Engagement rings are complicated. First of all, they cost a fortune. Even a very modest ring can easily fall into the ballpark of a few months’ mortgage payment. And then, you’re supposed to wear it FOR. EV. ER. Talk about pressure to get it right!
Josh admitted early on that when it came to engagement rings, he not only wanted but needed help. Some ladies might find that less than romantic; I decided making him calm throughout this process was 100 percent worth the compromise. Plus, I’d end up with something I’d love (and if I didn’t, at least I would be 50 percent at fault). Josh did some preliminary research on diamonds and pricing and clarity and all that stuff; I secretly Googled engagement rings at work when I thought no one was looking (though the constant pop-up ads for rings that STILL plague my computer ratted me out). Then, we started looking together.
Here’s something you might not know about ring shopping: You get free booze! On our first of several outings, I had a glass of champagne at our first stop. Josh got a beer. At the next place, we got wine and fancy chocolates! I think Josh ended up drinking the equivalent of a case of beer if you added all of our excursions together. As we shopped (and sipped) from store to store, we started realizing that rings actually do look different and that we had more opinions than either of us had ever thought. I honed in on rose gold right off the bat, but did I like bezel or tension settings? Channel or pave diamonds? Square or round cut? Um, I'm not sure. How about you please refill my champagne glass? Thaaaanks.
Eventually, I had it narrowed down to three options: a yellow-ish gold vintage hexagonal ring at Ann & Jack’s in Hopkins and a custom rose gold number from JB Hudson. My third option was a little more vague. Canadian jewelry designer Anne Sportun has some incredible designs that are a sort of hybrid of vintage and contemporary, and she does a lot with rose gold. I saw she was having a trunk show at Max’s in St. Louis Park, so Josh and I went together.
We met with Anne, one on one. I tried on about a dozen of her rings and liked many of them, but didn’t love any. Then, I showed her the vintage ring I had liked. She started sketching. Five minutes later, I was walking down the street to Starbucks while Josh finalized all the details. The only problem is that this beautiful ring wouldn’t be made for at least three to four months.
So yeah, the ring was not a surprise. The fact that Josh was proposing? Totally out in the open (which is why he proposed while I was in NYC for work . . . it completely caught me off guard!). And because the ring was not ready, Josh proposed with a plastic version he made on a 3-D printer at work, which was adorable, though a bit anticlimactic.
BUT THERE IS SOME MAJOR SILVER LINING! I got proposed to four times. The first time, it was with the plastic ring. The next time was right after we returned home from New York—Max’s had leant Josh a wedding band to give me as a loaner until my wedding band was ready. He was supposed to bring it to New York, but when he got there, he couldn’t find the ring. Upon reflection, he was pretty sure he forgot the loaner ring in his truck at the airport. Thank god that was the case. Once he found it, Josh got down on one knee in the airport’s parking garage. The ring only fit on my middle finger, but it was much prettier than plastic. When my actual wedding band arrived a few weeks later (about six weeks before the engagement ring was complete), Josh and I picked it up together and he asked me again.
Then, just last week, the real deal arrived. I was leaving work and Josh called, sheepishly asking if I could pick up the ring at Max’s on my way home from work (it’s literally a block from my office, so this was simply the most practical decision). When I arrived, they had the ring wrapped up so I couldn’t peek! I drove home immediately after, eagerly waiting for Josh to arrive. I hadn’t asked much about his correspondence with the jeweler or designer. As it turns out, he had yet to see a photo or drawing of the ring himself, so it was a surprise for both of us. We opened the white jewelry box together. It was perfect.
And then he proposed again. Just cause.