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Thinking about popping the question? It's not always easy to know if you're ready to walk down the aisle. Fortunately, you've come to the right place. After all, love is our business. Here's how you can tell if the time is right, along with some recommendations for when to propose depending on your unique situation.

How long should you date before getting engaged?

So, how long should you wait to get engaged? The average time to propose is two to three years in the United States, but this doesn't have to influence your timetable.

There's no right answer to this age-old question. While some rush to get married after only a couple of months, others wait years. Still, there are some telltale signs you may be ready to take the plunge.

If you already live together, you're probably prepared for married life. The same goes for couples who finish each other's sentences or embrace each other's quirky habits, like sleeping with a fan on or singing in the shower. Talking about children or fantasizing about your life together is a pretty big signal, too. Ultimately, if your partner is dropping hints and you're sure they will say ‘yes,' the time to propose is probably close at hand.

What are the most popular months to get engaged?

Now that you know you're ready, it's time to think about when to get engaged. In the U.S., nearly four out of ten engagements occur in the two-and-a-half-month span between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day. December is the peak month for engagements, with Christmas Eve a distinctly popular date.

Popular holidays for a proposal

By far, the most popular holidays for engagements are Valentine's Day and Christmas. Interestingly, surveys suggest that women prefer Valentine's Day for proposals, while men prefer Christmas Eve. Of course, just because something is trending doesn't make it right for you. Any day is a good day to propose if you feel you've found the perfect person to spend the rest of your life with.

How long do you need to plan your engagement?

Most wedding planners recommend couples plan their weddings 12 to 18 months in advance. This gives them plenty of time to pull off the wedding of their dreams while also allowing guests to reserve the dates in their busy schedules. Again, this is a general rule that doesn't apply to everyone. If you're planning a huge wedding, you may want to wait longer. Likewise, if you're planning a smaller ceremony, you won't have to wait as long to exchange your vows.

What do you need once you're ready to propose?

When you start planning your proposal, it helps to get guidance from knowledgeable jewelry consultants with decades of experience assisting couples. The Diamond Experts at Helzberg are uniquely qualified to help you kick off your proposal journey by checking off that box marked “perfect engagement ring.”

Shop the story! Consult our ring buying guide, browse different ring styles, or create your own personalized expression of love.