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How To Buy an Engagement Ring and Top Mistakes to Avoid

So you've found the love of your life and are sure you want to spend the rest of your days with her. Now what?

If you're wondering how to buy an engagement ring the right way, keep reading. We've prepared tips and tricks to help you find the perfect ring before you propose, all while avoiding common pitfalls like racking up serious debt, getting the wrong ring size, and spoiling the surprise.

Choosing a Wedding Band

Don't: Forget About It

If you're getting engaged to the person of your dreams, you're probably going to actually marry her at some point, correct? What are you going to present to her at the wedding ceremony? A wedding band, of course!

It's easy to forget about buying a wedding band when you're caught up in shopping for engagement rings. However, it's something you don't want to leave undone when it's time to tie the knot. And if you rush to get a band later, you risk getting something that won't coordinate well with the engagement ring. Procrastination rarely pays off, especially when tokens of your undying love are involved.

Do: Find Something Fabulous

Rather than passing on the crucial task of finding a wedding band until the last minute, decide on what to buy when you purchase the engagement ring. 

If your budget allows for it, go ahead and buy both rings at the same time. One of the perks of shopping for affordable jewelry is that you don't have to spend thousands of dollars on two rings. If you know where to buy an engagement ring that won't break the bank, you could easily get a wedding set for under $100. 

As you're shopping for a wedding band, make sure that the band will pair with the engagement ring. Matching metals, coordinating stones, and a slim design that will fit against the engagement ring's head are all key factors to consider. 

If you're looking for inspiration, The Promise on Jewels for Bride is a great place to start. This 925 sterling silver band features a shimmering display of clear cubic zirconia, making it a great partner to many popular engagement ring styles.

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Getting the Right Size

Don't: Guess and Hope for the Best

Okay, so you've figured out how you're going to propose. Maybe it's something romantic and elaborate, or as simple as asking her the moment you sense that the time is right. Whatever the proposal scenario, picture your sweetheart accepting your ring and sliding it onto her finger... 

But wait! What if it doesn't fit?

Finding out her ring size ahead of time saves you the embarrassment of botching one of the most significant moments of your life. Although it might make a funny story for you both to tell your friends after the fact, it's best to make sure to get it right the first time.

Do: Enlist Help or Use Stealth

Wondering how to buy an engagement ring that will fit your bride-to-be's finger without letting her know that you're going to propose? You have a few options to make sure you get the correct measurement. 

But first — keep in mind that manufacturers sometimes stamp sizes on their rings' inner bands. Check there before launching into an elaborate campaign of ring-sizing stealth.

If that fails, then one way to get your future fiancee's ring size is to enlist one of her friends or a family member to help. However, you need to make sure they won't spill the beans ahead of time and ruin the surprise. If you have an ally you're sure you can trust, ask that person to get the ring size for you as nonchalantly as possible. Perhaps he or she could casually mention ring sizes in a conversation. Maybe that person could briefly borrow another ring she often wears and measure it using a printable ring sizer

There's a lot of trust involved with enlisting someone else's help. You shouldn't risk it if you're not sure the job will be done right. 

If you have to get the measurement all on your own, don't despair! Romance expert Tiffany Wright has shared a few McGyver-style tactics you can use to find out your other half's ring size.

While your partner is sleeping, consider taking another ring that she always wears and pressing it into a bar of soap. The ring will form an impression that you can then measure around. Next, check a ring size chart to get her ring size. Don’t forget to wipe away any residue left behind!

You could also measure around her left ring finger while she's asleep using a piece of string. Lay the string flat to get the diameter, measure, then consult a size chart. This method is a little risky if she's a light sleeper, but if she happens to wake up, at least you won't be using an actual measuring tape. It'd be pretty obvious that you were looking for her ring size.

If you don't want to risk disturbing her slumber, borrow one of her everyday rings, slip it on your own finger as far down as it will naturally. Mark the spot with a pen and measure around to get the right size.

Looking at Price Tags

Don't: Go Into Debt

Breaking the bank before the biggest day of your life is easy to do. If you get caught up in the thrill and romance of wedding planning, your wallet will suffer. With so many expensive engagement ring offers on the market, going into debt to buy some bling is a real possibility.

Think about it: Do you want to buy one overpriced engagement ring and bring thousands of dollars of unnecessary debt into you and your fiancee's new life together? Wouldn't it be better to find something cheaper and be able to save for the surprises life is bound to throw your way?

Do: Set a Budget

Weddings today cost an average of $29,858, according to Value Penguin. Engagement ring sales are an average of $5,598. Rather than spending that much, consider setting a budget to find an inexpensive engagement ring and plan a wedding ceremony you can realistically afford. 

While we aren't here to give you event-planning advice, we can assure that you can get a breathtaking engagement ring for under $100. The metal rings we offer at Jewels for Bride have a similar shine to platinum and white gold at a fraction of the cost. Our stones bring the glitz of real diamonds without the imperfections and ruinous asking price. Imagine what you will be able to do with the $5,498 you'll save!

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Deciding Where to Shop

Don't: Go to a Brick-and-Mortar Jeweler

You might find yourself compelled by tradition and television advertising to visit a brick-and-mortar jewelry store. If that's the plan, you should know that you'll be up against astronomical markups on diamond engagement rings that are far beyond your budget. 

Salespeople working on commission will try to pressure you to buy a ring you may not love. You might be convinced to purchase a ring set with low-grade diamonds, with the promise that these inferior stones are a great deal at a lower (but still too high) price point. 

Is a trip to the jewelry store worth the risk of blowing out your engagement ring budget?

Do: Find a Reputable Online Retailer

If you're wondering where to find an engagement ring that isn't a brick-and-mortar store, look no further than your phone or computer's browser window. 

Reputable online jewelry retailers give you curated selections of beautiful engagement rings made from high-quality materials. This stress-free alternative to traditional engagement ring shopping skips the pushy salespeople, the smoke and mirrors, and the trip downtown.

Online businesses like Jewels for Bride provide hand-picked engagement ring collections backed by lifetime warranties. You can also expect fair return policies and jewelry pieces made from durable materials that are as gorgeous as they are affordable.

With worry-free engagement ring shopping at your fingertips, you're sure to find a special token that's as gorgeous and unique as your bride-to-be.

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Selecting a Design

Don't: Think All Rings Are the Same

Maybe jewelry isn't your forte. After all, they don't teach you how to buy an engagement ring at school. If you think all rings look the same, remember that the engagement ring you'll be giving your sweetheart is one of the most significant pieces of jewelry she'll ever wear. You should find something she'll love and that represents her style.

You don't need to study up on the history of stone cuts, every gallery style available, or the gemology of every rock. You do, however, need to pay attention to detail to make sure you get the beautiful engagement ring that your better half deserves.

Do: Consider Your Options

When shopping for engagement rings, look for styles with attractive sparkle. Imagine what shapes, stones, and metal colors would look best on her hand. Would a solitaire on a simple band be best, or a central stone surrounded by accent crystals for extra shimmer. Perhaps a wide band with a pavé setting would best suit her personality.

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If you're not sure what your bride-to-be would like best, take a look at her everyday wardrobe. Is it minimalistic, tailored, or over the top? Try to find a ring that will compliment her style. A peek at her other jewelry pieces should give you an idea of how much glitz she would want from her engagement ring.

Keeping It a Secret

Don't: Let the Cat Out of the Bag

Part of the fun of buying an engagement ring is keeping it a secret, right? You don't want to slip up and let her know before you pop the question that you've been shopping!

Imagine the disappointment you'll feel if your sweetheart finds an open browser window on your phone or computer that shows a page full of engagement rings. Obvious URLs in your history also serve as potential spoilers. What you really need to be careful of, though, are retargeting and social media ads.

Tracking cookies housed on shopping websites will follow you as you surf the internet, potentially serving graphics-based ads on other websites' sidebars and popups. As you use Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, you might start seeing posts and videos created by stores you've visited online. Any of these marketing tricks might clue your special someone into the fact that you've recently looked at jewelry websites.

Do: Cover Your Tracks

Wondering how to buy an engagement ring online without your girlfriend knowing? All it takes is some careful planning.

The very first time you get serious about buying an engagement ring online, switch your browser to "incognito mode." This private browsing feature will not save the addresses of the websites you visit or those sites' cookies. You shouldn't be haunted by old URLs popping up on your everyday browsing window or get served incriminating retargeting ads.

If you've already started the shopping process outside of this privacy mode, don't worry. Simply delete your recent browser history and clear your cache to remove the evidence. And from now on, keep it incognito!

When making a purchase, use an email address with an inbox to which she doesn't have access. Delete emails as necessary or hide them in an inbox folder that she's unlikely to check. If you've saved any photos of engagement rings you're considering buying on your phone or computer, delete those images immediately.

You've Got This

Springing for an engagement ring might seem overwhelming. However, by following these simple tips and tricks, you should be able to breeze through the process with the greatest of ease. And if you need any help along the way, Jewels for Bride has got your back. 

Our selection of affordable, high-quality engagement rings and wedding bands come backed by lifetime guarantees and tons of happy customers' five-star reviews. Let us help you find some sparkle she'll love!