We are reader-supported. Buying through any red colored link on our site may earn us commissions. Learn More.

Planning the perfect proposal

By Mike Fried,

There’s plenty to think about when you are planning a proposal, and buying the ring is certainly one of the most important things to check off your list before you ask your significant other to marry you. 

Finding and choosing the right engagement ring is a process that takes time and consideration, but one of the most important aspects to consider is how to coordinate the timing of your proposal with the purchase of the ring. 

Since most jewelers have a 30 day money back guarantee, it’s helpful to have some of the proposal details worked out before you buy the ring. If you time it right, you can propose within the 30 day window, allowing you time to exchange or return the ring if you need to for any reason.

Magical proposal in Grand Canyon
Magical proposal in Grand Canyon

Before you buy the ring

Before you buy the ring, you may need some time to figure out what kind of ring your partner wants, and to learn the basics about buying a diamond and do your research before you make a decision.

You might also want to come up with your proposal plan first so you can figure out what might need to happen before you are ready to buy an engagement ring. Do you want to propose with your partner’s friends and family present? Or would you rather something private and intimate, with just the two of you? Knowing what kind of proposal you have in mind can help you as you begin to make arrangements for the big day. In addition to deciding how, where, and when you want to propose, some other things you might want to take care of before you buy the ring include deciding how you want to present the ring, talking to your partner’s parents, and hiring a photographer or videographer to capture the proposal.

If you are planning to propose on a trip or a vacation, or in a special location, it’s a good idea to figure out some of the logistics before you purchase a ring. For instance, buying tickets and making reservations ahead of time can take the stress and guesswork out of proposing.

Proposal on a beach
Proposal on a beach

This is also a good time to figure out your partner’s ring size, and talk to any friends or family you are hoping to involve in the proposal. 

Even if you are planning an intimate proposal with just the two of you, it can be helpful to have a few people in on the plan in case you need assistance as you coordinate the details of the proposal. This is especially helpful if you are planning a surprise proposal, as it can sometimes be tricky to organize everything yourself when you can’t tell your partner what you’re up to just yet. You can enlist friends and family to help take photos, set the scene before you arrive at the proposal location, distract your partner while you get everything arranged, or organize a party if you are hoping to have a celebration with friends and family after you pop the question.

Save the date 

To ensure your plans don’t wind up interfering with your partner’s schedule, you’ll probably need a good cover story. One way to do this is just to make plans ahead of time, and make sure the reason sounds important enough that your significant other will mark their calendar.

If you are enlisting the help of family and friends, letting them know what you are planning in advance improves the chances that they will be available.

Buying the ring

When it comes to buying the ring, you will need to decide whether you are going to choose a ring on your own, recruit help from friends or family who know your partner’s taste, or include your partner directly in the ring selection process. 

One of the most important decisions you will make when purchasing an engagement ring is where to buy. Where you buy the engagement ring can make a big difference if you need to resize, exchange, or return, but it will also matter in the long run as you go about regular maintenance and cleaning of the ring. We always recommend buying from an experienced and reputable vendor. This will give you confidence in your purchase and peace of mind that you will be able to return, exchange or resize the ring if it is necessary. For example, James Allen and Blue Nile both offer a 30 day return and exchange policy.

Knowing your vendors return and exchange policies beforehand is crucial as you plan your proposal. Having this information can also help you decide when to buy the ring. Since different jewelers have different policies, you’ll want to refer to your vendor’s policy in order to determine the best timing. Another factor to consider when timing the purchase of the ring is whether you are buying the ring from an online jeweler or a brick and mortar store. 

Tips for buying a diamond ring online

If you choose to buy a ring online, keep in mind that you will need to allow extra time for production and shipping. This timing varies, but you can expect that it will take at least a week or two. If you do end up needing to return or exchange the ring, it is important to do so promptly so you don’t miss the window of opportunity.

If the ring doesn’t fit

Particularly if you are planning a surprise proposal, there is always a chance that the ring won’t fit. Luckily, many vendors offer free resizing. James Allen has a 1 year free resizing policy. Whoever you purchase from, it is best to find out what your vendor’s resizing policy is before you purchase. Check out our guide to resizing your ring here.

A note about custom rings:

If you wish to have an engagement ring engraved or customized, this will not be included in most return or exchange policies.

Another factor to consider when ordering a custom ring is the amount of time that’s required to create the engagement ring itself. According to the GIA, custom rings can take up to six weeks to produce — a figure that’s roughly in line with what you can expect from many jewelers. As such, not only will you lose the option to return the ring — you’ll also need to plan further ahead of time to make sure it’s finished in time for your proposal.

For this reason, it might make more sense to get the ring engraved after proposing, or include your partner in the decision when it comes to custom details.

To learn more about purchasing a diamond engagement ring, check out our diamond education section. And as always, feel free to contact us with any questions.

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab-created diamonds online.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging
Arrow down
Arrow up
Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well-known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high-quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. Save 25% on settings at Blue Nile!

Please enter your email address to receive your 25% off coupon code:

What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
Arrow down
Arrow up
Read More

Please enter your email address to receive your 25% off coupon code:

Here is your coupon code: GFDSF3GF

Diamond Pro

Diamond Pro

  • Unfortunately, the AI chat we worked so hard training is not helping our readers the way we would like. You deserve the best advice you can get.

    Would you like to contact a human diamond pro? Just fill out this email form and we will answer you ASAP (usually within one day).

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.