Your wedding rings are a constant reminder of the important vows taken at the beginning of your marriage. They're wearable symbols of your love and commitment to one another. And they (especially your engagement ring) also happen to be gorgeous pieces of jewelry you get to look at every day. For these and so many other reasons, you want to make the right choice.
These days, more and more couples are going ring shopping together. Is it the right choice for you? Here are six questions to help you figure that out, according to experts Anne Chertoff and Jamie Chang.
Meet the Expert
- Anne Chertoff has been an editor at various lifestyle media outlets and has produced a wide range of content on home and entertaining, fashion and beauty, wedding planning, etiquette, and style.
- Jamie Chang is the creator of the wedding-planning website Passport to Joy, a destination wedding planner, and the owner of Mango Muse Events.
- Tom Bergan is the vice president of Grown Brilliance, an industry leader in lab-grown jewelry and engagement rings.
What Are the Pros of Ring Shopping Together?
"First, it's super fun to try on engagement rings," says Chertoff. It's a great way to see what different styles look like on your hand and find out if you agree on what looks best. This is an especially good idea if neither one of you really knows what you're looking for. As Chertoff explains, there are almost innumerable variations—different options for the band material, the cut of the stone, the carat weight, and side stones—that it makes a lot of sense to do the research and peruse together.
Also, you'll get a better-shared grasp of the costs associated with engagement rings, Chertoff says. And because it's such an expensive purchase, you want to get the right ring as a lifelong investment, one that you'll be happy with for decades to come. The same goes for any significant financial investment. If you share (or plan to share) bank accounts and living costs, it's only logical that you discuss how much you'd like to spend on a ring and determine together what's affordable.
Moreover, you can do a custom ring if you're both there to make the big decisions, explains Chang. There's far less risk if the two of you are weighing in on the design and selection process. "It's also good practice for marriage, coming together and figuring out what makes sense for the two of you, including everything from the budget to the style," she adds.
What Are the Cons?
For obvious reasons, shopping together may take away the surprise of the proposal. But Chertoff says that there can still be some elements of mystery as long as you don't know the specific proposal plans, like when and where and how it's going to all take place. Relying on your spouse-to-be to pick out the ring of your dreams could also backfire if they unknowingly go over budget or have trouble choosing between so many different options, says Chang. It's rarely a sure thing when one person is left to their own devices.
How Do You Figure Out If Shopping Together Is Right for You?
According to Tom Bergan, vice president of Grown Brilliance, shopping for an engagement ring as a couple is completely dependent on the couple. "How comfortable are you discussing budgets and preferences with each other? If you are the sort of couple to discuss your finances openly and you have a very specific ring style in mind, then it might be worth picking the ring together. If you are the more discreet kind and like to give and receive surprises, and you trust [your partner's] choice, leave it up to your significant other to pick the ring!”
With that said, if you know you want some sort of surprise, then make it clear to your significant other, who can consult with your friends and family along the way.
It doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing situation. If you want to look together, then go ahead and do that, but consider narrowing down the field to two or three rings, then having your future fiancé make the final decision and purchase.
How Should You Go About Shopping?
"Looking online—whether a jewelry website or even the Instagram accounts of jewelry brands and designers, are a great place to start to get an idea of what you like and don't like," Chertoff suggests. Once you've figured out what you want to try on and how much you're willing to spend, then you can look into store visits and whether you need to make appointments or can just walk in. Be sure to call ahead and ask if their rings fit your budget. "Be honest about what you can spend," Chertoff says. "You don't want to waste your time or be upset if you find out the store you went to is way over your budget."
How Can It Be a Romantic Experience and Not Too Transactional?
Instead of adding ring shopping to your mundane "to-do" list, make the trip a special occasion. Chertoff recommends having a leisurely brunch before going to a few jewelry stores or going out to a romantic dinner afterward. You might also want to ask what engagement ring shopping services are offered at the stores you plan to visit. Some offer private appointments with champagne, Chertoff notes.
Additionally, Bergan suggests trying on ring options as a couple, but leaving the monetary portion of the purchase up to your partner. That way, you can enjoy the process together without getting caught up in the transactional part of the experience.
What If Only One Partner Wants to Shop Together?
This is where compromise comes into play. If your SO doesn't like the idea of you shopping with him or her, then start dropping heavy hints with family and friends, and then ask your other half to check in with them. "Or create a Pinterest board with your favorite rings, or populate your Instagram feed, or snap a few engagement ring photos that they're bound to come across," says Chertoff. The same goes for if you're the one resisting. Give your fiancé-to-be some clues so they're set up for success.