Should You Keep It a Secret? – The Engagement Ring Buying Guide


Written by James


The Quick And Dirty - You can either keep the process of buying an engagement ring a secret, or you can include your girlfriend when buying an engagement ring.

Path 1: You are going to propose and do research in secret. You are putting the weight of the process on your shoulders and will surprise your girlfriend with an incredible end product.

Path 2: Your girlfriend is the type who wants her say in the ring she will wear. She tells you what styles or designs she likes and either tells you to buy a specific ring or gives you a small range of options. You then work backwards from this guidance to make a purchase.

Path 1 is, by and large YOLO (You Only Live Once). You plan the engagement, buy the ring, and do the proposal by yourself with no input from your fiance. You keep the process a surprise and maybe consult with your girlfriend’s family or friends about what kind of ring she likes and the size of her ring finger. Going YOLO is bold, adventurous, and can lead to incredible surprises.

If you go down this path you will want to do research and figure out your gameplan, especially if you have never bought a diamond before. You will likely want to consult with your girlfriends friends (or sisters) and figure out the styles she likes. Take a look at the current rings she might own, for example, and see if there are any patterns that you can identify:

  1. Is her current jewelry “fancy” or minimalist? Modern or antique?
  2. Does she own diamond earrings? If so, do the diamonds have a color? What shapes are the diamonds (square, circular, ovals)?
  3. Does she wear any rings currently? If so, this will not only help with style but with sizing.

Path number 2 is less of a solo pursuit and is more about collaboration and teamwork. You will work with your girlfriend to get advice and guidance on what she likes and wants. You can then either make a purchase together (i.e. she knows it’s coming) or you can use these inputs to make a buying decision without the risk that she will not like it.

Path 1: YOLO Proposal

You need a ring to propose and this ring will likely have a diamond on it. You want her to say “yes” but likely don’t want to spend weeks or months learning every aspect of rings (cut, clarity, color, weight, origins of provenance, etc).

Most women want a diamond engagement ring. So, unless your partner has indicated otherwise (or has alternative tastes), plan to evaluate diamond rings first and foremost.

But even within the sub-category of diamond rings, there are many many options. You can buy a modern and minimalist ring, an antique engagement ring, and all sorts of rings where the diamonds are set differently across the ring itself.

While you could invest a ton of time in learning about all things rings – like we did – you probably have better things to do. Namely, you are trying to turn your girlfriend into your wife!

The YOLO path doesn’t need to be traveled entirely alone. We are here to help give you the guidance necessary to make a thoughtful and well informed buying decision.

Path 2: “Joint” Buying Decision

Even if your girlfriend tells you her preferences, tastes, or selects the ring she wants – you still might want to buy it in secret to win some “surprise” points. If there is one specific ring she wants you should just buy it and move on to other aspects of planning your futures together. But, if she gives you a range of rings you might want to find the best deal.

There are a few ways to find deals so you can save money on the ring come buying day:

  1. Compare prices online.
  2. Track online jewelry distributors who are having sales.
  3. Join an email list where you can get ring discounts sent to you.

Buying an engagement ring is a process. You will likely navigate this process more by yourself (Path 1) or with your girlfriend’s involvement (Path 2). Both paths have pros and cons and you should identify early on which path you will be taking as it can inform how you spend your time and the types of research you will conduct.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I keep my proposal a secret?

There is no right or wrong answer here. Some people talk about it in advance with their partners while others make it a surprise. Do what is best for you and your girlfriend.

Do you ask the father before proposing?

This is certainly a common practice with a long historical precedent behind it. However, more and more couples consider this outdated and not necessary in today’s era. We advise you to make your own decision about this based on you and your girlfriend’s values.

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