Brooke and Nicholas
Destination, Popular Stories
It may seem as though the one giving the ring gets all the shopping glory. But in a modern world where couples share accounts, open up about opinions, and live as equals—the one wearing the ring is no longer relegated to merely dropping hints about platinum versus yellow gold or princess-cut versus emerald (thank the engagement ring gods!). Today, the proposee has as a real seat at the table…or, more aptly, the jewelry counter.
Brides being completely surprised are on the decline, with 7 in 10 saying they were somewhat involved in selecting or purchasing their engagement ring and nearly 23% say they looked at rings with their partner, according to 2019 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 (and a guaranteed, resounding “yes!”).
1. Trying on in person could change the game.
With seemingly endless options of engagement ring cuts, engagement ring styles, and settings—it can be daunting to know exactly which combination will make your partner go weak in the knees. While there are plenty of tips to help you buy just the right engagement ring on your own, nothing really beats having the ring wearer there in person to give it her or his seal of approval. After all, even your mate may not know what ring he or she likes best until they’ve tried a few on and and have seen them on their finger.
In fact, the same study we referenced earlier, which represents more than 21,000 engaged or recently married couples shows that 87% of engagements are planned ahead of time, while 13% are a spontaneous, day-of decision.
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 spoke her love language perfectly. The shopping experience, she said, was “how we knew I wanted something simple, unique, and natural. I grew up with relatives who were big into geode hunting, so I’ve always been drawing to more rustic and natural rocks.”
2. It will ensure a perfect fit.
Sure, there are all kinds of covert and sneaky ways to find out your partner’s ring size without them being any the wiser. However, for a fit that won’t need any extra finessing later, getting his or her finger measured in person by a professional while engagement ring shopping together will eliminate any guess work or extra cost involved in resizing.
3. It smooths the financial waters.
If the two of you are already living together, there’s a likelihood you have a joint account or share a credit card. This can put the proposer in a precarious position for two reasons. First, your partner 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 also your partner’s. He or 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 help ease the stress money management so often puts on a relationship.
4. It allows for smart shopping.
An engagement ring budget is a must when it comes to shopping for the ring of your partner’s dreams, but the old one-size-fits-all adage of “two months’ salary” isn’t exactly a rule that works for everyone’s financial situation. By ring shopping together, you can work as a team to set an amount that seems reasonable to spend on such a big investment, without starting your financial future together in the red due to overspending. You may think your mate wants a massive diamond ring—but seeing the cost of rings as you shop together may change their mind. She might prefer something more modest and opt to save the money for a house down payment, additional wedding decor, or an incredible honeymoon instead.
“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.”
Setting a budget together may not feel super 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.
5. It prepares you for what’s to come.
Beyond color, clarity, cut, and carats, engagement ring shopping together is ultimately about the fifth C: commitment. If you’re at this stage, you’ve hopefully already discussed what marriage means after the wedding is done. Still, there may be more commitment conversations that come up—and, believe it or not, shopping for the engagement ring often has a funny way of leading to issues you’ll be confronted with during your marriage (think, values, finances, the decision-making process, etc.)
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, know that there are plenty of ways to keep your partner on his or her toes while shopping for something to put on their finger. 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.
1. Make it a date.
Instead of just casually dropping by a jewelry store, build up the experience so it’s a little more special. Take the initiative to plan things as you would for a really special date night—make dinner reservations or have a champagne picnic planned for afterward (in case you end up having a ring-purchase to celebrate!).
“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.”
PRO TIP: If your partner is all about having the perfect nails, schedule a manicure for her in the morning so her hands will be nothing short of stunning for the shopping experience.
2. Narrow down options while keeping your final choice a surprise.
Technology is a great way to narrow down the engagement ring shopping options without your mate 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 your partner click the way to the ring he or she wants, pinning pictures of drool-worthy bling.
Outside of technology, though, a face-to-face conversation can open the lines of communication and 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!”
3. Tap into your friends’ expertise.
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.
4. Try rings on virtually.
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 your partner can try on rings from the comfort of their own couch (um, hello, Netflix and ring shop). This is especially a great idea if you’re in a long-distance relationship that makes shopping in person together a bit tricky.
Have the ring and ready to propose? Here’s everything you need to know about planning the perfect proposal moment for your partner.
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