gemstone engagement ring
Photo: Eidel Precious

Set a budget and expectations.

While you may have been drooling over engagement rings for the last year and checking out your friends' dazzlers, your groom probably hasn't. He likely has little idea just how much an engagement ring can cost, as well as how many options there are. What you might think is reasonable to spend, he might find shocking (or vice versa). Having this discussion early will help save you both from whispered disagreements in the jewelry store.

Agree on priorities ahead of time.

It's not a bad idea to do some pre-shopping research. Decide what's important to you both in this investment. Perhaps you are willing to pay for higher clarity, even if that means sacrificing size. Or you might conclude that you couldn't care less about the 3 other C's, because carat size is the only thing that counts. Don't rely on the jeweler as your only educator. By entering the jewelry store with purchasing insight and knowledge you will be able to make a smarter purchase for your preferences.

Check your jewelry box.

You've probably never bought a piece of jewelry that is this important or expensive. The choices can be overwhelming. However, they don't need to be. Look in your jewelry box and select the pieces you love the most and also the ones that are in your weekly rotation. What does this jewelry have in common? Are most of them minimalist pieces with clean lines? Are they sparkling and glittering? Bold and colorful? You can find plenty of insight into the jewelry you already own. And if you have jewelry that you love in the box, but never wear because the ring band is too wide or you don't like how your ruby earrings look on your skin, then you know what to avoid. This will help you narrow down your selections when engagement ring shopping.

Don't buy the first one you try on.

You two step into the jewelry store and are instantly surrounded by all things sparkly. You try on the first ring, and it seems like love at first sight. And while we don't advocate needlessly browsing when you find the perfect ring, it would be wise to look a little. Make sure that even after trying on a variety of rings, that your connection to the first ring is just as strong.

Keep it fun. Leave when it's not.

Especially if you don't find what you are looking for right away, you might be in for a long afternoon. Have fun with each other. Keep the mood light and romantic. The minute it stops being a sweet experience, take a much-needed break. Go have lunch or take a walk. This is one of those great life moments. You don't want to spend it being frustrated or having an argument. Once you've purchased your new favorite thing, make sure to take a few pictures to show it off on Instagram to all of your friends (after all, causing just a teeny bit of envy is half the fun).