Second Marriage Engagement Ring Etiquette

Written by: Benjamin Khordipour, Jewelry and Gemology Expert
May 10, 2021 – Posted in: Jewelry Blog

Second marriages are more common today than they’ve ever been. We’ve created this article to take the confusion out of choosing the Second Marriage Engagement Ring.

There’s no reason why starting a second engagement shouldn’t be as uplifting and romantic as the first. The difference is that, usually, you are both older, wiser, and probably a little less idealistic. But do the rules, such as they are, for buying and giving an engagement ring change at all?

Buying Your Second Engagement Ring

Second Wedding Engagement Ring Proposal

First and foremost, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t have an engagement ring for a second marriage.

And nor should the wedding be any less spectacular. We’ve seen it said elsewhere (usually by people who think marriage is somehow an outdated tradition), that a second marriage should be almost a formality in the way it is done. No engagement ring, no gown, no dress suits, just as few people as possible in front of a judge.

Written down, the words are almost as ridiculous as the thought that a second wedding shouldn’t be every bit as beautiful as the first. It’s your day, so do it the way you want.

The General Rules for a Second Engagement Ring

Second Marriage Engagement Ring on Finger

Etiquette is one of those things that some follow closely, but which others find tedious and pointless.

Fortunately, many previous rules around all manner of things have relaxed considerably in recent years. The rules surrounding engagement rings are one such area where some things have become much more relaxed. For a second marriage, what an engagement ring should look like hasn’t really changed from that for a first engagement.

Engagement rings don’t age like clothing or wallpaper do. If it was beautiful 20 or 30 years ago, it will be beautiful now. Not to say you should use the same engagement ring, of course, just that a similar style is perfectly appropriate.

That being said, here are a few things to consider:

  • The price range of the engagement ring may need to be higher than when you got engaged the first time around, especially if you’re both further along in life. A cheap ring may just come across as – just that – cheap. Again, this is not a hard and clear rule, just something to think about.
  • You may want to steer clear of any styles and designs of the previous proposal/s. If the previous relationships (either spouse) ended poorly, you don’t want a continuous reminder to be sitting on her finger.
  • Consider the dynamics with exes (if applicable) and how to best avoid possible drama if the ring is too flashy.

One thing about second marriage engagement rings (and wedding bands) that you should keep as a rule, though, is that it’s better to stop wearing the old ones when embarking on a new engagement. It may be that your first marriage ended due to the sad loss of a husband, but wearing your rings from that marriage might make your new partner slightly uncomfortable. Again, there are many reasonable exceptions to this rule.

Choosing the Ring

Trying on Engagement Rings

If you like it, buy it, it’s nothing more complicated than that. There aren’t two separate ranges of engagement rings for first and second engagements. Don’t think that, because it’s a second engagement, diamonds are somehow overdoing things. Engagement rings are beautiful things and the people who design and make them want them to be worn. They don’t care if it isn’t your first engagement, they just want to be appreciated like anybody else.

There’s no scale of what is appropriate for a first engagement and for a second.

Who Pays for Second Marriage Engagement Ring?

Engagement Ring in a Box

Regardless of whether it’s a first, second, or tenth marriage, this is one area that has changed a lot in recent decades. Today, the majority of engagement rings are chosen together and, in some cases, even paid for jointly. This immediately takes a lot of the guesswork out of choosing the ring. Whether you choose to pay for the ring together or not, and if this then allows for more to be spent, that’s entirely a personal decision. Etiquette of any kind doesn’t trump personal circumstances.

This doesn’t mean the ring shouldn’t be a surprise, but you can use the experience to your advantage. As we get older, most of us become more measured in our approach to life. And that includes choosing the things we buy. Being a little older also draws a different approach from others, so jewelers might be a little more attentive.

However you choose to go about buying the ring, it’s still a magical and fantastically romantic thing to do. With a ring bought, everything gets a lot more real, so make it a wonderful occasion.

The great thing about second marriages is that you now know all the things about marriage that you didn’t when starting the first. That includes what to do when buying a ring.

If you need help choosing the ring, feel free to reach out to our friendly jewelers. We can guide you along the process of choosing out the perfect second relationship engagement ring.

Presenting The Engagement Ring

Engagement Ring on Feathers and Desk

If we assume that a ring has been bought amidst some sort of secrecy, we then need to consider the proposal.

To start with, and just because it’s the right thing, do make sure that any previous marriage is fully dissolved. It’s not illegal, but proposing to someone who is married isn’t a great way to do it. Proposing whilst married yourself, well, we don’t even know where to start on that. This is one occasion when more paperwork is a good thing.

We all like surprises, from the youngest child to the most senior adult. We might feign disinterest sometimes, but we’re always secretly thrilled that someone has taken the time do do that for us. It doesn’t matter how old we get, so don’t think your potential fiancée isn’t bothered about you making a real effort to propose.

She may have favorite places, favorite walks, or just situations where she feels comfortable and secure. These are ideal for a proposal. It’s probably (though not definitely) past the time for flash mobs and elaborate schemes involving a cast of thousands, but that doesn’t mean the proposal shouldn’t be very special.  It doesn’t need to be a one-knee occasion, although go for it if you know it is appropriate.

Click here to view our list of proposal ideas.

When you do present the ring, be confident. If you were confident enough to buy it on your own, then this should be a breeze. Really, it should. Buying the ring meant negotiating a minefield of potential problems, but proposing is that one step we all take to go some place new.

A Summary

Aquamarine ring on finger

In truth, as far as the ring itself goes, not a single thing changes between a first and second marriage. It is true that some of the processes you go through to reach the beginning of your new life together may be different, but they’re not different.

Choose your spouse (in the best sense), chose the ring, choose how and where to propose. Above all, choose to do it your way.

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