8 Common Proposal Myths—Busted

Forget what you know about popping (and answering) the question. The Knot 2017 Jewelry & Engagement Study is about to debunk it all.
by The Knot
Outdoor engagement
photo by Edward Cisneros/Unsplash

"Will you marry me?" Those four little words can turn the most levelheaded person into a ball of jitters—and who can blame them? To say asking the love of your life to spend forever with you is nerve-racking would be an understatement. Beyond hoping they'll say "yes," there's pressure to have a great story to tell your loved ones (and future family), keep the whole proposal plan a secret, make sure nothing happens to the ring and have the entire plan go smoothly. So many expectations, so little time. To ease your mind and get you prepped for this special moment, it's time to debunk a few common proposal myths and assumptions once and for all. 

1. Your Partner Will Be Completely Surprised

Tears, shouts and jumps of joy are common proposal reactions, but they're not always signs of sheer surprise. According to our 2017 Jewelry & Engagement Study, only 35 percent of brides claim they didn't see their proposal coming. This is likely due to the fact that many couples—one in four, to be specific—choose to discuss and plan their future together long before anyone pops the question. That said, while proposees might know a proposal is on the horizon, the actual moment often comes as a delightful surprise.

2. Diamond Quality Is All That Matters

Think a diamond's quality is more important than its size or shape? It's time to learn what qualities people value most. Before doing any ring shopping, brush up on the four Cs (cut, carat, color, and clarity—familiarize yourself with these important diamond terms here). And FYI, our survey found that both brides and grooms agree on the most important factors to consider in their ring purchase: first is cut and shape, then ring style and setting, followed by stone quality. Do a little digging (or maybe just rely on your exceptional intuition) to find out if your partner values ring size or stone quality—because diamond size doesn't necessarily correlate with diamond quality, and some people prefer to sacrifice quality for size, and vice versa.

3. The Ring Is Totally Up to the Proposer

An engagement ring is the accessory of a lifetime, so it's no surprise how many proposal recipients want at least some say in their ring design. Up to one in three couples reportedly shop for engagement rings together, and 89 percent of proposers said they loved having their partner's input (shopping for the right ring is stressful when you're half-guessing). So not only are recipients aware of an upcoming proposal, they're also getting more involved than ever in choosing their perfect sparkler.

4. Asking for Their Parents' Blessing Is Passe

That's right, time-honored traditions, like asking for the future in-laws' blessing, are back in a big way. Our survey revealed that 78 percent of grooms chose to seek their partner’s family's blessing—a noticeable jump from years past. (By the way, if you and your partner have talked about this and decided not to seek their parents' blessing for personal reasons, we totally support you.) 

5. Getting Down on One Knee Is Overrated

Speaking of time-honored proposal traditions that are more popular than ever, 91 percent of grooms said they used the actual words "will you marry me" (up from 86 percent in 2011), and 87 percent said they got down on one knee (up from 77 percent in 2011). Some traditions are truly timeless.

6. Everyone Hates the Idea of a Public Proposal

2017 showed a definite departure from private proposals—probably because a more public spot makes for a better ring selfie, but who can say. Nearly half (45 percent) of proposals take place in a public location, within a scenic, outdoor spot (think: garden, park or zoo) as the optimal backdrop for the big moment. Don't worry, if you're not into putting on a big display for passersby to witness, you can never go wrong with a cozy and intimate proposal. 

7. The Ring Should Cost the Equivalent of Three-Months' Salary

This is one "tradition" that is outdated (we put "tradition" in quotes because it's not really a tradition—it stems from a diamond company's marketing campaign from the early 1930s that turned into popular belief). Not that your partner isn't worth three-months' salary, but there's no way you should be expected to shell out that much (depending on your income, this ratio can get super illogical and out of hand). Sure, if you want to and can afford it, do your thing, but don't drop your savings on a ring just because a Great Depression–era ad campaign once insisted upon it.

8. Proposal Recipients Have No Clue How Much Their Ring Costs

As ring shopping and proposal planning become more transparent between partners, we learn that 70 percent of brides know how much their partner spent on their engagement ring (and 90 percent report being happy with said price tag). The process of getting engaged is definitely more of a two-way street than it used to be.

Just engaged? Yay! Use our All-In-One Wedding Planner to plan your celebration from A to Z (if only you'd had this to help plan the engagement).

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