Popping the question can feel like the Super Bowl of Valentine’s Days, even if you’re proposing at a completely different time of year. But instead of a hand-selected bouquet and chocolates, you’ll be presenting something significantly more expensive. So the stakes feel high. And if you’re not 100% certain you’ll get it right, you’ve probably wondered if proposing without a ring is a viable option.
But showing up without a ring just feels wrong — right? You’ve seen pictures of proposals on the internet and in your friends’ Facebook feeds, and the ring is always there, front and center. We’re here to tell you that doesn’t necessarily mean having the ring in-hand is right for you. Here’s how to tell if popping the question without a ring will work for your unique relationship, and if so, exactly how to stick the landing.
First of all, can you propose without a ring?
Absolutely, yes. When it comes to proposing, there’s no “wrong” way to do it. Anything goes as long as it fits her and the two of you as a couple. She’s not inheriting her grandmother’s ring, so there’s no need to propose like her grandfather did. That being said, if your future fiance is someone who loves tradition, this ring-less option might not be right for you.
That’s where thinking about Valentine’s Day can be useful. You’ve likely experienced quite a few together. Imagining whether you can celebrate the romantic holiday without roses or chocolates can be a good litmus test for the higher stakes idea of proposing without a ring.
Just don’t forget that you’re a team now
If you’re thinking of popping the question — and obviously you are — you should have a good idea by now of her personal tastes and style. But you’ve probably also met her family, and there’s where you can get another hint. You’re marrying her entire family, in a way, not just your partner. So you might want to consider whether her parents expect a traditional proposal and how much fulfilling those wishes matter to her and to you as a couple.
There’s always the possibility that, while she doesn’t care about the ring in a box and you down on one knee, her parents do — and very much. How much does she care about you pleasing her family? And, even if she doesn’t care, will it cause a problem in the family dynamic if you don’t do things to their standards? Figuring out the answers to these questions gives you a holistic idea of whether proposing without a ring is a possibility for your unique situation.
But there are real benefits to proposing without a ring
It’s obvious, but so often overlooked: The ring that’s picked out for this big event will be a piece of jewelry she wears every single day for the rest of her life. And we don’t think we need to rub it in, but that’s a big responsibility.
Let’s get really real for a second: Yes, some people do get it wrong. And while anything picked for this reason is a symbol of love and affection, that doesn’t change the fact that some rings just aren’t the right style for certain women. She can’t force herself to like something that doesn’t suit her, even if she loves the sentiment behind it. All you need to do is check wedding forums or Reddit for brides-to-be to find women asking for help because they don’t like the ring they received.
For the right person, proposing without a ring addresses this head-on. It says, “I want you to be perfectly happy with this, and I take that seriously.”
You might actually save yourself some money
Get down to the nitty-gritty of her diamond engagement ring preferences and you might be surprised. It’s easy to assume you should spare no expense when it comes to this symbol of your love and devotion, but some future fiances really do like simpler solitaires. Check engagement ring trends and you’ll see that searches for larger and larger diamonds are surging. But your special someone’s priority might be the brightest or whitest diamond possible, not the biggest.
And, we’re going to get a bit nerdy on you here, but there are some money-saving choices in ring selection that just make sense that you might miss out on. The perfect example: Let’s say your beloved does care about the size of her center diamond. But does she like the look of a halo setting? A halo engagement ring creates the illusion that the diamond in the middle is up to a half-carat size larger — for a fraction of the cost of paying for this carat upgrade.
How to nail proposing without a ring
The key here is going to be getting everything else tailored to her unique personality. If you plan to propose without a ring so that she can pick the absolute right one, you want that forethought to show through. You don’t want her to think it’s an impromptu proposal — unless you’re a spontaneous couple!
Consider using a stand-in
Instead of getting down on one knee (if she’s into that) completely empty-handed, consider using something as a stand-in for the ring. Maybe that’s a simple piece of twine tied into a ring. Maybe it’s a different piece of jewelry that she can cherish, like a necklace.
Although it’s not their true purpose, we also think our 3D replica rings are perfect for this. Our free Home Preview program lets you select two With Clarity engagement ring styles you think she might like and see them in realistic replicas at home. You can choose two you think she might like, propose with one, and then go through the process of finding her true favorite together. It shows that you’ve considered her style and tried to find one that will make her happy, but also that you know it’s important (and forever!) and want to leave the ultimate decision up to her.
Take time to plan the rest of the proposal
Think about what she likes and what has meaning for the two of you as a couple. This could be as broad as incorporating aspects of her favorite season if you can plan that far ahead, or as small as wearing an outfit you know she loves on you. Consider whether she wants her family to be there and whether you think she’d like professional photos of you popping the question.
And if you’re worried that showing up without the ring makes it feel impersonal, take extra care in crafting what you’re going to say. She’ll remember your actual proposal, like the vows to come, for years when she looks back at this moment. Long story short: there doesn’t have to be a ring, but it does have to feel special — and unique to the two of you.
This content is sponsored by WithClarity.
Photos provided by Withclarity.