You knew the moment your eyes met theirs.

The things in common, the jokes that made you laugh, the fireworks of tingles that went up your arm every time you held hands, the open-heart talks that healed you, and every moment that made your decision clear:

This is it, this is the person I'm going to marry.

Bubbling with excitement (anxiety?) after imagining their face light up from looking at the engagement ring you chose, you pull out your phone and do a quick Google search for engagement ring ideas.

How hard can it be to find the perfect engagement ring?


  • 193+ billion Google search results
  • Hundreds of options from jewellery stores, and good questions from sales associates
  • Dozens of opinions from friends and loved ones
  • One nightmare of seeing their face deflate from looking at the engagement ring you chose

Is there a way to propose with a ring before the engagement ring?

Getting engaged with a placeholder ring keeps the proposal a surprise, while you find the official engagement ring. Think of it as the ring before the ring. The idea of a placeholder ring seems counter-productive, and they make practical alternatives. Imagine planning to propose on vacation and carrying your investment in a sock. Placeholder rings also have simpler designs, which saves money, and gives your partner a chance to tell you what they want for their ring. In a way, placeholder rings teach compromise and communication, perfect for marriage!

Keep reading to find our five tips for choosing a good placeholder ring below:

(Gem) Size Matters

Whether your future engagement ring has a showstopper centre stone, or many stones for a subtle sparkle, getting a placeholder ring with stones the same size as the future engagement ring is romantic and accurate. Remember, the placeholder ring gives you design feedback from your partner, which you'll need when you're ready to design your custom ring.

Don't Spend Too Much

Deciding how much to spend on an engagement ring also gets daunting from another "quick" Google search, advice from your married friends, and weighing your heart against your budget. Placeholder rings buy you the time and breathing room to get your ideas and money together, so there's no need to triple what you planned to spend. However...

Don't Spend Too Little

Placeholder rings should feel like a good alternative, not a throw-away piece. A bespoke engagement ring can be a six week process, that's a long time to wear a ring that looks and feels like a substitute. Placeholder rings are also still important -- they represent a cherished moment in your partner's life, which deserves a spot on their right hand, or as a beautiful wedding stack!

Buy A Prototype

Unless your idea for an engagement ring is more conceptual than traditional (think K-pop stars HyunA and Dawns's matching opal and diamond engagement rings), buying a placeholder ring in the style you have in mind gives the best of both worlds. More importantly, the prototype gives you and your partner a concrete point of reference for designing your engagement ring -- a silver ring with a cubin zirconia centre stone may cost you a few hundred dollars currently, and can save you thousands of dollars in the near future. For example, when I wanted to propose to my girlfriend at the time, I had no idea what kind of ring to get her. Instead of getting her something we both wouldn't love, I went to her favourite silver jeweller and had a placeholder ring made. She loved it, and it still reminds us of the time we got engaged.

Listen To Your Partner

Your marriage will give you plenty of opportunities to discover new things about your partner, an engagement ring is not one of them. If their jewellery collection or personal style doesn't provide obvious clues, asking outright gives you clear direction to give your jeweller and keeps your ring from being featured in a "I hate my engagement ring" reddit thread. Placeholder rings can be the starting point you and your partner use to create the perfect engagement ring, including the perfect gem on a plain band!

Placeholder rings are the very beginning of your life journey with a soon-to-be-forever partner. They don't have to be very expensive, and they need to be treated with the same consideration as you're planning for your engagement ring -- they represent every step leading to the big moment.