Ring before proposal?

What's the usual process? When a couple decides to go looking for a ring, is this AFTER the official proposal or before? If before, how long before? And if you both search for the ring, doesn't that ruin the 'surprise' of getting proposed to, somewhat?

Updates:
P.S. I agree that there need not be a ring at all. I've decided that I'd like a ring, but it need not be at all on the expensive end for our budget. In the end, if we're going to pick it out early, I'd love to just 'get engaged' now.

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What Guys Said 1

  • I hear commercials about how women want to pick out the ring, but I think most women probably want a surprise proposal.

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    • Yeah...! *Sigh*! I think I'm going to suggest to him we do a surprise.

    • "suggest to him we do a surprise"

    • Lol. I don't think that's contradictory. That's leaving him to choose the ring and exact date.

What Girls Said 1

  • I don't really know what the "usual process" is, but I'll give you my take on it.

    I don't think anyone should be "surprised" that their partner is going to ask them to marry them. Marriage is a pretty serious thing, and so I think it should be talked about before even considering buying a ring. I don't think there should ever be a time that someone asks someone to marry them and the other person says "no" because you should be open about the fact that you're interested in marrying each other (Like, if, for example, a guy is expected to buy a ring and then suprise the girl by asking her to marry him, is it fair that he is spending all that money on a ring without even knowing for sure what her answer is going to be?) Mind you, this doesn't mean that the actual day, time, and way the person asks can't be a surprise.

    Also, while having a ring to put on someone's finger when you ask them to marry you is nice in a traditional/symbolic way, I don't see it as necessary. It doesn't mean the person any less serious about the fact that they want to marry you (unless you think they don't actually want to marry you and are just asking to make you happy, and thus you see a ring as meaning they're more serious because they've made a monetary investment in it---in which case, you probably have some issues in your relationship).

    In the end, a couple should do whatever is right for them, whether it be buying the ring before together, having the person who is asking buy the ring on their own because you see it as more romantic (in which case, don't be upset if its not exactly what you want), going to pick out a ring together afterward, or deciding an engagement ring isn't necessary at all.

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    • Oh, it wouldn't be a 'surprise' that we're getting engaged... and I agree. We've talked about it and both want it, and not too far in the future. But I like -some- element of surprise, without feeling like we've picked out the ring and then I have to hand it over to him for a later, non-descript date in the future. ;)

    • You should do whatever is right for you. Who cares about the "usual process"? :)

      But I'll give you a little warning, having recently gotten engaged myself (without a ring), be prepared that everyone you tell you're engaged to will demand to see the ring, lol. I just tell them we haven't picked one out yet, but I'll let them see it when we do. :)

    • Hahaha omg, and that's exactly why I don't want to just beat around the bush months before I actually get the ring on my finger... i.e., go with him in the winter to pick it out and then not talk about it until some other nondescript time in the summer. It just feels odd! ;) Thanks for the comment!

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