It’s the most important question you’ll ever ask: no wonder you want everything to be just right. From the Where to the When to the How of your marriage proposal, there’s a lot to think about. And then there’s the ring! Even if you’re sure about your girlfriend’s taste in fine jewelry, you might be struggling to determine her ring size. Here are five ways to figure out your girlfriend’s ring size on the sly.

1. “Borrow” her jewelry

If she already wears a ring on her ring finger (even if it’s on the right hand), you can use that as a guide. Wait until she takes it off and then lay it on a piece of paper, tracing the inside and outside with pencil. You can also slip it over one of your fingers and use a pen to mark where it stops. Whichever method you choose, print out our handy ring sizer to take the final measurement.

2. Phone a friend

Enlist her best friend, sister or mom to help you. It’s possible that her mom or bestie already knows her size. No such luck? Ask one of her married or engaged friends to play the old “Let’s see how my ring looks on you” game. Once it’s on, she can make note of your girlfriend’s size compared to her own.

3. Hold her hand

Next time you’re holding hands, pay close attention to your entwined fingers. Does one of yours look similar to her ring finger? It’s not the most accurate approach, but it can get you pretty close.

4. Put a string on it

How deep a sleeper is she? If she can snooze with the best of them (and you’ve got steady hands!) try looping a piece of string around her finger while she’s asleep. Just make sure it’s not wound too tightly; the “ring” should be able to move gently over her knuckle. Once you’ve got it on right, make note of meeting point of the string, then mark it with a pen or cut to the correct length. Again, use the ring sizer to measure.

5. Give a guess

The average woman’s ring finger is a size six. Assess whether or not your girlfriend’s hands are average, or on the larger or smaller side, and then make the call. When in doubt, go larger; it’s easier to size down than up.

Once you’ve got a size in mind, it’s time to look for the perfect engagement ring. Happy shopping!

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