The Proper Etiquette You Need to Know About Engagement Rings

An engagement ring is the beginning of a wonderful time in a couple’s life. They’ve decided to get married and hopefully spend the rest of their lives together. Over the years, there has been certain societal etiquette followed when it comes to engagement rings. Some couples still follow them to this day, while others choose to start their own traditions.

Here’s some engagement ring etiquette you and your partner can decide if you want to follow for your engagement period.

Photo by Nyana Stoica on Unsplash

1. The necessity of a ring

It’s typical for the person proposing to have a ring picked out and ready to give to their partner. Nonetheless, you don’t necessarily have to get a ring before you propose to your partner. Occasionally, couples may get engaged first, and then later, go shopping for a ring together. Doing this allows the partner to choose the ring they would like to wear. These circumstances may happen when a person proposes spontaneously without any prior plan.

Waiting to get a ring could even allow a couple to save up more for a ring that’s really special to both of them. In other cases, some couples may even choose not to ever get an engagement ring at all, as there’s no rule saying you have to get an engagement ring. It’s just merely tradition.

2. Payment of the ring

The etiquette when it comes to paying for an engagement ring is that usually, the groom is the one that buys the ring. Some couples instead choose to split the cost of purchasing the ring. Particularly with heterosexual couples, a man should consider the woman’s personality before suggesting this idea to her.

While modern women tend to prefer to go against these outdated traditions, there are some, such as the payment of an engagement ring, that many of them still believe in. If your partner does agree to split the cost of an engagement ring, this could be a great opportunity for you two to understand better how you plan and budget your money.

As you might already know, money is one of the leading causes of divorce. You and your partner discussing how to go about spending and saving money now will make it easier to discuss it throughout your marriage in the future.

Another aspect of this etiquette is that usually, the person who’s proposing should spend the amount of three months’ salary on it. While it’s a nice gesture, you can also choose to just spend however much you can afford. Your partner will be happier about getting engaged to you than the kind of ring you got them.

If you still want to make sure your ring looks really nice for your partner, you can always get it upgraded in the future before the two of you walk down the aisle.

3. Disliking the ring

It’s usually etiquette for the partner that’s receiving the proposal to accept the ring that they were given. Despite that, there are times that a person doesn’t like the ring they received and would prefer a different one. A partner disliking their ring can be a sensitive situation. The person proposing likely took time to look through rings, and pick out something that they really thought would be the perfect one to propose with.

Nonetheless, it’s okay for the person who received the engagement ring to communicate they’re not happy with the ring they’ve received. If that person is you, before you mention your dislike for the ring, see how you feel about it after a few days. It may be that you start to like it more the longer you’re wearing it.

If, after a few days, you still don’t like the ring, you should sit down with your partner and gently explain why the ring isn’t the right fit for you. You can ask to go to a jeweler to select a new one. Perhaps the ring could even be split to make this a little easier and less disappointing for your partner.

4. Diamonds

As you’ve probably seen in many romantic jewelry commercials, an engagement ring is usually set with a diamond. If diamonds aren’t necessarily what your partner likes, another way you could go about setting your ring is to have a gemstone or a combination of gemstones. It’s possible to even still have a diamond a part of the ring by having some surround a colored gemstone.

While diamonds are the product of years of good marketing through statements such as “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” you and your partner should go with a ring that makes you both feel comfortable and happy.

5. Reuse of a ring

This engagement ring etiquette is something that needs to be considered very carefully. Sometimes, people have engagement rings already because they previously bought one to propose to another partner. Unfortunately, as sometimes can happen in life, proposals don’t end up happening, or engagements end up getting broken.

Whether you should give the engagement ring to your partner or not should be discussed with your partner first. It may be, in some cases, the wearer of the engagement ring likes it enough to where they don’t mind it was originally meant for another person, and see no need for a new one to be bought.

It’s even possible to get a ring reworked in a way that’s different from when it was first bought. In other cases, you or your partner may prefer to get a new engagement ring that specifically symbolizes the love between you two.

Whichever choice is made, you and your partner should take time to discuss this and come to a mutual decision.

6. Giving a family heirloom

In some families, it’s a tradition for someone in the family to pass on an heirloom engagement ring to their partner. The ring is usually something that has been passed down for generations. It can be symbolic of not only the love of the person giving it, but also of old family memories and new ones that will come with the recipient now becoming a part of the family.

The person giving the heirloom should always make sure that everyone in the family agrees with this decision to avoid any familial conflict.

7. Stages of wearing the ring

It’s a tradition that the engagement ring is usually worn on the ring finger of the left hand during the engagement period. It has been used to make it clear to others who may try to ask them on a date that they’re engaged.

During the ceremony, the etiquette that’s usually followed is that the groom slides the wedding band on the bride’s finger. During the marriage, the wedding band is supposed to be placed closest to the heart, and the engagement is placed on top of it. Having said all of this, you can choose to wear your engagement ring and your wedding band on whatever hand and finger you desire.

8. Engagement rings returned

Some places have made this etiquette a law that an engagement ring must be returned if the engagement is broken off. In other places, the partner has the right to keep the ring if the other person was the one who broke off the engagement.

There are also laws in some places where a partner can keep the ring, regardless of the circumstances of who broke off the engagement.

Sometimes, as uncomfortable as it might be to do this, it could be a good idea to have a written agreement about what happens to the ring if the engagement ends. You should especially consider this if the ring is a family heirloom. Your family may prefer it not be given unless there’s an agreement that it will be returned if the engagement is broken off.

9. Male engagement rings

In heterosexual engagements, the etiquette is usually that only the woman wears an engagement ring. The male typically wears a wedding band. Nonetheless, in modern times, more men are getting engagement rings as a symbol of their upcoming wedding.

Keep in mind that if you choose to wear an engagement ring with your fiancée, and either you or your fiancée’s family members are more conservative, it might confuse them into thinking the wedding already took place. You can politely explain to them that you and your partner preferred to both wear engagement rings.

As male engagement rings have become popular, jewelers have presented options for couples to get his-and-hers engagement rings or rings that complement the bride’s ring. In the end, it’s all a matter of preference.

You can choose to wear a ring with your fiancée or just wear a wedding band. In addition to engagement rings, men may consider getting a playboy ring collection as a gift to their groomsmen for a bachelor party.

Couples have kept the traditions around an engagement ring for decades. Some are still popular among the younger generations, but now, people can choose whichever traditions they want to keep. Feel free to choose to hold whichever etiquette related to engagement rings you and your partner desire.

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