stacked engagement ring and wedding band

Photo: Tracy Autem & Lightly Photography

Have you ever considered going engagement ring shopping with your significant other? Many couples are taking the element of surprise out of the engagement ring by going jewelry shopping together. This can take place before or after the official proposal, and it can be preferable for ring recipients who want a say in their ring and don't want to pretend to love a ring they only feel so-so about.

We asked five jewelers from across the country to share helpful tips and tricks to make your shopping together experience a complete success:


Be open about budget
“Today, some couples share everything from a home to finances before officially saying, 'I do.' However, there may be some details in which you don’t want to discuss. Do you want to discuss price/budget openly or keep it discrete? Are you looking to finance all or part of the ring? Make sure you communicate such topics before you go in to avoid things getting awkward. Any reputable jeweler will respect your wishes and make the experience perfect for you both.” —Dan Decker of Robbins Brothers in Los Angeles, California

“If you're shopping together, try to get on the same page about the budget. If your budget is limited, do some research about cost, alternatives to traditional styles, and think about long-term value/investment.” —Constance Mensh of Bario Neal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“Communication is important! Together, the couple should find a store where they are comfortable and feel like they're getting reliable, honest information that will help them make the best decision based on their needs and budget. We invite couples to discuss their budget ahead of time and share it with us so that we can work together to find something that they love without it causing financial stress." —Nicole Fuscia of Harry Merrill & Son, Inc. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Prepare a game plan
“Before you even step into the store, have a conversation to set some guidelines so neither of you leave disappointed. What is it that you want to accomplish? Is this a mission to get finger sizes and ideas/styles, or are you ready to pull the trigger if the perfect ring emerges?” —Dan Decker of Robbins Brothers in Los Angeles, California

"Talk about expectations before you begin shopping. Does the recipient want a surprise proposal, or does he/she want to be involved at every step? This is especially important when we work on a custom design." —Nicole Fuscia of Harry Merrill & Son, Inc. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“Research stones and styles as much as possible, but keep some open-mindedness. Couples come in so often having spent hours online searching, then are often surprised by what they like in person.” —Constance Mensh of Bario Neal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“I would say just go with open eyes and an open mind. Focus on the styles you like and don’t like, and don’t get overly concerned with a price being out of your range. Many times a jeweler may have smaller versions of rings that keep the same style intact but feature less diamonds at a lower cost.” —Jonathan Mervis of Mervis Diamond Importers in Rockville, Maryland

Set a scoring system
“Let's face it, you each have a very unique sense of style and may find yourselves at odds when it comes to the final design. Avoid conflict or hurt feelings by creating a system (we suggest the old fashioned 1 to 10 scoring) where you can express your likes and dislikes. That way, if your significant other likes something you find hideous, simply stating '1' instead of 'that looks like your mother's ring' will avoid conflict. Keep in mind that your bands don’t need to identically match. You should celebrate your differences in taste and style.” —Dan Decker of Robbins Brothers in Los Angeles, California

Remember to be romantic
“Having already discussed what you want to accomplish on this outing, remember to take the time and enjoy each other! If it gets a bit tense, take a break. Grab some coffee, and when you’re ready, start again. This is a great time to create memories that will last a lifetime. Talk, laugh, and yes, hold hands and kiss!” —Dan Decker of Robbins Brothers in Los Angeles, California

"Nothing's more romantic than custom creating the engagement ring of your dreams. You can have your partner give you ideas for their ideal ring and make a custom creation by combining key elements of each design into something truly unique and one of a kind. Having your birthstones burnished into the inside of the ring so it's always touching your finger or having a custom under gallery showcasing your initials or wedding date are also a very romantic way to customize your engagement ring so it's truly special. Perhaps custom designing something is the most romantic way of selecting an engagement ring. Having your partner's input and using it as a starting point for the design will surely show how deep your love runs." —Maria Vastola of TwoBirch in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Keep calm, cool, and collected
“You’ll have the ring forever, and, so of course, it’s important to get what you love, but also remember that you’ll come to love it even more in time. Don’t worry about the little things too much because you’ll forget all about them in a day or two when you’re just obsessed with how sparkly your ring is!” —Jonathan Mervis of Mervis Diamond Importers in Rockville, Maryland

"Don't take it too seriously! Remember that this is the first step in an adventure that you're about to begin together. It should be exciting, and give you a little thrill in the pit of your stomach. If you feel stressed or overwhelmed, talk to each other, talk to your jeweler, and we can make it a great experience and a happy memory." —Nicole Fuscia of Harry Merrill & Son, Inc. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania