Designer Q & A | Engagements and Proposal Stories

Designer Q & A | Engagements and Proposal Stories

Marriage proposal props

As a husband-and-wife design team specializing in wedding jewelry, we find so much inspiration in the couples we collaborate with. But sometimes, clients want to know more about us. We've always had a hard time "talking about ourselves" (like most people) but we'd like to share our story with you here, along with some tips for finding the perfect engagement ring- gathered over years of meeting with hundreds of amazing clients. We hope you enjoy this special Engagements and Proposal Stories Q&A with your friendly neighborhood jewelers. Love, Dana + Rad

Dana Walden Custom Jewelry Clients

Q: What's your proposal story?

RAD: Dana and I lived together in the Flatiron District when we got engaged in March 2010. We had been together about a year and a half and hadn't started working together yet. I was working in fashion at the time and every evening, Dana would wait for me outside of the 23rd street subway stop and we would walk home together.  On this particular evening, we were supposed to watch a basketball game at a bar downtown. I hate basketball so I took my time getting there and ultimately ran an hour late. I texted him when I was on my way but, needless to say, when I finally got to 23rd Street, Dana wasn't waiting at the station. 

Even though I was late, I was a little annoyed that Dana didn't come out to meet me at the station. I walked to our building alone and as walked up to our door, I see that it was slightly ajar. That annoyed me even more because I didn't like the idea of our door being left opened. I walked through the door, ready to give Dana a piece of my mind, and there he was, handsome as ever in a suit, with the lights dim and a smile on his face. Dana is a big "T-shirt and jeans" guy, so I was stunned. Dana prepared a beautiful set up at our home - flowers, candles, mementos from our favorite trips were intermingled with pictures of our families, champagne, our favorite James Taylor songs were playing softly in the background. I remember feeling like I was in a dream - everything got fuzzy and I was almost in a trance-like state.

I'm hard to surprise but this proposal was the biggest surprise I’ve ever received in my life, to date. I had no idea it was coming. He asked me to marry him and proposed with not one, but two, rings. The first was a 1.5 carat round diamond in a platinum cathedral setting that had been in his family for generations. This ring had never been sized over all that time, and when I tried it on, it was the perfect fit.

The second ring was a green sapphire & diamond three stone ring, set in 14 karat yellow gold. I "ugly cried" like a baby, so thank goodness he kept the proposal private.

I also don't think I ever properly said "Yes!" because I was just elated, genuinely surprised, and filled with so much love in my heart. I called all of my friends and family while Dana consumed an entire bottle of Ruinart Blanc de Blanc on his own in our living room. Then we went to dinner at our favorite neighborhood restaurant, Cookshop and ordered another bottle of champagne- this time Dana shared.

The rest is history.

Q: How often do new clients come to you as a couple, versus the purchaser alone?

DANA: About 60% of our clients will come to us as a couple. I think that on some level our clients are drawn to Dana and I because we’re married and run a creative business together. We’re deeply collaborative and so our energy likely draws clients who are similar- couples that want to work in unison to create an engagement ring that symbolizes their love for each other. When we meet our clients for the first time, we have a long conversation about their relationship, their aesthetic preferences, stone and metal choices, budget, and more. The other 40% or so of folks that come in on their own are looking to keep things traditional with a proper surprise engagement, which I also think is really lovely. In these meetings, we’ll usually ask a lot of questions about the partner- everything from their favorite colors to wear, to their stature, to artistic inclinations, and more. These deep dives help us to focus in on who we’re designing for, so that we can suggest options that are best suited to his or her unique vibe.  


 Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to surprise their bride, but also get them something they'll actually love wearing every day?


RAD:  Most women will drop some not-so-subtle hints about what kind of engagement ring she wants, especially if she suspects that the proposal is nearing. Pay attention to what she thinks about her newly engaged friend’s ring. Does she have opinions about celebrity engagement rings? Does she have a visceral response when she sees a diamond in a certain shape? Take a look at her current jewelry wardrobe. What metal does she wear most? This is usually the safest metal to stick with for an engagement ring, unless she’s specifically requested a different metal to you.  Pay attention to her general style. Is she bohemian? Minimalist? Artistic? If you have no idea what these terms mean, bring some photos of your significant other to your DW appointment and we’ll help you translate her unique aesthetic into a custom engagement ring. 

Whatever you do, don’t undervalue the process. The process of selecting a designer and working with them to create a personalized ring is as important as the ring itself. Work with an actual designer and jeweler, one that will personally sit down with you to collaborate on the most special piece of jewelry you will ever buy in your life. As our clients have learned, doing this doesn't have to break the bank!

Your Turn

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