Getting engaged is one of the happiest, most exciting times in your life. It’s a time of new beginnings. The start of a wonderful adventure! So, why can it often end up feeling so incredibly stressful?
For many of us, the stress attached to planning our engagement comes from the unknown. The uncertainty of asking such a big question and the thousands of tiny choices that go into that one sentence.
How should you ask? Where should you ask? What ring should you choose? Do you need permission? And one of the biggest questions of all. Just how much should you spend?
The question of how much to spend on an engagement ring is one that has been occupying our thoughts for decades, with old magazine and newspaper articles doling out serious (and strict) advice to confused men across the social spectrum.
But in a modern world, where a woman may well be doing the buying and same-sex marriages are a growing part of our culture, does any of this traditional advice still stand?
And how do you land on that magical number? We have brought together our top advice on engagement ring spending to help you find your perfect match at the right price.
How Much are Other People Spending?
If you’re trying to find a ballpark engagement figure, it can be helpful to look at the statistics. And across the UK and Ireland, we are actually spending less on engagement and wedding rings than we were a decade ago.
The average engagement ring spend is now £1,080 compared to £1,333, three years ago. But its millennials who are dishing out the most cash on their forever ring. 18 to 24 year olds spend an average of £1,473 on their rings compared to £691 spent by 45 to 54 year olds.
The amount of people buying rings under £500 has also surged, with an 18% rise in buyers in this category, compared to previous years.
But I Thought I Should Spend Two Months’ Salary?
The ‘two-month rule’ is a piece of advice you’ll often hear thrown around on wedding advice websites or spouted by older relatives.
But it actually stems from a marketing campaign that debuted back in the 1980s. The ad, conceived by luxury jewellery giant De Beers said, “2 months’ salary showed the future Mrs. Smith what the future will be like.”
This highly successful campaign became absorbed into our collective consciousness, quickly becoming a ‘rule’ that we should all follow. In fact, it was just the way for De Beers to increase their diamond revenue and, let’s face it, sell more rings.
So, throw this rule out of the window and calculate your engagement ring investment on what you can afford and what you love.
Understand Their Dream Ring
It’s tough to set an engagement ring budget without understanding just what type of ring your partner would love. The choice of precious metal, gemstone, and overall design can all impact the final price tag enormously.
This may be something you have talked about before as a couple or something you can get a sense of by exploring their current jewellery collection. If all else fails, ask a friend or family member to do a little gentle probing into their jewellery tastes when you are not around.
Once you have an idea of their preferred ring type you can begin to get a good sense of budget. If their dream ring falls way out of price range, explore the pre-loved market or look at reducing size or another factor to find a ring that is a good compromise.
Talking to an expert jeweller is the best way to fully understand your engagement ring options.
Do Your Sums
Everyone has a unique financial situation and understanding yours is a must before you make a big investment like an engagement ring. Look at ways you could save a little extra every month and think about how long it will take you to afford the ring they will love.
You could also consider financing options. However, before you sign up to credit, it’s very important to make sure that the agreement you enter into is affordable and reasonable. After all, you’re going to have a wedding to pay for very soon!
Combine Your Resources
For some modern couples, the idea of one person investing a large amount of cash in a ring just doesn’t feel right. They prefer to make the purchase as a partnership. Or they may feel they want to be involved in the ring buying process.
Don’t be scared of embracing this option if it feels right for you. Many people propose with a temporary ring or just themselves before agreeing on a budget and shopping together for their final piece.
It’s all about understanding your partner’s expectations before you pop the big question!
It’s not (usually) good advice to choose the first ring you view. This is not a decision that should be rushed. Shop around, look at different types of rings and even explore online stores.
A reputable jeweller will never put pressure on you to make a decision on the spot and many will hold a ring for a few days to allow you to really think things through.
Choosing an expert jeweller is a must, so look for a highly recommended fine jeweller. Make sure you also ask about options for returning the ring.
That way, if your partner doesn’t love it as much as you do you can make a change. Unless the ring has been altered or is a bespoke design, returning a ring is usually straightforward.
Finding Your Perfect Ring
The truth is that you should determine your spending on a ring by reviewing your financial situation alongside the type of ring your partner would love.
Finding the overlap between these key factors is the secret to finding your perfect ring. And it may take a little compromise on both sides.
Meghan Markle’s ring is rumoured to be worth over £350,000, but when you’re a famous actress and your husband-to-be is a prince that does shift the goalposts quite a bit.
After all, the value of a ring or of any piece of jewellery is not in the pound signs attached to it but in its emotional worth. That vintage ring you picked up for just a few hundred pounds can have every bit as much meaning as a huge diamond stretching into six figures.
Forget the pressure, forget the rules and find a ring that makes you (and your soon-to-be spouse) happy.
Thank you for Reading
We hope you've found this post helpful. With over 40 years of diamond expertise, we love sharing our knowledge and experience.
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