06/20/2012 12:31 pm ET Updated Aug 20, 2012

The Perfect Ring

Ladies, it's okay to admit it. You want your boyfriend to get down on one knee and propose to you without having to drag him into a jewelry store kicking and screaming, telling him to pick out a ring.

You want him to surprise you and you want to be happy with the ring he gives you. And you know what? He feels the same way. He understands that the brownie points he'll get from choosing the perfect engagement ring are priceless.

So how do you help to make this happen?

First off, how you go about selecting your engagement ring is up to you, your partner and the type of relationship you have.

The more traditional method is having him go through the process alone. Even if that's what you want, you have to help him out a little. If you aren't comfortable telling him directly what you want, tell his best friend or your best friend. Most jewelers have share buttons or "email to a friend" links on their websites, which is code for "let him know what you want."

Some couples start the process together, narrowing down to a few designs or settings. Then the ring-purchaser meets with the jeweler alone to finish designing the ring. Other couples go through the whole design process together.

Whichever way you go about getting your engagement ring made, be sure to do your own research first and then let him, or your jeweler, know what you want.

Start by researching stones. Think about the size and the shape you want. Do you like round or square or something else? Do you prefer something petite and demure or bold and brash? Do you want an engraved setting with a vintage feel or a simpler polished look? There are a lot of options available. Don't leave all of these decisions to chance (or to him).

Ask yourself, have you seen anything you like? Sift through bridal magazines and browse fashion and celebrity websites; wander through the jewelry stores in your local mall. Collect images of rings you like. If you can imagine it, a good jeweler can make it, but you have to be able to communicate in words or pictures what you want.

If you and your spouse-to-be choose to go the custom-design route, it is important to remember that a custom ring may not be returnable. Your jeweler may not be able to just stick the ring back into the showcase. I advise most men who come to me without specific instructions from their future bride to keep it simple and purchase a traditional 14k white gold solitaire.

Whichever route you take, remember that this should be a fun process. And the bottom line is you should love your engagement ring... almost as much as you love him.