Should you involve your partner when buying an engagement ring?

Understand the options around ring shopping together

You may be struggling with the decision on whether to involve your partner in choosing her engagement ring, or whether you should go ‘lone wolf’ and choose it yourself.

You may want to surprise her with the ring when you propose, but there are several possible risks too. You may choose a ring that doesn’t meet her expectations or that she doesn’t like.

There’s no right or wrong answer to the question of whether you should involve your girlfriend in choosing an engagement ring, but in this post we’re going to look at three different approaches and examine the pros and cons of each route.

getting involved header

Every year theknot.com conducts a survey of the women who read their website about engagement rings – how many rings were diamonds, what the average cost was, how long the guy looked for a ring etc etc.

They also include a question about how involved the girl was in the decision on which ring to buy and the split between the options is very even:

pie chart showing whether partners are involved in choosing an engagement ring

Choosing an engagement ring on your own

Buying an engagement ring is a significant purchase, and not one to take likely.

If you’re considering keeping the ring a complete secret and making the decision yourself, it’s worth thinking about how confident you are about your lady’s taste.

Would you buy a pair of shoes for her without checking whether she’ll like them?

If not, it may not be not the best idea to risk spending a significant sum on a ring that she will wear for the rest of her life.

  • It keeps the proposal a surprise
  • You'll earn extra 'brownie points' if you get it right
  • It's undeniably more romantic
  • Your partner won't be 'sold' a ring by a jeweler
  • There is always the possibility that the ring will not meet her expectations or that she doesn't like it
  • It can be nerve-wracking to make such a significant decision on your own

She’s somewhat involved (you discuss what she wants)

If you have discussed marriage but are unsure of the exact style your partner would like, talking through the options and asking for input is a good idea to ensure that the ring meets her expectations.

It allows you to retain some of the surprise – she won’t know when you’ve bought it, what it looks like or when you’ll pop the question.

  • Gives you an idea of the style of ring she likes
  • You can find out her ring size
  • A less stressful process for you
  • Allows you to keep the final price a secret
  • You will lose some of the surprise of the proposal
  • She may have expensive tastes and high expectations and ask for more than you were planning on spending

She’s completely involved in choosing the ring (you go engagement ring shopping together)

This is by far the safest option.

If your partner has very specific taste or if you just have no idea at all what she’d like, then taking her along to choose a ring will ensure that you get a ring that she loves.

  • You are sure to choose a ring she likes
  • You can get the size perfect
  • It takes away the stress of making the decision yoursef
  • It takes the surprise out of it
  • Your partner will know exactly how much you’re spending
  • The shop assistant could show rings that are priced higher than you were originally planning on spending, straining your budget
  • It's difficult to haggle or negotiate without looking 'cheap'

The choice on whether to shop for your engagement ring together is up to you

The decision on which route to take is up to you.

If you feel that you aren’t always the most romantic, buying a ring and surprising your girlfriend is a once in a lifetime opportunity to show how thoughtful you can be.

When buying my ring, I was confident I could pick a ring that my now-wife would love. I’d bought her enough jewellery in the past to know what she liked and after eight years together, she’d even started wearing some of it.

However, the jeweller I spoke to said she’d had more men coming in with their girlfriends to choose the ring together.  The decision really is yours – and one you’ll have to make depending on the dynamics of your own relationship.

The Get Out Clause

There is, however, one way that you can get your girlfriend involved in the purchase and knock her socks off with a surprise proposal.

By buying just a stone on its own, you can drop to one knee with a box and something shiny, but still get your lady-friend involved in the part of the ring choice process that is most important to her: selecting the setting.

For me, this is the best of both worlds: you can research and buy the stone that fits within your budget and plan a surprise proposal, while she will be able to choose the ring that she has always imagined receiving.

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