I picked out my own engagement ring, and it was the best decision I could have made

My engagement ring.

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My engagement ring.
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Jessica Booth

  • When my boyfriend asked what kind of engagement ring I wanted, I offered to go to the store with him to pick it out.
  • I knew exactly what I wanted and found a ring I love.
  • I was worried our proposal wouldn’t be as suspenseful because I knew what the ring looked like, but my boyfriend still surprised me.

I still remember when my now husband first asked me what I liked in an engagement ring. It wasn’t a shocking question – we had been dating for years, we had recently purchased a house together, and we were right on track to get married. Still, it was exciting to hear my boyfriend ask that question, and luckily I was prepared.

I knew exactly what kind of engagement ring I wanted, and I had known for a while. It wasn’t that I went out of my way to look at them; it’s just that I had begun paying more attention to them, learning the names of different diamond cuts and the meaning of the world “halo.” Enough of my friends and acquaintances had gotten engaged for me to know exactly what I wanted and what I didn’t want, and it was important to me that I got it.

So when he asked, I didn’t hesitate. I told him I wanted a round diamond (with the quality being more important than the size), a simple band, no giant halo but maybe something small, possibly a cushion-cut halo, and nothing that stuck up too high off my finger. It might sound boring to some, but it was what I envisioned on my left hand, glimmering in the light: something classic, sparkly, and pretty that I would always love.

Cushion-cut diamonds have a square shape and round corners. My ring is not pictured.

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Cushion-cut diamonds have a square shape and round corners. My ring is not pictured.
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Joosep Martinson/Getty Images

As I explained, in detail, what I wanted (without a picture of the exact ring I was imagining), I could see my boyfriend getting a little flustered. He grew up without sisters, he didn’t have close female friends, and he was not, by any means, familiar with jewelry. He said he was nervous because he wanted me to love my ring, so I said, “Do you want me to go to the store with you to pick one out?”

At first I thought he was going to say no, because some guys I know have said they prefer to pick out the ring, as they feel it’s their responsibility. But he looked relieved and agreed immediately. So a few weeks later, we headed to the jewelry store to do some research together.

Read more: 33 alternative styles if you don’t want a traditional engagement ring

On our way to the store, I felt a touch of disappointment. Picking out my own engagement ring wasn’t exactly the most romantic thing in the world. When he proposed, I would be looking down at a ring I had already seen, and, I thought, I wouldn’t even be quite as surprised that it was happening. It wasn’t exactly the stuff of romantic comedies, where the man painstakingly picks out the perfect ring for his bride-to-be.

In the end, though, I knew it was the right decision for both of us

I am a very particular person when it comes to what I wear. I have trouble putting on something I don’t like, even to please someone close to me. I had seen many, many engagement rings that made me cringe inside, ones I could not imagine on my finger. If my boyfriend presented me with a ring I hated, I didn’t know how I would react – and if I made him feel bad about his choice, I would probably feel awful. And, really, is it fair to expect a woman to walk around wearing a ring she doesn’t like instead of just asking for one she loves? “I’m the one who has to wear it and look at it every day,” I reminded myself. “I should absolutely adore it.”

Sure, I could have done what many women do and showed him some photos of rings I liked, hoping he’d pick the one I liked the most, or something closest to the image. There’s nothing wrong with doing that – it was just that I could sense his anxiety in making the choice on his own, even with a little guidance, and I knew that we would both benefit from me picking out the exact ring.

My boyfriend proposed in Paris.

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My boyfriend proposed in Paris.
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Jessica Booth

I found my perfect ring in the second jewelry store we went to: a round diamond in a small cushion-cut halo, a plain band, and a pretty setting with tiny diamonds on the side. When we left, he asked me if I wanted to look around more – I didn’t. I did not talk to him about the size of the diamond, leaving that decision up to him (it felt weird to discuss that part). I didn’t ask when I would get it, either, although I really wanted to. While I felt flushed and happy at the thought of picking out a ring, I also left still feeling a tiny bit sad that some of the suspense was gone from our proposal.

In the end, though, I had nothing to worry about. My now husband shocked with me with an intimate and romantic proposal at the Eiffel Tower during our first trip to Paris on a chilly March night, and when I saw the ring in his hand, there was absolutely no sadness in my body at all. I didn’t care that I knew what the ring looked like, because it didn’t matter in that moment.

Whenever someone sees my ring and makes a comment like, ‘He did a good job!’ I always let them know that I picked it out

Some people are surprised and can barely conceal that, some people say things like, “But didn’t that take the fun out of it?” and some people just say what a good idea that is. I get it, it’s not for everyone – but my husband and I agree that it was the best decision either of us could have made. I am thrilled with my ring, and it was one less thing about the proposal he didn’t have to feel anxious about.