Mr Right should drop down on one knee in a private setting after 25 months of dating, but shouldn’t worry about asking for parental permission first, the poll found.
However, fellas should not take the bold step of buying the ring first as three quarters of women would like to choose their own diamond.
Craig Bolton, Executive Director from luxury British jeweller Mappin & Webb which commissioned the study of 2,000 unmarried ladies, said: “The results of our survey should give the men of the UK plenty of food for thought.
“The winter and Christmas period is a very popular time of year for proposals to take place, so if any men or women are thinking of popping the question now’s the time to do it.
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“A happy marriage starts with a happy proposal, and the ring is something that absolutely has to be perfect - whether it’s a flawless stone or a bespoke ring with some personal meaning to the couple.”
Over a third of women think their man would make the wrong ring choice if left to his own devices.
The most popular type of ring is a solitaire (round) cut diamond on a white gold band - with just one in twenty opting for an unusual stone like a ruby or emerald.
Interestingly, fewer than one in five women have every detail of their perfect proposal mapped out in their mind - which gives men quite a lot of room for error.
Half of women say they don’t care where their proposal takes place, but men can play it safe by choosing the beach or a famous landmark to get down on one knee.
An unlucky 35 per cent of British women say their partner isn’t romantic, and a quarter say that they’d probably say no if a proposal didn’t meet their expectations.
In fact, almost one in five women have turned down a marriage offer in the past, for a variety of reasons.
One said that they didn’t want any man to have any claim on their money or assets.
And another said that her would-be fiancé had picked a ring that was so ugly she had to call the romance off.
Craig Bolton continued: “The Mappin and Webb By Appointment service enables clients to experience a very personal and collaborative approach to creating their dream engagement ring.
“Recognising that an engagement ring is one of the most important purchases of a lifetime, the Mappin & Webb By Appointment service enables clients to be at the heart of the design process, so every ring has its own unique and personal sentiment of love.”