Every bride remembers the moment the love of her life got down on one knee and proposed — she might not recall exactly what he said or what she was wearing, but that second in time will stay with her forever. But what she doesn't know about are the weeks, months, or even years leading up to that proposal from the other side: her groom's perspective. Here, in a new BRIDES series, our very own groom-to-be, Aaron (name change for obvious reasons), is sharing his story about the (real life!) proposal he is planning very soon for his fiancé-to-be. This week, Aaron tells us what exactly happened when he went to pick out the engagement ring.
Once I finally decided the time had come to buy an engagement ring for Rachel, figuring out where to actually get one became the next obstacle.
My boss recommended a mom-and-pop shop his family has gone to for years. A recently-engaged friend recommended Blue Nile. Someone actually told me to try Tiffany, but objected when I asked if she would "lend" me $20,000.
Browsing Yelp, I found a small jeweler with an office just a few blocks from my house. He had unbelievable reviews, absolutely gorgeous samples on Instagram (including a few that were exactly what I wanted) and the website showed reasonable pricing for the quality. This would be my first — and hopefully only — stop.
I wasn't just working on my schedule, as Rachel's mom would be joining me. (Remember when I confessed to asking my girlfriend's mom to go ring shopping with me?) A week or so in advance, we found a weekday I was off from work and Ellen could play hookie, and I made an appointment. Unfortunately, when that day actually came, a snowstorm forced the cancellation and I pushed it a week back. On the bright side, the extra week gave me time to do some more fishing and I found out Rachel would prefer a ring with a cushion halo (whatever that means). Thank you, disgusting Northeast weather!
The second try came along on a sunny day. Ellen and I drove the two minutes to the jeweler and we were welcomed by the incredibly nice man I had read so much about on Yelp. I had only been in a jewelry store once before (with a very specific to mission to buy arguably the least expensive set of earrings at Tiffany), so all the bling on display was overwhelming.
My family is short on heirlooms and sentimental objects, so I've always intended to start a tradition and use the round-cut diamond from my grandmother's ring. I would only have to pick out a setting and not go through the whole "Four Cs" education, making a decision based largely on cost.
__See more: Our Favorite Celebrity Engagement Rings __
He seemed fairly impressed that I knew exactly what I (errr, Rachel) wanted and that I had perused his Instagram to find inspiration. My basic requirements were as such: Cushion halo surrounding my grandmother's center stone, and diamonds about halfway down the band, which should be platinum or white gold.
He pulled a number of rings and settings, which resulted in Ellen and I gawking in silence for for several minutes. I found my voice and courage, beginning my next line of questioning to narrow it down.
"Not a cathedral setting."
"A band needs to fits under it."
"Cushion halo isn't too square."
We got it down to two different settings and it seemed like it was time to talk about price, so Ellen asked if she should leave the room. I really didn't care either way, but she said she would and, in retrospect, that was probably a good call. The one I was leaning toward was more expensive, because of course. But since I wasn't buying a diamond and the price differences on settings weren't too far off, I figured I might as well pull out all the stops and make the setting look as beautiful as possible.
He explained the drilling for stones on the band (which is still over my head), and I opted for pavé. We had a long discussion about platinum or 18K white gold and I ultimately made him convince me that platinum is a better investment. Clearly I can't make executive decisions.
We came to a conclusion on price and since Ellen and Rachel wear the same size ring, I texted her to come back in so that I could confirm. The last choice was whether or not to get stones underneath the raised setting — at no extra cost. I wavered as per usual, Ellen wouldn't push me one way or the other (come on!) and I ultimately said yes.
The whole process should take four weeks, the jeweler said. After a deep breath, I swiped my credit card for the deposit and just like that, I was officially on the verge of getting engaged.
Out of the corner of my eye, I kept seeing Ellen with a huge smile on her face, looking like she was about to cry. When we got in the elevator to leave, we shared a huge hug.
At Ellen's behest, I sent a photo of the setting to my mom, which resulted in a series of text messages with inordinate amounts of exclamation points. My two best friends also got the picture, earning me "holy (expletive) dude, you're actually getting engaged" responses.
After dropping Ellen off at home, I treated myself to a Frappucino and later, a nice beer to wrap up one of the biggest days of my life.
Now I just need to figure out how to propose...