This post is part of Long’s Jewelers‘ “A Cut Above the Rest” diamond and jewelry educational series, your guide to getting it right when celebrating life’s biggest moments.  For more tips and inspiration, check out our proposal guides

So you’ve finally found “the one” and summoned the courage to propose. But that’s only half the battle. Now, you have to buy the ring. For some, finding the perfect ring is as intimidating as popping the question. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few words of wisdom to help take the stress out of buying an engagement ring.

1. The eyes have it. Don’t skimp on seeing diamonds in person. A diamond can’t be explained by numbers and letters, so the only way to know what you are buying is by looking at a few stones side by side. Explore your options and discover what shapes, colors, and sizes might dazzle your soon-to-be fiancée. A diamond expert can help point out the major differences in quality, but in the end, trust your own eyes above all others.

2. Remember the ring. Sure, the diamond might be the main attraction, but it’s not the whole show. Don’t forget about the ring setting. The setting is just important as the diamond when it comes to pleasing your bride-to-be.

3. Think through your timing. Don’t expect to walk into a store or hop online and instantly purchase the ring of your dreams. Custom settings, a rare diamond, a non-traditional size or even a designer’s ring could take weeks to make. Plan ahead and shop early.

4. Size matters. Don’t worry… you don’t need her exact ring size, but try to have a general idea. Be sneaky and borrow a ring she already wears (on her left hand). You want your proposal to be perfect and an ill-fitting ring is enough to ruin a romantic moment. With most ring styles, your jeweler can adjust the size after the proposal to ensure the best possible fit.

5. Beware the diamond certification game. Diamonds can be graded by independent laboratories to ensure that your diamond has a certain color, clarity and sometimes, a cut grade. What they don’t always tell you is that some Grading Labs have very high standards (like GIA and AGS) while others have much looser standards. Always check the certificate for the name of the lab so you know exactly what you’re getting.

6. Don’t cut corners. Look, she’s going to be wearing this ring for a long time. This isn’t the time to try to save a few bucks. Invest in a quality ring that will last for years to come. Consider platinum. It might be pricy, but it better protects the diamond and requires a lot less maintenance over time, saving you bundles on repairs over the next ten years.

7. Not all jewelers are created equal. When you pop the question, you’re not only committing to your bride-to-be. You’re committing to your jeweler. From financing to repairs, make sure your jeweler will appreciate you even after you make this big purchase.

Now ready to find that ring? Ask an expert to help you get it right, ask her father’s permission without a fight and have the perfect proposal this holiday season.