You've made the decision to propose, you've purchased a ring - or had one custom made - that perfectly depicts the love you have for your future bride, and now... you have to hide it, fast. The time period leading up to an engagement is immensely difficult. We never recommend keeping secrets from your bride, but she absolutely cannot know about the ring. The very last thing you want is to have the engagement ring you have selected being discovered by your soon-to-be fiancée before you get the magical moment you have been planning to ask the question. So, what do you do?
There are a few things to consider when hiding an engagement ring before the proposal. Placement, concealments, and location. When hiding a ring in your home, placement is key. You obviously don't want to place the ring in a location that is highly occupied by your future fiancée. Consider instead places that she either does not normally go in your home, or that she is unable to access easily. A high shelf in the back of the closet that is mostly storage space provides great cover for your ring and should she need anything, provide you the opportunity to "get it for her" and keep your hiding place a secret. A toolbox in the garage, or a gold bag in a shed are both great options, but ultimately you know her personality better than anyone and the success of your hide is determined by where she will not find herself in your home. Placement is important, but once you have determined a hiding place, concealment is key.
Hiding an engagement ring is all about utilizing what works. Jewelry boxes are not the most streamlined holders, so finding somewhere you can conceal the ring until the right moment is very important. A large coat pocket in the back of your closet, or tucked into the toe of a pair of winter boots, or even the back pocket of a folded down pair of jeans on a shelf in the closet. These are all great places to stash the engagement ring while you wait to propose. The most important thing is to find something our of season that neither of you have reason to grab out of the closet. Placement and concealment are two great strategies to hide the ring, but what if you simply don't trust yourself to pick a good hiding spot? You can always hide the ring by changing the location. Asking a close friend or family member to hold the ring for you until the time is right is always an option, but be sure to swear them to secrecy, the less people in the loop, the better! Now that you have successfully hidden the engagement ring for however long is needed, what do you do in the moments leading up to the proposal?
If you thought hiding the ring where she wouldn't find it in the months and weeks leading up to the engagement was difficult, now imagine hiding it on your person in the moments leading up to asking the question. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to keep everything a surprise. Concealing the ring in your clothing is the first option. Consider wearing a loose-fitting jacket or something with deep pockets that will conceal the ring box. If this is not an option, many a gentleman have had luck tucking the ring box into their socks. Just be sure that your pant leg easily conceals the extra bulk around your ankle. Additionally, if you are planning an outing for the engagement, a hike or picnic for example, you can easily wrap the ring in a towel, pack it inside a folded cloth napkin, or even pop it into an empty food container or water bottle. Just be sure that anything you use to hide the ring is something you would normally take on an outing, as you don't want to raise suspicion.
Having a close friend or family member who will be present hold the ring for you is also a great option. You can signal them to secretly pass off the ring at the right moment. There are a few other options, and while both a little riskier, they could be perfect for you. First, you could ditch the box. We have heard stories of guys tying the ring to the inside of their swimsuit, looping it around a necklace and wearing it under their shirt, and every other imaginable hiding spot with the ring out of the box. Just be careful! Second, you could hide the ring. Obviously the riskiest, consider the factors of your proposal. A private hotel balcony where you could place it in a plants, a family home where the layout is not going to change. Be sure of your placement and your ability to have her close enough to the hiding spot to make it work.
More and more, we are hearing stories of travel proposals. While the same techniques apply, there are a few more simple things you can do to keep the surprise of a proposal secret until the right moment. Placing the box in socks or boots in your carry-on baggage will keep the ring close to you during the trip. Keeping the ring in your carry-on also prevents you from setting off the metal detector at the airport. If you are worried about "extra screening" from a TSA agent, wrap a note around the box that says "engagement ring, please keep a secret" and you will be sure to keep the surprise intact. Once you arrive to your destination, ask the hotel concierge if you can keep the ring in the hotel safe until you are ready for it, especially if you think your partner will find the ring. Finally, we recommend proposing early in the trip so you don't have to keep track of the box for the entire trip.
Regardless of you keeping the secret, the engagement is a special moment and you want it to be a surprise. Hopefully the ring is well hidden, found or presented at exactly the right moment, and delivered to the woman of your dreams. Just remember, if things don't go precisely to plan, you are simply creating a story you will tell your family for years to come!