Advice & Planning

Say Yes to the Bling: How 4 Dallas Grooms Bought the Engagement Ring

To say a proposal is a big deal is a big understatement, and let’s be real: it’s all about the ring. Planning for the big day involves visions of carats and sparkles and more. With all the hush hush and orchestration involved in planning a proposal, how does one know which ring will make her happy? We asked four Dallas grooms to share their stories.

Begin with innocent questions.

Brian Carman began by asking innocent questions along the way to get a feel for her ring style. “When discussing getting married, we also talked about the type of rings each other would want, because face it, girls want to show off their bling,” says Carman. “Britt [Brian’s now wife] decided she wanted something different than the style everyone else was getting. We started looking at different designs and narrowing down preferences.”

Surprise her with a casual ring-browsing date.

Sometimes teamwork makes the dream work. “I set up an appointment to take her ring-browsing,” Cornelius Polk II says, when prepping for his proposal to the newly engaged Cleo Greene. “I wish you could have seen the look on her face when we walked into the store and the jeweler said, are you ready to try on a few rings?”

Polk was able to make the ring perusing experience a complete surprise, and a special memory enveloped in their proposal story. And once he got a feel for what Greene liked, he took the reigns—she wanted the rest to be a surprise.

Be sure to take notes.

Recently engaged Collin Mangrum took his fiancée Olivia Whittaker ring shopping as well, and the experience was a game-changer for them. The visit resulted in an entirely different direction in the final design choice, jumping from an oval diamond to a pear.

After multiple jewelry store visits, Whittaker was not shy in sharing her preferences. “Olivia sent countless pictures, so that I knew exactly what she’d like when the time came to propose,” says Mangrum. Mangrum was also was careful to take note every time she complimented someone else on a ring style. Picking up on those context clues were invaluable in the final ring selection.

Design a ring together.

Micah Rabalais took a different approach, initially relying on some Internet sleuthing and stealth listening. “I made sure to check what she had liked and saved on Pinterest, and tried to mentally take notes of anything she said she liked or didn’t like.” But to be safe, he finally decided to leave nothing to chance. He and his wife Hannah sat down and designed her dream ring in Photoshop together. This hands-on approach resulted in an entirely unique and out of the box ring that was custom-made, as they couldn’t find anything that resembled their creation in a jewelry store. After showing a custom jeweler the Photoshop mock-up, he was able to create the ring in a month’s time.

Whether she’s highly involved or partially in the know, Polk says the most important thing for a groom-to-be is to pick something he’d be proud to see his future wife wear. “Pay attention when you have talks about rings and in the end, the choice you make to represent a symbol of your love will come easy.”

Consensus among all four gentleman was that if marriage is on the table, the discussion of the proposal has most likely come up. If communication is solid, a proposal won’t seem like it came entirely out of left field—a chat or two about a potential ring isn’t going to stem unlikely suspicions or extinguish any chance of surprise with an actual proposal. “Talk to your girlfriend and make sure you have every detail accounted for,” Mangrum says. “The surprise needs to be when and not what.”

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