Wedding 101: Step 1: Find The Ring

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The first piece of advice I can give when shopping for rings is this: Have a say in the ring your fiance gives you! Remember, you’ll have to live with this ring everyday for the rest of your life. Literally!

When my fiance and I started having The Marriage Conversation , we both realized that we couldn’t imagine our future lives without the other, and started saying “well, in a couple years, we will…” and it really moved on from there. Once we jokingly named our future children, he one day asked if I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.a

I can’t say that was the official proposal, but that’s when we decided to start ring shopping.

I spoke to several women in different stages of marriage, and they unanimously agreed that giving input, if not picking out the ring itself, was important. Already being a “ring person”, I knew that a round diamond would look best on me. Because I do NOT have small, skinny fingers, I wanted a thicker band instead of something overly dainty. I’m constantly using my hands (shelving books as a librarian), so I couldn’t have anything that sat too high on my finger. And because I love sparkly things, I wanted detail all around the band as well.

It started off casual – I would drop into Helzberg or Zales if I was out shopping just to see what they had, and he started looking online. After about two weeks, he announced proudly he’d found a ring that really spoke to him on a designer’s website, and there was only one place in the area that sold rings by the designer. I loved it, but wasn’t sure I’d love it in person. By this point, I had realized that anything I liked in pictures I didn’t like in person, and anything I liked in person I would look back at in pictures and change my mind.

After another couple weeks, we planned a full Saturday of ring shopping, and first up was the store that carried his favorite designer. It was love at first sight! From that moment on, I couldn’t imagine any other ring being “The One.” My favorite thing about the store (Karats in Overland Park) and the designer (Kirk Kara) was that we could completely customize the ring. I could have had emeralds or sapphires, or changed the shape of the setting if I’d wanted. My fiance was thrilled that he got to see the stones before the ring was made, so he knew exactly what diamonds we would get. We stopped shopping right then and there. The owner of the store walked my fiance through the diamond selection and price process. They worked really well together to get the price within a range that worked for us.

One of the things I would re-think if I were to have a do-over is to let the sales associates at each store know right up front what price range we needed to stay within. No one ever asked us initially, which would have guided things a little more smoothly. (I liked a Tacori ring that started at $7,900 sans center stone!! Waaaayyyy over budget, and still not as perfect as the ring I ended up getting, but what if I’d fallen in love with that one without knowing the price??)

My mom had told me to get the best quality ring we could afford, since this was a forever commitment (much like the marriage itself)! I know a lot of women “upgrade” after five or ten years, but this is definitely not something I’m interested in. The engagement ring I got at my proposal and the wedding ring I’ll get at our ceremony are the ones I plan to keep forever – I’m too sentimental to ever want to give them up.

Ladies, do your research beforehand about cut/clarity/color so you know what everyone is talking about, but remember to let your heart guide you. I thought the “when you find the one, you’ll know” advice was a load of crap, but it couldn’t be more true. Though don’t look too long, because everything will start to look the same. Be true to yourself – if you want sapphires, get sapphires! If you want a non-traditional ring with small stones set into the band, just remember that it needs to reflect your life, your style and your love.

Happy shopping!

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