Following a proposal, one of the major questions couples often discuss is how much money they should spend on a wedding ring.
Typically, from the perspective of the one proposing, a few paychecks have been handed over to buy the engagement ring. So, they’re hoping the figure is low! But for the one with a shiny new ring on their finger, money is suddenly no object – just keep the pretty sparkly things coming!
However, the money you spend on a wedding ring, or pair of rings, should be carefully considered. As a couple, you will have countless things you’ll need to budget for in the coming months, and if you spend big now, without thinking ahead, you might not get that dream wedding you’ve been planning.
On the flip side, the money you spend on a wedding ring should reflect your lifestyle, and taste. After all, you’re going to be wearing this band on your finger for the rest of your life, so you don’t want to end up with a ring you eventually hate, or that doesn’t suit your needs.
If that means spending a little more than you’d originally planned, consider it an investment rather than an extra cost.
How Much Money Should You Spend on a Wedding Ring?
To guide your decision on how much you should be spending on a wedding ring, we thought we’d run through a few key points that could help you come up with the right figure.
What Does the Average Couple Spend on a Wedding Ring?
The Knot conducted a study back in 2021 asking recently married couples about their wedding spending.
They found that the average cost of an engagement ring was $6,000 nationally, in the US. The average cost of wedding bands was $1,100 for a female wedding band and $550 for male rings.
These figures are useful to see, as they should help you gauge where you are compared to the national average. However, please remember, this is just a guide and does not account for differences in regions and lifestyles.
For example, their American wedding study found that the mid-Atlantic had the highest average engagement ring cost, at $7,900. Whereas the Midwest had the lowest, at around $5,200.
Not only that, but averages may not reflect what you can, or even want to spend on a ring – and that doesn’t mean you’re wrong!
Where Do People Buy Wedding Rings?
As modern consumers, our knee-jerk reaction to making any purchase these days is to buy online. Cars, food, and a wardrobe full of clothes are all often bought without even stepping foot into a store.
However, when it comes to engagement and wedding rings, couples are opting to shop within a brick-and-mortar setting, rather than an online jeweler.
According to The Knot, 67% of people in the 2021 study bought their engagement ring in a physical store, which wasn’t always so easy during the pandemic!
On the whole, the people they interviewed bought their jewelry from independent retailers. This decision to choose local jewelers over chain stores could be down to the service. It is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase, so it makes sense to have someone friendly and attentive giving personal buying advice.
For those who did pick a chain store, most opted for national retailers such as Kay Jewelers, or Zales. There were also some in the study who did purchase wedding rings via an online retailer, and they shopped at Brilliant Earth or Blue Nile.
Who Should Buy the Wedding Rings?
Tradition dictates that couples buy each other’s wedding rings, whether that’s actually them putting their own hands in their pockets, or their family helping them out.
However, it’s nearly 2023, and the way you distribute the cost of wedding rings should not be dictated by tradition. You could instead decide that as one of you bought the engagement ring, a typically expensive purchase, the other should buy the wedding rings – an agreeable compromise.
Splitting the total cost is also an option – a good choice if you’re a couple who appreciates your joint bank account, and can be open and honest about every purchase you both make.
Which Type of Metal Should You Choose for Wedding Rings?
The typical metals used to create wedding rings are gold, platinum, silver, titanium, and tungsten. Each metal has its own particular qualities, either aesthetically or practically.
When considering metals for wedding bands, it’s critical you carefully consider your long-term lifestyle, and how it may affect your ring.
For example, tungsten and titanium are modern, highly durable, and scratch-resistant – both good choices for someone who works with their hands regularly.
Gold is a classic wedding ring metal and can often be paired easily with an engagement ring. It’s a stunning metal for wedding bands, but it can scratch easily and demands upkeep.
Do You Want a Maintenance Free Wedding Ring?
The cost of wedding rings frequently impacts their durability, depending on the metal.
Platinum rings are the most obvious example. This rare, and highly sought-after, metal requires very little attention once it’s on your finger. And it can be worn day to day without any need to give it any extra care.
This durability factor is reflected in its price, which is high, especially when compared to gold, for example, specifically white gold. This metal will need regular care to avoid major wear and tear throughout its life, requiring gold plating often in order to maintain its bright white color.
This constant need for care is reflected in its price point, which is much lower than platinum. The same can also be said for yellow gold, a variation that may be cheap at first, but which will require more cash throughout its lifetime.
With this in mind, it’s important to think about what you want your relationship with your wedding ring to be. Do you want to slip it on your finger and never think of it again? Or are you prepared to take it in for a service every six months?
If you feel you’ll resent your less expensive ring over time, maybe consider upping your wedding budget. Perhaps it would be better to select something that suits your long-term needs better.
Do You Want Something More Than a Plain Metal Band?
Along with the choice of metal, the detailing or elaboration added to a ring will drastically increase its price. Even the smallest diamond can inflate its overall value.
Diamonds are rare, and this is what makes them expensive. Large, flawless diamonds in particular are very hard to find these days. Therefore, if you intend to purchase diamond rings of any size, you should consider the cost.
Besides the money involved, you should also, once again, think about your lifestyle. It’s fairly common for an engagement ring to be taken off when cleaning or gardening, for example, but it is often thought that wedding rings are not supposed to be removed.
Even if you don’t believe in superstition or tradition, it makes sense that your wedding ring should stay on at all times. If it has lots of elaborate design elements and expensive diamonds within it, it’s a bit of a liability day to day.
When you consider both this and the extra cost of a band with diamonds, does it feel like the right choice? Or would a quality band in platinum work within your lifestyle better?
Should the Wedding Bands Match the Engagement Ring?
The coordination of the engagement and wedding ring is a personal choice. If you feel you need the metal, the detailing, and the overall feel of both pieces to match, then they should.
But if you’re not too bothered, and actually don’t think you’ll wear both together very often, then consider both items within their own right, and don’t feel you need to give in to any pressure to make them match.
If you do want both pieces of jewelry to be coordinated, you will find that the scope of wedding rings available to you is much smaller. The price may also be much higher, especially if you require something custom-made. This is typically the case if you want an exact match.
A good compromise is to find a simple wedding band that complements your, likely more extravagant, engagement ring. Choosing this route offers a much more contemporary feel, and stops your hand from looking overly coordinated. A bit like bridesmaids all wearing exactly the same dress, sometimes it’s just a bit much.
Do Your Partner’s Wedding Ring Expectations Match Your Own?
Before you step foot in a jewelry store, you must discuss what you both want in a wedding ring. You should be treating this purchase like any other vendor decision you’ll make as part of your wedding budget, especially if you have a tight budget.
If you impulse buy a wedding ring while in-store, without considering your long-term future, you could be seriously hampering the planning of your big day, and possibly causing a rift between the two of you.
Speak with your future spouse, and share honestly how you feel about the cost of wedding bands. If you feel you cannot afford what your other half expects, then you need to be clear from the start. Likewise, if you just don’t feel the amount they want to spend is a wise investment, then speak up!
The perfect wedding band is one that fits within your wedding budget, personal budget, and your lifestyle. The only way you’ll discover it is by sharing with each other just how you feel – you never know, you might both be on the same page!
How Much Should You Spend on a Wedding Ring?
The money you spend on each other’s wedding rings should always come down to a joint decision. The average price, common myths, and diamond industry marketing should not affect the amount of money you spend.
Look at what you can afford and what you want to spend. Discuss that figure with your partner. Research each different type of metal on the market and decide whether it’s a good fit.
If you find your lifestyle and personal style align with a more expensive option, then consider the long term, and make sure your partner understands why you should spend a little more.
Lastly, remember that this ring or wedding band is a symbol of your commitment to each other. Larger diamonds, exclusive brands, and ornate detailing will not make that love stronger, but the way you choose these rings together may do!