She Said Yes…Wait, Where’s The Ring? Would You Accept A Marriage Proposal Without A Ring?

June 15, 2013  |  


Over the weekend, I got engaged. I was never the type of girl to dream of what her perfect proposal would be like, but this one was perfect for me It was just the two of us, a tender moment…and no ring.

When I told my loved ones I was engaged, they were all thrilled for me. But one friend said my engagement wasn’t “official” until I got the ring on my finger. I quickly corrected her saying that the engagement indeed official because he asked and I accepted. The ring, one we choose together, will just be icing on the cake but certainly not necessary when declaring your love for someone. I’m sure there are women who would not even entertain a proposal without the ring, but that didn’t mean anything to me. He told me he couldn’t wait another day without asking me to be his wife. He was overtaken by love and asked from his heart…not the jewelry store.

Which got me to thinking: Do we place too much importance on the ring instead of what the ring means?

While I was celebrating the fact that I was getting my happily- ever-after, the only thing anyone else seemed to really care about is what the RING looked like. Is it big? Too small? Did he take the “4 C’s” into consideration? Did he spend three months – or year’s – salary on the rock? While I will gladly admire a woman’s engagement ring as she proudly shows it off, all I care about is if the woman getting engaged is happy and in love. However, some women would be disappointed, even angry, if the ring wasn’t up to her standard of what his level of love and commitment should symbolize.

Personally, I’ve never been a “jewelry” person. I have my pieces that I wear often, but I don’t drench myself in diamonds and pearls just to say I have them. Some days, I run out of the house without earrings on and more often than not, I use my cell phone to tell me what time it is instead of wearing one of the many watches I own. It’s just not on my mind.

But admittedly, an engagement/wedding ring is something that a woman will [hopefully] be wearing forever, so it makes sense that she’d want to wear something that she likes. But is the ring an accessory or a reflection of his commitment and love to you?

I have another girlfriend who feels the ring is an indication of how much a man loves her, so if he really loves her, he’ll get her a huge rock. Another said she’d rather have a nice, big ring than a nice, big house. You can’t live in a ring but I digress.

I’m sure the wives Kobe and Tiger – well, Tiger’s ex-wife – had huge diamonds on their fingers. Was that big rock an indication of their fidelity to their wives? Clearly not. Big rings don’t equal commitment or loyalty. Sometimes it means the man had the money – or stretched his means – in order to make her happy or show that he can get her a big ring for others to see. The ring doesn’t make the commitment, the person does.

If the ring means that much to a woman, I’d suggest going with the guy to pick it out – but that’s only if marriage is something you’ve discussed and he doesn’t plan on surprising you with the ring. A lot of men take pride in going to pick out the ring on their own, and they want it to be a special surprise for her. But if he’s nervous or worried that she won’t like it because she’s already “hinted” that she doesn’t want a “BS” ring, I think that takes away from the sincerity of the moment. He may even resent you for making him feel like the ring is more important than him and the marriage. Buying and presenting a woman with a ring is probably nerve racking enough as it is, so worrying about if she’ll think the ring is good enough is an added pressure…and that’s no fun.

I understand that most women want a ring they’ll love and want to wear day in and day out. I get that. But if you truly love your man and want to be married to him because you share a bond, then should the ring matter that much? Some women would wear a ring out of a Cracker Jack box if it meant landing the man of their dreams. Others…not so much.  In which case, I wonder what they care about more: the man, the marriage, or the ring? Marriage is about love, commitment, and compromise. If you’d rather be blinged out than have a man who loves you enough to propose in the first place, or live in an apartment rather than a house just so you can show off an iced out finger, then the marriage is probably already doomed. Putting a ring on it should be about love, commitment and building a future, not what people think.

But hey, this is coming from a woman who is over the moon ecstatic to be marrying a man who loves her unconditionally and just couldn’t wait any longer to ask her to be his wife – and who proposed to her without a ring.
Feel differently? Would you say “yes” to a proposal without a ring?

Trending on MadameNoire

View Comments
Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • Debbie Gonzalez

    Looks like I’m late on this discussion but I recently got engaged also without a ring and I don’t mind not having a ring, however, now he wants to wait to tell my family till he gets a ring. I’m upset that he did it in front of his family but I’ll be waiting for another week or so or till he finds time to get a ring to tell my family.

  • Rachel

    I would absolutely get engaged without the ring….we could pick out a simple ring down the road since they are not cheap…but if you truly love someone that should not get in the way…life is too short!!!

  • Edwin Aalders

    I bought her a large ring worth 4 years of my salary. In other words, a lot of hard work. In exchange she now stays home, tends to the house, kids and doesn’t question me when I stay out at night.

  • Alexandrea Desteny Gray-Corujo

    A ring means nothing inregards to a union. A ring is mostly use for self-validation and for others.

  • unknown

    i totally agree with u my bf just proposed to me using my own ring a piece i was wearing LOL but its not about the ring really its about the thought its about a life time, and i love diamonds and i own them cuz im spoilt, but him not getting me a ring and saying words out of his heart just made it perfect and i really dont care about the ring now that i know i have his heart and that to me is the best ring ever

  • Start your marriage off on the right foot and get people and their opinions out of your business. Your fiancee knows YOU and knows that a proposal to you without a ring would be perfectly fine and that is all that matters.

    My husband was slick. A few months before he proposed he roped my sister into taking me to the mall. She wanted to stop by a jewelry store “for fun” we tried on several engagement rings and she took note of the style I loved told him and he had one designed based off that information. I love my ring not because its big and fancy but because I know the time and effort and love he put into making it for me.

  • Pingback: Hold Up, A Proposal Isn't "Official" Unless There's A Ring?! -

  • Debbie

    I don’t wear jewelry, therefore no ring for me.

  • Janelle

    Only those people whose boyfriend hasn’t proposed to them state that they wouldn’t accept a proposal if there’s no ring. Frankly, if a ring is the deciding factor in marrying your guy, I hope he realizes how shallow his woman is before marrying her… My boyfriend proposed 2 weeks ago on our trip to Spain & Italy. He didn’t have a ring and I didn’t think twice about it. I love him..not the material things he can give to me. And honestly, I liked that he didn’t have a ring because I was able to choose my own ring once we got back home.

    Enjoy your engagement, and congrats!!!!!

  • GIrlSixx

    Honestly though… a man giving you a engagement ring is basically him proudly staking his claim to the world especially to all other men letting them know you are no longer on the market so if a man was propose to me but did not have a ring AT THAT EXACT MOMENT but he already had plans to get me one in the very near future (like in 12 days or less) *lol* I would have no problem saying YES.. but I couldn’t see myself taking a marriage proposal seriously from a man who proposed but had no intentions on giving me a ring at all for whatever reason.
    Also I am not from the new school of couples both picking out engagement rings…. What ever happend to the element of surprise of seeing your ring for the first time when he pops the question?? also I feel that puts more pressure on the man when he feels he has to spend a certain amount of $$$$ to satisfy your tastebuds.
    If the 1st ring isn’t to your liking (size/carat) he can always upgrade you later on down the line — let’s say like a Push Present… that is how my ex husband did it..

  • adiatc

    I accepted an engagement with out a ring before (from my ex-husband) and I would not do it again.

    believe the engagement ring symbolizes not how much the man loves you,
    but how much thought and planning has gone into asking you to be his
    wife.I don’t believe a man should spend more than he can afford but it
    should represent some form of financial sacrifice based on his income
    level. Maybe he has to save up for a few months, all the while he has
    the chance to really evaluate if this is the woman he wants to make this
    sacrifice for.

    But if a man cannot afford an engagement ring,
    he probably should not be getting married. Perhaps he should work on his
    financial situation first. And the woman he loves should understand
    that or she may not be the one for him.

    It’s funny that men can
    spend money on cars, electronic equipment, trips,etc., but have a fit
    about purchasing an engagement ring. I think it speaks volumes to the
    level of preparedness he has going into a marriage.

  • smoothlilee09

    Its not the fact that the ring is all that matters. Just the fact that he put in that extra time and effort into saving up to buy u a ring to propose to u with the right way. Now if yal agreed u didn’t want a ring then that’s different. Its ultimately a part of showing ur commitment to one another, but it’s ur world lol.Good topic of discussion tho…

  • Haa Haa

    I would not have had a fit getting engaged without a ring. Marriage is about the commitment, not a ring that cost an arm and a leg. I would rather a committed marriage without an engagement ring than a cheater who lavishes me with possessions. I saw too many friends breaking up and the guys asking for jewelry gifts back. When I met my spouse, I was wearing the 3 stone past, present and future ring and he thought I was already married. I had to explain to him that I liked nice things and I had no problem buying those things for myself.

  • Ifuaskme2

    I think the author is simply trying to justify her cheap boyfriend. Seems to me, that his proposal was unplanned. The same way that a house is an investment, women need to understand that THEY are an investment. A ring is a symbol of that investment. Ladies should really stop accepting the (I’d rather put the money toward something else bull). If it doesn’t work out at least I can sell it. Trying to split who gets the house is both messy and expensive.

    • Dr. Dubya

      Actually, not before the wedding…the ring returns to the giver until marriage.

    • Courtney

      How is her boyfriend cheap if he bought the ring AFTER the proposal? She never said she didn’t get a ring…she said they both chose the ring afterwards. Some of you don’t read, but are quick to judge. The reason why so many marriages fail, because people are focused on the wrong things.

      • Ifuaskme2

        That is NOT why most marriages fail FYI. Yes I did read that they both got to choose the ring. Question: If the ring isn’t important, why is it important that she like it? (cue the jeopardy theme).

  • B Smith

    After having my own experience with the old bait and switch… a ring matters to me now. I have to concur with another poster, its about the effort and sacrifice to show and prove the sincerity and commitment.

  • Mrs D

    When my husband got down on one knee and proposed to me he did it with a paper ring that said I.O.U. on it. I knew I loved this man more than words and happily accepted only to see him pull out a second ring box with my actual ring inside. He later asked me why did I say yes to him with no ring and I explained to him in my eyes the ring is for everyone else to visually know that I am married. He could give me a rubberband and it wouldn’t have changed my response.

    • Na Na

      But you see your husband thought that out. He planned and prepared, he thought forward about how you may feel and made preparations for that. That’s really the idea behind the ring. He put effort in, he showed consideration to your feelings, he was willing to sacrifice going forward to get you one and he also decided that you being his wife was more important than the potential embarrassment he could feel by not having a “proper ring” at the moment. Sounds like a winning husband to me!

    • GirlSixx

      Smart Man!!!!! * I see what he did there* lol
      He was making sure you was saying YES to the marriage (commitment, spending your lives together/raising a family possibly, etc) and not just saying YES to the Ring, the circus, etc. which is what alot of women often do not fully embracing what it actually takes to be married..

    • GirlSixx

      Smart Man!!!!! * I see what he did there* lol
      He was making sure you was saying YES to the marriage (commitment, spending your lives together/raising a family possibly, etc) and not just saying YES to the Ring, the circus, etc. which is what alot of women often do not fully embracing what it actually takes to be married..

  • Fiona

    The author sounds like a woman who’s trying to justify why her “fiancé” didn’t give her a ring.

    • Beanie

      I was thinking the same thing as I read the article.

    • Jasmine

      You sound like a hater

  • Bubbles

    Don’t Do It unless you know it is going to workout. I got proposed to without a ring. I thought it was sentimental but after a year there still wasn’t a ring or wedding, We ended it…… Go with your gut is saying and make sure that they are serious about making it last a lifetime. Words are nothing unless the action backs it up

  • kierah

    I don’t have an engagement ring because he knew I didn’t want one. It’s not my style. I wear an eternity wedding band and I’m more than content.

  • Pingback: She Said Yes…Wait, Where’s The Ring? Would You Accept A Marriage Proposal Without A Ring? - EyeOnCelebs()

  • Child_Puhleez

    Personally, I’m just old-fashioned & moved by actions – not just words. But everybody has their own thing. That’s why we’re individuals.

    Congrats, babygirl. God bless your union! 🙂

    • Brooke

      Thank you!

  • NJ2

    Shoot, if that’s how it works…I’m engaged too. NOT! We make all kinds of excused, when you look back on this in 20 years you will understand why it didn’t work out. Hope I’m wrong.

  • HisMrs02

    Yes I would… If we’ve been together for a minute and if I’m loving the way he treats me, takes care of me (not financially…I mean emotionally, respectful, and ect). If I know he’s doing his very best and he does right by me… Then nah… I don’t need a ring. A ring means nothing at the end of the day. It’s what you build together as one. A marriage is soooooo much more than jewelry!…. Yes, I have a ring, it’s not the world’s biggest, and I’m perfectly fine with that! To be honest, I didn’t get my ring until after he discussed marriage and after him asking me to marry him… I was fine with that too. He was my high school sweet heart, we’re 12 years strong… 6 years married. JMO.

    • Herm Cain

      Naw you right most of the ones with the requirements don’t even have a boyfriend let alone a fiancé still singing single ladies years later forget a ring what about a brother who loves respects and treats you right and personally I’d get the ring but its interesting to see how petty people are

      • Jen

        I don’t date brothers, maybe that’s why I’m used to rings and not having to go half on a bill.

  • blkrose

    I require a ring because it shows he was serious; it shows that he spent time thinking about our future, and that he made plans for us to continue. It shows that he didn’t just propose to get out of the doghouse or to keep me from doing something without him.

    • kierah

      It takes minutes to purchase a ring.

      If you can’t tell the difference between a real marriage proposal and an insincere one (without a ring), y’all got bigger issues.

  • IllyPhilly

    If the ring is going to stop him from cheating, beating, and ruined a person credit then I would put a lot of stake in it. Other than that, the paper that says I’m married-the thing that actually makes it official, is good enough for me.

    • Ran

      That paper wont stop him from “cheating, beating, and ruined a person credit” either, so what’s your point.

  • Alexis Morris

    Why is it so hard to believe some women just dont want a ring?? Everything isn’t the same for everybody. Doesn’t make him less committed or in love

  • sheshe83

    Congratulations!! I am engaged also but i don’t have a ring either…to me the only ring i want is the one we put on each others fingers on the day of our ceremony…the engagement ring isn’t so much a big u, me knowing that i have a man that loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me is worth more than an engagement ring!

  • hollyw

    It’s not so much the ring as the consideration given into wanting to spend the rest of your life with someone. The only alternative scenario that would be as equally acceptable to me would be if my to-be fiance had already planned to propose and saved up, but wanted me to pick up my/our ring(s) w/ him. Being “overcome with love” as a reason to propose on the spot sounds like puppy love; I want a mature love that takes into consideration compatibility and life plans. And savings.

  • ittybitty

    When I got engaged to my husband, I didn’t have a ring (to be fair, I didn’t want one) throughout the engagement; we were no less “engaged” then anyone else. I am also not a “jewelry” person, I wanted that money he was going to spend on a ring to go toward our life together. When we got married, we had simple gold bands for the wedding. That’s the only piece of jewelry that I wear, and I don’t even wear that everyday.

  • No. Would men just want forplay without actual intercourse?

    • Edwin Aalders

      Indeed, her relationship is invalid. My wife’s ring is worth a fortune and now she does as I tell her.

  • Topazhoney

    He proposed, you accepted, it’s official. Congratulations!

    • Brooked

      Thank you!

  • Guest

    Gosh, why does everything have to be a concern or issue? I don’t even remember the last time I wore my wedding ring……..and it’s because i’m not a ring person.

    • Sista2sista

      Now you I dont understand. I wear my rings everyday, even when Im mad, lol. Seeriously, I dont understand having it yet not wearing it.

      • HisMrs02

        I wear mine everyday as well… But only outside. It’s crazy, because, I feel very naked without it when I’m out the house. But when i’m in the house… it’s kind of annoying. I have to have it off!

    • guest

      agreed, my parents have been married 28 years and neither wear it. because they both hate the feeling of rings. so i wear both of theirs around my neck. it works for them

  • Leah Ashton

    i know a ring is supposed to be a symbol of his love for me. But if we can’t afford it and i know i have this man’s heart and he has mine, what more do i need? I am not the type of woman that likes a lot of jewelry, like the author. I have earrings, n stuff but it wouldn’t bother me if he didnt have a ring, if i knew he couldn’t afford it at the moment.

    • Na Na

      My guess though is that if you can’t afford some type of ring now, he probably can’t afford to take on the financial responsibility of a wife and possible family. For me the ring symbolizes more than just were engaged but were fiscally responsible, were financially obligated to each other, were mature, were wiling to sacifice, we know how to prioritize to provide what we need and what we want. Some times if you just can’t afford any ring then you just can’t afford to get married. Marriage is definitely a business contract and way more than just I Love him/her.

      • Leah Ashton

        Dont get it twisted. I didnt say never got me a ring. And that is why i’d have a long engagement. Plus when my mom got remarried, she didnt have a ring at first but she did.get one. and i get that is your opinion. Thanks for sharing.

      • Michael

        So what did YOU sacrifice for marriage? How did YOU show your fiscal responsibility? I want you to really think about that one because in an average family unit amount of contribution that woman puts into relationship is only a tiny fraction of what a man puts into that relationship. He can hire a cook or a maid and get a surrogate mother for his child. He can get intimacy from other women and companionship from a male roommate. So if you propose that you start the next phase of your life by getting paid to perform wife services to a husband… how does that make you any different than having said man drive to the corner of the street, pick up a night butterfly and she will give him all of the same companionship for a lot less?! Your desire for a ring on your finger already implies that you want to be a dependent in his household. It also implies that you want it as a status symbol… 3 months salary?! Are you serious? What makes YOU worthy of a $10,000++++ ring? There are 3.5 billion women in this world, most of whom can not afford to get any ring, let alone a diamond ring. Any woman (short of her sexual orientation and physical disabilities) can perform the role of a wife. I think expecting the ring shows lack of respect on your part from the get-go. A ring is supposed symbolize union between 2 people. A man gets the crappy cheapo wedding band while you get the diamond that is worth more than his boat, his car, his electronics and all his toys combined. Ohh and then you divorce him in 5-7 years anyways and keep the ring… shows how much you REALLY appreciated his gift and his loyalty.


    I would need a ring.
    My man and I are going to marry each other. We know that already.
    We talk about it. We are saving for our house and future already so really all that’s missing is the ring.
    Maybe you didn’t need it because it was the first time your man asked you to be his wife and confessed his undeniable love for you but all that’s been confessed already lol.
    I actually already have a ring but it’s not “THE RING” but I budgeted it for him.
    I told him when he gets it, not to spend over x-amount because I do believe living within our means and I would very much rather a VERY big house than a very big ring so I’m not sure what your friend was going on about. Like you said, you can’t live in a ring…
    And when all is in order financially, you can always upgrade the ring in the future anyway so I don’t see why I need the biggest, baddest ring today.

  • adam1982

    He basically put you on lay-away without a down payment. i can’t get behind that.

    • Brooke

      So question – if he asked and I said yes and THEN we picked out the ring RIGHT after he asked and bought it, am I still on layaway? I don’t understand that. The sentiment only means something if he buys the ring before he asks, not if he buys the right right after he asks? Wow.

  • So in other words he’s not serious about you unless he spends 3 months salary to put a ring on your finger… Way to sound materialistic.

    • Herm Cain

      Exactly that’s the difference between men and women a rich man will marry a waitress or a girl at Burger King if it makes him happy while a lot of women say they want love but they truly want status and admiration and the fairy tale if your talking about a lifetime a ring is minimal in the big picture every couple isn’t able

      • Random

        That’s basic biology Herman! Take a look at the anthropological history of the family.

        I want a ring. If your man can’t afford a ring, what else can’t he afford…..
        Be careful.

        • Brooke

          Who said he couldn’t afford a ring? He bought the ring afterwards, I’m wearing it now. Does my ring mean less because he and I chose it together and he bought it afterwards?

  • Nia

    Great article! A ring is nice but it is not the most important thing. My friend got married and he got her a beautiful ring. She ended up having to help pay it off because it was just too much money.

  • Papatya

    First of all, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!:-) And I would and I DID say “YES” to my now-husband´s proposal. We have wedding bands though now that we are married but I think an engagement ring is unnecessary, especially since only the woman wears a ring. Why is that? Is he not engaged? doesn´t he need a symbol to express that he is engaged? So it doesn´t make sense anyways.
    I wish you all the happiness in the world with your soon-to-be-husband.

    • Laine

      Actually, in the rest of the world the man also gets a ring, and engagement rings kind of resemble gold wedding bands, but then made of a different material like silver

    • Brooke

      Thank you!

  • JMO

    It’s all dependent on the circumstances. If your reasoning is sincere, whatever it may be, then I think it doesn’t matter. BUT I think a lot of people take the engagement serious once a ring has been bought because it required more than just a “spur of the moment” thought. IMO its not just the ring itself, its the effort, time, preparation and money put in that makes me think he’s serious. The ring is not only symbolic but it also required him to sacrifice his hard work (paychecks). The amount spent is irrelevant. If you TRULY don’t care about the ring then that’s wonderful. However, I hate when men talk women into “not caring”…I for one want a ring, for all the reasons stated above. With all that said, CONGRATULATIONS!!

    • Sista2sista

      I dont care about the ring but you give great examples of why a ring does make an engagement seem official. Effort, sacrifice, prepartion and thought…you are so right there. And I agree, amount is irrelevant. I still would have bben fine without but respect and appreciate your perspective. This makes me think some men have been engaged a thousand times over—without a ring!

    • Mina

      I agree with you especially the part where you said “BUT I think a lot of people take the engagement serious once a ring has been bought because it required more than just a “spur of the moment” thought.” When you think that he still proposed when all week or month you may have been fighting or in disagreement and not just when he was overwhelmed by the thought or feeling of marriage

  • Alexis Morris

    Nope i don’t need a ring i have one but i didn’t need it
    My man got an insurance settlement and we said why now get one but it wasn’t something that was a deal breaker for me. I have his love and that’s what matters

  • autumn

    “I’m sure the wives Kobe and Tiger – well, Tiger’s ex-wife – had huge diamonds on their fingers. Was that big rock an indication of their fidelity to their wives? Clearly not.”
    If you are so comfortable not having a ring I don’ think the writer would have made the statement above. A ring doesn’t make the engagement, but it is certainly a symbol to the world of the love and commitment the two of you share. You like it, I love it!! Well wishes to a prosperous marriage!! : )

    • Sista2sista

      I agree. I would have been fine if my husband had proposed without a ring like the writer because i value him, not what he can get for me but that little dig wasnt necessary. That seems to indicate she is trying too much. Trying to convince herself that she is ok without the ring. My uncle proposed to my aunt with a bread tie and they stayed married until the day he died.

      • GRAMSS

        I agree with you 100%! She knows good and well she’s not happy because she doesn’t have a ring. The more that she try to justify that “The Ring Didn’t Mean A Thing”(Kim Zolciak song) the more I am convinced that she is thirsty for a ring

        • Brooke

          Everyone is entitled to their opinion – but I am TRULY happy. I hope you all are too. Thanks!

          • Sheen

            She just told y’all I got a man I hope y’all happy with y’all life! lol ctfu!



  • Trisha_B

    I’m a jewelry girl so i would want a ring lol….But i would also look at where we both are at financial wise. If it’s like i just got out of college, starting a new career, he’s starting a new career, money is going towards saving for a new home, paying off school loans or w.e i would completely understand if he asked me to marry him w/out a ring. We struggling, a couple of k’s for a ring wouldn’t be realistic to have. I know some men feel they have to get the biggest ring to propose & if they can’t afford the ring then it won’t happen. I would be happy w/ a nice simple ring. Just upgrade the bad boy a little each anniversary hahaha j/k

    **Congrats on your engagement!

    • Brooke

      Thank you!

  • Diane Whauloknat Bridges

    I would want the ring….too each is own ……