Surprise or Pick an Engagement Ring Together?

It’s the age-old conundrum. Do you pop the question, wait for a ‘yes’, then go hunting for a ring together? Or do you go the whole traditional route and hide a diamond ring inside their breakfast croissant, assuming they are going to give you the answer you want to hear?

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Proposal strategies vary from culture to culture and country to country. They also hinge on the personality of the proposer. At DOR, we love hearing proposal stories.

And because we’re exposed to so many romantic and unique proposal strategies, we’re in a good position to talk through the topic with you.

How to pull off the ‘full surprise’ proposal

A marriage proposal is something that’s never forgotten, but some are particularly memorable. Generally, the ‘full surprise’ type of proposal is going to stand out more. Here are some tips for getting it right:

  • Whether your proposal is the result of a whirlwind romance or you’ve been living together for years, the ‘full surprise’ strategy is best used when you’re 99.9% positive they’ll accept. Why? Because there’s a diamond ring involved.

  • If you are in a position to talk to your loved one's parents or family and ask for their ‘permission’ it is a lovely, traditional thing to do and will impress your fiancé to be for sure!

  • Buy a beautiful engagement ring. Obviously there’s a risk here, because they might not like the design, so it could be smart to talk to someone who knows their style really well. Alternatively, visit DOR and ask one of our Client Managers for help with choosing. Choose inspiration from our engagement ring collection; then have the ring customised especially for your beloved. At DOR we also offer a ‘Proposal Ring’ (see below) which is a stand-in ring that you propose with and then you both come back together to choose the real ring. If you do choose the real ring to propose with, we also offer a 30 day exchange, just in case you don’t get it right the first time. Either way, you are covered with DOR.

  • Think of a way to propose that fits their personality and yours. If they are a traditionalist, you may want to take them to a beautiful place for a walk, then get down on one knee. If they are a non-conformist, you could propose in a photo booth, on a gondola ride in Queenstown, or organise a flash mob for a song and dance proposal. If you want to be original, let your imagination off the leash.

How to plan a ‘partial surprise’ proposal

A partial surprise proposal has all the characteristics of a full surprise (see above), but you use a Proposal Ring instead of a forever ring. A proposal ring could be a joke ring, or something outrageous from an op shop. However, we recommend a more serious approach, so that your intention isn’t misunderstood.

A DOR proposal ring is a brilliant solution for the partial surprise proposal. It provides you with a replica engagement ring for the proposal, which can be exchanged for credit towards the real engagement ring (which they get to choose or design).

How to orchestrate a ‘full collaboration’ proposal

The full collaboration style of proposal isn’t about grand gestures and pre-purchased rings. It’s about two people who love each other deciding to tie the knot…one day.

  • Start by talking about marriage in general and why you like it. Ask whether they’d like to get married one day. Going into a marriage proposal with this essential information makes perfect sense when you have the rest of your lives ahead.

  • Present the proposal in a softly-softly way, like saying ‘So, when do you think we should get married?’ or ‘Next year might be good for a wedding?’ Keep it casual and conversational. It’ll still be a bit of a surprise, but they’ve probably been waiting for you to pop the question.

  • When they agree that getting married is a great idea, ask what sort of engagement ring they’d like. You might even discuss how much the ring should cost. Then it’s time to book a private appointment at DOR. You can look at our engagement ring collection for ideas and then collaborate on a design that reflects your relationship.

Should you pick out an engagement ring together?

It depends on the sort of people you are. Some couples prefer full collaboration for every decision; other couples like to take each other by surprise. The compromise is to use a Proposal Ring, which is a stand-in for the real ring that you’ll choose or design together.

Does it matter what ring you propose with?

If they’ve been waiting decades for you to propose, you might get away with a circular seashell. But if the proposal will be a true surprise, presenting them with a real diamond ring is a very classy thing to do. We’re pretty sure they will love you for it.

Should an engagement be a surprise?

Call us romantics, but yes, we think a proposal should be a surprise – even if you’ve talked vaguely about marriage in the weeks leading up to it. The actual proposal event will be more memorable and (hopefully) joyful if they don’t see it coming. Have some fun with where, when and how you pop the question. If you’re planning to use a proposal ring, check out our range.

Want to know more about diamond engagement rings?

Before you starting Googling for engagement rings in Auckland NZ or best engagement ring for a proposal, take a look at our Diamond Buying Guide - The 4Cs of Diamonds.

Then, let one of our Client Managers introduce you to the exciting process of choosing and designing the perfect diamond engagement ring.

Book an appointment to get started.


At DOR we've made buying an engagement ring stress-free. Simply choose from our Collection, start with a proposal ring or customise one of our classic designs.


We've made it easy! Browse our designs, then tailor to your price point.


The choice is yours! At DOR we offer both lab-grown and mined diamonds.


Want a surprise proposal but don't know what design to choose?


Feeling creative? Tailor any ring in our Collection to suit your individual style



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