Engagement ring shopping tips from real brides.

By Heather Levine

Thanks to Pinterest, Instagram, and countless bridal blogs all glittering with engagement rings, the soon-to-be-engaged are never at a loss for some major eye-candy. And with all the shimmery inspiration, it’s easy to get blinded by the bling forgetting all about “the fifth C,” cost. Here, you’ll find three brides (all discovered on Instagram, of course) who got the guy, the engagement ring, the proposal of their dreams and stayed on budget. Want to know their secrets? Keep reading.

The Bride: Kristen Nix
The Proposal: Overlooking a snowy lake during a romantic carriage ride through Central Park in New York City.
The Ring: An 18-Karat white gold and Crisscut® diamond ring.

Don’t be afraid to create something custom.
We went to Beard’s Jewelry in Jacksonville a few times. My fiancé, Preston, knew that I wanted a daintier band, so once we figured out the size and shape of the Crisscut® Diamond, he got together with someone at Beard’s Jewelry to design the setting. He did a fantastic job. It was everything I ever wanted in an engagement ring! And I love that because Preston created it just for me, no one else has the same ring.

Focus on the design detail(s) that are most important to you.
For me, the size and shape [of the diamond] were the most important details. I wanted the center stone to stand out – so I knew I needed a particular carat weight. I also felt that the more elongated, cushion cut looked better on my finger. I wanted it to sparkle too, so the color of the diamond was also pretty significant. My fiancé had a budget he wanted to stay close to, so the Crisscut® diamond (it has proprietary cuts that make the diamonds look whiter, brighter and bigger) was perfect. It was everything I wanted, plus it was within our budget.

The Bride: Whitney Thompson
The Proposal: The groom-to-be created a homemade movie trailer complete with the couple’s song and big moments leading up to the proposal. He debuted the film on the big screen at Kentucky Theater – a historic cinema where the couple first met.
The Ring: A L’Amour Crisscut® diamond engagement ring with a halo setting.
Photography: ©Alex Steury | @alex.steury

Try something unexpected, and you might be pleasantly surprised.
Just for fun my mom, my cousin and I went to a local jeweler. I thought I wanted a classic round diamond, but then the jeweler asked if I was willing to try on a something a bit more unique. He pulled out a Christopher Designs ring and said, “No one else designs this diamond cut. Here try it on and see what you think.” Immediately, I thought, “Round diamond who?” It was love at first sight. We left the jewelry store with my heart set on a L’Amour Crisscut® engagement ring.

Consider your lifestyle.
As a dentist, I put on and take off medical gloves countless times each day. I work with my hands all day long, and I wanted an engagement ring that was comfortable and could withstand my routine. I’m currently in my third year of dental school, and while I’m in class, I catch myself just gazing at its brilliance.

The Bride: Madison Scialdone
The Proposal: On a romantic stroll through Forsyth Park during a weekend getaway to Savannah, Georgia.
The Ring: A L’Amour Crisscut® from the Olivia Collection.

Dare to be different.
My favorite thing about my ring is the uniqueness of it. Finding a ring that wasn’t the same as what we saw on every other post on our Instagram feed was super important to us. Okay, okay – I like how sparkly it is too. I can’t stop staring at it! I also love knowing that this ring will stay in my family forever.

Go big, not broke.
Finding the best size diamond for our budget was another factor in the decision-making process. The Crisscut® was everything we were looking for and more! I had picked out a few rings I loved when we went ring shopping, but when my fiancé opened up that little box to reveal the L’Amour Crisscut®, I was so, so happy!

About the author:

Heather Levine has over 12 years of experience creating content within the women’s lifestyle space. She’s served in a wide range of roles, including fashion and beauty director of XO Group Inc (“The Knot Magazine”).Heather lives in New York with her husband and two children.

Instagram: @theheatherlevine