When you say wedding ring, most people assume you mean the wedding band rather than engagement rings. Since both are technically wedding rings, it is important to consider the average engagement ring cost as well as the cost of the wedding bands for the couple.
Some couples choose to buy the engagement ring first and then choose the bands together while others may opt to buy all three at the same time. Choosing how much to spend depends on a lot of factors from the overall budget of the upcoming wedding, to additional factors like current money situation and future plans.
When setting your engagement ring budget, also factor in personal style, whether it will be worn daily or not, and the activities that the ring-wearer will be engaged in every day. If you can’t have an honest conversation about your partner’s preferences for this decision, you may not be ready for an actual marriage yet.
How much are you supposed to spend on a wedding ring?
The biggest engagement ring myth ever has to be the one that says you must spend three month’s salary for the best ring. Buying an engagement ring should not put you at risk of blowing your personal budget before you have even started planning a wedding.
According to Brides.com, the average cost of an engagement ring is $3,756 today. And this is considerably lower than just 4 years ago. There are many ways to find the perfect ring including shopping online, getting suggestions from a wedding website, considering alternatives like cubic zirconia, colored diamonds, or other gemstones, and using non-traditional metals.
To get a beautiful ring without breaking the wedding budget:
- Comparison shop. It is okay to have an idea in your head of what you would like, but be realistic and be flexible.
- Go window shopping and get a better idea of what your partner is truly dreaming of. It might surprise you to learn that not every woman wants a diamond and among those that do, bigger is not always better. Remember, diamonds are judged on more than just carat size.
- Choose a durable ring relative to the person wearing it. Someone who will only wear their diamond ring for special occasions may be able to wear a larger diamond than someone who is wearing it every day or someone who works with their hands.
- Choosing your wedding bands at the same time not only gives you a more cohesive look but may also allow you to get a better price overall.
The Wedding Band
Traditionally a simple band of yellow gold, the wedding band has become more of a personalized ring for both members of the couple. There are more options and styles to choose from including rose gold, white gold, titanium, and even silicone for the people who live a very active lifestyle that may make a metal ring dangerous.
The average cost of the man’s band is $510 while the average cost of a female wedding band is $1100. If you buy an expensive engagement ring, you might opt to spend far less money on the wedding bands. It is vital to be on the same page about this before you shop.
The bands should:
- Suit both people equally but also complement one another.
- Be of a metal or material that works for both. There are no hard and fast rules for the bands that you wear. Each couple has to determine what works for them.
Is $10,000 enough for a wedding ring?
The average person is not going to be able to justify spending this much on a wedding ring if they are also planning to have a wedding as well. Again, the national average for an engagement ring is just under $4000, and when you add in the average cost of the wedding bands, you are still well under the $10k mark.
Look at your overall financial situation, your immediate plans (wedding/honeymoon), and also your longer-term goals (house/children). Weigh which of these things matter most to you and then spend accordingly.
How much is too much for a wedding ring?
With so many personal variables, it may be impossible to say. To get a better idea of how much to spend vs. the average spend use an engagement ring calculator. A good calculator asks relevant questions about goals and plans, current finances, and your current debt. You can find dozens of these calculators online.
Contrary to what the diamond marketers would like you to believe, you do not have to spend a set number of months’ salary or portion of your yearly income to get a ring. You may be spending money you could use in better ways if:
- You have to finance all or part of the cost of the ring.
- You have had to scale back on wedding or honeymoon plans because of the cost of the ring.
- You are considering working a second or third job to help offset the cost.
- You cannot afford the insurance on the ring. The insurance is usually as much as 3% of the value of the ring.
Is a 2-carat ring too big?
The center stone in the average wedding ring is a diamond. Whether it is a real diamond or one of the lab-created diamonds, the average size in the US is just under 2 carats. There are plenty of people who want a much larger diamond engagement ring. There are others who want a much smaller one. Who should have the final say? The person wearing it. If you have never talked about the type of ring your intended might like to have, it is time to have that talk and also to think about these things.
- The size and shape of her hands and finger. Long fingers can wear a larger stone with comfort and grace while shorter fingers may look overpowered by a large stone.
- What they do every day. A great big boulder on the finger of a CEO is not going to be a problem. Put that same rock on a nurse, doctor, busy mother, or welder and there will be major issues.
- Consider the person. If Lucy is always losing things do you think she would be comfortable sporting a two-carat ring around? Diamond engagement rings are a symbol of love and are meant to be enjoyed not to be a source of never-ending stress and worry.
Is a 1-carat engagement ring too small?
Again, it is all relative. If you can only afford a smaller ring, that should be fine. There is nothing to say that you can’t upgrade the ring’s diamond at a later date.
What is considered a lot of carats?
The average engagement ring is just under 2 carats so anything over that would be considered “a lot”.
Just for fun:
- The largest engagement ring belonged to Elizabeth Taylor. It was just over 33 carats.
- The title for largest engagement ring is currently held by Mariah Carey. Her ring was 35 carats at a cost of over $10 million.
How can you save money on a wedding ring?
There are a lot of ways that you can save money on a wedding ring. Did you know that you can find a beautiful engagement ring online? If you are planning to spend money on a ring from a website, know which ones are secure and reliable.
- Blue Nile. From engagement rings to wedding bands and even sets, you can find most styles at Blue Nile. Use the Swagbucks link to get 2% cashback plus use the coupons for discounts and free shipping.
- Zales Outlet. Shop for preowned rings, loose stones, and more. Two percent cashback is also available.
Additional ways to save on a wedding ring:
- Choose a smaller diamond or one with slight imperfections. You cannot see these with the naked eye.
- Buy a ring at an antique store or pawn shop. You can always make up an amazing backstory for your ring.
- Buy a ring from a family member. Aunt Sue has cycled through another husband and is off-loading some jewelry. Snap that ring up before old Sue has found a potential new victim, er, husband.
- Skip the ring and get a finger tattoo. Nothing says I love you quite like being jabbed by a needle a zillion times right in your delicate finger meat.
Choose the ring carefully but remember, the most important thing is that you have chosen the right partner.
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