The prospect of getting down on one knee and popping the question is nerve wracking enough without the added pressure of choosing the perfect ring.
And when your girlfriend's a designer by trade, the stakes are going to seem even higher.
Considering who he was buying for, Chris McGoldrick's decision to go custom-made was a pretty bold one. Chris would be the first to admit he's no jewelry expert – and his quest to design an engagement ring that would impress interior designer Stephanie was no easy one.
“I'm the traditional kind of guy who doesn't understand anything about jewelry, so I knew it would be trouble," he said. "I started by bouncing a few ideas off her best friend, a designer as well, and she said I could not have been going in a more wrong direction.
“Stephanie has an extremely keen eye for design, and I realized that I needed to find something understated, something really driven by the design of the piece and not just the biggest or flashiest thing. Something completely unique and different to anything else.”
Chris approached Chris & Alix for help, and they began by sharing a few examples that they thought he might like. He was inspired by elements of several different pieces they had created for other customers, and asked if these features could be combined in a way that would result in a distinctive and enchanting ring for Stephanie.
“Their answer was 'yes'," he said. "Their answer to everything was 'yes, we'll figure it out'.
“I had a timeframe issue too. I'd typically let the calendar get away from me, and there were less than four weeks to go before my planned proposal. But they were very understanding.”
Chris & Alix sent Chris four different mock-up versions, and he continued to suggest ways they could bring the ring closer to his vision. The result was a white gold ring with diamonds and a brushed finish.
He said: “I knew she didn't want a loud showpiece, the kind of ring where you walk into a room and everyone has to ask 'where did you get that?' It was more important that it was unique. There couldn't be another one like it.”
With the ring taken care of, Chris and Stephanie were off to Chicago, for a short vacation and visit with her family that would end up becoming a life-changing trip back in May. But struck with bad luck, he was left to think on his feet as the big moment approached. A lengthy flight delay was the first thing to leave him short of time, and as the Chicago Cubs baseball game they were watching went into extra innings his plan suffered further setback.
But his proposal at Buckingham Fountain got him the answer he wanted – eventually – and the ring was a hit.
“By this stage I was pretty much at plan D," he recalled. "I tried to throw her off a bit at first and she became concerned thinking something was wrong. This concern resulted in a first response of ‘thank you' – it took two or three minutes before I got the 'yes, I will'!
“But Stephanie couldn't be happier with the ring. She feels like it really speaks to her personality. It couldn't have gone better. I was really happy with the experience and Stephanie was happy with the result.”
So happy in fact, that the couple will be coming back to Chris & Alix to create a matching wedding band ahead of their big day on June 6, 2015.
If you're thinking about a custom-made engagement ring, contact us for a quote!