5 Nontraditional Engagement Ideas for Bold Souls


Getting engaged is a milestone. This moment should be captivating and romantic. And these days, a proposal should be personalized.

If the idea of a traditional engagement with rose petals and candles doesn’t suit you (or her), we’ve got a few suggestions that are off the beaten path.

A Unique Ring

This one’s obvious. Departing from a sparkly diamond is a bold move that should only be tried if your partner is absolutely sure she doesn’t want a traditional ring. This article by the Art of Manliness has a wonderful list of alternatives including birthstone rings, Claddagh rings, and artistic metal rings.

The benefit of a non-diamond is that is holds unique meaning for you both, quite apart from the act of getting engaged. It can be a stone that is special to her or an heirloom from your family.

A Conversation

Proposals are getting very showy. Men are hiring professional proposal gurus, photographers, and videographers to capture the big moment. They’re planning surprise parties, scavenger hunts, and vacations to make the whole day/weekend special. They’re going viral.

The elaborate proposal is definitely memorable. But if that’s not your style (or hers), consider having a conversation. More people than you’d think are ditching the hijinks and simply discussing their expectations for the future. The bonus is that you can pick out jewelry together and announce your plans in a way that is mutually acceptable. No need for surprises here.

She Proposes

That’s right, gender equality speaking here. Why should the man decide it’s time to get engaged? While it is traditional for men to propose, that doesn’t mean women have to sit around and wait.

A woman can absolutely propose. In fact, many jewelers offer attractive men’s rings. The risk is that her guy might not be ready for this commitment, if he hasn’t proposed himself. But if the relationship is solid and bucking convention won’t scare him off (mind you, most modern women want a guy who respects their independence), then she can take the plunge. Besides, wouldn’t you enjoy a proposal themed to your interests?

No Rings

People have been proposing with rings since ancient times because the circle symbolizes eternity. Wedding bands are typically worn on the third finger of the left hand, as it was once believed that a vein in that finger led straight to the heart. Rings carry important cultural symbolism—they show everyone that you’re taken—but they’re also a rather cliché, expensive part of getting engaged.

If the gesture matters more to you than the item, consider an alternative to rings. This could be a gift such as a watch or necklace, or something more creative like picking out stars together. If you have practical sensibilities, why not put the money towards a house? And if you’re really sure, you can get tattoos around your fingers (or elsewhere).

Propose with Their Favorite Thing

Who wants a cookie-cutter proposal at a fancy restaurant with a ring dropped in champagne? Very few people born after 1985.

Personalized proposals don’t necessarily mean social media extravaganzas. Dig deep and find out what makes your partner tick. Choose a very special location and include their favorite interest, activity, hobby, or food. Acknowledge your personalities, express your quirky likes and dislikes, and honor all the good times that have made your relationship special.

Are you planning a proposal? Check out our Proposals board on Pinterest or How He Asked for some amazing ideas. Looking for a ring style? Check out our Ring Bling board on Pinterest for some seriously incredible designs.

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Bel Aire Bridal

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