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Propose like a prince: Engagement ring and proposal advice from the pros

Sailun Tires

Whether you consider it a Hallmark holiday or the most romantic time of the year, it’s no question that Valentine’s Day is a time to evaluate where you and your boo are at in your relationship.

For some, it may be time to pop the question – one survey found that 43% of millennials picked V-Day to be the ideal day to get engaged, but it doesn’t work for everybody and according to proposal planner Kimberly Lee, that’s more than OK.

“We find that February is a bit of a slow season. It’s crazy because you’d think that on Valentine’s Day everyone’s in that mood and guys would want to propose, but guys are trying to be smart about it because girls are expecting it around Valentine’s Day so they try to throw them off guard and propose before that or after,” said Lee who owns and runs Luxe Proposals with her best friend Karen Lee.


Beauty & the Beast Proposal with Luxe Proposals (Photo: Matdivad Photography / SWAGGER Magazine
Behind the Scenes of the Beauty & the Beast Proposal with Luxe Proposals (Photo: Matdivad Photography)

From Beauty and the Beast-themes engagements on the large scale, to simple and intimate affairs, Lee says their company has helped plan and execute engagements to suit each couple and there really is no right or wrong way to propose. The two friends started the business out of a hobby and love for event planning for each other and for friends. They saw a need for guys needing a little extra help in making their engagement visions comes to life and in case you were wondering they’ve had a 100% success rate – all happy endings so far.

The biggest key, Kimberly explains is to listen to your partner – chances are she (or he) have already dropped hints about what they’d like.

“Not all proposals have to be elaborate and crazy, I love simple personalized and sentimental proposals,” Lee said.

“Don’t feel pressured to do something that’s uncomfortable just because your friend did it. Listen to what your girlfriend wants, take notes, sometimes girls give subliminal message hoping you’ll pick it up. Listen to what she likes, her favourite colours – make it personal.”

The majority of clients who find Luxe Proposals find them online or through referrals. With social media being a big part of how they reach potential customers, Lee explains social media has also put even more pressure on guys when it comes to engagements, but they shouldn’t feel intimidated.

“A lot of guys feel pressured into doing a very elaborate proposal because they see it on Instagram or these viral YouTube videos. They see that standard and they think that’s how you have to propose – but there is no right or wrong way,” she said.

“A lot of times people will showcase it right after they propose because they’re so happy and they want to share it with their friends and family but I do suggest take a moment to take it all in before you share it with the whole world. It’s such an intimate moment just take some time to soak it all in and enjoy that time with your fiancé before you post it on social media.”

You should, however, always have a photographer if you can – Lee recommends.

“During that moment the girl is really overwhelmed with emotion and she’s trying to take in everything so I’m sure the girl would appreciate having a photographer so she’ll have a tangible item to look back on and share with her family and friends and can even include in the slideshow on her wedding day.”

Apart from your significant other, the ring is the star of the show – and now more than ever, people are looking for ways to not just customize how they ask, but how to make the bling as unique as possible also. A survey by found that rings made up the most search traffic during the first week of February.


Carnabys Jewelers / SWAGGER Magazine
Engagement Rings by Carnabys Custom Jewelers (Photo: Courtesy of Carnabys)

“We have seen a real shift away from mass-produced retailers or rings that everyone has,” says Geoff Black, owner of Carnabys, design house for luxury bespoke jewellery.

“Today’s client wants a personal experience and to have a one-of-a-kind piece. With Instagram and the social platforms of today, there is more information available to the client. It makes sense to incorporate this into the design process.”

Black says there is a large misconception that custom engagement rings mean bigger price tags when in fact it can offer more bling for your buck.

“We can work with all budgets and have more options available with custom as opposed to a finished piece,” he said.

Most clients are already armed with photos or preferences of what their partner would like, Black says. He recommends also going to your partner’s family and friends for insight and focusing on specific aspects of the ring to make it pop.

“For me, colour and clarity are most important. Having the whitest possible diamond without visible flaws will ensure your partner is happy for many years to come. I saw several years ago the trend of having the largest diamond you could buy. Men ended up buying larger stones and sacrificed the beauty and quality – I still cringe when I see these types of rings,” said Black who’s built custom rings for people all over Canada, the US and abroad.

In terms of trends, Black says the oval or round diamond, sitting very close to the finger on a small dainty band is in demand and that there has been a return to simple, feminine rings where the diamond is the star, not the setting. Yellow gold and rose gold are also in demand.

With Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle not too long ago, Black says he wouldn’t be surprised if jewellers around the world were being asked to make their own “Markle rings”, and while celebrity and pop culture will always have some impact on styles and trends, Black says it’s still a personal planning process for the couple.

As to where to hide this precious piece of jewelry, Black says he’s heard it all.

“A smelly hockey bag is usually a no-go,” he said.

“In all seriousness, somewhere safe and reliable. Don’t forget where you put it. I would avoid entrusting the future mother-in-law or sister, as there is a good chance they’ll spill the beans!”

Another big tip?

“Stop touching it! I remember when I asked all those years ago, I took the ring out and looked at it more times than I will admit, leaving my fingerprints and natural oils all over it. If you are inclined to do this, buy a jewellery cleaner like the Carnabys Natural Cleaner and give it a quick clean before the big question.”

“My advice is to have fun. I know it is a stressful moment and you are spending a lot of your hard-earned money, but try to enjoy the process as best you can. Work with a jeweller who really wants to help you get the best quality you can afford. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, as it will help you make good decisions.”

With the ring as with the proposal Lee of Luxe Proposals agrees – don’t break the bank. Remember, there’s still the wedding to pay for.

“I think with proposals it’s more intimate it should be more about the couple themselves but weddings you always have to consider who’s attending,” she said.

“Never feel pressured to spend more than you need to – just because you spent more doesn’t mean she’ll like it more.”


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