You’re in love. You know you want to ask her to get married. You also know how important it is to do something special for your marriage proposal. Consider the location. Will it be in public at a fancy restaurant, in a crowded basketball arena, or do you prefer a more romantic and secluded spot like in a hot air balloon? What will you say to her and will you bend on one knee? Oh, and the ring…

Choosing the right engagement ring should be at the top of the list of proposal preparations. Nothing sends a worse message to the love of your life than presenting her a second-rate stone; however, it doesn’t make sense to take out a bank loan or sell your soul to raise funds just so she can be the envy of her best friends. There are things you can do to make your girlfriend feel like you took a trip inside her head and returned with the ring of her dreams.

What Does She Like?

Don’t guess what kind of ring your girlfriend wants. When you spend time together, take note of the type of jewelry she wears. Does she favor low-key earrings, rings and necklaces? Or does she favor flashy things that focus attention on her accessories? The ring you choose should fit her personality. Engagement rings come in a variety of cuts, colors, degrees of clarity and carat weight. A diamond clarity chart can give you more information on ring options. If you have a firm grasp on her style, it will be easier to decide between a princess cut diamond ring with a Tiffany setting or a classic cut set in an eternity band.

Set a Budget

Knowing how much you can spend on a ring will help you find options in your price range. Worry less about the amount you spend and put more thought into what your special lady would want. A ring becomes a symbol of your love. Even though diamonds really seem to be a girl’s best friend,  your girlfriend will be touched by a less expensive ring if you put enough thought into buying it. Nothing is romantic about starting a marriage drowning in debt.

Size Her Ring

Nothing spells awkward better than giving your girlfriend an engagement ring that does not fit her finger. It can be a costly mistake when you have to return to the jeweler. You can avoid making this mistake by secretly finding another ring she owns and take it to the jeweler. This lets you buy the right sized ring the first time. Just don’t let her catch you in the act. You don’t want attempts to surprise your girlfriend to be drowned out by sneaky suspicions.

Insure the Ring

If you are going to spend a small fortune to get your girlfriend the perfect ring, it’s a good idea to protect that investment in case the ring becomes lost, damaged or stolen at some point down the road. There are a couple of options available for insuring an engagement ring. An actual value policy will reimburse a lost, stolen or damaged ring at its current value after taking into account depreciation from wear and tear on the ring. A replacement policy will pay you the market value of the ring. This means you can receive more or less than what you paid depending on the current market value. If you own a home, you can get extra coverage for jewelry under your homeowners policy.

This is the one time in your life you get to be romantic, mushy and corny and it’s OK. She’ll be telling her friends and family the story of your engagement and showing off her ring to everyone she meets, so make it a memorable proposal. Put thought into it. Make her gasp. Keep it real.

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