A guy’s guide to picking out an engagement ring

Choosing an engagement ring can be a daunting task for most men. Knowing that your wife-to-be will be wearing for this piece for the rest of your marriage, you want to make sure it reflects her personality, tastes and moreover – the kind of relationship you two share.

Particularly if she's picky when it comes to style, you'll need to consider a few things before picking out the perfect ring. While you're browsing at fine jewelers, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Set your budget
The age old rule that the ring should be worth two to three months of your salary simply isn't applicable anymore. Ultimately, you should buy the highest quality ring you can afford without going into debt – that way you can start your life together worry-free and maybe spend a little more on a luxurious honeymoon. Remember: You can always buy a nicer ring down the line for an anniversary present.

If your future wife likes sporting bigger bling, The Knot suggested opting for a ring with a larger surface area. Though a one-carat diamond won't be quite as dazzling, it appears much bigger when the stone is a shallow cut.

Determine her size
It's important that her engagement ring fits perfectly – not only when you're sliding it onto her finger for the first time but also for eternity, since she'll be wearing it every day. One way to get her size is by taking one of her favorite rings to be measured at a jeweler. However, you'll need to make sure that it is one she has worn on her ring finger, as her others won't be the same size. If you can't manage to sneak one out of the house, there are also some online guides for measuring a ring at home.

Get a feel for her style
Now comes a crucial part of selecting a ring: figuring out her preferences. Start by noticing what kind of jewelry she wears on a daily basis. If she tends to gravitate toward gold, that's worth noting. Is she more likely to wear colorful gems than white crystals? You might consider getting her a diamond in an unusual hue like pink or yellow – both of which are becoming increasingly popular. If she's more of a shy, down-to-earth girl, opt for a simplistic ring, but if she's a lively woman who loves to be the center of attention, you should choose a ring that's just as bold as her personality.

You could even take her into a jewelry store to observe what pieces she gravitates toward or comments on. If she's picking up a lot of vintage jewelry, for example, you'll want to consider a pave cushion-cut ring that has an antique vibe. Or, if she's more attracted to unusual, trendy pieces, consider a pear-shaped diamond, which has an eclectic look.

Select a fitting shape
The shape of the diamond is what gives an engagement ring its personality. According to The Knot, three-quarters of all rings sold are round-cut, making this shape ideal for a traditional bride. However, an oval-cut diamond is an equally conservative option that is making a comeback. Emerald-cut diamonds are perfect for a woman with refined yet understated style, while a bride who has a penchant for sparkle might prefer the brilliant radiant- or Asscher-cut diamond, both of which have a multitude of facets for maximum brilliance. Marquise-cut diamonds give the illusion of being larger than they actually are, so they'll not only make the most of your budget but also surely please a woman who tends to wear bigger baubles.