The Year In...Engagement Rings

Melissa Herwitt/E! Illustration

'Tis the season to ogle over fresh bling. With cuffing season upon us it can feel like every person you know that's even a little bit coupled up is putting a ring on it and coming up with an oh-so-cute riff on "I said yes!" to caption the inevitable Instagram. 

And while all that wedding fever in the air can feel a little tiresome for some, there are plenty of people—whether hopeless romantics or just fans of a quality piece of jewelry—that get a bit of a vicarious thrill out of checking out all the shiny new hardware gracing left hands everywhere. 

Of course, when it comes to engagement ring porn, no one does it better than Hollywood. With their multimillion-dollar paychecks, or just the ability to talk themselves into a good deal in favor of some invaluable promotion, they can afford to shell out for the type of carats and clarity that leave us mere mortals entirely envious. 

So here's to the stars ringing in 2019 with diamonds—from asscher to round-cut—the relationships they represent and all the fun celebrity weddings that lie ahead. 

Alexa Ray Joel kicked off 2018 with a new relationship status, thanks to restauranteur Ryan Gleason and the emerald-cut Carelle ring he offered up during their holiday vacation along with a few kind words. "He said to me: 'Before I met you, my world was in black and white,'" she wrote on Instagram. "You colored it in between the lines.' It was the most beautiful thing anybody's ever said to me. How could I possibly say no to that?!?!"

Naturally she didn't. And now the NYC-based 32-year-old daughter of Christine Brinkley and Billy Joel is thinking she'll be an uptown bride. "It's probably going to be in the city," the singer recently shared. "We were thinking about Central Park or the top of the Met. Something very classic New York."

Fortune Feimster, Jacquelyn Smith, Engaged

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Big news came out of Big Sur this January when The Mindy Project alum Fortune Feimster revealed she had proposed to girlfriend Jacquelyn Smith. "After two and a half years with my beautiful lady, she's officially my feyoncé," the 38-year-old stand-up comic shared in a snap from the seaside California town. 

And the world traveling pair's upcoming nuptials are already shaping up to be a star-studded affair. After Mindy Kaling offered to officiate (much to Feimster's delight), the comedian's Office Christmas Party costar Olivia Munn chimed in: "Omg!! I call dibs on walking you down the aisle!!!"

Princess Eugenie, Jack Brooksbank, Engaged

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Jack Brooksbank waited seven years to get down on bended knee in Nicaragua. (When asked if she was getting anxious for the proposal nearly a decade after they crossed paths on a Swiss ski trip, Princess Eugenie admitted "maybe," before adding she "knew" it would happen.) So the brand ambassador for George Clooney's Casamigos tequila was determined to set the perfect scene and he did a royally fine job. 

"We had a beautiful volcano, sun was setting, birds were flying," he described in their joint engagement interview on BBC's The One Show With Matt Baker. His future fiancée was impressed: "The lake was so beautiful," she said. "The light was just a special light that I've never seen. I actually said, 'This is an incredible moment,' and then he popped the question."

Still, for weeks after, her left hand felt agonizingly bare. Nervous to set the stone "until Eugenie had signed off on it," as he explained, he waited until after his proposal to have a U.K. jeweler surround the bauble with diamonds. His unique choice: a pale pink padparadscha sapphire he'd selected in part because "it changes color from every different angle," just like his multi-faceted gal.

Nine months after they revealed their betrothal, the pair were legally joined in a multi-day extravaganza at Queen Elizabeth II II's Windsor Castle. 

This year, all Big Brother alum Jessica Graf and Cody Nickson did was win. Ahead of February's Amazing Race finale (on which the reality stars took home the $1 million prize), the marine, 33, dropped to bended knee during a hike in L.A.'s Runyon Canyon. He's made my dreams come true every day since we met!" Graf, 28, shared on Instagram of accepting his 2.42-carat pear-shaped fancy yellow Hamra Diamonds ring. 

The two wed in October, one month after revealing they're expecting their first child together. (Nickson is also dad to 6-year-old daughter Paisley.) And they don't intend to stop after welcoming their daughter this April. "I just want to keep going with the kids," he shared with E! News. "We want to knock them all out and be young parents." Agreed his bride, "I want to be surrounded by babies. I want to lay on the couch and have babies everywhere to just cuddle."

Sure, it seemed hasty when Emily Ratajkowski went from being newly single this January, following a years-long romance with Jeff Magid, to a married woman, announcing on Instagram Feb. 23 that she had wed actor and producer Sebastian Bear-McClard, 31, in a New York City courthouse. But she's not here for Internet naysayers. "People came after my marriage, like, 'Wow. I give it three weeks.' I'm like, ‘What?'" the model-actress, 27, told Marie Claire. "No one can take women seriously on any choices that they make, especially if they're unique to them and they don't play into the way we think women should get married. It's a constant writing-off."

And it's not as if she wasn't familiar with the man she had joined in matrimony. "We knew each other for a long time before," she told Busy Philipps on Busy Tonight in November a few months after she showed off her double diamond ring, "and he likes to joke, 'yeah, everyone thinks we got married quickly, but you vetted me for two years.'"

Toni Braxton, Ring

Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock

She's on the clock! Toni Braxton confirmed her engagement to rapper Birdman in February, but by August, she admitted to her mom Evelyn on an episode of their reality show Braxton Family Values, that she was lagging in the planning department. "There's not a date. There's not a color scheme that's etched in stone; there's nothing," copped the "Unbreak My Heart" singer, 51. "I haven't picked the dress yet, even, ma."

But with her fiancé, 55, demanding they start 2019 as husband and wife—"He said before the year is out," she revealed on The Wendy Williams Show—she's got some work ahead of her. While he would be fine with perfunctory courthouse vows, she's envisioning your standard 'do with best pal Jada Pinkett Smith as matron of honor. "I need the dress," she explained. "I want the dress."

Food Network star Katie Lee saw no reason to let her engagement simmer. Six months after Ryan Biegel, a producer on her Cooking Channel show Beach Bites with Katie Lee, proposed during their March vacation in Paris, they ran off to another ultra-romantic European city to make it official

Lo Scoglio da Tommaso in Marina del Cantone, Italy is a spot "where we really fell in love with each other," the 37-year-old cookbook author, previous wed to Billy Joel, told People. "When we were thinking about getting married, this was really the place that felt like it was right for us." Forty guests watched as the Danielle Frankel-clad bride exchanged vows with her groom. "We didn't want to waste any time to start the rest of our lives together," Lee explained of the quick turnaround. "We wanted it to be summertime here—that's the best time of year to be on the Amalfi Coast—and we certainly didn't want to wait until next year, so we said, there's no time like the present!"

Eight months after Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino proposed to his college sweetheart Lauren Pesce, with Jersey Shore: Family Vacation cameras trailing behind, the pair had a hitchuation on their hands. (The Staten Island native got big props for his 3-carat cushion cut selection set in rose gold. "He made my dreams come true with the ring," she told Us Weekly. "I'm a type-A, picky person. I know exactly what I like when I see it.) 

With the reality star, 36, set to begin an eight-months sentence for tax evasion in January, the final result of a lengthy legal ordeal that kicked off in 2014, they decided to wed at The Legacy Castle in Pompton Plains, NJ Nov. 1 with the whole GTL crew in attendance. 

After all, the former fashion blogger, 32, has big plans following their honeymoon earlier this month at Arizona's Miraval resort and spa. As she posted on her wedding day Instagram, "Now it's baby making time!"

Lea Michele, Engagement Ring

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Since accepting AYR clothing company president Zandy Reich's April proposal, Lea Michele has been steadily chipping away at wedding plans. Longtime collaborator Ryan Murphy, he handpicked the actress for roles in Glee and then Scream Queens, told E! News he was the first call and the news came with a request: "She actually wants me to officiate the ceremony, so we'll see if I get my license."

He'll be joined by a supporting cast of other Glee regulars. Less than two weeks after Reich took a knee Michele revealed she'd tapped her longtime bestie Jonathan Groff to serve as her maid of honor and LM/DC Tour partner Darren Criss may just have the role of wedding singer on lock. Watching him rehearse for his portion of their summer tour gave Michele an idea. 

"There was a song [Darren] wanted me to sing in concert, so he told me kind of last minute, and I had to learn it," she explained. "He's like, 'Oh my gosh, thank you so much,' and I'm like, 'No problem, just start preparing all the songs for my wedding now.' He's like, 'done.'" 

As for the other details, the 32-year-old selected a dress the day before her July engagement party. And she's working on the rest. "One day we want to get married in Hawaii, the next day we want to get married in the Hamptons," she told Us Weekly. "We'll see where we land. I think we should just put a pin somewhere in the United States and tell everybody to just show up." 

Dancing With the Stars pro Cheryl Burke marked her 34th birthday this May by locking in her forever dance partner. And her on-again boyfriend, actor Matthew Lawrence, 38, did good. "Matt worked with my mom to get the original diamond that my late father had given her, and designed a new ring around that," she shared on Instagram. The custom result from Beverly Hills jeweler XIV Karats "has two intertwined circles to represent our two lives coming together and has the words he used to propose, 'Love you always & forever,' engraved inside. It couldn't be more perfect."

Their 2019 vows will be a labor of love as well. Though the pair had originally hoped to have a destination wedding, "Then we got the family members in our ear, like, 'How dare you? That's so selfish!'" she shared during an August appearance on Daily Pop. "You know how it is." Fortunately she's already enlisted some help, asking Leah Remini and Kym Johnson to serve as bridesmaids. 

Scheana Shay, Jax Taylor, Brittany Cartwright, Engagement, Party

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Vanderpump Rules pair Jax Taylor and Brittany Cartwright ended season six of the Bravo guilty pleasure with a split, after Taylor admitted to straying with fellow SUR employee Faith Stowers. "Rot in hell," a devastated Cartwright, who moved to L.A. from Kentucky to be with Taylor, told him in the finale. 

By July she was happily accepting the 3-carat cushion-cut halo diamond from Kyle Chan Design the 39-year-old had painstakingly selected, determined to get this all-important milestone done right. "It's way out of my price range," he admitted of the $70,000 diamond. "When my father passed away, he left some money for my sister and I, and I'm using my money for the ring. Every time I look at it I can think of my dad, and that's just another memory for me."

Now they're busy planning the 2019 affair that will be fit for a princess with Cartwright, 29, booking The Kentucky Castle, a venue she's long dreamt of. As she told People, "I've known where I wanted to get married since I was a little kid."

Ariana Grande, Engagement Ring

Getty Images

She and Pete Davidson may not have turned out to be each other's forever partners, but at least Ariana Grande got a few months to wear the 3-carat pear-shaped Greg Yuna ring she helped choose. "The day I met her, I was like, 'Hey, I'll marry you tomorrow,'" the 25-year-old revealed to GQ at the height of their whirlwind five-month romance. "She was calling my bluff. I sent her a picture [of engagement rings]. I was like, 'Do you like any of these?' She was like, 'Those are my favorite ones,' and I was like, 'Sick.'"

But by mid-October, the $93,000 custom rock was back in the SNL star's possession. The "Thank U, Next" singer, 25, didn't walk away empty-handed, though. She got to keep pet Piggy Smallz and she's doing so amazing. 

Val Chmerkovskiy's Venice proposal came complete with a stunning Jacob & Co. cushion-cut diamond with a halo setting, but Jenna Johnson might be more excited about her future as Mrs. Chemerkovskiy. "You know what, I'm going to have 13 letters in my last name now... I love it!" she gushed to ET earlier this month ahead of their Dancing With the Stars: Live!—A Night to Remember tour. "I was always just like a boring Johnson, like 'Jenna Johnson.' His [has], like, character—no one can say it right."

Just as she's feeling no future pronunciation anxiety, she's not worried about putting together their "black tie, bougie but intimate" vows. "It's kind of weird. I feel like I should be more stressed out but I'm not. I have a superwoman of a mother and we have an awesome wedding planner, so we're just gonna be checking things off every day."

Mark down 2018 as the year Ashley Iaconetti became the poster child for ignoring all of the standard he's just not that into you signs. Nearly three years of lusting after her ideal man paid off this spring when Rhode Island native Jared Haibon finally realized that they were meant to be more than just friends. Naturally, it took the former nanny falling for another guy—Canada's hunky Bachelor Kevin Wendt—on The Bachelor Winter Games, but Haibon, 30, has pledged to make up for his years of indecisiveness and just generally being an idiot. 

His mid-season move on Bachelor in Paradise was a start. This June he brought the 30-year-old back to the same Mexico resort they first met to get down on bended knee with the Neil Lane diamond of her dreams. Now they're busy planning their August 2019 nuptials in his home state and the family that will follow. "It is the sweetest, coolest thing to hear people say that we inspire and give them hope for the love in the future," Iaconetti tells E! News. "A lot of the girls who watch me and us on this journey have always been in my position... Perpetually single, the guy they want never wants them back." Her advice: Hang in there. "The wait will be worth it!"

Katharine McPhee, Instagram

Katharine McPhee/Instagram

When Katharine McPhee's father passed just two weeks after her July engagement to music producer David Foster in Italy, her large, emerald-cut accessory took on an extra special meaning. "My ring was the last thing I showed my dad before he passed and makes me smile when I look at this as a reminder of our last conversation," she wrote in a heartfelt Instagram post. "And now I'm ready to share with all of you what has been my sunshine amongst this painful loss."

While the 34-year-old singer-actress and the four-time divorcé, 69, haven't gotten around to composing their ceremony, his daughters have some ideas. I think we're too old to be bridesmaids," Erin Foster, 36, told Page Six. "Honestly, I'd rather be the ring bearer." As for her sister, Sara Foster, 37: "I'd like to be the flower girl."

Hailey Baldwin, Justin Bieber, engagement ring

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Perhaps the Biebs felt the pressure of his previous declaration to be married by 25, but mere weeks after Justin Bieber and model Hailey Bieber resumed their courtship this past June, the 24-year-old was getting down on one knee on a Miami beach with a sizable oval-cut Solow & Co. Inc. Diamond Jewelers bauble.

By September, the couple had legally wed in a New York City courthouse (though they played coy about their upgraded status for weeks) and now, following an expected bash to celebrate with the extended Bieber and Baldwin clans, they may be headed toward a new milestone. "I love kids and I can't wait to have my own," the Adidas collaborator, 22, recently told Vogue Arabia. "I would say now that's a closer reality, but definitely not anytime soon."

Karlie Kloss, Princess Beatrice

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Even an honest-to-goodness royal (that'd be her close pal Princess Beatrice) was impressed by the dazzlingly large rock supermodel Karlie Kloss accepted from Joshua Kushner, founder of investment firm Thrive Capital, this July. "My phone is blowing up with the sweetest messages," she shared after her Instagram reveal

She returned to social media three months later to unveil that she and her businessman love, 33, had found an opening in their schedules to wed in a top-secret affair in upstate New York. Though the 80 hand-selected guests weren't able to document the Thursday vows—"They took our phones. It was like that," wedding guest Ashley Grahamtold People—Kloss, 26, shared a select few snaps from the intimate Jewish ceremony along with peeks of their 48-hour "mini-moon" to an undisclosed island location. 

Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas

Instagram

It's unlikely the word subtle has ever been used to describe Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas' whirlwind of a romance. From his first move (when he spotted her at the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar party after months of digital flirtations, "I put my drink down, get on one knee—this is in front of a bunch of people—and I say, 'You're real. Where have you been all my life?' Like, loud," he revealed to Vogue) to their seemingly never ending parade of wedding receptions, the newlyweds have been of the go big or go home way of thinking. 

And so the jewelry the former Jonas Brother, 26, presented his future bride, 36, had to match. Shutting down a Tiffany & Co. outpost in London ahead of his proposal in Greece, he selected a four-carat cushion-cut diamond, following the actress' one request that he pick out something from the iconic jewelry brand. "I've always had a romantic fascination with Tiffany since I was a kid," Chopra told People. "It's just so chic and classy and timeless. So somewhere I'd mentioned it to Nick that I wanted my ring to be a Tiffany ring and I think he remembered."

Sure, actress Gina Rodriguez was stoked to receive a proposal from model-actor Joe LoCicero, 32, during their Mexican getaway this July. "Oh, I'm stuck with that man for life, he made that so," the Jane the Virgin star, 34, confirmed to E! News the following month. But that doesn't mean she's looking forward to diving into the endless process that is actually planning her vows. "I'm like, maybe in-between this movie and that movie, maybe we can get married then?" she joked. 

And the more hands-off she can be with the whole thing, the better, really. As she told E! News at her Smallfoot premiere this September, "I have a great mother-in-law that I'm hoping will do the whole thing for me."

Just two months after Teddy Geiger went public with her relationship to Schitt's Creek star Emily Hampshire, 37, she was wearing her heart on the fourth finger of her left hand. "I love this woman so much she treats me like a lil princess and makes me laugh harder than anyone," the 30-year-old singer-songwriter wrote as a preamble to the Instagram announcement. "I am so f--king happy to wake up next to her every morning and fall asleep next to her every night and take care of our lil B.B. stumbs together. Which is why...When she asked me if I wanted to spend the rest of our lives together I said... YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES INFINITE YES."

The musician, who has yet to reveal their wedding plans, later posted a close up of the heart-shaped bauble at her mom's request "cuz it's so pretty and she said I made it look 'trashy' cuz I had my 'tongue stickin' out.'"

The second time is proving to be quite the charm for Terrence Howard and his former wife Mira Pak. Following their initial 2013 vows, the parents to sons Qirin, 3, and Hero, 2, quietly split two years later. But after reuniting later that year, the Empire actor was determined to make it work, marking this holiday season by proposing with a stunning seven-carat diamond ring crafted by jeweler Ben Baller. 

In videos of the Christmas day proposal, shared to Instagram, the father of five can be heard telling his gal, "We have an idea of how long we think life is, but we do know how short it can be. It took me 45 years to find you, honey. It took me 45 years to find you. But now that I have you in my 50th year, I will spend the rest of eternity at your side. And I pray that everybody finds that one that will complete them for all eternity because it means everything. I love you." 

This Christmas, Heidi Klum cemented that she won't be saying auf wiedersehen to boyfriend Tom Kaulitz. First spotted kissing on the set of America's Got Talent this March, the German-born supermodel and the Tokio Hotel guitarist went public with their relationship that same month at the amfAR Gala Cannes. 

The 45-year-old former Project Runway host quickly dismissed chatter of their 17-year age difference, telling In Style, "My boyfriend is many years younger than me, and lots of people are questioning that and asking about it...That's really the only time when age seems to be shoved in my face and I have to give an answer for it. I don't really think about it that much otherwise."

And she announced her betrothal in a similar matter of fact way. Sharing a black-and-white photo with her bauble center stage, she confirmed the news with those three simple words: "I SAID YES".

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