July 31, 2014, 6 a.m. by SMARTBRIDE

Is it ok to split the cost of your engagement ring?


Weddings are all about tradition, but some traditions are meant to be broken. Do you have to have a cake? No. Garter belt? Definitely not. Take your husband's last name? Totally up to you.

The same goes for engagement rings. Women everywhere dream of their engagement ring long before their boyfriends have thought of popping the question yet we expect our partners to know exactly what we want. AND, to start setting aside precious resources to save for a giant investment. Should an engagement ring really amount to three month's salary? Does it even have to be a diamond? Your finances will soon be joint - so how much is going to be spent on a ring should be a mutual decision.

From budget to design, more and more couples are choosing a ring together. The Knot surveyed 14,000 brides in 2013 all about their engagement and jewelry. Turns out,
most women are somewhat involved when it comes to their engagement ring. 64% are involved in selecting their rings, and 27% actually helped shop for the ring. 32% of brides discussed the engagement ring budget with their groom in advance.

Now, just because you might be helping to select or pay for the ring, doesn't mean you need to sacrifice a beautiful proposal. Here are some handy tips to help your groom to chose a ring on his own or choose a ring together and still have surprise/romantic proposal.

If you want to choose your own ring:

Use a custom ring design tool
Tools like the "Ring Concierge" on jamesallen.com allow brides to specify the shape and setting of a ring along with material of the band and other specifications. You groom may still make final decision on the cut, clarity and size of the stone to suit his budget, but at least you'll get a ring you're excited to slip on when he proposes.

Create a pinterest board
Collecting examples of several rings you would love equally still allows your boyfriend to have some choice and ultimately surprise you. It's always a little bit awkward to be pinning to an engagement ring board long before you've discussed marriage. So, if the topic hasn't come up yet, consider using a secret board until you start talking nuptuals.

Go shopping with a girlfriend
Another option is to put your bestie in charge of coaching your boyfriend through the process. Go on a few shopping trips and make sure she knows exactly what you want. Chances are he'll already know to ask her if you're close, but she can also drop a casual hint that when the time comes, she'll be a wealth of information. Wink wink.

If you've decided to split the cost of the ring or are shopping for it together:

Investigate together
Go on a few trips together to decide on a style, and learn more about the budget required for the designs you prefer. You may need to adjust your expectations of cut, clarity or size depending on your budget. Those decisions should be made together. Then, you may decide to leave it up to your fiance to be to make the final arrangements.

Save together
Once you've investigated, you may want to create a special savings account to begin saving for the ring. We suggest automated transfers from your chequing account so you don't have to think about it. When you're ready to purchase, either one of you can pull the trigger.

Let him surprise you
Once you've chosen or purchased the ring, don't demand it right away. Allow your boyfriend to put it in a safe spot and surprise you later as he chooses.

Plan a special event together
It doesn't have to be elaborate, just memorable. It could be a picnic in your favorite park, a day at the beach, dinner out or a scenic drive. It doesn't really matter as long as you carve out a special moment to put the ring on and share in the excitement of officially deciding to spend the rest of your lives together.

If all else fails, here's a funny video that might give you a little more perspective on the whole diamond ring thing!