Chelsea Mead is a Cincinnati custom jeweler and offers marriage proposal planning. She owns and operates Honey Designs Jewelry.

Chelsea Mead, jewelry designer, looks at camera.

We asked Chelsea to fill us in on what the marriage proposal process is like and how to keep it a surprise from your fiance. Here’s what she had to say!

Newly engaged couples laughs as man plays piano.

Should you keep your proposal a total surprise?

When you decide to take the next step in your relationship toward marriage, it shouldn’t be a complete surprise to your significant other. After having that conversation, it’s ok to ask them for crucial information, like design preferences and ring size, and confirming how much of the process they would like to be involved in. Every relationship is different and I work with couples where one person has little to no involvement, and some where they work together all the way through until the actual surprise of asking. 

If you’re trying to keep your proposal a surprise, it’s going to take some subtle digging. As a professional proposal planner in my engagement ring design business, I would consider myself an expert sleuth. It can be so much fun, and also stressful, trying to plan the “perfect” engagement. There is no such thing as a “perfect” proposal, just what’s perfect for you. Marriage is so awesome and special so it’s a great opportunity to be very thoughtful when asking your significant other to commit to that adventure with you. It’s not about how extravagant it is, just thoughtful and special for the two of you. 

Designing An Engagement Ring

If you decide to proceed with designing a ring solo and have little to no input from your significant other, there are a couple of other ways to collect design inspiration discreetly without ruining any surprises. 

You can ask their closest friends what kinds of jewelry they see them wearing. 
You can also encourage one of their closest friends to take them ring shopping (even under the ruse that it’s for themselves) to try on some things in real life and report back to you with their preferences.
Encourage your significant other to create a Pinterest Board with collections of images they like (or elements they dislike) is extremely helpful to create something special that they will love for a long time. 

No one wants to have the awkward conversation where they don’t like something given to them and they’re afraid of hurting the feelings of the gift giver. Working together is an important thing for your relationship and I always like to remind clients that while going through the process of engagement ring design, you will always be able to keep the element of surprise alive with the actual proposal. 

Some simple questions to ask if you’re beginning the process would be:
What kind of diamond (or gemstone) shape do you like?
What color of gold do you like?
Have you ever figured out your ring size?
When I propose, are you thinking you want it to be more intimate or with friends & family?

While having someone help with the proposal planning process isn’t a necessity, I’ve loved being able to assist with that in the engagement ring design process and it can be extremely helpful to take almost all of the stress out of the process for the person popping the question. Even the simplest of engagements takes some logistic coordinating. There are only so many true surprises in life – let your proposal be one of them!

We hope this has been helpful! What other details are you considering as you think about your ring design or get ready to propose to your significant other?

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