Should You Go Engagement Ring Shopping Together?
It may seem as though the one giving the ring gets all the shopping glory. But in a modern world where gender equality is an ever hot bed of conversation, the one wearing the ring is no longer relegated to merely dropping not-so-subtle hints about platinum versus yellow gold, princess cut versus emerald cut. Today, the proposee has as a real seat at the table…or the jewelry counter, in this case.
Why Do the Engagement Ring Shopping Together?
Brides being completely surprised are on the decline, with 33 percent engagement ring shopping together with their mates, according to 2017 Jewelry and Engagement Study conducted by The Knot. While it may stray from tradition, shopping together for the engagement ring brings with it a bounty of benefits.
A just-right look: With a seemingly endless supply of options regarding engagement ring cuts and settings, it can be daunting to know which combination will match your mate’s style perfectly. There are plenty of tips to help buy just the right engagement ring on your own, but nothing really beats having the ring wearer there in person. After all, even she may not know what ring she likes best until she tries a few on and sees them on her finger. In fact, the study, which represents 12,657 brides, shows 76 percent of brides wanted to do their research first, and 64 percent of brides involved in the shopping process wanted to try on different looks before settling on “the one.”
Briana K. found this to be true after trying on rings she didn’t love at a jeweler before eventually finding a rose gold ring and black diamond from AlexisRussell.com that was uniquely her. The shopping experience “is how we knew I wanted something simple, unique, and natural,” she says. “I grew up with relatives who were big into geode hunting, so I’ve always been drawing to more rustic and natural rocks.”
A Cinderella fit: Sure, there are all kinds of covert and sneaky ways to find out her ring size without her being any the wiser. However, for a fit that won’t need any extra finessing later, getting her finger measured in person by a professional while engagement ring shopping together will eliminate any guess work or extra cost.
Merged money: If the two of you are already living together, there’s a likelihood you have a joint savings account. This can put the proposer in a precarious position for two reasons. First, the proposee is likely to notice–and thus question–if a large sum of savings goes MIA or the credit card bill skyrockets beyond the norm. And second, that money is part hers. She may want a say in how much of it is being spent and what it is being spent on. By engagement ring shopping together, you can eliminate one stressor money so often puts on a relationship.
Fixed funds: A budget is a must when it comes to shopping for an engagement ring, but the old adage of “two months salary” isn’t a rule that works for everyone’s financial situation. By ring shopping together, you can both set an amount that seems reasonable to spend on a such a big investment without starting your financial future together in the red due to overspending.
“One day we heard of a huge diamond sale at the store I had always wanted my ring to come from,” says Alicia S. “I told [my then boyfriend Matthew] I love a pear solitaire, but the actual diamond and setting were up to him, and we decided on a budget together.”
It may not feel romantic, but it could mean other life dreams (you know, that first house together) come true because you were both smart when shopping for the engagement ring. “We both knew we were getting married and it was just a matter of when,” says Alicia S., who said they decided together that it was a practical time to buy the ring, but to keep it romantic, Matthew could propose whenever he was ready.
The fifth C: Beyond color, clarity, cut, and carats, engagement ring shopping together is ultimately about the fifth C–commitment. If you’re at the this stage, then hopefully you’ve already discussed what marriage means after the wedding is done. Still, there may be more commitment conversations that come up, as shopping for the engagement ring has a funny way of leading to issues you’ll be confronted with during your marriage (think, values, finances, the decision-making process, etc.)
How to Pair Up for the Proposal Piece?
Despite all the great benefits, for some, shopping for the engagement ring together removes the one bit of nostalgia for which most soon-to-be engaged couples yearn–that is, the exciting and romantic element of surprise. If that’s your concern, put it aside as there are plenty of ways to keep her on her toes while shopping for something to put on her finger. Because when it comes to combining traditions of the past with the modern conveniences of the present, engagement ring shopping together proves you can have your something old and something new before the wedding day even arrives.
Make a date at the jewelry counter: Instead of just casually dropping by a jewelry store, build up the experience so it’s a little more special. “We picked Valentine’s Day to shop, which is basically, National Getting Engaged Day,” says Nora S. of St. Louis. Missouri. “I tried on one ring that I thought I’d like–but did not like it all–then tried on one [my then-boyfriend] Alex picked, which was perfect, and I fell in love with it immediately. We tried on a couple more things, but I kept going back to that second ring, and realized I was sold.
Pin down options: Technology is a great way to narrow down the engagement ring shopping options without her knowing too much about what the end style may be. The 2017 Jewelry & Engagement Study reported Pinterest as a big factor for brides, with 62 percent finding inspo there, while only 23 percent of grooms were taking advantage of this influential resource. Change that by creating a shared board on Pinterest that both of you can view. Build the board together for a 50/50 collaboration, or let her click the way to the ring she wants, pinning pictures of drool-worthy bling.
Talk about it: Who needs technology when a face-to-face conversation can open the lines of communication to lead to a ring that’s just right.
“My husband and I dated for seven years before we got engaged, so he was no stranger to wedding talk,” says Patrice S. of her then-boyfriend Josh. “I was always showing him rings and wedding ideas that I liked, and we would have pretty frank conversations about it. I showed him all kinds of rings that I liked but he usually came back to the classic round solitaire. Every time we talked about it though, I made sure to tell him that I wanted him to pick whatever he liked best!”
Depend on friends: You wouldn’t hesitate to ask a friend for a recommendation for a good mechanic or a great vacation spot, so why avoid the topic when it comes to engagement rings? Sixty-one percent of brides and grooms from The Knot study said friends and family were the most influential when it came to choosing a local retailer. If your squad is filled with recently engaged couples and newlyweds, invite them into the engagement ring shopping conversation. That doesn’t mean you have to buy what they like or spend as much as they did. However, hindsight is often 20/20, and they may have some tips they learned along the way that can help the two of you buy the right ring together with less stress and at a better price.
There’s an app for that: If you plan to do your engagement ring shopping online, look for retailers who let you put a ring on it virtually. Apps like this mean she can try on rings from the comfort of her own couch. Have a current long-distance relationship? Shopping in person may be tricky, but a virtual try-on app may be the next best option when ring shopping together.