The New Rules of Engagement Ring Etiquette

The etiquette surrounding engagements can be a hairy field to navigate, to say the least—especially when you consider that with the arrival of 2016, the world has (thankfully) become more modern than ever. With social media, feminism, and less-traditional family structures all in abundance, getting engaged in contemporary times can feel complicated.

The etiquette of engagements is a topic we've delved into in the past, but the modern rules of engagement rings in particular are deserving of their own spotlight. From whether or not it's really okay to post that close-up shot of your rock to Instagram, to what you should do if you really just hate the ring—we have rounded up the guidelines you should follow in modern times.

Keep scrolling to learn the new rules of engagement ring etiquette now! 

Tradition dictates that the proposer shops for the ring and surprises his or her intended with the bauble as a gift, but many modern women (and men!) would prefer to have some say in the style of the ring. And in 2016, that's totally fine; you can go shopping together, suggest designers, send inspiration, whatever you like. After all, if you're the person wearing it, you should like it! 

The classic diamond solitaire is really the original "engagement ring." The singular stone initially came about as a form of insurance to protect women in the event that a suitor decided he no longer wanted to marry her; of course, this way of thinking is largely outdated nowadays, as is the rule that a diamond solitaire is the way to go. Contemporary jewelry designers now create engagement rings with unique stones and design elements, often foregoing diamonds altogether.

Tradition stipulates that the proposer pays for the ring. But since ideally you are entering into a partnership with someone who you consider your equal, why not also share equal responsibility, re: the purchase of the ring? Of course, if you want to be gifted the ring, there's nothing wrong with that, but if you do want to help pay, the gesture will likely be appreciated. 

This one's a toughie, because the ubiquitous presence of sites like Facebook and Instagram make it very tempting to post a shot of your beloved rock as soon as it's on your finger. But according to Brides.com, posting a close-up shot of just the ring is in poor taste; instead, post a more zoomed-out photo of your hand in the hand of your betrothed. That way, loved ones can see your ring without it being the central focus.

If your proposer surprises you with an engagement ring and you don't absolutely love it, you have every right to express that opinion—but do so graciously and politely. Offer to help pick out a replacement, and even pay for it, if need be. 

Yes, it's true! The man or woman doing the proposing can also put a ring on, if the desire is present for both parties to express their commitment with jewelry. If you have some more traditional people in your family and friend groups, be prepared for some questions; people might think you already got married if you're both wearing rings. 

If something sours and you decide to break off the engagement, you should at least offer to return the ring, particularly if it was gift. If you helped pick out the ring or even helped pay for it, ideally you'll return the ring and split the financial gains.

Keep scrolling to shop some of our favorite modern engagement rings now!

Do you think traditional etiquette rules still apply to engagements in 2016? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Opening photo: Look de PernilleCupcakes and Cashmere