Majority of To-Be-Weds Propose in Private, Spending Three Months on Average Curating Highly Personalized Proposals Complete With Customized Engagement Jewelry, According to The Knot 2019 Jewelry & Engagement Study
Largest Study of Its Kind Highlights Proposal Trends Leading Up to the Most Popular Time for Couples to Get Engaged—November Through February
New York, NY—October 30, 2019—Today, The Knot—the nation’s premier wedding planning and registry resource—released findings from The Knot 2019 Jewelry & Engagement Study. In celebration of Proposal Season, which is the most popular time of the year (November through February) for couples to get engaged (37%)*, this study of more than 21,000 engaged or recently married respondents showcases the latest insights surrounding proposals and jewelry trends.
Over the last few years, personalization has taken the lead as a priority for couples planning their weddings—and proposals are following suit. This year, the study finds those proposing spend an average of three months planning hyper-personalized, intimate moments to ask their significant other to marry them. While more than half (51%) of proposals occur in private, nearly one in five (18%) take place in locations significant to the couple’s past, like the couple’s favorite date spot or the location they first met.
“Today’s couples are more diverse than ever before, and what makes each proposal, wedding and even registry unique is the celebrating of two individuals and their love story,” says The Knot Editor in Chief Kristen Maxwell Cooper. “Couples are tossing and twisting engagement traditions like never before, whether choosing to propose on top of a mountain in private or at the location of their first date in front of family and friends, ultimately prioritizing their personal preferences for the start of their wedding planning journey and soon-to-be newlywed lives.”
The focus of personalization extends from the proposal to one’s engagement jewelry as well, with 45% of engagement rings including custom-designed elements. And while diamonds (83%) continue to reign as the most popular center stone, non-diamond precious stones are gaining momentum, with one in ten to-be-weds opting for stones like moissanite and sapphire. In addition to having personalization on the brain, ring-exchanging couples are shifting their focus when shopping for engagement rings, increasingly prioritizing the overall cost and quality of the ring rather than its total size and ultimately relying on local jewelry retailers (40%) and national jewelry chains (30%) as the most popular places to purchase a ring.
What’s Trending: 2019/2020 Proposals
Proposing in the Digital Age — Millennials are increasingly relying on technology in their everyday lives, so it’s no surprise their relationships are following suit. Nearly a quarter (22%) of to-be-weds meet online, with the most popular platforms being Tinder (30%), OkCupid (14%) and Bumble (13%). Fast forward to their proposals (which take place 2-5 years after meeting for nearly half of to-be-weds), and online resources like social media platforms (79%) and jewelry designer websites (25%) have become the go-to for inspiration, particularly for proposees as they begin searching for their future engagement rings. Reliance on tech doesn’t stop there; nowadays one in ten couples have a professional photographer capture the actual proposal, which comes in handy when more than 90% of couples announce their engagement on social media, 2 in 5 of whom do so within a few hours of getting engaged.
Proposal Planning Calls for Participation From Both the Proposer and Proposee — It’s not uncommon for to-be-weds to collaborate on their future proposal plans, whether by discussing their preferences together or even opting for a dual-proposal (7%). Sometimes, such collaboration occurs in subtle forms, with 77% of proposees reporting that they drop hints on their proposal preferences. Taking it to the next level of involvement, 7 out of 10 proposees report being at least somewhat involved throughout the shopping experience, and nearly a quarter report having shopped or looked at rings together with their partner. Additionally, nearly 1 in 10 proposees even report being present when the ring is selected or purchased. Budgeting for the proposal can also be a joint effort, as 20% of couples report discussing the budget for the engagement ring together.
Most Proposals Occur in Private at Places With Significance to the Couple — No longer are to-be-weds choosing to kick-start their engagements in public; the majority of proposers (51%) opt to pop the question in more intimate locations that often hold some significance for them. Today, 21% of proposals occur in the privacy of one’s own home, while nearly 1 in 5 to-be-weds get engaged in a location that’s special to them or their partner—whether it’s the restaurant of their first date, the college campus they both attended, or their favorite bookstore. But just because more proposals are taking place in private, doesn’t mean they’re any less elaborate; many proposers involve friends and family (26%) in the celebrations or incorporate décor in a unique way, like filling a room with floor-to-ceiling flower petals, lights, photographs or all of the above.
Rings and Non-Rings Are Increasingly Personalized — While most (96%) couples continue to exchange rings at the start of their engagement, we also see couples proposing with non-ring items that are just as meaningful—think watches, bracelets, gifting a vacation, or even a down payment on a house with the money one would’ve spent on a ring. Ring or no ring, engagement jewelry is yet another element where personalization remains top of mind. For ring-exchanging to-be-weds, the majority (86%) purchase a new ring for the occasion; 45% incorporate customized details into the ring, whether by custom-designing it in its entirety (31%) or taking an existing ring design and adding personal touches (51%). And while diamonds remain the most popular center stone choice, non-diamond precious stones are gaining momentum (10%): The most popular stones are moissanite (19%, up from 10% in 2017), sapphire (18%), morganite (12%) and aquamarine (6%). Similarly, non-round, center stone cuts are increasingly in demand among to-be-weds, the most popular being princess or square (14%), oval (14%), cushion (9%) and pear/teardrop (5%).
Ethics and Sustainability on the Brain — When couples get engaged, they’re not just making the moment about them, but are focusing on the world around them as well. This proposal season, expect to see many proposers thinking about how they can be environmentally and ethically conscious, with more than half of proposees signifying that it’s important for their stone to be ethically sourced (nearly 1 in 4 report receiving a stone that was ethically sourced). Similarly, 15% of proposees prefer to have a lab-grown stone, potentially as a result of a more ethical sourcing method. Additionally, couples can also go green by repurposing stones, whether by resetting a stone and/or setting that’s a family heirloom (currently 11% of to-be-weds’ stones are passed down through family) or even by purchasing a vintage ring.
*The Knot 2018 Real Weddings Study
The Knot 2019 Jewelry & Engagement Study surveyed more than 21,000 respondents who got engaged in 2018/2019 or married within the last 12 months (the majority of whom are between the ages of 25-34), in order to provide a comprehensive view on the latest insights surrounding wedding engagements in the US.
About The Knot
The Knot is the nation’s leading multiplatform wedding resource offering a seamless, all-in-one planning experience—from finding inspiration and local vendors to creating and managing all guest experiences, wedding registries and more. The trusted brand reaches a majority of engaged couples in the US through the #1 wedding planning website TheKnot.com and #1 iOS and Android mobile app The Knot Wedding Planner, The Knot national and local wedding magazines, and The Knot book series. Since its inception, The Knot has inspired approximately 25 million couples to plan a wedding that’s uniquely them. Visit The Knot online at TheKnot.com and follow on social media: Facebook.com/TheKnot and @TheKnot on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.