Quick and Easy Buying Guide

Carat weight: 1 carat = 200 milligrams = 6.5 mm diameter. Doubling weight doesn't double diameter.

Diamond clarity: FL/IF/VVS/VS = super expensive, near perfect. SI = best value if you can check a photo for obvious inclusions (defects).


Color: D-G = colorless, expensive, only if you have money to burn. H-J = best value. Can go lower in gold metal settings than white metal.

Cut: Better cut ratings let more light into a diamond, making it sparkle more. Very important property, don't skimp here.

Set a budget and minimum cut (Premium). Go J color for gold and I/H for white metals. Go searching for SI1/SI2 clarity diamonds at James Allen. Pick a diamond with small/no inclusions. Choose a ring setting and buy it risk-free (60-day returns).

Long Engagements

The length of an engagement can vary hugely between different people. Just within the people that I know, engagements have varied between two weeks and more than a decade. And of course, some people just never get married.

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If an engagement does drag on, there can be a wide variety of reasons, or sometimes, no real reason.

Some of the reasons include: military service, finishing college, saving enough money to pay for the wedding, avoiding a conflict with another significant event, or the need to relocate to somewhere different.

When a couple is in a long engagement, they can feel a lot of pressure from friends and family, who will constantly ask about their engagement and when they’re getting married.

It’s important to be upfront with your friends and family –tell them early on what your plans are, or even that you have no definite plans. Hopefully doing this will reduce the number of questions you get asked. You can tell people by sending out engagement announcements.

There are of course, some advantages to having a long engagement. You have plenty of time to organize the wedding. There are however, some things to be careful of. Especially if you’re young, your preferences for the wedding may change between when you initially got engaged in when the wedding is actually held. So don’t commit to any specific decorations at an early stage.

The same goes for picking your bridal party. If the wedding happens many years later, you may have a different set of friends. Is generally easier to ask someone at a later stage to be a bridal party member, then to tell someone that you no longer want them as a bridal party member. Of course your closest friends and family may give you some grief if you don’t tell them that they will be in the bridal party.

Also remember that a long engagement isn’t set in stone. You have the right to change your mind and get married sooner if your attitude or situation changes. Just remember to be courteous to everyone in changing your plants, especially if you decide to elope somewhere ahead of schedule.

And lastly, sometimes it can feel like, to one person in the couple, that there is no real reason for the long engagement, and that it is just dragging on for no real reason. In these situations, it’s very important to communicate with your partner, and tell them how you feel. Usually, with some calm, reasoned discussion, you can sort out the underlying reason for any delay.

And if you have delayed your wedding for financial reasons for instance, just remember you’re doing the right thing by being sensible are not starting your marriage up to your eyeballs in debt.