There's a reason engagement rings — buying, losing, hating — are a common rom-com plot point. Because they're not just jewelry: In our society, they're supposed represent the love you have for your partner and your intention to marry them. Oh, and they should cost a few months-worth of your salary. No pressure, right?
But here's the thing: Those "rules" aren't real. Ideally, the ring you receive is one that symbolizes the bond between you and your partner, one you love looking at, and one that doesn't break the bank. And the best way to find that item is to tune out what everyone says you "should" look for in a ring, and focus on what you want.
And while you're at it, focus on what your partner wants, too. "I'm gay — where's the manual?" says one Refinery29 staffer. "I got us both rings but will be excited to see what flushes out in coming years as the 'official' tradition."
Here, we spoke with married Refinery29 staffers about the biggest things they wish they'd known before they went shopping for engagement rings. Click through for some essential tips — and for more on ring specifics, click here
for our ring-shopping guide.