The Ultimate Guide to Buying Engagement Rings (Part 1)

Usually what you see in movies and dramas is the groom-to-be popping out of nowhere with the ring and the girl is all crying and screaming “YES!”, and the ring magically fits like a glove.  This is the part where I go “really meh~”.

I mean I would imagine the guy cracking his brains at the jeweller deciding which ring to buy, and guessing her ring size. Because normally a man wouldn’t even buy jewellery so how can the first time be a one-hit kill?

Just to clarify, I’m not stereotyping that all men are that clueless about what their girlfriends like etc. But you know there are some who really are like that. Plus, it’s not very sincere to “chin chai” buy a ring to propose. Like hello, you’re expecting this girl to commit her whole life to you; it should require more effort, right?

So over at weddingbells, we decided to come up with a 3-part guide to buying an engagment ring, to save you the headache at the jeweller.

In Part 1, we’re talking about the groundwork before buying the ring…

1) Set your budget

I know there’s this so-called rule that the engagement ring should cost you 3-months worth of salary. From a girl’s perspective, I think that’s rubbish. I mean, if you can get something she likes without spending a bomb, why do you have to go for expensive brands. But well, I can’t speak for all the ladies out there.

So how much should you spend? Well, my advise is buy the nicest ring you can afford without going in debt. Because it’s not about how much you spend on an engagement ring that matters, but the thought and effort that goes into purchasing it. No girl wants to start a family with someone who’s in debt.

More importantly, don’t let the cost of a ring delay you from proposing. What does it says about you willing to postpone your marriage just so you can get a better rock? Not romantic right?

2) Maintain the element of surprise

The classic ‘proposal’ reaction

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I do notice this trend where the guys will bring their girlfriends to the jeweller to choose the engagement ring. While it saves you the hassle of buying the wrong ring or wrong size, you’ll miss out on this ONE opportunity to show how thoughtful and romantic you can be.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to buy the ring with your girlfriend…but just imagine this scenario…

As you get down on one knee (oh my god…) and show her the ring, it’s the kind of design she likes (wooo!) and it fits! (squeals!!)

You’ll be the talk of the century amongst her girlfriends and your future in-laws will feel even more at ease knowing that if a guy can be this careful with a ring, their precious daughter will be in good hands.

3) Observe her taste in jewellery

If you guys had dated enough to know you’re meant for each other, chances are you would already had started talking about weddings, the future etc. And amongst these, she would had mentioned her dream ring. So, every time she talks about jewellery and accessories, pay attention.

Or, you can sneakily bring her out and “happen to walk past” a jeweller and see what kind of reaction she has when she sees a particular design.

The last resort is to ask her closest girlfriends; if she has mentioned anything about her favourite metal and stones etc. But make sure they can keep the secret!

Remember, it may be your money, but she’s going to be the one wearing it for the rest of her life. So make sure you’re getting something she likes.

4) Find out what’s her ring size

Finding out her ring size can get a little tricky. One way is to take ring that she owns and bring it to the jeweller to have it measured. So don’t swipe one that she always wear so she wouldn’t notice that it’s missing.

(Maybe we should have a post dedicated to this, you think? If yes, let us know in the comment section!)

5) Look around retailers and compare prices

Consider skipping the high-street brands. You’re mostly paying for the brand-name sake anyway. Sometimes the perfect ring can be found at the least expected places. So look around and check different retailers and jewellers to see the collections they have and their price ranges.

Another tip is you can also consider customizing the ring. It may sound complicated and expensive but after you selected the diamond / stone and the setting, it may even be cheaper than what is offered at the stores.

Some experts also suggest going online to buy the ring. It’ll not jeopardise your budget as online stores do not have overheads hence their cost would be lower. That being said, do be careful and only buy from legit online jewellers.


So that’s the end of Part 1

In the next series, we’ll talk about the actual ring and the 4Cs. What are the 4Cs? Stay tuned to find out!
(Read Part 2 HERE)



Steph Leong considers herself a lifestyle chameleon, with a passion for fashion. Steph is also passionate about street dance; specializing in Waacking. A dancer by night, Steph does freelance writing and graphic design by day.

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