If you and your boyfriend have been having “the talk” about future plans, then you probably know that the getting down on one knee, and the presentation of the ring aren’t too far off. Many couples today choose to pick out the engagement ring together. Then again, there’s nothing like seeing the ring box pop open to reveal the beautiful sparkling gem inside. If you want to be surprised, but still have him know, generally, what you want, we suggest using the tips and suggestions below to get the point across.

1. Be realistic. First things first. De Beers coined the idea of an engagement ring costing 3 months salary in the 1940’s. If you’ve had your eye on a 5 carat diamond, but he’s a teacher, then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Most engagement diamond solitaire’s are ¾ carats, so have realistic expectations in mind regarding size and price.

2. Be flexible. Your ideal engagement ring should be a reflection of you, but more to the point it should be a reflection of you and your partner. You should look down at it and be filled with thoughts of your partner and your lives in the future. So, sure you know you want a princess cut solitaire with emerald cut diamond baguettes on the side, but he puts sapphires as the side stones instead. Don’t be disappointed! Many women underestimate the amount of time men spend agonizing over the perfect ring for their perfect woman. If they don’t get it exactly right, it’s not the end of the world.

3. Tell your girls. Most men take a trusted advisor with them to pick out the ring. Sometimes it might be the best man, but usually there will be some consultation with the women in your life. Many soon-to-be-fiance’s turn to their mother’s or to their lady’s best friend for input on the right ring. Be sure to fill your friends in on what you want, so that should your man seek them out for advice, they know exactly how to answer.

4. Stick to what you like. Your partner may look to your current jewelry collection to give him direction. If you frequently wear antique or estate pieces, he may be drawn to an Art Deco pave setting. If you wear minimal jewelry, he may be drawn to something more simple, like a diamond eternity wedding band. If you never wear gold, he’ll pick up on that. Trust him to make the right decision.

5. Sentiment over excitement. There may not be any shopping around for your ring on your man’s part. His mother or grandmother may have set something aside for him for a long time. A family heirloom is an excellent way for mom and grandma to issue their acceptance of his choice in you. I’ve heard of friends of friends who have been disappointed in this route, but would never say anything to their fiance or husband. If that’s the case, just remember that there will always be more chances for jewelry throughout your relationship together. You could always suggest a new ring for a ten year anniversary, vow renewal or other special occasion.

Whatever he decides, just remember that you’re not marrying the ring. You’re marrying the man. The ring is simply a symbol to represent the promise of his commitment to you. Good luck and best wishes!

Caroline is a writer and wedding enthusiast living in Atlanta, GA. When not lending her advise to the best brides in Atlanta, she writes for the diamond experts at Eternity Wedding Bands. Image courtesy of Lucid Dreamer on Flickr.