It may take the surprise element away, but many couples shop for an engagement ring together. As well as creating wonderful memories, it can be much easier than attempting it on your own. You also have more scope to discuss wedding bands, if you want both rings to match or whether you want to match each other and so forth.
The way you propose can still be a surprise either before or after the purchase. The presentation of the gorgeous ring you chose together can be the cherry on top of a perfect proposal. Going shopping together pretty much seals the deal there and then, so the slight anticipation of your partner saying 'no' will likely disappear – phew!
It's a good idea to get an idea of your partner's tastes and personal style, even if they're coming shopping with you. The point of going together is to be helpful, so you don't want to suggest classic diamond rings if she wants something more unique like a radiant coloured gemstone.
Keep an eye on their social media platforms to see if they've pinned any engagement rings or fashion styles on their Pinterest board. They may have posted about fashion trends or "liked" jewellers on Facebook and pay attention to what they like and who they follow on Instagram, if it relates to weddings, engagements or fashion in general. Looking into their fashion trend and daily wear can determine whether they're fashion followers, classic minimalists or vintage inspired individuals.
If you're shopping with her, take our quiz on [Link to: 'What's my bride-to-be's style?'] to get an idea of the ring styles she might like, based on her fashion sense. Get creative and keep an open mind when learning about her likes – she'll appreciate it, and it'll go a long way in helping choose the perfect ring.
If you want to leave some element of surprise, suggest a general shopping trip and work your way into a jewellery shop, where you can casually ask what style of ring they like, you may even see them veering towards particular ring designs. Are they looking at diamonds or coloured gemstones? Single or multiple stones? White or yellow gold metals? Keep focused on the styles they're looking at. You may want to suggest they try some rings on 'for fun', all the while staying focused on the ring finger size.
If you've both discussed getting engaged before, this may seem a little obvious, but it will portray you as thoughtful and romantic for considering their tastes and opinion. This 'secret' trip will set off a level of anticipation and excitement for her. Once you've bought the ring based on her likes, you could wait a few months before popping the question to give her some time to forget about the whole thing.
It may be worth speaking to a reputable jeweller while you're there, about choosing a ring together. They'll be able to offer advice and give you options based on your wants and needs and will also consider your budget [read more on setting your engagement ring budget].
If you want it to be an elaborate, super special surprise and want to avoid pre-shopping together then opt for a proposal ring. A proposal ring works almost like a 'temporary' ring but can be kept as an eternity ring or a right hand dress ring, this way you don't have the pressure of choosing their engagement ring but still have something beautiful to present them with on your big surprise proposal.
As soon as you rise from being on bended knee, though, remember to let her know straight away that this ring is just a placeholder, and you want to pick out her dream ring together. This way you can have the best of both worlds. It's a guarantee she'll treasure that promise ring, even if it's more modest than her engagement ring, for the rest of her life.