Q: I have a question regarding the etiquette of proposing to my girlfriend: Is is acceptable to propose without an engagement ring, but with a smaller ring instead? My girlfriend is somewhat particular about her tastes, and I want her to be involved in picking out an engagement ring. But, to me, it seems that asking her to be part of the process ruins the surprise of the proposal. Instead, I’d like to propose with another, smaller ring (a nice, small 18 point diamond ring, that she likes as a ‘right-handring’). So, what is proper etiquette in this case? Propose with the small ring or not?
A: It is fine to propose without an engagement ring, and then select one together. You can always present her with a “symbolic” ring, but it needn’t be another diamond ring – it could even be a cracker jack ring – if you would like to have something to slip on her finger when you propose.