I knew my engagement wasn't going to go viral and be featured on Buzzfeed or anything. My husband just isn't a roses and candlelight type of guy and I've known that ever since I met him. His idea of romance is saving me a parking spot downtown if he knows I have a meeting to get to since he spends his day driving all over the city for work.
Our relationship may not necessarily have the grand gestures of Disney movie prom-posal, but my husband never ceases to surprise me. His proposal was no exception. On a random July night in 2013, I was scoping the weekend circulars looking for sales so we could plan our monthly grocery shopping. For months he had been slipping everything from twist ties to rubber bands on my finger joking about if I'd marry him even if he proposed with a soda can tab. Oblivious-behind-me had no clue that he was actually sizing my finger the whole time. So I'm sitting there circling the by one get one free tubs of Country Crock and I hear him ask from the other end of the couch, “Will you marry me? Seriously this time," I didn't even bother to look up. I was over that game. I blindly gave him my free hand (What can I say… it was a really good sale) and responded, “Yep, sure will," as I felt him slip something on my finger. After getting halfway through the produce section I look up to tell him to stop playing with my emotions and find myself staring directly at an emerald cut solitaire. It was the ring of my Pinterest dreams. The ring I had pinned at least seventeen different versions of to my 'Wedding Ideas" board and the only reason I learned the difference between asscher cut and radiant cut diamonds.
The ring was the only thing that DIDN'T completely catch me off guard at that moment. In the next twenty minutes I learned my new fiancé had been campaigning to family members for my hand in marriage for months and that damn near everyone knew he was planning to propose that year BUT me.
I may not have been at the Zales counter with my fiance, but I did give him a Pinterest board guide to exactly what I wanted. I am well aware that I have control issues and if I had to wear something that traditionally announces “Taken" for the rest of my life, you're damn right I needed to have a say in it. But was I being smart or just plain old tacky?
Here are a few pros and cons for picking out your own engagement ring so you can focus your attention on other things like linen colors and Viennese menus and not carats and clarity.
1. Less stress for your fiancé.
According to my husband, he appreciated any help he could get. In fact, at a certain point in the relationship he downright asked me what kind of ring I wanted. I wanted my ring to truly reflect my taste and if I had left it up to my husband he might have just gotten me a carbon copy ring featured on the latest cover of People Weekly. If your guy is dropping hints about heading to the altar you might want to leave that copy of Cosmo carefully open on the Verragio ad. But do not (I repeat, do not) start talking about diamond bezels unless you're 99% sure homeboy has marriage on his mind or you might scare him away.
2. If you haven't yet discussed finances as a couple, this may be the first of many conversations.
I didn't want my future husband dropping the price of a small hybrid car on an engagement ring. I have perfected the art of forgetfulness like Ariana Grande has mastered the high ponytail and the idea of having that much of an investment just sitting on my left hand everyday was way too much pressure. We were already pretty transparent about our finances even before the engagement, but clearly communicating my expectations not only gave him a better idea about how to budget when ring shopping but also got us on the same page when budgeting for the wedding. Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but some men can't tell the difference between platinum and Reynold's wrap. Dropping hints about your expectations may be the wake-up call you both need about how your mindsets compare when it comes to money.
3. Less pressure on your BFF.
One of the most tried and true ways men use to figure out your heart's desire when they have absolutely no idea is to ask the best friend. This is great if you and your girls have been scouring Bridal magazines since you were 12, but not so great if she's not as in tune with your taste. This means she either gets the tricky job of trying to get in your head without spoiling the surprise or bearing the blame when you can't keep your face from deflating when your boyfriend breaks out the brown diamond.
4. The fun of ring shopping.
Since I already knew I be choosing my engagement ring, I felt like actually shopping for it would make it even less personal. But if you're not as sure about what you want, ring shopping can be a bonding experience and allow you to choose wedding bands to match while you're at it. It also helps eliminate that whole guessing game when it comes to ring size.
1. The surprise factor.
You're going to know what your ring will look like and by ring shopping with your man you kind of kill any hopes he has to pass down his Great Grandma Ethel's engagement ring. Keep in mind that just because you know what you'll see when you open that little box doesn't mean you can't be surprised in other ways. Who knows, maybe you will get that dream proposal on a private beach or in a hot air balloon. You may know what's coming, but your hubby-to-be can still get creative with the when, where, how and how much.
2. You might be letting your inner control-freak show.
This is where really knowing your man comes into play. If he's got a big ego, hi-jacking his chance to choose something for you completely on his own might send a message that you either don't trust his taste or that you don't believe he really knows your style. You'll be spending the rest of your lives together and if an engagement is sending anyone on an ego-trip, you may not be prepared for the rough ride that a marriage can be at times.
3. The awkwardness of ring shopping.
Like I mentioned, my control issues only went as far as letting my fiancé browse my Pinterest board to get a feel for what I wanted. I've heard some horror stories about ring shopping going completely wrong. Can you imagine getting excited over carat after carat while your future fiancé sits there wondering which organ he has to sell to make you happy?
Were you happy with the ring your fiancé chose or did you pick it out yourself?