You've got the happy life, you've got the girl, now all you need is the ring, right?
Making the decision to propose to your girlfriend is a huge leap in the relationship and the last thing you need to stress about is how to buy an engagement ring.
That is why hitched have come up with an easy guide that will answer all of your questions and make the ring-buying-process nothing but joy!
Before You Buy
How do I know what style she likes?
Look at her day jewellery: Take mental notes of the jewellery she already wears and what her style is like. You will be able to tell a lot about a woman by the day jewellery she wears as it helps you decide the bling-scale of the engagement ring. By doing this you'll know if she is a traditional bride or a girl who would want a more alternative engagement ring.
Ask her friends: A woman’s best friends will always know what style of engagement ring she will want. Whether it’s a feminine marquise cut diamond or a bold emerald stone, they will be sure to know.
Pay attention to hints: As friends and family members get engaged, watch out for your girlfriend’s comments on the rings that are used. It’s a really good way of piecing together her dream ring.
How do I find out her size?
Steal a ring: Take one of her day-to-day rings and use a ring sizer to measure it, or take it to your local jewellers to get a ring size.
Buy a distraction ring: If she wears jewellery casually, buy her a distraction ring that she can wear day to day and use the size of that to determine her size – this allows you to figure out the ring size without making her suspicious of the engagement.
Choosing the Ring Metal
Your bride-to-be’s style is the main deciding factor in the ring metal you choose. For engagement rings, the most common choices are:
Rose Gold Engagement Rings
This dreamy coloured metal is very up and coming in the engagement ring market. If your girlfriend is a girly girl who loves anything with a feminine touch, then a trendy rose gold engagement ring could be the perfect pick.
Engagement Ring: Seaofloveee
White Gold Engagement Rings
If it’s a diamond ring you’re looking for, white gold is one of the most popular choices of metal. It looks super classy and is a mix between yellow gold, silver, palladium and zinc – a real recipe for beauty.
Engagement Ring: 77 Diamonds
Yellow Gold Engagement Rings
One of the most traditional ring metals around, and is 75% pure gold. This ring metal is perfect for women who like a classic jewellery look. If your girl likes an edgier look, look at designers such as Anna Sheffield who do contemporary rings in this metal.
Engagement Ring: Anna Sheffield
Platinum Engagement Rings
The purest metal available, platinum is extremely strong and has a gorgeous white shine to it so there is no need for coating. Women who like clean-cut jewellery which looks stunning and is guaranteed to stand the test of time will love an engagement ring made from this metal.
Engagement Ring: Emmy London at H. Samuel
READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Ring Metals
Shopping for the Engagement Ring
How do I know how much to spend?
A traditional take on buying an engagement ring is that it usually costs around three months’ salary for a man, but you don’t have to stick to this. The budget for the ring should be an amount you feel comfortable parting with. Once you know the shape, style and metal of the engagement ring, it makes it a lot easier to shop around for good prices and much like when a woman is looking for a wedding dress, when you find the right one you’ll just know.
Do I go alone?
If you feel 100% confident that you know what you’re doing, then venture out alone to buy the ring. However, if you are less sure, take someone with you that she trusts like her sister, mum or best friend. Even though this has to be your decision, it’s always good to get another person’s opinion.
Should I shop online or at a store?
Do some online research into different shops and boutiques you want to visit before you go out. It’s always good to have a plan of action rather than blind-buying.
We advise that you do the majority of your searching in person so you can really see the ring for what it is. Once you have chosen a ring, you can always search for a better price online and shop with retailers who have internet stores. If you are 100% confident in the supplier, buying an engagement ring online is totally fine and very common.
Questions to ask the retailer:
Can I swap the ring for another if she doesn’t like it?
This is something that is always worth asking. The answer won’t always be yes, but it’s worth knowing what your options are. Sometimes they will offer you options like reshaping or exchanging for another style which is always good to know. This question could come in handy if worst case scenario, she doesn't like her engagememt ring.
Will you resize the ring if it doesn’t fit her?
There are very few engagement ring retailers who won’t offer this service but it is important to check with them before you make the purchase.
Do you have a third party diamond certificate?
If you are buying a diamond engagement ring, you should always ask for a third party diamond certificate. This doesn’t mean you don’t trust your jeweller, it just gives you a guarantee that what you are being told is truthful and any well respected jewellers will be more than happy to provide this.
What are the ethics on the ring?
If you and your girlfriend are conscious of the ethical conflicts that coes with some jewellery, ask the jeweller where they source the materials. Ethical engagement rings are becoming more and more popular these days and a lot of jewellers now work alongside charities such as fairtrade to ensure the diamonds and metals are ethically sourced.
How do I care for the ring?
Different metals, diamonds and stones come with different needs. Some need more taking care of than others so make sure you ask the jeweller how to clean the ring.
Do you have a guarantee on the ring?
For example, if you are buying a white gold engagement ring, because of the coating, it can wear away and yellow after a few years so it’s always handy to know if the shop/company itself will offer that service for you.
Remember: Always check the warranties and returns policies before purchasing anything.
Temporary Engagement Rings
Not every man wants to propose with the actual engagement ring, so the other option is to buy a temporary engagement ring. This is a much cheaper ring which is still equally as gorgeous. You can use a spontaneous engagement ring to do the amazing proposal and then find time to shop together for the 'actual' engagement ring. The bride can still wear and keep the temporary one.
Engagement Ring: Gemporia
READ MORE: Temporary Engagement Rings: 47 Proposal Rings to Pop the Question With
Although it seems daunting, the whole thing is pretty simple. Figure out what your girlfriend likes, buy the perfect ring and ask her to spend the rest of her life with you!
Now you know how to get the ring, it's probably time to check out our awesome proposal ideas.