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The months between November and March are when the bulk of couples get engaged, so, what better time to begin offering Clever wedding planning tips to all my Clever Girls. Now, I have a different set of tips for my Clever Guys and they will be posted at another time and really amount more to how not to get your ass kicked during the wedding planning process.

You are engaged. Congratulations. I am assuming this is a good thing. If you are thinking about how to fake your death, you should probably not have said yes. It’s official, but what do you do if you don’t like the ring? Hmmm. Major problem. A lot of factors in play here- is it Auntie Gertrude’s ring- worn by every woman in his family for the first ten years of their marriage before being handed down? Is it yellow gold, which you abhor? Is it not the shape you have been longing for your entire life or worse of all worst- too small? I don’t think too many engagements are a complete surprise, nor do I think women should have unrealistic expectations regarding the amount of money to be spent on a ring. So …

Once he mentions marriage the first time- start “noticing” rings you like and those you don’t.This gives him a visual. Don’t make a scene over huge rings and put him on the spot- he will remember forever your reaction and always feel deficient when he can’t afford such a luxury. Do you really want the man you love enough to stand before god and family to proclaim your intentions to die before parting to feel like a heel? NO. If you don’t care- you are not Clever and you must cease reading this blog- for ever. Clever Girls are practical and reasonable. A Very Clever Girl friend of mine just got engaged and has a gorgeous ring- when people compliment her she says, “The ring is nothing compared to the man”. I can not think of a better response. This ring is a part of the process, which leads to marriage- nothing more.

Just a little history on the engagement ring- the original articulation of this ring was a sign of a woman’s sexual availability. Notice the man doesn’t wear an engagement ring, which theoretically mean his sexual availability changes only when he gets married. Interesting.

Decide what is important to you about a ring and compromise where you can to get what you want. If you don’t care whether it is platinum or white gold, make that known- the difference in price is immense. If you are less concerned about the quality or color of the diamond, you can certainly get a larger stone if that is more important to you. Below I have offered brief and general descriptions of the 4 C’s as they are called.

Cut- this is not the same as the shape of the diamond- this refers to how the diamond is cut on the bottom effecting the way it throws light. Radiant cut offers the most “fire”, or brilliance.

Clarity- diamonds are similar to fingerprints in that each one is different. During the growth of the diamond, minerals can be trapped inside and causes what is referred to as an inclusion. Diamonds are rated based on how the inclusions affect the clarity of the diamond.This is a major way you can up the size of your stone by selecting a lesser “clarity”- which is not noticeable to the naked eye.

Color- when shopping for a diamond, price is dictated by the absence of color. Most variations of color are also not visible to the naked eye and is a personal preference as to whether you would prefer a larger stone with a slight bit of color or not. Some women would prefer a one carat stone that is absolutely colorless- some would prefer a larger stone which is not colorless.

Carat- and now for the big one. Carat is determined by the weight of the stone. The larger a diamond is, the more it weighs, the more it costs. All factors above determine price, so do a little research and determine what is important to you about your stone.

If the ring is an heirloom and this is not what you saw coming- and it isn’t the style you prefer or like AT ALL- you have to act. There is no tactful way to get out of it once you are in it- so, ask ahead of time if his family has any traditions regarding rings. If he tells you he has the ring his great-grandmother wore, you could gently inquire as to the style and the ramifications of not wearing it.

If you have the means and it’s that important your diamond is D-colorless, let him know casually you’d be willing to contribute to a ring budget. I know it seems to take some of the romance out of the process, but so does the look on your face ever single time you slide that half carat set in gold on your finger. Unless you plan to accept with love and appreciation any ring he offers you- you’d best be Clever and specific.

One Clever Girl I know, had her heart set on the perfect diamond, so she saved for it and purchased it. When her boyfriend told her best friend he needed help looking at rings, she snagged the diamond and helped him get it set. He was shocked she already had a stone (read- relieved) and was thankful to her best friend for the guidance having it set. Everyone was very happy, especially my friend who received a complementary pair of earrings.

I would pick a ring I really didn’t like and say something like, “He obviously didn’t consult her best friend before that purchase- I overheard her say it isn’t what she’d have wanted if given a choice”. Don’t say it snidely- Clever Girls are not ugly or petty. This alerts him to the fact this is a great idea- he will think he thought of it himself. Make sure you insert the right person to guide him- your mother, sister or best friend. Again, be specific with them.

Now that the ring issue is resolved- get cracking on all those pointless left hand gestures.Next time we will talk about the next issue- setting the date. Sounds easy right? Oh no …

Clever Guys- check in on Thursday for a few tips regarding the ring.