Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. Today, as a companion piece to Monday’s first post in a series about the four Cs of diamonds, we’re covering what to do if you don’t like the engagement ring.

The proposal couldn’t have been more romantic and you are on Cloud 9, except for one thing: The ring isn’t your style. Your preference has long been white gold, but for some reason, your beloved picked yellow gold. Vintage makes you squeal, but the contemporary-style Princess cut now on your finger is leaving you a bit forlorn.

Obviously, this is a tricky situation. If handled poorly, this generous, heartfelt gift could turn into a hurtful point of contention for the duration of your marriage. Often, couples shop together to pick out a ring or at least so the receiver can offer up suggestions and preferences. In fact, according to the Emily Post Institute, only 30 percent of men select the ring on their own. For same sex engagements, it’s difficult to find data, because “some gay couples exchange engagement rings and then, during the ceremony, wedding bands. Others wear none at all,” writes Steven Petrow journalist and author of The New York Times“Civil Behavior” column and founder and writer of GayManners.Com, the digital etiquette resource for all things gay and lesbian. When there is a ring in play however and the giver hasn’t consulted the receiver for favorite styles, the potential to strike out comes into play.

First, be gentle and honest in your approach. Simply state that you appreciate the effort and that it’s a beautiful ring, but that it’s just not your style. Next, from the Emily Post Institute, “…stress how important the ring is to you, as you will be wearing it for the rest of your life.” Finally, Post continues, recognize you realize since it was meant to be a surprise, which you appreciate and were delighted by, that there may not have been an opportunity to find out your preferences. Our New Orleans Bride Magazine etiquette columnist Dee Lane adds, “Be mindful of your facial expressions, body language and mannerisms,” says Lane. “Like many conversations you’ll have through your life together, being honest can be painful, but will curb resentment down the road and promote trust and respect in your marriage.”

As with all difficult conversations, honesty and tact are imperative, as is bringing to the situation kind and loving intentions.



Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.

For more wedding etiquette, check out the most recent column from New Orleans Bride Magazine etiquette columnist Dee Lane in the new Winter/Spring 2015 issue.