three modern engagement rings with different settings including pave and floating settings
three modern engagement rings with different settings including pave and floating settings

The Emotional Journey of Buying an Engagement Ring: How to Prepare

Alicia Briggs | November 23, 2023

There are many components to shopping for an engagement ring, but one thing that people often don’t anticipate is how emotional it can be. Couples aren’t typically prepared for the emotional journey of buying an engagement ring. Use this guide to help you prepare for and navigate any stressors or pressures that may arise when engagement ring shopping.

For further personalized guidance, our VRAI diamond experts can help you find the perfect ring using VRAI created diamonds featuring our Carbon Neutral Certified lab-grown diamonds.

Why Is It Stressful to Buy an Engagement Ring?

There are numerous reasons why it’s stressful to buy an engagement ring. In addition to budgeting for a ring, people often get overwhelmed when navigating internal and external pressures and expectations.

Below we cover the common reasons why ring shopping may be stressful, and how best to prepare for the process.

Family Expectations

If your family’s expectations about how you should propose, and with what ring, differ from your own, you may feel overwhelmed. Setting boundaries with family and loved ones (so that you and your partner can have the engagement ring you want) can be challenging to navigate.

Social Media

We live in a time where the pressures to keep up are enormous, due to social media. Social media sets numerous trends and expectations, including what type of engagement ring is trendy or acceptable.

If you’re worried about what others will think when your partner posts a photo of their ring online, you may feel extra pressure when choosing the ring.

Cost Expectations

The myth that you should spend three months of your salary on an engagement ring can make the idea of paying for a ring overwhelming. Some people even delay proposing because they don’t think they have enough money to cover the costs.

Any perceived cost expectations add largely unnecessary stress, but it’s possible to get a high-quality ring on a budget.

Wanting Partner’s Approval

Ultimately, you want your partner to love the ring you choose. But unless your partner has a Pinterest Board of their dream engagement ring, you might be worried that they will be disappointed.

Proposal Nerves

Proposing is one of the most beautiful moments in someone’s life, but it’s also incredibly vulnerable. It’s normal to feel nervous about whether or not your partner is going to accept. That stress can influence how you navigate the ring-shopping process.

Lack of Knowledge

Most people don’t have extensive knowledge of diamonds or engagement rings. Not knowing where to find a high-quality diamond ring will naturally make ring shopping feel stressful.

How to Prepare for Buying an Engagement Ring

While your worries and fears about buying a ring are perfectly valid, thankfully, there are solutions. Consider the following so that you’re emotionally prepared to navigate engagement ring shopping. These tips will save you time, effort, and money, and make it easy to select a quality, certified, diamond ring that stands the test of time.

1.Be Honest About Your Budget

Before you meet with any diamond retailers, do your research and review your finances. What can you truly afford to spend on an engagement ring? Your purchase should not put you into debt, or cause financial stress. Let go of cost expectations or the idea that you have to spend more to honor your partner.

There are high-quality, certified diamond engagement rings available for a range of prices. For example, due to VRAI’s transparent and accessible diamond prices, our 1-carat Solitaire engagement rings start at $1,400.

When you truly know your budget, and the market, you’re going to feel more confident when ring shopping. You’ll be less susceptible to pressures to spend more than you can afford.

2.Research a Trusted Retailer

Remember that diamond retailers are also salespeople. Many retailers sell low-quality engagement rings for prices that are far higher than the ring’s actual value. Some retailers may try to pressure you into buying the most expensive ring instead of one that reflects what you’re looking for.

Choose a trusted retailer that can provide helpful, honest guidance in selecting your ring. Reputable diamond retailers should only sell certified diamonds, provide transparent pricing and sourcing information, and have trained diamond experts available to help.

3.Ask For Help

If you have no idea what kind of engagement ring your partner wants, there’s no shame in asking for help. You don’t have to navigate this monumental process alone. If you and your partner have discussed getting engaged before, consider asking your partner about their ring preferences.

If that’s not an option, reach out to the people who know your partner best. They can help you choose ring details that your partner will love. A diamond expert can also help you choose, as they have years of professional experience in helping shoppers select their dream ring.

4.Consider Your Partner, Not What Others Think

At the end of the day, you’re buying an engagement ring for your partner. What matters most is what they will love to wear - not what others think. Reflect on what your partner truly wants. What is their style like? What colors do they love? What types of jewelry do they own? Is there a certain style or metal color they favor?

Ask yourself, what do I love about my partner? What are they like? When looking at different engagement rings, prioritize the designs that remind you of them.

5.Verify Quality Over Appearance

The flashiest ring with the biggest diamond, or the highest price tag, doesn’t necessarily mean that it's the best. If you’re in a hurry, or not sure what makes a high-quality ring, it can be tempting to buy the first one that looks pretty. Don’t settle for a ring that simply looks good if its quality can’t be verified. A low-quality diamond or a poorly designed setting won’t last.

A quality ring made from premium materials and expertly crafted is the most important thing to prioritize when ring shopping. Your engagement ring should stand the test of time - just like your love. Verify the diamond grade and certification, and don’t be afraid to ask too many questions about how the ring was made.

6.Take Your Time

Give yourself ample time to choose a ring to minimize emotional stress. If you’re stressed, you’re more susceptible to impulse buying, going with what other people say, or not trusting your gut.

Don’t rush the process. Let yourself shop leisurely and steadily so that you’re aware of any nerves or insecurities that may influence your choices while ring shopping.

Is It Normal to Go Engagement Ring Shopping With Your Partner?

Going engagement ring shopping with your partner is very normal. Couples often go ring shopping together as a fun and romantic way of planning their future. It’s a great way to understand each other's ring preferences and to talk about your expectations and desires.

Some couples prefer to look at rings together before proposing. Other people choose to propose without a ring, and go shopping together afterward; especially if your partner wants to pick out their ring.

Many people still want to be surprised and don’t want to be involved in choosing their ring. Ultimately, it’s best to find out your partner's ring shopping preferences before proposing.

Engagement Ring Shopping FAQs

Read on for any lingering questions about engagement ring shopping etiquette and expectations:

How Long Does It Take to Get Used to Wearing an Engagement Ring?

Getting engaged is a major life change. It can take some time to get used to wearing an engagement ring. After all, most of us don’t wear a ring every day before getting engaged. Try to be patient with yourself.

If you’re experiencing any physical discomfort while wearing your ring, that’s not normal. If it hurts to wear your ring, if it’s sliding around, or getting in the way of your daily activities, your ring may not be the right size or suited to your lifestyle. A diamond expert can help you resize your ring, or make any necessary modifications.

Is the Girl Supposed to Buy a Guy a Ring?

Historically, in a male-female relationship, men buy the engagement ring before proposing. Men traditionally didn’t wear engagement rings, but that’s no longer the case today. Many men choose to wear engagement rings, and more women than ever are choosing to propose.

A good rule to follow is that if you’re proposing, then you should buy the engagement ring for your partner.

How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?

Your budget determines how much you should spend on an engagement ring. Research the cost of engagement rings that suit your preferences, and set a reasonable budget and timeline accordingly.

Am I Ungrateful If I Don’t Like My Engagement Ring?

You’re not ungrateful if you don’t like your engagement ring. If you’re disappointed in your ring, take some time to pinpoint why. Are the reasons emotional, or do you simply dislike a specific ring detail, like the metal choice? If the reason is fixable, consider discussing this with your partner.

virtual appointment with diamond expert meeting with potential customers over a call on a computer
virtual appointment with diamond expert meeting with potential customers over a call on a computer

Consult with a diamond expert

Speak with our diamond experts and enjoy:

  • Personalized guidance to select your ring
  • In-depth diamond 4C education
  • Exclusive in-store fittings or virtual try-ons
  • Custom design options

Speak with our diamond experts and enjoy:

  • Personalized guidance to select your ring
  • In-depth diamond 4C education
  • Exclusive in-store fittings or virtual try-ons
  • Custom design options