Everything You Need to Know About Engagement Ring Shopping as a Couple

A guide to help ensure you're both on the same page.

couple with rings

PHOTO BY ELIZABETH WELLS PHOTOGRAPHY

Your wedding rings are a constant reminder of the important vows taken at the beginning of your marriage. They're also wearable symbols of your love and commitment to one another, and they serve as gorgeous pieces of jewelry you get to look at every day. For these reasons (among others), you want to make sure you select the right pieces when trying on engagement rings and making a final purchase.

These days, more and more couples are going shopping together to find an accessory that's perfect for their union. But is this the best approach for you? Ahead, with the advice of three experts, we break down everything you should know about ring shopping as a couple, in order to help you decide whether it's the right decision for you.

Meet the Expert

  • Anne Chertoff is a writer and editor who has been covering weddings since 1999. In addition to her work on Brides, her bylines also appear in the New York Post, WeddingWire, and New York Magazine, among other publications.
  • 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.

The Pros of Ring Shopping as a Couple

"First, it's super fun to try on engagement rings," says Anne Chertoff, a wedding writer and editor. Aside from being fun, though, shopping as a couple is a great idea if both of you are unsure of what you want. As Chertoff explains, given the innumerable variations—different options for the band material, the cut of the stone, the carat weight, and side stones—it's usually easier to research and try on engagement rings together in order to help mitigate any stress.

Another pro? You'll both get a better sense of the costs associated with this expensive piece of jewelry, notes Chertoff. As you likely already know, it's generally recommended that couples talk about large financial purchases; so, for that reason, 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 create an amazing custom ring if you're both there to make the big decisions, explains Chang, and 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.

The Cons of Ring Shopping as a Couple

For obvious reasons, shopping together may take away the surprise of the proposal. But even so, Chertoff notes 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 the vast amount of options available today, says Chang. It's rarely a sure thing when one person is left to their own devices.

How to Determine If Ring 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 themselves. "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. However, you can also consider narrowing down the field to two or three rings, then having your future fiancé make the final decision and purchase.

How to Successfully Go About Shopping as a Couple

"Looking online—whether a jewelry website or even the Instagram accounts of jewelry brands and designers—is 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, you can then look into store visits or custom ring options. And for in-store visits, don't forget 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 to Make Shopping a Romantic Experience

Instead of adding ring shopping to your mundane "to-do" list, make the trip a special occasion full of romance. 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, as some provide private appointments with champagne, Chertoff notes.

Additionally, Bergan suggests trying on ring options together 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 to Do If Only One Partner Wants to Shop Together

This is where compromise comes into play. If your significant other doesn't like the idea of shopping together, then it might be best for you to work closely with family and friends, then have your partner work with them directly. "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.

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