I’m 23 and single. And I did something absurd for this blog. I just spent an afternoon making phone calls to various jewelers around the country and pretending to hate my new engagement ring.
It sounds horrible, but I promise it was for a good cause! I could easily qualify as one of the worst liars on the planet, so you can imagine what a challenge it was to fake these conversations. But it was all in the name of research.
I wanted to figure out what options a bride has in the awkward case of not liking her engagement ring. It’s obviously not an ideal situation, and most women dread even the thought of it. But I know for a fact that it does happen sometimes, and I was curious about how a bride should handle it and what options might exist for switching it up.
So I called jewelers and explained my “situation.” I told them that I had recently gotten engaged and was so excited. BUT there was just one little problem: the engagement ring wasn’t my style. I varied the severity of how much I disliked the ring. No matter how awful I described the ring to be, each jeweler felt sorry for me and did their best to give their greatest advice.
There are a few options for tackling this situation. A bride must decide which route she’s taking from the beginning because the option of exchanging a ring (if it exists), won’t be an option if she waits and wears it.
If the ring isn’t at all what you expected and have dreamed of and you really can’t stand the thought of wearing it every day for the rest of your life, you need to tell him within a few days of your engagement and before you’ve scratched up the band. If he purchased a new ring from a display case in a jewelry store, he should be able to exchange it for something you like. It’s less likely he’ll be able to return it.
Of course, you should be sensitive to his feelings because he probably spent a lot of effort, time and money picking it out. Tell him how much you love him and you want to marry him, but the ring isn’t what you would have chosen. You may be able to go to the jewelry store together to return the original ring (depending on the return policy) or exchange it for something more your style.
If the ring was designed and created especially for you, or if it’s a family heirloom that he’s willing to have altered, you can have the stones reset into something more appropriate for your hand.
If your ring is tolerable, but it’s still not what you have always dreamed of, tell him subtly. Let him know that when it comes time to design your wedding band, you’d like to do it together. Again, it’s important to remember the effort, time and money your fiancé put into choosing the ring, so be sensitive!
While picking out or designing your band, it’s likely that you’ll visualize it in a way in which the diamonds could be adjusted to a design you like better, and he just might agree. If you know what jewelry store you’ll be visiting together, you might pay a visit ahead of time, under the radar of course, to discuss your concerns with the jeweler so that he can help you get closer to your idea when you all meet together.
If you can’t say anything about the ring pre-wedding or it’s a family heirloom that cannot be altered, wait until you’ve been married for a few years to make suggestions. For your 5th anniversary, request an “upgrade,” so to speak. This upgrade could be a completely different ring, or just resetting the diamonds the way you prefer.
Many women view an engagement ring as a (very expensive) gift from someone they love. And they treat it like any other gift. You wouldn’t reject a Christmas gift just because it wasn’t up to your liking – you would say thank you and accept it. In this case, think more about the meaning and the significance of the piece of jewelry and less about what you would have chosen. Your fiancé picked it out with you in mind, it’s his gift to you representing the love he holds in his heart.
The way a bride chooses to handle this problem is different for every relationship. You have to decide what is most important to you AND you have to know how your fiancé will react if you tell him your true feelings about his gift. You know him best, or at least you should!
Besides calling jewelers and pretending to be a stressed-out, newly-engaged woman, I also asked my girlfriends what they would do if they hated their engagement ring. Some of them are already married, and some of them are single, but the majority of them said they wouldn’t say anything when they got it, and would shoot for a change on a later anniversary. They said keeping their lips sealed would be the best option. Most of them said that they would probably love it, or learn to love it, solely based on the fact that their fiancé picked it out.
I’ll say it again: How you handle the situation depends on your relationship with your fiancé. There’s really not a right or wrong answer for this sort of problem. Assess your options thoroughly before you make any moves.
Feel out the situation if you’re not sure how your fiancé will react – if you’re worried he’ll be offended, angry or upset. Maybe you know him well enough to know that he’d just rather you be completely honest. It’s likely he wants you to have something you absolutely adore to represent the love you share. And he knows you’re going to probably be wearing it every day for the rest of your life.
I think that I’ll talk to some gentlemen and get their take on this problem from the ring-giver’s perspective. The holidays are a big time for engagements so it’s a timely subject to tackle!
Chelsey Commins, Intern at Weddings in Vieques