Wedding Sells: Retailers Share Their Most Memorable Bridal Sales

We asked retailers to dish on their most memorable bridal sales. Don’t be surprised if you get a little misty.


Shelia Bayes

“We have a client who lives in Louisville, and he ended up buying an engagement ring from us featuring an amazing 5 carat diamond. It was a process that took awhile; we had to find the right stone. But once we did, my gemologist and I drove to Louisville to bring the ring to this big party at this decorator’s house. Everyone there knew our client was going to ask [his girlfriend] to marry him, but she had no idea. He takes her out into the courtyard, gets down on his knee, and asks her in front of everyone. It was just so over-the-top amazing. She screamed and cried. Because the ring was so big, she kept saying she would never get used to it. By the end of the party, she was used to it!”
—Shelia Bayes, owner, Shelia Bayes Fine Jewelers, Lexington, Ky.

Dick Bitzan

“Six and a half years ago, a young man who had gone to school with my son, played rugby in New Zealand, and then moved to California visited the store looking for an engagement ring. His girlfriend had communicated some hints, so he emailed images to us after he returned home, and together we selected an amazing princess-cut diamond and designed a ring. He ended up referring his entire rugby team—men from all over the world—to us! Over six years, six other guys have purchased rings from us with 1 to 2.5 carat center diamonds.”
—Dick Bitzan, CEO, D.J. Bitzan Jewelers, Waite Park, Minn.

“One day I had a customer come and tell me he had a day planned for the proposal, but unfortunately he had to go to Poland for work at the last minute. He asked me to design the ring as he wanted it, and requested that I be at her house at a particular day three weeks from the day of the conversation—at 10:30 in the morning. So I made the design and three weeks later at 10:30 a.m. I rang the bell. At the same instance, the man called his girlfriend from Poland and asked if she would marry him. And there I was at her door holding the ring. I thought, Wow, what a great man and what a great plan. It was very ­thoughtful because apparently that day was ­special to them both. She cried and said ‘Yes!’?”
Jorge Adeler, owner, Adeler Jewelers, Great Falls, Va.

Jorge Adeler When Jorge Adeler proposed to a woman on behalf of his client, he did so with a ring that looked like this.

One of Alex Rysman’s most memorable engagement ring sales involved this stunner from Hearts On Fire.

“It’s really hard for me to say that one diamond sale is more memorable than another. My own marriage means so much to me, and the ­opportunity to touch young people at this important moment in their lives means a great deal to me. So the most interesting diamond sale is always the one I just made. Last night, it was a couple, a second marriage. He was widowed, she had divorced 25 years ago, and they were referred to us by family. When he first got engaged, all the women wore solitaires—that’s what we sold 33 years ago, what he had in mind. But his partner wanted something with a little more glitz to it, and together they chose a Hearts On Fire Star ring. I’d never sold one of those as an engagement ring before, but it will work beautifully.”
—Alex Rysman, president, Romm Diamonds, Brockton, Mass.

Stephanie Williams

“It was August three years ago, pretty close to the end of the night, maybe 15 minutes before we closed. A couple came in; they’d been together 25 years but weren’t married. They lived together, had kids together, were sending their kids through college, and they were in town and just happened to walk in, trying on rings just for fun, no big deal. She found a 1 carat deco platinum vintage ring that she absolutely fell in love with, and the next thing you know, he’s on one knee, and he’s proposing right there in the store! It was the most incredible thing. They came in the next day, finalized everything, sized the ring to fit her, and they decided to get married the next week. We did their wedding bands, and they were simple; they’d just spent so much money on the ring. Well, that was three years ago, and she just called me for their three-year anniversary to get him the wedding band he really wanted. They are fabulous people; they still come into the store when they are in town.”
—Stephanie Williams, store director, Evan James Ltd., Brattleboro, Vt.

Bob and Patty McHenry, the couple who got engaged at Evan James Ltd.

A blue diamond ring from Bijoux Extraordinaire

“I think the most memorable ring I made was for a couple on the West Coast. He was a lighting engineer for Lucasfilm, and he wanted a replacement ring for a special anniversary. I did a 58 point fancy intense blue diamond with colorless diamonds on the side for him. It was exciting because I got to work with a number of blue diamonds—he also hired me to broker the diamond—and it was just a real special project.”
—Judith Anderson, president, Bijoux Extraordinaire, Manchester, N.H.

Antonio Ancona

“I had a client with a custom-designed engagement ring—an almost 2 carat D-color marquise cut—and he wanted to propose to his girlfriend in New York City where they met. He asked me to fly out on a Saturday in December 2013 to deliver it in front of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. He hired a camera crew to follow me and film the proposal, and I had to search for him in a crowd of 15,000 people! I found him, tapped him on the shoulder, and said, ‘Tony, this is for you.’ She knew right away.”
—Antonio Ancona, manager, Ancona Jewelers, Chicago

Harris Botnick

“We had two ladies in who were buying rings for one another, and they said to [a sales associate], ‘Hey, we want you to perform our ceremony.’ The associate came to me and said, ‘This couple wants me to marry them, but I told them we’re not ordained.’ But she had built this relationship with them and wanted to do it. So we jumped on Google, literally Googling How to be ordained. She was able to get ordained online instantly! She received a clergy card and the whole nine yards, and was ready to marry the couple in the store.”
Harris Botnick, owner, Worthmore Jewelers­, Atlanta and Decatur, Ga.

Cathy Sutton

“When my in-laws ran our store years ago, they had an employee named Curtis who eventually moved to Texas. Years later, his son wanted to get married and would only buy his ring from us because he knew we were honest and trust­worthy. So over the phone and through emails and texts, we decided on a ring: a halo-style mounting from Stuller with a 1 carat princess-cut center and diamonds down the shank. We shipped it to him in Dallas, and didn’t even meet him until a year later when he came back to Kansas for his grandmother’s funeral.”
Cathy Sutton, co-owner, Sutton’s Jewelry, Ottawa, Kan.

Danil Nevsky/Stocksy
“The most interesting diamond sale is always the one I just made,” says Romm Diamonds’ Alex Rysman.


Elliott Spicer

“Once a guy came in and wanted to do something extremely special for his girlfriend. They had been dating for around seven years and he was totally in love, and she was pregnant. We were looking at diamonds, and you could tell he was one of those online shoppers who had read a lot about diamonds. I talked to him about considering the overall beauty of a diamond, too, and showed him a diamond that was an I1 with an F in color. But what was cool about it was that the diamond was pregnant! It had an inclusion—a diamond growing within a diamond. And because of that, he bought it. He spent less money and it was a bigger stone. She was thrilled that her diamond was pregnant, and told all her friends.” ?
Elliott Spicer, co-owner, Wick & Greene Jewelers, Asheville, N.C. 

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