Buying an engagement ring is the ultimate romantic act — but there are a lot of practical considerations that go along with it.
Whether you’re a by-the-books pragmatist or a die-hard romantic, an engagement ring purchase will take you out of your comfort zone.
The engagement ring purchase intertwines pure emotion with plain ol’ practicality. You’re choosing a symbol of love and commitment for the woman who has transformed your life. But you’re also spending a lot of money on an object that you don’t really understand, and it has to last forever.
Check these five practical considerations off your list so that you can concentrate on the emotional (and even fun!) part of your engagement ring purchase.
Practicality #1: Her lifestyle
The engagement ring you choose will be on her hand every day for many years, if not for the rest of her life. Most women don’t like having to remove the ring for work, sports or hobbies — so you have to think about how the ring will fit into what she does each day. For example:
- Does she work in a job where she takes care of people (teacher, nurse, physical therapist) or works a lot with her hands (chef, landscaper, welder)? If so, you might want to think about a ring that doesn’t have elevated diamonds (in prong settings).
- Is she athletic, playing team sports or engaging in activities such as skiing, swimming or yoga? Think about how she uses her hands, handles equipment and wears gear in her sports, and whether she’ll have to remove the ring you choose when she plays.
- Does she like to get her hands dirty, in the garden, the kitchen or the art studio? A solitaire in a prong setting is actually easy to clean.
Explore more practical recommendations for finding a ring that fits your fiancée-to-be’s lifestyle.
Practicality #2: Her personal style
What does she choose to wear to express herself — at work, in social settings or just hanging out at home? Look at the fabrics she chooses, the colors and patterns she tends to wear, the kinds of shoes she prefers and the jewelry she most often wears. While most women tend to pick and choose, your fiancée-to-be probably has a style she gravitates toward most often.
Check out this article on choosing the right engagement ring, and this quiz about your bride-to-be’s style, to help guide you in the right direction. Once you’ve figured it out, a jeweler should be able to help guide you toward ring designs that fit her style.
Practicality #3: Your budget
If you haven’t researched engagement rings before, prepare for a surprise: the cost is always more than you think it’s going to be. Luckily, there are engagement ring options for every budget, and sometimes finding the right ring for the right price is a matter of prioritizing different factors.
Determine what you can spend without breaking the bank. Remember that, especially if you plan to finance the purchase, you’ll need to live with this expenditure long after you’re engaged and even after you’re married. It might even be the first big debt of your married life. Don’t put your finances at risk with the engagement ring purchase.
Practicality #4: Her ring size
This seems like a small detail, but it can be a really big deal. Depending on the kind of engagement ring design you choose, it can be very difficult to have a ring re-sized. It can also be disappointing, and somewhat anticlimactic, to have to send the engagement ring back to the jeweler for re-sizing after the big proposal.
If you need to find out her size without her knowing, try borrowing a ring she often wears on her left-hand ring finger and compare it to this handy ring-sizing tool. Sometimes people push a ring into a piece of clay for a more precise measurement.
Another idea, especially if she doesn’t wear rings, is to try measuring her finger with a piece of string while she sleeps. And another way might be to ask one of her friends to casually show off one of her rings, encouraging your fiancée-to-be to try it on and then judge how it fits. Get more tips for determining her ring size without spoiling the surprise.
Practicality #5: Protection
Buying an engagement ring is a considerable investment, and one that will last. You wouldn’t buy a car without a warranty or insurance — and you shouldn’t buy an engagement ring without protection either.
Especially with something so small and valuable, you must consider possible loss, such as theft, damage or strange disappearance (bathroom sinks are well known for devouring beloved diamond rings). Insist on buying a ring from a jeweler that offers a warranty, and wrap the cost of insurance into your budget.