. Some think it’s old-fashioned and sexist. Check to see if your partner expects this step from you before you plan a trip to your future in-laws. Always prioritize your partner’s feelings over their parents’. If she really disagrees with the tradition, it will be rude to go against her wishes.
If your partner has no strong opinions about the step, consider asking for her parents’ blessing — not their permission. You’re telling them your intentions and hoping that they approve, without giving them any authority over their daughter’s future.
You might want to rethink this rule if your partner doesn’t have a good relationship with her family. In that case, you could find a happy compromise by telling some of her close friends about your intentions and asking for their blessings. You want the people that she loves to be rooting for you.
Rule #4: Women Shouldn’t Propose
Tradition says that men are the ones who should propose. The only exception to this tradition is that women can propose on Leap Day — this is February 29th, a date that shows up every four years. That’s not a lot of opportunity for women, and it certainly creates a problem for same-sex couples that are hoping to tie the knot. The next Leap Day doesn’t take place until 2024.
The truth is that women are allowed to propose marriage any day of the year. Any woman that is worried that her partner will react negatively to the proposal should discuss the possibility with them well ahead of time. If he or she still wants to give them an engagement ring, there’s no reason why they can’t. Two romantic proposals are better than one. The important thing is that you’re both happy and excited to spend the rest of your lives together.
Don’t get hung up on all of the rules. Rules are meant to be broken. So, don’t be afraid to be a bit of a rebel when it comes to your engagement.