The One & Only Rule To Follow When Engagement-Ring Shopping

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
National Proposal Day may have been last week, but proposals happen 365 days a year. In honor of this fun holiday, we wanted to talk about something that happens before the big proposal (most of the time, at least): picking that perfect engagement ring.

Whenever we talk engagement rings, you know we have to mention James Allen. They’re one of the biggest online retailers of diamonds and engagement rings and let you design the ring of your dreams. You can choose from endless options of diamonds and settings (all conflict-free, of course) and their prices are 30 to 50% lower than rings you’d find in most stores.

But before you even make the purchase, there are a few things to consider. While every couple is different, we’ve rounded up a few rules we recommend standing by when it comes to finding that forever accessory.

Are You Allowed To Drop Hints?

While some may want to be completely surprised, you shouldn’t feel bad if you decide to drop a hint or two. It is quite sweet when your significant other takes the initiative to pick out a ring (or even design one) with no feedback from you, but you might run the risk of a Carrie Bradshaw and Aiden situation (before Samantha intervened).

So if you want to drop a couple hints about what you love, you are absolutely allowed to. You’re the one who will be wearing this piece of jewelry every single day for the rest of the your life! Consider designing your dream ring online and “forget” to close the browser, let your partner’s best friend know what you love, or have an honest and open discussion about it. Because at the end of the day, whether you’re surprised by the ring or not, it’s all about being with your partner forever. Do what feels right for you.

Are You Allowed To Go Ring Shopping Together?

As with all of these etiquette rules, this one is totally up to you. Though it's nice to be surprised, it can also be quite romantic to go ring shopping together (especially if you have very particular taste and know exactly what you want). And these days, this doesn’t mean you have to head to your local jewelry store to pick out the rock of your dreams. Even if you pick out a ring together, you can still be completely surprised by the way he or she proposes, which will be just as special.

Do whatever you and your partner are comfortable with and what makes you both happy.

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Are You Allowed To Buy Your Own Ring?
Listen up: It’s 2015. You are all strong, beautiful, independent women. And if you happen to be the breadwinner in your duo, why not foot the bill for your most important accessory? Of course, this route is not for everyone, but if you can afford it and your partner is saving up for something else for you two (a house, perhaps), and you’ve got the means, then you should get the ring you want.

The only caveat here is to make sure that your partner is comfortable with this. A marriage should be an equal partnership — which is why, in our opinion, it’s completely okay to pay for your own ring. But you also want to make sure you’re not making your significant other feel inadequate or like they aren't part of the process. Just make sure that the lines of communication are open and that both parties are completely comfortable with this decision. We know a handful of women who have footed the bill for their own engagement rings, and we have to say, it’s quite the #girlboss move.

Are You Allowed To Get Engaged Without A Ring?

Of course! In case you haven’t noticed, there aren’t really any super-strict rules when it comes to engagement ring shopping. The only rule that you don’t want to break is making sure that whatever you do is a joint decision and that the end goal is spending your life with the one you love most.

Not having a ring can make the proposal more spontaneous and gives the couple a fun activity to look forward to after saying “yes.” We know someone who proposed to his then-girlfriend on the floor of their new apartment, while eating a box of pizza. It was a spur of the moment decision, and afterwards, they designed a ring together. And since you know where to look for gorgeous rings, you can even start browsing (and designing) your dream ring the moment you say yes, right from your laptop.

The bottom line is this: Do whatever you and your partner are comfortable with and what makes you both happy. These days, most people collaborate on the ring selection in one way or another, so figure out whatever will fill you two with joy and go that route. No matter what you choose to do, we highly recommend taking a peek at JamesAllen.com, whether you just want ring inspiration or you want to design the rock of your dreams.

What do you think about these “rules?” Do you have any advice to add to the list?

XO Team LC
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