As you may have gathered, my lovely fiance got down on one knee recently, and I’m thrilled to report he did an amazing job with the ring! However, as sad as it is, not everyone gets the ring of their dreams. Here are a few things I’ve learned in the past few months about getting your dream ring, and the little fineries that are to follow.
ENGAGEMENT RING ETIQUETTE:
1. Do your research
Brush up on the basics when it comes to cuts, stone sizes, shapes and metal colours by following this easy guide. Check out celebrity engagement rings and look at rings on Pinterest to see what you like (remember, it isn’t the size of the stone that determines whether you like a ring). I knew quite quickly that I loved vintage style filigree rings, so that made the process a little easier when James was picking one out for me.
2. Know your ring size
It’s harder than it sounds! We went to about 6 different jewellers and checked out tons of charts online, but everyone gave us a different size. It would just be best to use a ring that fits you perfectly on the same finger as an example. Leave one lying around if he’s dropped any hints!
3. Gently Steer Him
Only do this if you both talk about settling down, have discussed a wedding, or he has dropped hints that he’s in the right mind space to propose, or this could end very badly. Remember that research you did in point one? Now would be the time to show him a picture of that celebrity ring you like and subtly imply how gorgeous it is. Most guys looking to propose would actually appreciate knowing what direction to go in, because at the end of the day, all they want is to give you a ring you’ll adore, and making such a big decision is a lot of pressure for the guy to take on by himself.
4. Use A Stand-In
If your boy really seems unsure, gently remind him that you’re not going to judge and that you can always make the decision together later, after the proposal. In the meantime, he can always get you a cocktail ring or a simple silver band to seal the deal. (Although I think sweet rings with big candy jewel like we had when we were kids would be more fun!) After you say yes, make a date of hitting the shops together, sipping champagne and picking the ring you love, within his budget, of course.
5. Never Create A Fuss
So it’s a lot smaller than what you had in mind. Or it may be yellow gold when you wanted white. Or it may be a zircon when you wanted a big old diamond. Unless it’s absolutely dreadful (go to point 6), don’t throw a tantrum. Understand that this is the first time your boy has made such a huge purchase on his own and he did the best he could, considering these things don’t come very naturally to men to begin with. Also, keep in mind that he is only a little older than you and it isn’t fair for him to have to spend his whole life savings and more on a little diamond. Understand that everyone else views this ring as a test of whether you truly love him for him, despite what he can or can’t provide you with, so accept it graciously and don’t complain about it being too small, too dated or anything else. It will speak volumes of your character, and leave everyone around feeling impressed and secure, believe me.
This especially holds true if his parents pick the ring out for your in an arranged marriage scenario or they insist on you wearing a super old fashioned ring which is a family heirloom. Put it on without a fuss now. You can always confide in your husband once you’re married and ask for a new ring a few months down the road. Who knows? It might be a romantic date idea to have him propose again with the new ring!
6. Alterations and Exchanges
Maybe it just hasn’t grown on you yet. See what you can do to change it. If you would prefer white or yellow gold or a brighter / duller shade, it is a simple service that any jeweller can provide for a nominal fee. If it doesn’t fit, it isn’t anything to worry about. In most cases, the ring is always a little smaller or bigger, and since we just couldn’t figure out my size, it was three sizes too big (my own fault for jumping to the worst possible conclusion about the size of my fingers). This is a very standard procedure for all jewellers, and is usually done in 24 hours max.
But if it really really isn’t your style and you just can’t stand the thought of looking at it for the rest of your life (remember the hideous pear-shaped monstrosity Aiden bought Carrie the first time round?) subtly sit him down and explain that the dream ring you always wanted when you were a little girl was a bit different. Explain that you know he did his best and that you don’t want to hurt his (or his family’s) feelings, and ask if he would be offended if the two of you could together exchange it for something that felt a little more like ‘you’. In most cases, anyone would agree. Every guy wants to see his girl beaming with pride over the ring he bought her, even if it is the second time round.
7. Get a manicure
I know, nobody needs to tell us girls this twice! But with everyone expressing excitement over your engagement, clamoring around you to see the ring, it’s going to be hard for your hands not to be in the spotlight. Save yourself the embarrassment of chipped polish and hangnails by indulging yourself with a professional mani. I opted for shellac procedure since I was in the UK at the time. It lasts for a good two weeks without chipping and doesn’t require touch-ups, but gel nails at your local salon would work in a similar fashion for about the same price.
8. Have it Insured
Do I even need to mention what a diamond is worth? Save yourself the agony of it accidentally slipping off your finger while you’re washing your hands, losing it on your next vacation, or the house help getting a hold of it. Trust me, insuring your ring is the way to go. You’ll thank me later.
9. Never Compare
So your neighbour / cousin / BFF from college / family friend’s annoying goody-two-shoes daughter your parents are always comparing you to got engaged around the same time. Chances are, everyone around you will be buzzing with excitement, and like it or not, they’ll probably compare rings. Skip your moisturizer this week, because it’s time to develop a thick skin. Keep your class by not divulging details of your ring to people who indulge in idle gossip. Stand by your fiance and his decision and know that every couple is unique. What might work best for *her*, might not be what’s best for you and your man. He chose this one for you with love, and that’s all that matters.
10. Let Him Take Credit
You may have done all that research – comparing celebrity rings, stalking jewellery websites on the internet and you may have about five Pinterest boards dedicated to rings, rings and more rings. We get that you probably put more work into it than he would, but a ring is a huge investment and a big step for a guy. It not only shows how well he knows his special lady, but how he loves her enough to want to be with her forever, and that he can support her by buying her things she likes, too. Don’t take that away from him. Always tell your friends what an amazing job he did when he is around. He’ll feel like the man of the hour!
Simply admiring the ring when he is around or saying something like “I absolutely love my ring, you’ve done so well!” will make him feel on top of the world, even months after your engagement!