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Engagement Ring Shopping With Your Fiancée-to-Be: The Guide to Getting It Right

You want to choose the perfect engagement ring. Here’s how to enlist your bride-to-be to make sure she gets the engagement ring of her dreams.

Getting engaged is a time-honored tradition practiced by couples since … well, forever. These days, some guys take the elaborate proposal route: choosing an eye-popping location and an over-the-top-will-you-marry-me speech complete with balloons, flowers and an engagement ring they chose all by themselves.

Even if the two of you have discussed getting engaged before, asking for her opinion will likely strike her as romantic and practical all at once.

Lots of couples, though, get engaged more informally and decide to shop for the ring together. If you know your bride-to-be has very specific tastes in jewelry or you just love the idea of choosing a symbol of your lasting commitment together, then shopping for an engagement ring with her is a great idea.

Follow our tips to get the most out of your shopping experience — and make some great memories in the process.

Do your homework

Even if you plan on taking her engagement ring shopping with you, you’re going to want to do some reconnaissance to have a baseline idea of what her tastes are. After all, you don’t want to be suggesting a princess-cut diamond if she really loves cushion-cut or platinum if she prefers gold.

Social media is a great way to learn about her tastes. First stop: Pinterest, where she is likely to have at least one pinboard about engagements and weddings. While looking at her ring ideas is a great place to start, don’t stop there. Look at her home furnishings boards to determine if she prefers modern or traditional styles and fashion boards to see if she likes simple or complex designs. Look carefully — her boards are a great way to suss out her style.

Lots of women use Facebook to telegraph their tastes too. Has she “liked” any jewelers? Does she post when she buys something? How about her friends: What styles do they like? This could provide some good clues. Get creative and keep an open mind when learning about her likes — she’ll appreciate it, and it’ll go a long way in helping choose the perfect ring.

Stealth shopping

One way to keep a small element of surprise in the ring department is to just happen to end up in a jewelry store near the ring cases, and casually ask which ones she likes. This is the perfect thing to do at the mall, before or after a movie or dinner.

Even if the two of you have discussed getting engaged before, this will likely strike her as romantic and practical all at once. The fact that you’re initiating the ring shopping will thrill and delight her, and the idea that you want and respect her opinion (after all, she’ll be the one wearing it!) will please her.

Definitely talk to a salesperson while you are there, and try to learn a little bit about choosing a ring together. The salesperson will be an invaluable resource helping you determine what your wants and needs are as well as setting a budget, and when you decide to go ahead and make the big purchase, you’ll already have someone who knows your preferences.

A Temporary Ring

If you and your fiancée-to-be’s friends are in the habit of making crazy, elaborate proposals, you may be worried she is expecting some kind of spectacular surprise — but you’re not sure what kind of ring you should be presenting at the big moment. You want to have an uber-romantic surprise proposal, but you don’t want to choose the wrong ring.

Well, you can plan your Popping the Question event exactly how you want it: at a romantic restaurant, on the beach, skydiving, or whatever your girlfriend would find the most special. You’ll need a ring, just not the real ring; the two of you will shop for that ring together later. For this occasion, choosing an inexpensive ring that works for your proposal doesn’t require you to make a nerve-racking purchase. It can be a ring you own, a ring she wore as a little girl (her parents may have to help with this), a costume ring, or a promise ring representing your commitment to her.

As soon as you rise from being on bended knee, though, let her know that this ring is just a placeholder, and you want to pick out her dream ring together. This way you can have the best of both worlds. It’s a guarantee she’ll treasure that promise ring, even if it’s more modest than her engagement ring, for the rest of her life.

Stop, then shop

What happens when you’ve already had frank conversations about getting engaged all along? You know you’re going to get engaged. She knows you’re going to get engaged. The only questions left are where, how and when.

Some women prefer you to choose the ring — they feel it’s romantic if you pick it out just for her. In situations like this, buy some bridal magazines, brew a pot of coffee (or open a bottle of wine) and have a real conversation about what she loves. Pay attention to the types of things she points out, what kind of metal she likes, type of stone, diamond shape and size, and ring style. Then, when you’re ready and armed with the knowledge the browsing session gave you, head to the jewelry store and choose that ring. You’ll be confident it will be to her taste, and that you chose it with her in mind.

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