Hi, we're Hunter and Sarah, a husband-and-wife, luxury wedding photography team. We’re also educators, helping other photographers build profitable and sustainable photography businesses.
Over the years, Sarah and I have had the joy of photographing more than 25 surprise proposals as we watched young men ask a single question that would change the course of their lives. Between that and my own experience of proposing to Sarah, we’ve learned a lot! I certainly wish I had all this information before I got down on one knee!
But now it’s our turn to pass along our experience and wisdom to every guy out there wondering to himself, “How do I propose to my girlfriend?” Every week throughout this Spring, we’ll be posting an updated version of this 2018 blog series. It’s mostly written as a note directly from me, Hunter, to all the guys out there who are exactly where I was back in 2016: head over heels in love with a girl, with absolutely no plan on how to ask her to be yours! Sarah will even be chiming in with some of her input to the ladies who think the big question might be coming soon!
Last week, we asked four serious questions to make sure that proposing was the right move for you and your special someone. This week, we’re moving on to the multi-thousand dollar decision: how to pick out the right engagement ring! Starting with the day you propose, your future wife will likely wear her engagement ring every day for the rest of her life! So this is not a decision to make lightly.
Picking out a great ring won’t do you much good if you have no idea what size to order it in! Maybe you got lucky and your lady has been dropping hints (like her ring size). However, if she hasn’t directly told you, you have to ask yourself an important question: how important is it that the proposal is a surprise?
If the two of you have been having lots of conversations about an upcoming proposal, or you’re even planning it together, then obviously this won’t be much of an issue: just ask her! However, if you’re keeping her on her toes and want the big ask to be a huge surprise, you’ll have to get a bit more creative. Here are a few options:
Great! You’ve got the ring size. Now you’re ready to do some shopping. But where do you even begin? Well, here’s a few things to think about to help you be slightly less overwhelmed by all the options.
The old myth of spending two months’ salary on an engagement ring was created by (big surprise) marketing experts at a jewelry store. Instead of blindly following their advice, know as best as you can your girl’s expectations and your own financial situation.
When I decided I was going to marry Sarah, I was only a sophomore in college. I was studying Engineering, working as a tutor to make some extra cash, and running a photography business that was intentionally unprofitable as I reinvested into camera gear. If I had saved two months’ salary, I probably would have proposed to Sarah with a Ring Pop! Instead, I put away a chunk of what I made every month for more than two years straight just to afford her setting!
Again, know your own financial situation and what makes sense for you. If you’re a college student like I was and the best you can hope for is scraping together a thousand dollars over the next few months or year, she’s probably doesn’t expect a grape-sized rock on her finger! On the other hand, if you both have killer incomes and she has big expectations, a simple ring with a small diamond could miss her expectations and create some let-down. You get the idea: be true to yourself and to her expectations!
While the engagement ring is a symbol of your own love and devotion and commitment and therefore should certainly be taken seriously, it will never be as important as the actual relationship you have. That would be like thinking the wedding is more important than the marriage! I hope you never feel pressured to put yourself in an unwise financial situation just to match what people around you expect of an engagement ring. At the end of the day, all that matters is that she loves the ring and that she says yes!
But anyway, thanks for reading! We hope this has helped you as you jump-start the ring search. In the next section, we’ll talk more about planning the big day, but for now, happy ring-hunting!