As we forge further into the new millennium, we see old wedding traditions die out to be replaced by new modern practices. The bride’s family no longer has to foot the bill, grooms aren’t asking permission from their girlfriend’s parents to propose, and adding some colour to your white gown isn’t out of the question.
One trend we see pop up more and more has to do with the initial engagement itself: many pairs are opting to ring shopping together, instead of making the design a surprise.
Nowadays, it appears more and more women are putting in their two cents, both literally and figuratively when picking out the engagement ring.
Some women make it a point to pick out the exact ring they want, whether it be through telling a friend or hinting to their significant other, some couples are opting to go ring shopping together, and some women even go as far as “going dutch” (splitting the cost) on the ring.
So, is picking out your engagement ring a DO or a DON’T? What do you think, brides-to-be? Let’s weigh in on the pros and cons.
Can a woman choose her engagement ring?
Traditionally, it was up to the groom to pick out the ring for the bride’s hand. The bride would only know about their engagement ring during the proposal.
However, things have changed, and women choosing their engagement rings is becoming very popular over the years. But should this be the case?
Does the act of a woman choosing her preferred engagement ring to take away something special from the whole marriage proposal affair?
As women actively put their two cents into the whole engagement ring/ proposal thing, quite literally and also figuratively, most men are left wondering if this should be the new norm.
So, can a woman pick their engagement ring?
Yes, a woman can pick out their engagement ring. Traditionally, it was expected that the man would pick out the perfect engagement ring (without the woman’s input), plan out an elaborate surprise engagement/ proposal event, get down on one knee, and ask the woman to marry him. While this still happens, times are changing, and such traditions are being phased out slowly.
It means that while the engagement ring picking and purchase processes can be arduous and complicated, seeking your partner’s counsel might not be a bad move.
After all, deciding to decide without the woman’s input might not always end well, especially if the ring you choose is nothing the woman wants.
Even if you aren’t going big on your budget, it might be a good idea to involve the woman or gain their insight because if your relationship lasts or if she says yes, the engagement ring chosen will last a lifetime.
Pros of Shopping Together:
The Ring is Exactly What You Want.
You are going to be wearing this ring for a very long time, so it’s important that you love it. Trust me when I say there are countless different ring styles to choose from, and frequently, you will be surprised that the rings you thought you liked when looking online are not what you love in person. By going ring shopping together, you will have the opportunity to try various diamond ring styles and settings and select the one that best suits you. So, when the time comes for your partner to propose, you will be wearing a ring you truly love.
It Will Take Pressure Off Your Future Fiance
Because an engagement ring is a substantial expense, your future fiance will want to make sure you love it. By accompanying your future fiance to choose the diamond engagement ring, you will make the shopping experience less stressful for him; he can rest assured knowing the ring selected is something you both love. Shopping together can alleviate a sizable amount of pressure in choosing the “perfect” ring.
Making a Big Decision Together.
An engagement ring is one of the biggest purchases a new couple will make. Since marriage is all about making compromises and joint decisions, choosing an engagement ring together is the perfect opportunity to understand the cooperation necessary for future decision making.
It Can Serve as a Bonding Experience.
Choosing and designing an engagement ring together can create an emotional bond and bring you closer as a couple. Your future fiance will get to learn more about you and your style, and in turn, you will get to learn more about his style and preferences.
Cons of Shopping Together:
The Proposal Will Lack The Surprise Factor.
An element of surprise adds an extra degree of romance and can create a nostalgic experience that you will remember forever. The idea of choosing your engagement ring may take away some of the magic associated with a marriage proposal. By selecting your ring, you already know exactly what the ring looks like and have an idea that the proposal is in the near future.
The Ring You Want is Out of His Budget.
You finally pick out the ring of your dreams, and unfortunately, it is outside his ideal price point. This can become a potentially uneasy situation for both you and your partner and can also lead to disappointment on both ends.
You Know How Much He Spent.
Honestly, most people dislike discussing money and finances. If you ring shopping with your future fiance, you will know how much he is spending on your engagement ring, putting you in an uncomfortable situation.
The Process May Seem Less Personal.
As with most gift-giving, part of the appeal is the amount of time, though, and effort put into it. Although the ring your future fiance chooses may not be the ring of your dreams, it may mean more to you because of the time he spent searching for the perfect ring, specifically for you.
Ways to Pick the Perfect Wedding Ring
Narrow Down Your Wedding Ring Choices
Diamonds or gemstones, platinum or gold—narrowing down your ring options may seem overwhelming, but don’t panic. Just take it one step at a time. Start with style: Are you envisioning a simple band or one with embellishments? Do you want your wedding ring to be the same metal as your engagement ring? Do you think you and your partner’s rings should match? Work out these kinds of questions beforehand so you can zero in on exactly what you’re looking for, then start shopping around.
Consider Buying Your Ring and Your Bands Together
If you prefer to be surprised by the engagement ring, this may not work, but knowing what bands go with the engagement ring can help you make a decision. For example, if you have a unique engagement ring, you may want a simple, no-fuss band, whereas a simple engagement ring may call for a diamond pavé band’s added sparkle.
Also, think about how the rings fit together. If you’re planning on wearing your engagement and wedding ring side by side, 24/7, look for a contour or shadow band designed to interlock with the matching engagement ring.
If you’re planning on wearing your wedding ring alone, you may want a more intricate style that will look great with or without your engagement ring. Talk to your jeweller about finding a band that works with your ring (some can even create both simultaneously).
Start Your Ring Search Early
Once you have a basic idea of what kind of ring you’d like, it’s time for the fun part: trying them on! Give yourselves at least two to three months before the wedding date to ring shop. You’ll need this time to browse, research prices and revisit rings that catch your eye.
If you have your heart set on a custom ring, you’ll probably need even more time. And keep in mind: Extras, like engraving, can take up to one month.
Mix It Up
Don’t fret if you like platinum and your partner likes yellow gold. There’s no rule that says you have to choose the same metal or even style. You could compromise with braided bands that blend the two metals or be different—the key to finding something you both love is choosing wedding bands that reflect your styles.
Set a Budget
Shop with the assumption that you’ll spend about 3 percent of your total wedding budget on the rings. Depending on the retailer, plain, 14-karat gold or simple platinum band can cost around $1,000.
Embellishments, like diamonds or engraving, will quickly add to the cost, so factor that into your budget if you plan to personalize your rings with any of these extras. The price of engraving is usually based on the number of characters, the font used and whether it’s engraved by hand or machine (hand is usually pricier).
Keep Your Lifestyle in Mind
Remember: You’re going to wear this band every day, so the goal is to choose something that seamlessly becomes a part of your life. If you play sports or an instrument, a slimmer ring with rounded edges (appropriately called the “comfort fit”) may make the most sense.
If you work with your hands, you may want to search for a simple, solid metal ring and avoid gemstones that can come loose or carvings, which can trap dirt. If you’re super active, go for platinum, which is extra durable (when scratched, the metal is merely displaced and doesn’t wear away).
Try Something Different
You may love the idea of a braided rose gold ring or a diamond eternity band, but once you get to the store, try some rings that aren’t on your inspiration board. Chat with the jeweller, then let them make suggestions based on what you like and don’t rule anything out.
Just like with wedding dresses, you may end up loving something you never thought you would. Wear it around the store for a few minutes and while you have it on, try writing and texting as a comfort test.
Think Long Term
While you shouldn’t be afraid of being trendy, make sure the style you choose is something you’ll want to wear for, say, the next 40 years. Just don’t stress too much: You’re not married to the ring and can always make changes to it (add diamonds or go from white gold to platinum) later on to mark a special anniversary.
Consider the Maintenance
To keep a wedding band with stones clean and sparkling, you’ll need to wash and soak it in warm, sudsy water, then gently brush it with a soft toothbrush or eyebrow brush (too much pressure can loosen the stones from their setting), rinse it and pat it dry with a soft lint-free cloth.
Sound like too much upkeep? You may want to opt for a fuss-free gold or platinum ring—rub it with a soft, lint-free cloth (chamois works well), and you’re good to go.
Size It Right
Most people rarely take off their wedding bands; they wear them through summers, winters, exercise, pregnancies—all times when your fingers swell and contract from heat, cold, water retention or weight gain.
To find the right size that will best weather all of those changes, schedule your final ring fitting at a time when you’re calm, and your body temperature is normal.
That means you should never finalize first thing in the morning (you retain water from the night before), right after you’ve exercised (fingers swell) or when you’re extremely hot or cold (which can cause your hands to expand and shrink).
Check for Quality
Quality control applies to all rings, not just your wedding bands. Make sure the ring has two marks inside the band: the manufacturer’s trademark (this proves they stand behind their work) and the quality mark, 24Kor PLAT, for example (this proves the metal quality is what the retailer says it is).
This means that if you are picking a diamond engagement ring, for example, you’d want to make sure that it meets the 4Cs criteria for the cut, colour, carat, and clarity.
So, in as much a woman can pick out their engagement ring, it’s not an entirely terrible idea to buy one yourself, but only if you are 100% sure of what they’d fall in love with.
You need to remember that even though you are free to ask for your woman’s help in the search for the perfect engagement ring, picking the perfect engagement ring and surprising her out of the blue will earn you some major points.
You come off as an ultra-romantic partner when you choose the best engagement ring and have a grand proposal, or even an intimate kind of proposal but still pull all the stops because you are sure that is something she will like.
When the man chooses the perfect engagement ring without the help or the bride’s involvement, that engagement ring and the proposal often turn out to be a very meaningful gesture.
Today, it is common to find women making a point about the exact engagement ring they’d like, either by going shopping with their partner or hinting at their significant other.
And we all agree that there is nothing wrong with this. There also are women who will ‘go Dutch’ on the engagement ring purchase process, splitting the cost of the engagement ring in half.
That said, here is why it is a good idea for couples to shop for the engagement ring together.
Is it bad luck to pick your engagement ring?
While choosing your engagement ring means that you get to choose exactly what you want, bond, and learn more about each other as a couple, some people (the superstitious) believe that picking out your engagement ring might not be the best thing to do because it could jinx your relationship, even before you start your life together.
But this doesn’t seem like something for you to worry about if you aren’t superstitious.
Financial Rules Of Thumb—Who Pays? How Much Is Too Much?
Not too long ago, the answer to who had to pay for the ring would be the groom. So long outdated traditions. Today, it’s much different and more common for the engagement ring’s cost to be shared by both parties. This won’t take away from the engagement in any way; in fact, it often leads to a more fulfilling and thoughtful shopping experience.
As for the price, on average, a diamond engagement ring can cost about $6,000. The final price will come down to style, cut and quality of the diamonds or stones you prefer. Just remember to pick a ring that’s within your budget to start your lives off together without the stress of debt. Choosing a lab-grown diamond is a great start to ensure your ring is within a reasonable price.
In my opinion, the choice to ring shopping together is a matter of personal preference. For some couples, the engagement ring is important. For others, the engagement ring is not a big deal. There is no right or wrong answer. Simply, it’s what feels right for both you and your significant other. What’s most important is that both of you are on the same page and are happy and comfortable with whatever you chose to do, as this ring will symbolize the beginning of your new life together.