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photo: Instagram/Marissa Pina, Vivala

As a woman in a serious relationship, I’ve started to wonder about how people pick the perfect engagement rings for themselves or their partners. How do they know where to look, or even where to start? Do they really know the style you’d want to wear (ideally) for the rest of your life? Is it appropriate to leave hints? Is a wedding-themed Pinterest page totally out of the question? 

We often only hear the romantic proposal story, or see the Insta of the ring once someone’s said “yes!” but what really goes down before all of that? Click through the slideshow for six people's real-deal stories on what they considered, deliberated, and budgeted before they got down on one knee. 

Related from Vivala: Yes, You Can Afford the Wedding of Your Dreams