This might be a bit unconventional, but Les and I actually picked out my engagement ring together, well before we got engaged.
Some people might find this unromantic, and think that if a guy is really a girl's soulmate he should know what ring would be perfect for her. I'm sure MANY a girl has loved being surprised by their engagement ring, and it is very special to think that their partner picked it out all on their own. But, I don't think this in any way makes how Les and I picked my ring any less special. Also (and maybe I'm being a litttttttle defensive here), Les knows me better than anyone, inside and out. He knows when I'm getting anxious, how to help, what makes me laugh, what terrifies me, what designers I like (!), and every single one of my secrets. Does this mean he knows exactly what ring I would want to wear for the rest of my life? Not necessarily! And, here's another kicker... did I even know what ring I'd want to wear for the rest of my life? It turns out I didn't!
Let's back up a bit...
Having been together for several years (including all five years of college), as well as living together and co-owning a dog, Les and I were pretty positive that we were a sure-thing. Our families referred to themselves as future in-laws, and we talked about our future, including marriage, with regularity. After graduating from college, we essentially knew that marriage would come within the next 4-5 years. Like most twenty-something-year-old girls, I had a whole Pinterest board filled with engagement rings, and almost all of them were round-cut with a halo. The holy grail, I thought, was the Tiffany Soleste round-cut ring.
Shortly after Les and I moved up to the North Shore, we really started to see our "grown up" lives coming into place, and so marriage felt less and less far away. Admittedly I probably pitched the idea, but we decided to spend one day together trying on engagement rings. My thought process was that if we did it right then, on a random day, Les would then have plenty of time to surprise me with the actual proposal, and I wouldn't suddenly be suspicious of him asking about things like the size of my finger. It turns out this was a great decision for us.
We first went to Long's Jewelers, and I immediately asked to try a round-cut diamond. After putting it on, I knew right then and there that that wasn't what I wanted!! How funny is that? I had pinned so many pictures of what I thought would be my perfect ring, and it turns out it just doesn't look right on my finger shape. I was stunned, but SO glad that I figured that out! We tried on a few more rings at Long's, and got an idea for what I liked. But really what my heart was set on was our appointment at Tiffany's.
I wouldn't consider myself materialistic by definition of the word. I do LOVE fashion and specific designers, but I also shop at Old Navy, and I would give up everything I own in 0.5 seconds flat if I was faced with choosing material items over someone I love. (I'm envisioning someone holding up Nestlie and demanding I fork over my purses... Bye Tory. Bye Kate.) That said, I'd be lying if I said I didn't love the idea of the little blue box.
Les felt the same way (you can ask him, I swear) and we had the best experience working with a sales professional at Tiffany’s to pick my ring (Les also really enjoyed working with her thereafter, and we had the same great experience with her when we resized my ring after the proposal). She really educated us on how their diamonds are sourced, chosen, and polished into their signature settings (they let the diamond tell them what shape it was meant to be!) and about the benefits of investing in a Tiffany ring.
Once again I really wanted to LOVE the round-cut Soleste ring, but it just wasn't right. It was when I put on the cushion-cut that we knew that was the one. I hadn't even considered cushion-cut before, and I'm so thankful that we tried it on--- because I'm obsessed. Les agreed right away, which really is telling in terms round not being the right shape for me. We left that day feeling really excited, and it was a really romantic experience for us, especially being back on Newbury Street where we used to walk around a lot when we were first dating. It wasn't until well over a year later that Les proposed, so he had plenty of time to work with that same sales professional to pick the right diamond for the center stone, and to completely surprise me with his proposal. Even though I had seen the shape and setting of the ring before, I was honestly blown away and even more in love with the ring the day that Les put it on my finger. I love that we chose it together, we both love it, and that I get to wear it for the rest of my life.