So you’ve found the one? Congratulations! Now you just have to plan a wedding, write your vows, say “I do,” and... Hold up. I forgot something, didn’t I? That’s right. The diamond. If you’re like me, you’ve been dreaming about Tiffany’s and pinning engagement rings for years; way before you had anyone to place one on your finger. They’re just so sparkly… Sorry—back to reality. There’s one big question you need to ask before the other big question comes along: Should you go engagement ring shopping together? If you asked me that a few years ago, I would have said, "Hell no!" I want the surprise, the tears, the ring he picked out. Fast-forward to today: Maybe it’s not such a bad idea? There are pros and cons to both options, and I’m going to walk you through them. Hopefully by the end of this post, you’ll know if you want shopping to be a solo or team mission. I’ve also included some shopping tips that’ll help you pick out the perfect style.
Should you go engagement ring shopping together?
What’s the big deal about these sparkly bands, anyway? Well, it all started back in 2500 B.C. when Egyptians decide to place silver or gold on the third finger of each other’s left hands. They believed that finger contained a certain vein that led directly to the heart. Aww…romance. Over the past few thousand years, we’ve decided to up the ante a tad. Now, it’s all about cut, color, and size. The bigger the better, baby. And talk about options! Whether you’re browsing Pinterest or the mall’s corner jewelry store, you will definitely be overwhelmed. Cushion, emerald, marquise, princess, pear, baguette—isn’t that a loaf of bread? How can you possibly know what you want!? Just breathe. The first decision you need to make is whether or not you want to do this with your partner. Then we’ll discuss how to narrow it down.
If you go together…
This trend has become more and more accepted over the past few years. While some women love surprises, others value the opportunity to make the decision as a team and even see it as a sign of respect. Here are a few things to consider before you shop together.
1. Will it hurt their feelings?
If you ask to go with your soon-to-be fiancé, will it hurt their feelings? They may think you don’t trust their judgement or taste, which is an understandable reaction. But they may also be relieved to have the pressure off! They want to get you something you’ll love forever, after all. Just discuss it together and let them know you only want to help. If they’re set on going it alone, offer to give them some inspiration photos.
2. Budget—will it be awkward?
Odds are your partner has a budget in mind, and it’s something you definitely need to know before you shop. That means you can’t fall in love with anything above their price point. They’re about to buy you a very expensive gift, so don’t push it!
3. Will it be more pressure?
What if it takes you a really long time to find the right style? What if your guy really likes one and you’re unsure? I know you don’t want to seem too picky or high-maintenance, and the pressure can get kind of intense. Just remember that you’re shopping together for a reason: they really want you to be happy with the final choice. Take your time and don’t be against going more than once.
4. Can there still be an element of surprise?
Of course there can! Perhaps the shopping trip itself will be the big surprise? All those proposing, listen up! Act like you really need new jeans, plan a trip to the mall, shop, and make a reservation at a romantic restaurant to celebrate this incredible step in your loves story. Or pick out a style together, but buy it later! That way you can still plan the proposal of their dreams. If you really want to plan a surprise proposal, it’s possible. Rent a ring (yes, this is a thing), give her diamond earrings, or use a cute filler like a Ring Pop or IOU. Lots of people go this route to get the both of best worlds. You can even find the perfect diamond, have it placed in a simple setting, and then design the perfect setting as a team.
5. This could be the first “big” decision in your relationship.
There will be plenty more ahead of you, so working through this as a team will be exciting training.
If they go alone…
1. Element of surprise!
I mean, this is the main reason you want them to go it alone, right? I still recommend discussing marriage before a proposal happens, but this may be out of your control.
2. More meaningful?
There is something really special about wearing a ring they chose for you. It’ll show you how well they know you and how much your happiness means to them.
3. Can you be honest?
If they pick something out that you don’t love, can you tell them? They’ll probably propose and say, “If you don’t like it, we can find you another one!” However, could you really be that honest? This is something you need to consider, otherwise you may be taking a huge risk.
4. You can still help.
Make a Pinterest board, send them photos, or suggest they bring one of your friends! That way they have some direction.
5. Pick out your top 5.
Go browsing together. Pick out a variety of styles. Then they can go back and buy their favorite alone. That way it’s something they know you’ll love, but they still had the final say. Boom! Compromise.
Need-to-Know Engagement Ring Shopping Tips:
Whether you’re going united or solo, these tips will make sure you find the perfect style.
1. Know your metallics. Rose gold, gold, platinum, silver….what do you wear most often? Make sure your honey knows. If you’re going alone, bring in some of their jewelry to show the sales person their style.
2. Consider trends, but be careful. There is always a cut, color, and metallic that’s the trend of the year. One year it was replicas of Princess Kate’s sapphire stunner, this year it’s been rose gold and halos. While they’re all beautiful, make sure you’ll still love it years from now.
3. Shape matters the most! Your partner may love a plethora of settings, but there’s usually one setting they have their heart set on.
4. Know the 4 C’s! Carat: Size/weight. The larger the diamond, the more rare (and expensive) it is. Clarity: Diamonds contain natural characteristics known as “inclusions.” These may be within or on the surface of the stone. If the stone has small inclusions or very few, it’ll have a higher clarity. These tiny flaws can only be seen by an expert with a strong magnifying glass. Color: There are so many! Many people go colorless, but there are pink, blue, green, yellow, and other varieties to choose from. Cut: This is not the shape of a diamond, but rather another quality factor. How a diamond is cut determines how sparkly and bright it will appear. If it is cut well, more light will be able to enter.
5. Diamonds aren’t everyone’s’ best friend. Maybe you love gemstones or don’t want a stone at all! Consider your options and make them known.
6. Come up with a budget that works for you. It’s often said that 2 months’ salary should be spent on an engagement ring, but that may not be doable for every couple. Spending more than you can afford will be bad for both of you in the long run. You can always increase the carat or add diamonds to the setting later on.
7. Buy well in advance! If you’re planning a proposal, know that it takes an average of 6 weeks for your final ring to arrive.
8. Get ring insurance. Just do it. You’ll thank me later. So will you be shopping for engagement rings together? Or have you decided to send them off and cross your fingers? Join the conversation in a comment below, and share your own tips!