How to Shop for Engagement Rings

Shopping for an engagement ring isn’t quite as easy as for your other accessory splurges. This is an undeniably special piece to be loved and cherished for the rest of your life, much like the person you’re about to marry. With such expectations, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress and pressure that comes with picking the perfect ring for you; one that matches your personal style and reflects not just you as a person, but also the most important relationship in your life.

These days, engagement rings go far beyond the classic, simple band with a centered diamond. While that’s still an option, we’re seeing countless new trends in bridal jewelry, from bold gemstones and cocktail-style rings, to more embellished bands with geometric diamond shapes and patterns.

To make engagement ring shopping an enjoyable experience for the both of you, we’ve compiled some key tips below to help you narrow in on the best style for you. Making sure all of the bases are covered, we’ve enlisted some help from the engagement ring experts at the leading e-retailer of ethically sourced fine bridal jewelry, Brilliant Earth.

Step One: Drop Some Hints! 

Once we’re ready to take that step with your future partner, it’s imminent that “the talk” occurs, just like it did when you decided to officially date. Whether you bring up the topic by way of a couple you know that has recently gotten engaged/married or by “accidentally” stopping the channel surfing on “Say Yes to the Dress,” the topic needs to come up and you need to affirm your stance on the engagement ring you want. It can be as simple as saying “Did you see the ring Dave gave to Ashley? I sure love that round shape with a halo of diamonds around it” (hint hint), or by delving deep into a conversation that allows you to express your values in finding the perfect ring together, hints and conversations are your best friend when it comes time to discuss the next step in your relationship.

Step Two: Consider Your Personal Style

Now that you’ve happily jumped that hurdle and are ready to make it official, it’s time to consider the engagement ring. The engagement ring reflects our personal style more so than our clothing choices, as it’s a little more permanent than that time you dyed your hair blonde for a summer test drive.

“All the adjectives that might pop into your head when you think of yourself, such as traditional, unconventional, socially conscious, unique, glamorous, artistic, or refined, will come in handy while searching for the perfect ring. The words that describe you as a person should guide your choice of carat size, gemstone, precious metal, and setting style,” say the experts at Brilliant Earth.

Step Three: Pick Your Gemstone

Although engagement rings have traditionally featured diamonds, other gemstones have also begun to catch brides’ eyes. “About 90 percent of engagement rings feature diamonds, but sapphires are the second-most popular gemstone,” says Brilliant Earth. If you’re looking to stand out, a colored gemstone can be a beautiful and elegant way to reflect your personal tastes and convey a more unconventional look. Many brides-to-be are surprised to learn that sapphires aren’t available only in shades of deep blue, but also can be found in yellow, pink, and many more hues. Since the center stone is the main focus of the ring, play around with different looks to really make sure you’re casting the perfect lead for your stunning setting. 

Step Four: Decide on a Metal

When we think of engagement rings, we mostly think of a gold or silver band. However, we’d be doing ourselves a serious disservice if we didn’t consider platinum, yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold. All are absolutely stunning, but be sure to keep in mind the jewelry you usually wear and consider if you want the ring to contrast or blend in with your everyday pieces. Of course, you’ll also need to consider budget.  

Step Five: Pinpoint Any Specific Details

This may be the hardest part, but the details are the final touch to bringing your ring to fruition. From personalized engraving to gemstone-encrusted bands, the options to add that last little magic touch to your most coveted piece are endless. With so many options, it’s good to note maybe one or two key details at most that are important to you so you can eliminate a lot of choices from the beginning.

Even if you are still on Step One (or haven’t quite found your future engagement ring shopping partner yet), having an idea of the options available will make finding the perfect ring all the easier when it comes time to say, “I do.” 

To help you figure out which style might fit you best, peruse the collections on Brilliant Earth and feel free to “create your own ring” too, a trend that has become more popular than ever before, making the options just that much more diverse. 

Article by: Brilliant Earth | Photo: Rylee Hitchner

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12.04.14 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog

Organic Outdoor Mountainside Wedding

These two are just too cute for words, together since High School, Jacob and Annie wed held their organic mountainside wedding in one of their favorite spots. Keep reading for more from Annie:

From the Bride:

After our love survived two last years of high school, a year of long distance dating, several near death encounters upon mountain tops, two crazy summers filled with insane work schedules, and a school year spent in Denver, Nate proposed atop the same mountain where he asked me to be his girlfriend. Our post-wedding happily-ever-after includes plans for a cross country road trip, many early morning coffee dates, revamping our tiny apartment, spur of the moment city park picnics, mountain climbing adventures, late night popcorn binges, and lots of quality family and friend time. You can find the entire proposal story where Nate lost the ring on my personal blog:

Photographer: Jacob Brooks of Brumley And Wells | Designer/Creative Director/ Stylist: Elsa Jagniecki of Heirlooms Durango | Florals: April Albert of Blossoms Durango  | Paper Goods: Annie Brooks of The Wells Makery | Calligraphy: Annie Brooks of The Wells Makery | Venue: Kairalla Residence | Cake Design: Flour Sack Durango  | Rentals: Flour Sack Durango | Catering: Cynthia Stewart of Harvest Grill And Greens  | Favors: Animas Chocolate Company | Wedding Dress: JCrew  – Manuela | Wedding Shoes: Madewell – The Criss Cross Sightseer Sandal


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12.03.14 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog

Geometric Desert Wedding Inspiration

Inspired by the colors and textures of the desert, I worked with Joy Thigpen and Bryce Covey to design and style this geometric desert wedding inspiration. The spectrum of greys and browns inspired Joy to work with minimalist surroundings and simply focus on the beauty of her model (bride) and the intricate detailing of these stunning and modern Monique Lhuillier wedding gowns.

You can take some of these ideas and translate them into your own wedding like the concept of mimicking pattern and texture.  You may incorporate linens that mimic color and patterns from your dress or find other unique details to bring extra special flair to your own wedding!

Photography: Bryce Covey | Hair and Makeup: Amy Clarke | Styling: Joy Thigpen | Model: Kristen from No Ties | Dresses: Monique Lhuillier

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12.02.14 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog

Incredibly Colorful Wedding in Africa by Jonas Peterson

After meeting at a costume party in Stockholm, Sweden, and getting engaged Namibia, this beautiful couple have dreamt of getting married in Kenya since it holds such a special place in their hearts. The bride works closely within the Kenyan community photographing lions and working toward conservation in the area. They waited a few years to marry- after welcoming their first child. Keep reading for more about their incredible Kenyan wedding.

From the couple:

Mother Nature was with us every moment of the wedding. Approaching the ceremony site in our safari land rover, the clouds were building up to an unusually dramatic storm, yet on the other side of the horizon, the sky was perfectly blue and the sun was shining. As we walked down the aisle, the white rose petals at the center of the ceremony had attracted a number of white butterflies that circled around us on the ground. As we had just finished our vows a bird flew up to us, stopped for a second midair, and then continued up in our tree. At the end of the ceremony the sky was almost black. As we were walking back down the aisle, a herd of wildebeest stormed across the savannah and the wind started blowing. Mere minutes after we had walked up the aisle the storm hit us and the strong wind lifted the veil. Just as we got into our car the sky opened and huge raindrops started falling. The groom wondered  (as did some guests) whether the love of his life had made a deal with Mother Nature… The ceremony was nothing but amazing – nature and love united in something completely breathtaking and almost surreal that is impossible to put in words.

There were so many details that it is hard to convey in words – from hats and Maasai shukas for all guests with the symbol of the wedding (a lion’s profile), to old African bed time stories placed in guest’s rooms in the evening, small bouquets of locally grown roses in each room, weekend adventure folders with information on almost everything (guests, weekend timeline, animals to look for on game drives, photography advice and so on), custom printed canvas bags with the lion, custom labeled water bottles, brass animals and tea stained manila tags as escort cards for the wedding dinner, suede ribbons, rose petals in custom printed paper bags to toss, custom printed guest book with lion, Maasai bracelets beaded with each guests name in colorful beadwork (used as escort on rehearsal dinner), notes on glasses to inform guests about wild animals “beware of the wild lions, do not pee in the bush”… In the ceremony we used some of the local traditions from the Maasai; the arch is a traditional symbol used in the Maasai culture, the bride wore traditional Maasai necklace and bracelets and the groom carried a beaded Maasai stick. The officiant had a Maasai shuka as stole, which were all gifts from the Maasai. 

We, and especially Nina, are very passionate about lions and wildlife in general. Nina is currently working on a big photography and book project about the world’s last wild lions, called Book of Leon, which is what initially connected us to the Maasai Mara. The situation of the last wild lions in the world is getting worse each day. Today there are only some 15.000-25.000 wild lions left in the world, which is a drastic drop from just some decades ago. Despite the drastic decline and the challenges we are faced with the leading big cat experts of the world are still optimistic. We hoped to share this special place with our most beloved ones so that they also would fall in love and want to contribute. In lieu of gifts we also asked our friends to make a contribution to the leading big cat organization of the world – Panthera (Nina is their Senior Marketing Advisor). In total all guests together made a significant contribution that will have an impact for the world’s last wild lions. We are so happy that our big day also made a difference for them.

Photographer: Jonas Peterson | Cinematographer: friend and photographer Pieter ten Hoopen | Wedding Planner: Vanda High Events and Gina Vuolo | Wedding Coordinator: Local | Bride’s Dress: Vintage Elie Saab | Veil from iHeartBride | Bride’s shoes: Valentino Rockstud | Bride’s Jewelery: Maasai beadwork necklace and bracelets given as a gift from the local Maasai. Earrings from Ole Lyngaard | Groom’s Suit: Tom Ford and Groom carried a Maasai beaded stick that was given as a gift from the Maasai in Masai Mara | Groom’s Shoes: Lanvin | Bridesmaid’s gowns: Diane von Furstenberg Summer 2014 Collection | Bridesmaids Jewellery: Maasai beadwork from the local Maasai community | Flowers: Tom Cawley and Priscilla Schaeffer from NYC. Old style garden roses and eucalyptus from Oserian in Naivasha, Kenya. In collaboration with local florist Peris Njeri | Stationery & Paper Goods: REGAS (Save the date and invitation), The Rye Stationer (all other print materials) | Ceremony Venue: Meticulously chosen tree on Paradise Plain, Masai Mara | Reception Venue: Governors’ Camp Masai Mara | Celebrant/Officiant: Peter Green | Ceremony Music: Sandra Wikström sang three songs, first to symbolize the past “I was made for loving you” by Desmond Child, Paul Stanley, and Vini Poncia, second to symbolize the present  “All of me” by John Legend, and finally “He lives in you” by Lebohang Morake to represent something greater and the future | Reception Music: DJ Daniella Johnsson | Caterers: Governors’ Camp with the lead of Tracy Wolmarans | Cake: Tracy Wolmarans | Transport: Governors’ Safari Vehicles

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12.01.14 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog