Engagement Ring Etiquette

You’re getting ready to look into engagement rings. What is some practical engagement ring etiquette that will guide you? First of all, the story of your engagement is one that you’ll hear for a very long time. It’s like that fondly remembered fishing story – everyone knows it but you tell it anyway. That means that ring etiquette and engagement etiquette can keep you from some potential embarrassing moments through your years together.

Traditional rules begin with paying for the ring. It’s customary for the groom to foot this bill. However, with many households depending on two incomes for financial security practical etiquette may require a little tweaking. You may need to get a small ring that fits your funds, or perhaps your fiancé wants to help with financing. Miss Manners may not wholly approve of the second option, but then again she doesn’t have to live on your budget.

In terms of shopping, many modern couples choose to make this a cooperative effort. This approach takes a lot of pressure off the groom-to-be. You’ll know the ring will fit, and that the bride likes it. However, there’s no saying you can’t pick up the ring privately and wait for the element of surprise to formally pop the question. It is wholly acceptable from the wedding etiquette standpoint to get friends and family to help with making that moment special. Get them involved in the plans and begin getting to know your future in-laws better at the same time.

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When you contact family, this would be a good time to show a touch of class and ask for their blessings. This step may seem a little passé, but it’s considerate and shows respectfulness. In any etiquette book that’s a win! Always remember that manners matter.

The way in which you propose is highly personal. These days women propose to men too! Be it down on one knee in an act of romance, or a note in a fortune cookie, do something meaningful to you both and to those in attendance. This is part of your story too. Once the nervous moment receives a hardy “yes” you can move on toward announcing your plans (and perhaps a date) to parents and friends. Do not put this off. Parents in particular get huffy when a wedding gets sprung on them, and keeping plans secret but for elopement is a no-no in the engagement ring etiquette guidelines.

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If something goes wrong and you break off the engagement you have to consider what to do with the ring. If both of you paid for it, selling the token and splitting the money works. If the woman cancels the wedding, engagement etiquette dictates offering the ring back to the gentleman. If he chooses not to take it, what you do with the ring after that point is up to you. Believe it or not, some states have laws covering this question, so if the situation turns ugly it might be good to consult with a lawyer. Hopefully you will never need to know this information, but engagement ring etiquette does include that possibility.

Finally, remember to record your engagement in some way. This is particularly important if you’ve gotten engaged privately. Having pictures allows friends and family to relive the sentiments with you together.

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