Updated: Dec 3, 2020
When it comes to choosing wedding and engagement rings, there are so many more options than you would ever expect! The key is to keep it personal, and have fun choosing!
With the average cost of an engagement ring in the UK last year being roughly £1,500, an engagement ring can be a pretty big purchase! Of course, engagement rings can cost anything from £100 to £10,000 and so it's really down to your budget and style as to how much you will spend. Some research into the different styles and metals will go a long way to helping you make your decision (read on for a quick summary of different metals).
Traditionally, the person proposing chooses the engagement ring - and the style will be a surprise when they pop the question. Some people have confidence in picking out an engagement ring that they know their partner will love. But more and more often, a 'proposal' or 'temporary' ring is bought instead.
This ring will be used to propose to your loved one with, before you both go out and choose a 'proper' engagement ring together. This is a great idea if you haven't been able to sneakily suss out your partner's jewellery size, or if you have no clue what they would like!
You can purchase 'proposal' rings for as little as £40 from established jewellers, but there are also lots of cheaper costume jewellery options. I also love the idea of using a jelly sweet ring for fun! In The Simpsons, Homer proposed to Marge using an onion ring - but perhaps skip that idea if you want your loved one to say yes!!!
Engagement ring trick
If you're not sure of your partner's size, I would always recommend choosing a ring that is a little bigger than you think it should be to propose with. This means that at that all important moment it will fit on your partner's finger without a struggle and you can get those photographs to share with your family straight away!!! If it's too small, they won't be able to wear it straight away. You can always visit your jeweller soon afterwards and have them adjust the size for you.
My engagement ring
My husband chose the ring he proposed with. Knowing that I don't often wear jewellery he must have had a tricky time of it, but he customised a stunning engagement ring (pictured at the top) at the family run jewellery shop Prestige Diamonds in Southport. I absolutely love it, and he almost got my size right (it was a size or two too big). I loved that he had chosen the details for me, and he did an amazing job!
Usually you would go out and choose your wedding rings together, and I would suggest ordering them about 6 months before the big day. Whether you include them in your wedding budget or not depends on who is contributing towards your wedding day - traditionally you and your partner buy them for each other.
Don't forget that you will be wearing your wedding rings for years and years, and so it's really important to know what you want for this super important piece of jewellery. The metal that your rings are made from is more important than you might think, so make sure you think about your lifestyle and personal tastes before you make your decision.
Here's a quick guide:
--> Platinum: The most rare metal, and also the one that needs the least maintenance. Platinum doesn't tarnish and doesn't mark easily. Perfect for you if your day to day life involves using your hands a lot, or if you like your jewellery to be low maintenance.
--> White Gold: White gold is made from a blend of yellow gold and a white metal like silver or platinum. It's then coated in rhodium to give it a lovely shine. To keep it in top condition, you'll need to have it re-coated every so often.
--> Yellow Gold: Possibly the most traditional choice for wedding rings. It's a soft metal and marks quite easily from everyday wear, but has a lovely warm glow.
--> Rose Gold: This modern metal has been super popular recently, and is made from a mix of yellow gold and copper. It is more durable than yellow or white gold, but due to the copper it is not hypo-allergenic.
--> Titanium: A comfortable, lightweight, and hypo-allergenic metal that is very hard-wearing. It has a slightly darker hue than silver or platinum and is a popular choice for grooms (including my husband).
--> Palladium: Another modern metal that has a similar look and feel to platinum, but isn't as expensive.
--> Sterling Silver: Made from 90+% silver and a metal alloy such as copper, sterling silver is strong and durable, and great value. It can be coated in rhodium to give it a lovely shine.
Wedding ring styles
You might need to take into account the style and shape of your engagement ring when you pick your wedding ring. If you plan on wearing both together, will they sit nicely next to each other? Is it important to you that they match? Is it comfortable to wear?
My wedding ring
Jewellers would suggest that you match the metals of your engagement and wedding rings to reduce tarnish. My wedding ring is yellow gold and doesn't match! It was originally my nan's (and possibly my great-nan's before that), kindly gifted to me by my dad in the months before my wedding day.
The fact that they don't match my engagement ring doesn't matter to me as they both harness so much sentimentality. I originally had my wedding ring coated in rhodium, but as you can see it has worn away over the last 18 months, and I'm not sure that I would like to have it re-coated.
My husband's wedding ring also doesn't match mine, although often couples will choose a matching pair.
Whatever you decide, your wedding and engagement rings are so super personal to you, that it will really depend on your own personal tastes as a couple. Good luck choosing, and make sure you have fun deciding!!!