sparkling engagement and wedding ring set with many diamonds
Weddings are a pretty big deal in my life and business, and I know they're an even BIGGER deal to the couples involved. And each wedding -- no matter how big or small -- starts with a proposal. I've shared some suggestions to inspire the proposal and tips to surreptitiously have it photographed, but I know there is one important component to popping the question that stumps many a would-be proposer ... choosing the ring!

Engagement rings have a long history, and it's not unusual to feel an intense pressure to get it right. To help you in that, here is my ultimate guide to picking an engagement ring she'll love!

1. Research
Since you're planning to marry her, you probably know your girlfriend well. But for some men, that doesn't necessarily translate to a clear understanding of a woman's tastes and preferences. So do a little research!
  • Pay attention to the pieces of jewelry she loves and wears the most. What do they have in common? For example, if your lady never wears yellow gold, that's probably a good sign that it can be struck off the list of possibilities for the engagement ring.
  • Scope out her social media. If your girlfriend has a Pinterest account, that can be a goldmine of information about what sparks her fancy. She might even have a whole board devoted to rings! (Here's mine! haha!) Though Pinterest is the best bet for this kind of wishlist, you can also check to see if she's posted or reacted to ring photos on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
  • Look at her style in other aspects of her life. Your fiancée-to-be has a whole wardrobe and interior design style that can tell you about her likes and dislikes. If she loves retro fashion, she may love a vintage-style engagement ring. Likewise, if she's into modern, minimal style, she would probably love something clean and sleek.
  • Learn a bit about ring styles. The ultimate goal is to buy a ring that she'll love, and that means you'll eventually need to communicate what you've learned about her preferences to a jeweler. So open up a private window on your browser and spend a little time becoming familiar with engagement ring styles and terms. This guide to settings might be useful and so might this guide to diamond shapes. (Note: I'm not affiliated with these companies, so I cannot vouch for their diamonds. I simply found this information useful.)
yellow gold solitaire engagement ring & diamond eternity wedding band
2. Accomplices
This one can be a little tricky based on who you enlist as your accomplice, but it can be a great resource. Get her mom, sister, or close friend to do the research FOR you. Unless they're terrible actors, they will probably be able to bring up engagement rings in conversation with much less suspicion than you can! Ask your accomplice to send your girlfriend the link to an article or quiz about engagement rings or to start a debate about celebrity engagement rings with her, and then to report back to you.

3. Field trip
Take her to a jewelry store for another reason. Maybe you're buying a bracelet for your mom, maybe you're getting the battery in your watch changed, maybe you're buying HER a sweet little something. Whatever the reason, make it a low stress, no rush trip where you can wander together and look at all the bling. Watch to see which rings she's drawn to. Joke about what styles you're baffled by, and low-key prompt her to share her own preferences. If you're committed to surprising her, make sure you focus on several kinds of jewelry on this trip (not just rings) so that you don't tip her off. It will also be important that you actually carry out the task that you used as a reason to visit the jewelry store. :)
heirloom yellow sapphire engagement ring with stacked wedding bands
4. Listen
This sounds extremely common sensical, but it has to be said: listen for the moments when your bride-to-be talks about engagement rings! You can find out so much about her thoughts on engagement rings simply by being open and aware in those moments when weddings and engagements come up in conversation, and making note of what she says.
  • What are her reactions to real life rings? When one of her friends gets engaged, listen to what your girlfriend says about the ring in private (because it's expected that she'll ooh and ahh about the ring to the friend's face).
  • What does she say about rings in the media? When a high-profile engagement is in the news, see if she brings up the ring and what she says about it.
  • Is she giving you hints? If you're on the verge of proposing, you've probably discussed marriage and your future together many times. Your girlfriend probably has SOME idea that the proposal might be coming -- if not when or how. With that in mind, she might be dropping hints about her ring preferences left and right! If your girlfriend is offering you subtle suggestions, it will mean the world to her that you listened and chose her ring with her words in mind!
dazzling halo engagement ring
5. Get a ring that can be exchanged.
I feel confident that if you follow the suggestions above, you'll be in a great position to thoughtfully choose a ring that is suited to your girlfriend. But for added insurance, talk to the jeweler about their policy on exchanges. Many jewelers are super flexible in this area and will be happy to allow you to come back with your (now official) fiancée to swap the setting out. Since she'll probably be wearing this ring every day for the rest of her life, it never hurts to have that added assurance that she'll have an engagement ring she loves!

I know that getting ready to propose must be a heart-pounding situation. But if you put time and care into choosing the ring, that attention will show! Your girlfriend will be moved by the effort that you put into selecting a ring just for her.

-----------> Soon after you pop the question, you'll be planning your wedding! It's a great idea to start thinking about the timeline of your day early on! If you would like to have a timeline to start from, click here to take a quick 2-question quiz, and we will email you back with an ideal preliminary timeline based on the sunset time on your wedding day as well as whether or not you would like to do a first look!
The ultimate guide to picking out an engagement ring she'll LOVE!
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