Tips and Tricks

Shock or Awe: Should you surprise her with an engagement ring you picked out?

From planning the perfect proposal to finding that budget-friendly dream gem, there are a million things to think about when shopping for an engagement ring. But the million-dollar question is this: Should you surprise her with a ring you picked out or should you play it safe and go ring shopping together?

Does she really want to be swept off her feet?

If your girlfriend has a romantic streak, she might be super deflated (read: extremely annoyed) if you even ASK if she wants to be surprised.

For women with a strong sense of romance or tradition, they want to revel in the magic of each moment. The very act of asking whether she wants to be a part of the ring shopping process can be a MAJOR buzzkill.

She wants to be swept off her feet. And she's probably dropped some not-so-subtle hints about how she wants to be asked the big question more than once before (Ahem!).

Think about it. Has she ever mentioned where, when or how she wants to be proposed to? Has she commented on other people's proposal ideas? Maybe she showed you the perfect Pinterest photo (from one of her MANY Pinterest boards) or mentioned her favorite scene in that rom-com she loves? That's no coincidence, my friend.

Same goes for the ring itself. If she's ever mentioned her friend Meg's awesome solitaire setting or left magazines on the coffee table conveniently open to a picture of a stunning, sparkly Asscher cut, then yes. That's a hint! She wants you to pick it up and run with it. In this case, the amount of effort you put into choosing the perfect ring is just as important as the ring itself.

And if you missed those hints? Don't worry. Drop a few subtle cues yourself with the goal of getting a ballpark idea of the kind of ring she'd love. Try casually mentioning a married friend or family member's ring, "Did you notice Meg's ring? I thought the cut was kind of cool." If she's got an opinion (and a dream ring in mind) she'll definitely let you know.

Sometimes the right ring is just way better than a surprise ring

Some people just don't like that whole surprise factor thing. And to be fair, an engagement ring is that one piece of epic jewelry you're supposed to wear FOREVER. It has to be perfect.

Does your girlfriend have a track record of asking for specific gifts for birthdays, holidays, etc.? That's one indication that to her, it's more important to get it right than it is to be surprised. But don't let that get you down. The process of selecting the perfect ring together can be super fun and romantic. And great practice in making joint decisions. In some couples, the groom-to-be might choose the ring setting while the bride-to-be might choose the gem. When she looks at it, she'll see both of you.

But regardless of how your engagement ring shopping experience plays out, it'll be a day you both remember (yes, even if it happens online). Something as simple as nodding your head in unison at the sight of the perfect ring can create an awesome memory for years to come. Plus, it's not like she's going to walk out with it. The proposal can still be a surprise if you plan it that way.

Shopping for an engagement ring together can also be a great option whenever there are joint financial goals in the mix. If you've settled on a set price range together, but haven't found a ring within that budget, shopping together can make it easier to strike the right balance and make both partners feel like they've made the best decision, both for your romantic and financial future.

At the end of the day, no two relationships are the same. Think about what feels right for you and her and trust that, surprise or no surprise, she'll love you for trying.

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