Five Steps to Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring

Congratulations! You’ve found the love of your life and you’re ready to make things official. While the idea of getting married can be overwhelming to some, it is ultimately a beautiful declaration of your union and your intent to spend the rest of your lives together. Yet, before you get down on one knee and pop the ultimate question, you have to find the perfect ring first!

While you may think you can waltz into a jewelry store and a ring will immediately jump out to you as being “the one,” the reality is that the ring shopping process can be more than a little arduous and time-consuming. Doing a little research beforehand can save you time, money and sanity down the road. That said, here are five steps to choosing an engagement ring that will send your partner to the moon.

1. Know your budget.

There’s nothing like finding the perfect ring of your dreams, then realizing that it costs more than your house and car are worth combined. Before you even set foot in a jewelry store or hop online to compare your options, it’s wise to know exactly how much you can afford to spend. Though this is arguably the most important piece of jewelry you’ll ever buy in your life, you don’t want to spend years paying it back in installments. Rather, set a budget that you are comfortable with and that won’t require you to sacrifice your quality of life to pursue.

When you’re ready to shop, knowing your price range can save you a ton of time. This way, the jeweler will be able to show you options that fit within this range so you can avoid looking at ones that are way over or under your ideal number. While you’re coming up with these figures, remember that the old adage rings true: It really is the thought that counts. Ultimately, buy the nicest ring you can confidently afford and your partner will appreciate the sentiment regardless.

2. Determine your partner’s ring size.

While it’s a simple fix, nothing ruins the mood quite like slipping a ring on your partner’s finger only to find that it’s grossly under or oversized. To make sure the proposal goes off without a hitch, it can be helpful to determine your partner’s ring size beforehand. The easiest way to do this is to bring a ring that he or she doesn’t wear too often (but that you know fits) to a local jeweler. You may need to recruit a friend or family member to help you pull off this stealth surprise!

This step is worth it, though, as a professional can tell you the exact size so you know what to order when it’s time to buy the ring. Though you can always get an ill-fitting ring resized down the road, this process can be costly and time-consuming. Ensuring a true fit will save your budget and help make the proposal as swoon-worthy as possible.

3. Understand your partner’s style.

Does your partner love old Hollywood movies? Does she enjoy dressing in throwback vintage pieces and decorating in a classic style? If so, you may be best served by looking at vintage or antique engagement rings that are both unique and time-honored. From round center stones to colored gems and diamond-encrusted bands, these are one-of-a-kind and never go out of fashion. You could even consider using a family heirloom, such as your great-grandmother’s ring, if one is available.

Or, does your partner prefer a more modern look? If so, there are plenty of rings available in a clean, streamlined look that are equally stunning. From white and yellow gold to platinum and titanium, there are a range of different material options available as well. If you aren’t sure which style to go with, consider your partner’s personal everyday style and use that as a guide.

4. Choose the perfect ring.

Once you know your budget as well as your partner’s ring size and personal style, you’re ready to go shopping! It can be easy to become overwhelmed at this point in the process. If you don’t see anything you love after the first time out, don’t get discouraged. It can take months to find the perfect engagement ring!

Of course, if you’re running into myriad roadblocks while out shopping for a premade ring, you can always design a custom creation yourself! In tandem with your jeweler, you can share your vision for the ring, describe your partner’s style and work together to make your dream a reality. This can also be a sweet way to incorporate a special personal touch into the ring as well. For instance, you can engrave the band with your wedding date or a special saying. You can also create a custom diamond look, such as a three-diamond ring that symbolizes your past, present and future together. This is a small but meaningful way to give your partner a ring that means something significant to the both of you.

5. Insure your ring.

After you’ve popped the question and you know the ring fits and is the one your partner adores, it’s a good idea to insure your engagement ring. Why? This is a valuable personal possession and should be protected as such. Ring insurance will safeguard the ring against theft, damage or loss. In the event that the ring is lost or stolen, you can use the insurance money to either replace it or you can invest it anywhere else you see fit.

You can usually incorporate your ring into your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, making the process as simple as possible. Make sure to read the fine print to understand what level of coverage this offers. Most will insure a ring against natural disasters but not human error, meaning that if it slips off while your partner is doing dishes, you may be stuck footing the bill for a new one. Conversely, a replacement insurance policy will usually reimburse you for the full amount that the ring is worth. Your jeweler can point you in the right direction when it comes to choosing a policy that’s best for you.

Ultimately, shopping for an engagement ring should be a fun and memorable experience. After all, this is your first step toward forever so take the time to prepare beforehand so the journey is everything you want it to be.