Getting Engaged – a real life engagement story
Is there anything more exciting than getting engaged? You and your partner are making a commitment to one and other, you promise to cherish and to hold one and other, in sickness and health and celebrate your unity with a whole host of your friends and family together during one big party…
But it all starts with a ring, an engagement ring to be specific.
I get asked to make a lot of bespoke jewellery and one of my favourite pieces to make is an engagement ring. There is so much sentiment involved and the gesture is so momentous, I am always honoured to be a part of this.
Just before lockdown happened in the UK, I completed an engagement ring for Doug who had commissioned me to make a ring for his partner Harri. The design incorporated three beautiful fairly sourced white Sri Lankan sapphires set into 18ct yellow Faritrade gold, and on handover of the ring to Doug, as always with designing and making engagement rings, I waited in suspense in the hope that Harri was going to say ‘yes!’
And I didn’t have to wait long!
Shortly after Doug popped the question and informed me that Harri had said ‘yes!’…
She Said ‘Yes!’
I caught up with them both to hear all about their engagement story and asked them a few questions about their engagement ring journey…
Q.1 Doug – How did you come up with the design?
As Harri Mentions later on, she had the least subtle picture album of dream engagement rings on her phone. I was lucky enough to email them across to myself one day (deleting any trace) whilst she was in the shower. From there I forwarded the ones I preferred (there were a lot to whittle down) onto Julia and we met up to discuss the design in greater detail. Julia instantly put me at ease and I knew I was in the presence of someone who knew what she was talking about and took great pride in her work. After several sketches over a couple of visits the final design was chosen.
Q.2 Harri – Had you dropped any hints about designs that you particularly loved the look of?
I had quite unsubtly created a ‘ring’ album on my phone and had made Doug aware I had done so. I did fairly often show him designs too I think!
Q.3 Doug – How did you pop the question?
We were getting ever closer to the reality of a lockdown, and I wanted to do it somewhere that meant a lot to Harri. I decided that when visiting her grandparents (who Harri is very close with and always mentions how they’d love to see their oldest grand daughter get married) in Charmouth to drop off a food shop, I suggested we took a walk on the cliff tops as one last bit of sea air before lockdown. It was a lot busier than I anticipated so after watching dog walkers, runners and ramblers come and go I finally had my chance to get down on one knee. We then went straight up to her grandparents to deliver the news – and drop off some shopping!
NB – a lovely middle aged couple came over the peak of the cliff as I was down on one knee and were quick to congratulate us, which was really sweet.
Q.4 Doug – How did you feel when you first saw the ring?
It was a mash up of feelings including (but not limited to) joy, elation, satisfaction and a bit of relief. Not that I would have ever doubted Julia with how confident and reassured she made me feel throughout the process, but having not seen it in the flesh I didn’t really know what to expect. Straight away I was chuffed with it and it was just a case of hoping Harri felt the same.
Q.5 Harri – How did you feel when you first saw the ring and how does it feel to be wearing it now?
I was in pure shock I think, and I remember just staring at the ring without quite comprehending it was for me! Then came the (happy) tears as I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was and how much he had nailed it. I particularly love the fact that it’s Fairtrade and sustainably sourced – and the fact that they are white sapphires makes it even more special to me as it’s even more one-of-a-kind. And as for wearing it now… I think I stare at it about 100 times a day and it unashamedly has featured on many of my insta stories (and still continues to do so)!
Q.6 Doug and Harri – Do you have any tips for couples looking to get engaged?
Harri – I think that anyone who may be holding off proposing because of the current situation, don’t – it’s been lovely to have something to think about and of course plan even if it’s to a limited extent! Plus you have the added bonus of being able to stretch it out a bit and celebrate with your friends and family later down the line. Also you will obviously love whatever ring your partner picks for you but I probably would recommend subtle tips if you have something specific in mind.
Doug – I’d say its best to plan in advance, from the moment you know you’re going to pop the question. Get the wheels in motion, both sorting out a ring that fits what you want and on how you’re going to ask the question. I liked the surprise aspect of a proposal and was always adamant I’d do it when Harri wasn’t expecting a thing (no fancy restaurant, or glamorous holidays etc), but each couple is different and you should do what feels best for you.
Some kind words from the couple about the ring and my work:
Harri – from a quality/workmanship point of view as I didn’t work with Julia on the design (obviously) the ring is simply stunning and looks so well made close up. She was also so lovely when I messaged her afterwards.
Doug – Julia is so knowledgeable and reassuring when it comes to crafting rings. I felt 100% involved from my first contact with her. She made sure that my influence/ideas were listened to throughout whilst also inputting her own great thoughts and suggestions. She also provided handy tips on gaining the correct ring size without causing any suspicion and on potential dates I could propose on that would be meaningful.
I cannot recommend her enough for how pleasant and enjoyable she made the whole experience, if you’re lucky enough to ever visit Julia at her workshop, you’ll instantly know what she is all about and feel looked after and cared for throughout the whole process.
How to commission your own bespoke engagement ring:
I love how this couple worked together when it came to their engagement ring. Harri helpfully made some hints and saved some images on her Pinterest page, which I think is a genius idea. At the end of the day, it is a lot of money to spend on a ring you are likely to wear every day, so it should be something you will both love looking at and you have to love wearing.
Doug took on board the hints and came to me armed with ideas. He was clear about what the ring must and must not contain, while being open to ideas and alternative suggestions, like using White Sapphires as opposed to Diamonds (read all about why I make this recommendation here).
We worked on the final design together, taking hints of designs Harri liked and re-imagining them into something completely unique. The result is a ring that is completely bespoke, taking into consideration Harri’s style and personality.
If you feel inspired by Harri and Doug’s engagement journey and would like to commission an engagement ring made especially for the one you love then please get in touch!