The Knot and De Beers Group Engagement Expectations Study Reveals What Women Really Want in a Marriage Proposal

Findings, from not-yet engaged women highlight a post-COVID shift in attitudes on engagement

Just ahead of “engagement season,” the period between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, De Beers Group and The Knots “Engagement Expectations” study reveals new insights around marriage proposals in a post-COVID environment. Nearly 300 women in serious relationship were surveyed about expectations related to the proposal process, from where and how it takes place to the selection of the engagement ring. The findings highlight an increased interest in intimacy and connection when it comes to the proposal itself, and an almost universal desire among women to have some involvement in the selection of their engagement ring.


According to a study conducted by De Beers Group and The Knots on “Engagement Expectations” in a post-COVID environment, 96% of respondents would like to have some involvement in the selection of their engagement ring.

De Beers Forevermark Engagement Rings

From Left to Right

Forevermark Setting™ Three-stone Ring

Forevermark Icon® Collection Classic Solitaire Ring

Forevermark Icon® Collection Solitaire Pavé Ring


While most pre-engaged women still want their partner to propose to them, they want the experience to be more personal and unique. Grand gestures and elaborate public displays were less appealing to respondents, with a solid majority saying the ideal way to pop the question would be one person proposing to the other (98%), planned ahead of time (66%), and in a private place (66%)

The pressure may be off when it comes to staging a grandiose ask, but nearly every woman surveyed (96%) said she wanted to have some involvement in the selection of her engagement ringand would not want it to be a total surprise. Three-fourths of pre-engaged females have thought a lot or some about their engagement rings and most are increasingly preferring more personalized and unique engagement rings. The primary choice for an engagement ring remains a diamond, with the majority citing this as their first choice.  But contrary to popular opinion, pre-engaged women are less focused on how big the diamond is than on the shape, style and setting of the stone.  When it comes to purchasing the ring, about 2 in 10 respondents expect both partners to contribute to the cost; most women (76%) expect their partner will pay.    

While females desire more intimate proposals, the majority (85%) feel there is more pressure on their partners to plan a unique proposal than in their parents’ generation. Additionally, the majority (68%) also believe that ring designs today are more unique than in their parents’ generation, and one in five feel the exchange of rings has more meaning and significance today.


The Knot and De Beers Engagement Expectations Study was fielded on Instagram in October 2021 among 296 females in a serious relationship. A majority of female respondents (77%) participating in the survey believe they will be engaged in the next two years. Most were between the ages of 18 and 34.