By SABRINA GARRETT
The Wilson Post
Crisp December nights, the twinkling of Christmas lights, the feeling of love and goodwill between family and friends who wouldnt want to get engaged during this magical season?
According to a survey conducted by wedding website, TheKnot.com, 39 percent of marriage proposals occur between Thanksgiving and Valentines Day with 16 percent happening at Christmastime.
Local jewelry stores, The Jewelers of Lebanon, American Jewelry Co. in Mt. Juliet and Winfreys Rone Jewelry, have witnessed this boom firsthand.
Christmas is always a time when people feel lovey and Christmas, in any retail business, is the busiest time of the year, said Shaun Smith, owner of The Jewelers.
Terry Fanchier with Winfreys Rone Jewelry Co. agreed that business definitely picks up. She said that in most cases the couple has already talked about engagement and the groom-to-be uses the holiday backdrop to pop the question. A lot of people give engagement rings for Christmas. It is a good time.
American Jewelry General Manager Ryan Wolfenbager said that oftentimes, a boyfriend will choose a date surrounding Christmas Day, such as Christmas Eve or New Years Eve for the actual proposal.
Tennessee is an interesting state when it comes to laws and engagement. In Tennessee, an engagement is a contract for marriage meaning that if the engagement is broken off, the giver can ask for the ring back, he explained. If the ring is given on Christmas Day or a birthday, the person receiving that could construe it as a gift.
According to Wolfenbarger, New Years Eve has become an increasingly popular day to get engaged for many couples. It is a new year and a new start. Many couples have plans to go out somewhere anyways, so maybe their significant other is not as suspicious of their plans to propose because they already have planned a big night out, he said. We sell a lot of engagement rings for both Christmas and New Years.
Both Wolfenbarger and Smith agreed that proposal trends have changed in the past decade. Smith, who has been a jeweler for 16 years, said that in many ways the surprise element has been taken out of engagements.
It used to be that the girlfriend wasnt involved at all. It was rare to see a girlfriend come in, Smith said. The trend now is that the girlfriend will come in with her friends to pick out a ring. Then one of the friends will help the boyfriend when it comes time to buy it. There is not as much surprise anymore.
Wolfenbarger has seen many couples come into his store to select a ring together. We are seeing a major shift. Most customers are both involved and are planning their life out together, he said. Ladies come in and help the guy out. They narrow it down to four or five styles that they like. Most men try to keep the date of when the proposal is going to happen a secret not so much the fact that it is going to happen.
Engagement ring shopping has also changed because of technology and social media.
Almost every lady that comes in has a ring that she likes on her Pinterest account. About 50 percent of my engagement ring customers will shop with a close friend or the mother of their bride-to-be, Wolfenbarger said. I had a guy in here the other day who had three sisters he was taking pictures of rings on his iPhone and sending it to all of his sisters for input.
Smith estimated the average amount spent on an engagement ring in his store nowadays is in the $1,000 to $3,000 range; however, some couples choose to spend more or opt for a custom design. We do custom designs all the time. We do one-of-kind pieces that you cant walk into a chain store and get.
Wolfenbarger said that ladies in 2012 are more interested in the design of the ring whereas men are interested in the grade and quality of the diamond to be placed in it. He recommended that if men are not sure of their girlfriends preference this holiday season, they purchase the diamond of their choice in a presentation mounting. It is a solitaire in a Tiffany-style setting, basic mounting. That way they can have their surprise engagement moment and then come back in and be sure she is getting the setting she really wants.
Presentation mountings are sold for $300. When the presentation mounting is returned, that $300 credit is issued toward another setting purchase.