"When we got back to the UK we continued seeing each other and became official on the 12th September. Now we are getting married on the 12th September, 9 years later"

Steph and I met each other in Croatia in August 2011. We were both at University studying Archaeology and had to do a 4 week dig as part of our degree. We were paired up together in the first week and realised we had a lot in common and got on really well. As we were there for so long we got to spend a lot of time together. When we got back to the UK we continued seeing each other and became official on the 12th September. Now we are getting married on the 12th September 9 years later.

We got engaged in the New Forest as it was somewhere we went together when we were at University. We also did an archaeological dig together in a forest in Croatia so it was a lovely tribute to where we first met! We had both taken the day off work, with Steph believing that we were going to a summer event at my work, however she woke up to a cup of tea and a riddle only. I had hidden a series of clues for her to decipher amongst different items in our home, she even ended up getting some help from our cat! 

The clues in the house led to her to getting a train ticket to Oxford and from there to the New Forest where I was waiting with a picnic. I had even arranged for Steph’s dad to pick up our cat so that we could stay in a lovely hotel in the area. The whole day was made personal, fun and so special. Her words “I had never found a ring I was in love with until I saw this one. It was all so perfect and I would happily do the day all over again!”

"I had hidden a series of clues for her to decipher amongst different items in our home, she even ended up getting some help from our cat!"

I really wanted to design my own engagement ring as I wanted to make it very personal and unique to my fiancé. After doing some extensive research, a work colleague suggested that I consider Ingle & Rhode, as they had worked with them previously to produce their engagement ring and said they had made the whole process easy and stress-free, with the end result being exactly what they were after. After looking at the unique and remarkable range of rings on the Ingle & Rhode website and reading the philosophy and story behind the company, I knew that they would be the perfect match to turn my envisioned designs into a feasible and stunning ring. When I first contacted them and sent through my initial designs for the ring, the passionate and enthusiastic response that I received from the team further confirmed that they were the right jewellers for me. The responsible and ethical values behind sourcing the materials for their rings was also another important aspect for me when it came to choosing Ingle & Rhode.

"The design of the ring is very important, as I wanted to create a distinctive and personalised ring for my fiancé that was unique for her"

The experience I had with Ingle & Rhode was fantastic. They were supportive and extremely helpful at each stage of the design process, with each member of the team who I dealt with providing a very professional and attentive service throughout. When I sent my initial self-produced designs in for my fiancé’s engagement ring, the team at Ingle & Rhode helped explain and guide me through each stage of the process, as well as being happy to answer all of the questions or thoughts I had along the way. I had a couple of unique and distinct aspects that I particularly wanted on my ring but was unsure whether they would be possible or practical with the materials I had chosen. The team were brilliant and provided detailed information and several options for how I could achieve my overall design. They’re passionate and efficient communication from initial contact for a quote, right through to collecting the finished ring, made the whole process far more relaxed and much less daunting than I had built it up to be!

The design of the ring is very important, as I wanted to create a distinctive and personalised ring for my fiancé that was unique for her. I love creating and giving her surprises, so along with the proposal itself, I wanted the ring design to be a surprise and not like anything she had seen before.

In the seven years that we had been together before I proposed, we had occasionally looked at engagement rings in shop windows and laughed about how she would keep changing her mind as to what type of ring she may like “one day” and how I was generally clueless about jewellery. So, when it came to designing her ring, I wanted to make sure that I incorporated elements of the rings that we had seen during these occasions, but that ultimately had the personalised aesthetics of a ring that was unique and distinctive for her. The crossed gold band leading up to the gems is one of these incorporated aspects, as is the combination of the sapphires and diamond; aspects that a lot of the rings she had admired had in common. However, the decision to arrange the gems into a flower and put the sapphires as the petals and the diamond in the centre was one of the unique elements added from my design. One of the only ‘serious’ comments my fiancé had previously made regarding engagement rings was that she really liked the idea of a flower design but had never seen one that she truly liked or felt drawn too. The majority that I had seen all had a central coloured gemstone with diamonds surrounding them, which didn’t quite give the colourful appearance I knew my fiancé would like.

steph and ben's engagement ring design
steph and ben's engagement ring design

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