You’ve imagined the moment since you were a little girl, so when your other half is down on one knee with a shiny black box you can’t help but be overwhelmed with sheer delight. But what happens if the box creaks open and you don’t like the ring? Perhaps it’s too flashy for your minimalist tastes, or your boyfriend presumed that because all your costume jewellery is yellow gold that this was your fave metal.
Firstly, remind yourself that your significant other probably spent a lot of time (and money) trying to pick the perfect ring for you. I’m sure lots of us would happily slip an onion ring onto our finger if we were truly in love and wanted to take it to the next level. But if you can’t get over your dislike for your new piece of bling and it’s impacting your engagement excitement then you’re going to have to face the music!
When is the right time to admit that you don’t love your ring? “The sooner the better, in my opinion,” says The Ringmaker’s Joanne McLeish. “It’s better to be honest with your fiancé,” she adds. Darren White at Glasgow jewellers Bejouled agrees: “If this is something you’re planning to wear every day for the rest of your life to signify your commitment, it’s important that you like it. After a few weeks you could suggest a few tweaks here and there.”
Approach the situation with tact. Your fiancé will likely be crushed that they went to so much effort to pick the ring and they’ve got it wrong. Do not, under any circumstances, decide that there’s no time like the present to let them know when you’re one bottle of shiraz deep. Think calm over a coffee on a Saturday morning instead. And don’t roll out a long list of things you don’t like: focus on one key issue, like shape or colour.
If you are having custom wedding bands made, it’s an ideal opportunity discuss if adjustments can be made to your engagement ring. If you want a completely new ring then get in touch with the shop your fiancé bought the ring from. “If it’s really not to your liking, I’m sure the retailer will help you find an alternative,” explains Daniel Groundland of Mr Harold and Son. Bear in mind, though, that if your fiancé had a bespoke ring made for you, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to return it.
Ideally, you can solve your dilemma by hubby-to-be keeping the receipt, or with some slight revisions by the designer. But what if the ring you’ve been given carries real sentiment? If you’ve always secretly panicked that it wasn’t just the brandy talking when his beloved granny said you’d be getting her ring one day, you’ll be even more anxious at the thought of explaining to him (and knowing it will get back to his family) that you’d like something else. Daniel thinks you might have to learn to love it: “An heirloom ring has been handed down through the generations with a story to tell. Accept it with love and remember how special it is.” Hey, it was good enough for Kate Middleton!
At the risk of ruffling a few feathers, you could suggest having the ring modernised. “We specialise in remodelling old pieces of jewellery, so it could be reset into a more modern fashion – you’re changing the ring, but retaining all the sentiment it holds,” suggests Joanne.
Alterations and exchanges are great solutions, but if neither is an option, you may have to accept that you’ll have the ring for the foreseeable future. In that case, you can look at ways to enhance what you like about it and disguise what you don’t. Here’s where the choice of wedding band can help. If your tastes are more reserved and your blinged-up sparkler is dragging you down, pick something more in keeping with your own style: “An understated wedding ring design will help make your engagement ring look more elegant,” Joanne explains. “Likewise, if you feel your engagement ring isn’t bling enough, bring some sparkle into your wedding band.”
Picking an unusual wedding ring is certainly one way to shift the focus from your engagement ring, and straying away from conventional colour choices is one option. “There’s definitely more demand for bi- and tri-metal styles. Mixing metals is appealing for women who wear different colours of metal in their normal day-to-day jewellery choices,” adds Darren.
It’s probable your engagement ring will be the only part of the wedding over which you don’t have a say (read: get your own way), so try to be nice. You’ve got the rest of your lives for your partner to learn how to do things your way!