It could be one of the most memorable moments in your life. You pull an engagement ring out of your pocket and ask the love of your life to be your wife. You desperately want her to say yes... and to fall in love with her ring.
But how do you make sure that happens? Guys who have successfully navigated this step in their relationship share some tips.
Use a Fake RingMike Vietti, of Washington, D.C., wanted his fianc_e's engagement ring to be a complete surprise, but had no idea what she would like. So he decided to use a fake one for his proposal and take her shopping later.
"I thought it was brilliant," said Emily Vietti. "I love surprises, but I couldn't imagine wearing something for the rest of my life I didn't love. It was the perfect solution."
Consider Her Taste and StyleMake sure the ring fits her existing jewelry collection, said Kevin Saghy, of Chicago. "I realized all of my fianc_e's jewelry is very clean and simple, like one large pearl on a string or a clean trail of diamonds on a necklace, so I chose a three-stone engagement ring that looks simple but impressive. It has gone over really well."
Get A Little Help from Her Friends"My wife found a drawing of the kind of ring she would like and gave it to a friend to hold - under the condition that the friend would not tell her when she gave it to me," said Andrew Brown, of Detroit. "She was totally surprised the day the exact ring she wanted was given to her."
Shop TogetherRandy Holmes, of Atlanta, was overwhelmed by the number of options he faced when he started to shop for his fianc_e's ring, so he asked her to join him. "It was great to have Lauren involved," he said. "It was romantic and took a lot of pressure off."
Do Your HomeworkErik Mason, of Boston, did a "ton of research" on diamonds before he even set foot in a jewelry store. "I think most guys believe as long as they're familiar with the 4Cs, they're all set," he said. "I was surprised to find that was only half the story you should be thinking about."
Mason spent almost five months learning about the 4Cs - color, cut, clarity and carat weight - and how that translated to his budget and girlfriend's taste. He used online resources, visited retailers and flipped through fashion magazines to get a sense of what she liked. "I got a great learning experience and another connection to our marriage through a spectacular piece of symbolism I understand inside and out," he said.
You can learn all about diamond engagement rings and the 4 Cs at the Gemological Institute of America, and you'd better bone up! Because after the engagement comes picking groomsmen gifts. We'll be here when you're ready.