Find out what to do if you hate the engagement ring your partner has proposed to you with...
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: your partner gets down on one knee and you know that he’s about to propose.
You love him completely and can’t wait to say “yes!”, but as he opens the little box, and you peep inside to catch your first glimpse of the sparkling diamond, your heart sinks...
...he’s chosen an engagement ring you don’t like.
Try not to panic. This is a very common experience and it’s certainly not a reason to change your mind about getting married!
Try not to blame your fiancé for getting it wrong: an engagement ring is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase and, unless you have always been explicit with him about the type of ring you wanted (which tends to take the romance out of the equation), he probably had to do a lot of guesswork.
Even if he looked at the jewellery you own for inspiration, and/or asked your friends and family what kind of ring you’d like, there’s no guarantee he’d get it right. Think of it in the same way as fashion: your boyfriend, your family and all your friends have seen your clothes countless times, but how many of them would you trust to buy you a dress for a special night out — let alone a dress for you to wear every day for the rest of your life.
Your taste in jewellery is just as personal and it’s very easy to get it wrong, even if he’s tried his best to impress and please you.
The Big Decision
If you don’t like your engagement ring, the big question is whether or not to tell your fiancé. Some brides confess that they never liked their engagement ring, but didn’t have the heart to admit it to their partners. Others say they told their fiancé immediately.
As with most awkward situations, a little tact goes a long way.
“There are two ways in which this could be handled and it is totally dependent on the type of relationship the couple share,” says Renay Lotz, sales and marketing manager at Uwe Koetter jewellers in Cape Town. “My motto in life is to be 100% honest at all times so personally, I would talk to him tactfully — after I had accepted the proposal, of course.
“There are many nice ways in which you can tell him how you feel without breaking his heart such as: ‘I am so excited to be your wife and can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you but would you mind terribly if I made a couple of changes to this engagement ring as it isn’t exactly my style. I would love to use the current gold and diamonds and just redesign it slightly, etc.”
“If you’re not comfortable discussing your feelings with your fiancé, just keep reminding yourself that you are marrying the man and not the ring. I am sure you will learn to love the ring over a short period of time, especially as you know how much thought and consideration went into the selection from his side.”
Breaking the News
If you’ve just got engaged and you’re looking for a way to tell your fiancé that you don’t like the engagement ring, there are a few ways to introduce the topic of conversation.
You could soften the blow by making him an amazing dinner (it’s better to break the news in private than at a restaurant), and then tactfully explaining how you feel.
Many engagement rings need resizing — even if the style is perfect — and if yours is a little bit too big or small, you have the perfect opening to discuss making a few extra tweaks. Initiating a conversation about your wedding bands is another great way of introducing the topic of your engagement ring.
Discussing the general style and theme of your wedding can also help you to gently and sensitively explain that your perfect engagement ring would have been slightly different to the one he chose.
Any of these strategies are much better than dropping massive hints about your displeasure or (even worse) getting a friend or family member to tell him on your behalf: this is never a sensible strategy as he could end up feeling humiliated.
If you’ve decided not to tell him and accept the ring he chose, do be honest with yourself: is this something that will bug you for years? Will you suddenly blurt it out in an argument 10 years down the line? It’s much better to be honest about your feelings now than to let the engagement ring — a symbol that should make you feel happy and loved - become a big, uncomfortable deal.
However and whenever you decide to come clean, make sure he knows how much you appreciate the time and thought that went into his choice, and assure him that you don’t want to make him sad or hurt his feelings.
Making a Change
Once you have told your partner that you aren’t happy with your engagement ring, Renay says you should first find out where he purchased it from: “It will either be from a jewellery store, which only sells rings directly from the floor, or a jeweller who employs designers able to create bespoke designs.
If the ring was purchased from the latter it would be relatively easy to return to that jeweller and talk to them about redesigning the ring. Generally speaking, jewellery stores are very good with this sort of thing and if they are not able to exchange it, then they will always suggest changes which could be made to the current ring.
If the ring was purchased from a more ‘mass market’ store, and they don’t have their own designers, I would suggest making an appointment with a jewellery designer to discuss the desired changes.
If the ring your fiancé has given you is an heirloom, you may need to think seriously about compromise. Changing the metal, for example, might not cause too much consternation, but swapping stones or completely redesigning a ring that has sentimental value would be unwise.
Above all, be sensitive to your fiancé’s feelings and work together to find a solution that makes you both comfortable. An engagement ring is for life, after all.