How Much Money Should You Spend On a Wedding Ring?

Summary:

The average cost of a wedding ring is between $500 and $1,200. Of course, this price may change depending on the metal used, any diamonds or precious stones included, and where you purchase the wedding ring.

Shopping for a wedding ring can be overwhelming. After all, it takes time to sort through the various metal types, karats, stone types, qualities, and miscellaneous embellishments. In addition, since there’s a wide variety of wedding rings out there, there’s also a wide variety of price tags.

So now you’re wondering, how much does the average person spend on a wedding ring? Should you spend that much money? What are ways to reduce wedding ring expenses without impacting quality? To help you save some time researching, we’ve compiled the answers to those questions. We’ll discuss average wedding ring costs before taking a look at the different wedding ring options.

What does the average wedding ring cost?

The average price for a wedding ring can be fairly expensive. Although prices for a simple band can be cheap, even under $100, other more luxuriant bands with complex designs and large stones can range into the millions. That being said, most people spend somewhere between $500 and $1,200 on a wedding ring.

Keep in mind these are simply averages. Some couples spend a lot less, while others spend a lot more. The cost of a wedding band is mostly determined by the material of the ring, the design, the number of diamonds (if any), and even the location purchased. If your partner knows what they want, this will be a big help in getting a ballpark idea of how much you’ll end up spending.

How much money should you spend on a wedding ring?

How much to spend on an engagement ring or wedding ring purchase is a personal decision that should reflect your values. Traditionally, an engagement ring alone should equal three months’ salary. For the average person, three months’ salary comes out to about $14,565.

Most people don’t stick to that tradition though. Nowadays, because of a tight budget, or other factors, many spend even less than a month’s salary.

Related reading: Wondering what your options are to finance your wedding or engagement ring? Take a look at our article on financing an engagement ring purchase to see what your options are.

Factors to consider before heading to the jewelry store

Although the technical aspects of a ring (type of metal, its purity, and any diamond embellishments) will affect the overall cost, these aren’t the only factors to consider.

Assessing expectations and setting priorities should define your overall budget. Here are some points to discuss with your future spouse when deciding how much money you should spend on a wedding ring.

Your finances

It’s essential to be on the same page with your partner about your financial situation before beginning the ring-buying process. Discuss what would be a reasonable price range based on your current financial situation.

Keep in mind, when determining a budget, there are many things to consider. This includes current debt, outstanding loans, future housing costs, projected spending post-wedding, and current savings should all be considered.

Overall wedding budget

Don’t forget to factor in how much you plan to spend on the wedding itself. Weddings alone can cost tens of thousands of dollars. According to one report, of the 1,872,800 weddings surveyed, the average wedding cost $27,063.

How much you spend on the wedding can end up determining how much money you have left to realistically spend on a wedding ring.

Related reading: Want to see how much people are paying for weddings per state? We take a deep dive into the average wedding cost in our article exploring wedding costs compared to median salary and how the average costs have changed over time.

The engagement ring cost

Why factor in engagement ring costs? Engagement rings can be very expensive. According to one estimate, couples on average, spend about $6,000 for an engagement ring. This figure makes up almost 20% of the money spent on an average wedding.

When deciding how much to spend on a wedding ring, don’t run out of money. Make sure to factor in how much you plan to spend on the engagement ring.

How does your partner view wedding rings?

Before you go out shopping for that perfect ring, you need to know how your partner feels about wedding rings. You also need to know how much money they expect you to spend on their ring. The answers to those questions have a bearing on how much you should plan to spend.

Some people view the significance of a wedding ring as very important. They feel that the amount spent on a ring represents a measure of devotion and willingness to sacrifice by their partner. This would mean that if you skimp on the ring, they may feel you don’t value the relationship.

On the other hand, some people feel quite differently. Although they view the ring as an outward sign of fidelity to their marriage mate, they may only see the ring as just that – showing others that they’re married. People who feel this way may be shocked if they found out that their partner spent more than even a hundred dollars on a wedding band.

What does your partner want?

To find the perfect wedding ring, you need to know your partner well. Do they want a simple design or an elaborate one? Would they like stones on the band? What kind of metal would they like the band made of? Do they want a band that matches the engagement ring? Do they want the band to be combined with the engagement ring?

The best way to answer these questions and know your partner’s expectations are to go “window shopping” together.

The one, two, or three months salary rule

Should you use the one, two, or three months salary rule? Some people say that you’ll only get a quality ring if you follow this rule. Buying a ring that’s worth up to one, two, or three months’ salary will likely cost a lot of money. This may be the tipping point of affordability for many new couples.

For example, say you make $5,000 per month. According to the three months salary rule, you’ll be paying upwards of $15,000 for wedding and engagement rings.

This wedding or engagement ring myth is believed to have surfaced during the early 1940s as a marketing ploy by De Beers Corporation to increase worldwide diamond sales. The bottom line: don’t feel obligated to follow a rule based on marketing ploys.

Wedding ring options

Now that you’ve considered your finances, overall wedding budget, engagement ring costs, and your partner’s expectations, it’s time to consider some of the technical aspects of wedding rings. There are a wide variety of wedding ring options out there. Let’s consider how different metal types, durability, and diamond settings affect ring prices.

Metal type

There are many options for ring metal types now in days. There is tungsten carbide, titanium, platinum, palladium, several types of gold (like rose gold), silver, and more. Understanding the nuances of each metal will help you to pick the right one.

Durability

Durability is an important factor to consider when choosing what type of ring you’ll exchange vows with. This will be a ring that sees daily use. As discussed above, some metals are inherently durable, whereas others are not. Interestingly, some metals decrease in price the more durable they are. How so? Let us use gold and silver as examples.

Gold and silver are very soft metals. Often times in jewelry, gold must be mixed with an inferior metal to increase its durability. This then reduces its overall cost. But remember that the lower the purity of the gold, the higher chance it will react with soaps, cleaners, and even the oils in your own skin during daily use.

Pro Tip

What does karat mean when talking about gold? Unlike diamond carats, which are a measure of weight, the gold karat is a measure of purity. The highest number of karats gold can have is 24, which means that it has 100% purity. Therefore, 22-karat is about 92% pure (22/24), 18-karat is 75% pure (18/24), and 14-karat is about 58% pure (14/24).

Diamonds

Whether you decide to have diamonds on the wedding band or a traditional plain band mostly depends on personal taste. Of course, adding diamonds to the band typically increases the wedding ring price.

That being said, if you’re getting an engagement ring and wedding band set, you may be able to reduce the overall cost by adding diamonds to the band. Diamonds on some bands can be used to make the engagement ring center stone look bigger. This is sometimes called an enhancer band or a halo band.

How to save money on a wedding ring without sacrificing quality

Although sticking to a budget is important, don’t let that dash your hopes of finding the ring you’re looking for. There are many options and alternatives that can help you stick to your budget while allowing you to get that perfect ring.

  • Buy a lab-grown diamond. Lab-grown diamonds (also known as engineered diamonds, lab-created diamonds, and cultured diamonds) are significantly cheaper than natural diamonds but do not lack in quality. These diamonds are formed with the same material and using the same process as natural diamonds. Because of this, they exhibit the same look, hardness, and durability as natural diamonds.
  • Use alternative precious stones. If you’re searching for a look that’s unique, then this will be a good option for you. Some precious stones may be much cheaper than diamonds but certainly do not lack in beauty.
  • Buy a bridal set. Buying both the engagement ring and wedding ring at the same time can save money. It will also ensure that the preferred metal on both rings matches in color and metal type.
  • Decrease the diamond size. By going with a halo setting on an engagement ring, you can use a smaller, less expensive center stone. This technique makes the center stone appear larger and more radiant.
  • Try a solitaire. A solitaire’s elegance is in its simplicity. This style of ring is designed to showcase the center stone by eliminating other embellishments. Going for a simple setting such as a solitaire may be a good way to reduce cost, or allow you to afford a larger diamond.
  • Vintage rings. Generally speaking, it’s unwise to spend more on a wedding or engagement ring than you can afford. One solution to a tight budget is opting for a vintage ring with sentimental value, such as a family heirloom.

If you need some help paying for your wedding bands, you may want to compare the options for a personal loan below.

Shop for your wedding or engagement ring online

Getting a ring online is a cheaper option than buying at a brick-and-mortar jewelry store. That being said, there are some caveats that should be considered.

Whether it’s a traditional diamond engagement ring or a wedding ring with an alternative gemstone, exercise caution while searching. If a site has deals or special offers that look too good to be true, they likely are. Whichever online store you choose, do research to make sure they’re reputable.

  • Know your vendor’s policies. Make sure you look at the company’s return policy, shipping details, warranty, resizing policy, and of course, reviews from non-biased customers.
  • Verify the certificate. Every diamond ring should come with a certificate from an independent lab confirming that the diamond is of the quality the seller states. For the most accurate and reliable grading system, look for GIA or AGS-certified diamonds.
  • Look at the warranty policy. Does the ring come with a lifetime warranty? If not, how long is the warranty good for? If the ring doesn’t fit, will they charge a fee to resize it, or is this free under the warranty? Does the warranty cover stones that fall out due to normal use?
  • Shipping options. Reliable sites will make sure their packages are insured and usually will offer free shipping. In addition to the type of shipping offered, make sure you know how long it will take to get to you.
  • Double-check your ring size. Standard ring sizes are in millimeters based on the inner circumference of the ring. The narrower the ring, the smaller the ring size you will need.

Pro Tip

To figure out your ring size, you could purchase a mandrel ring sizer set. You’ll also need to consider whether you’ll have multiple rings on one finger. Having a wide ring, or having multiple rings will mean you need a bigger ring size.

This means that the engagement ring may fit by itself, but after putting on the wedding band too, the rings together may be too small.

FAQs

What does the average engagement ring cost?

According to a 2021 survey, couples spent an average of $6,000 on an engagement ring. However, engagement rings are generally much more expensive than wedding bands because of the center stone.

Do most people spend much on engagement rings?

Just because it’s the average amount people spend doesn’t mean everyone pays that price. A lot will depend on your engagement ring budget and what your partner is looking for in an engagement ring.

What are the three rings of marriage?

Generally, the three rings often worn are the engagement ring, the wedding band, and the anniversary ring (sometimes called the push ring). The engagement ring represents the promise to wed, the wedding band represents the actual union, and the third ring usually represents a large milestone for the couple. The engagement ring usually sits between the other two rings on the finger.

What finger do you wear a wedding ring on?

Wedding and engagement rings are commonly worn on the left-hand ring finger. The custom of wearing a wedding ring on the left hand became common practice many centuries ago. Although modern science has proved the concept false, it was believed that a vein called the vena amoris ran from the left-hand ring finger directly to the heart.

What is the difference between a wedding band and a wedding ring?

A wedding ring and a wedding band are interchangeable words. Both terms refer to the piece of jewelry exchanged between marriage mates during a wedding ceremony. It is common for both men and women to wear wedding rings.

What is a wedding ring set?

Traditionally, a wedding ring set consists of an engagement ring and matching bands for the bride and groom. This should not be confused with a bridal set which only comes with the engagement ring and wedding ring for the bride, but not the groom’s ring.

Some couples like the idea of having their rings matched or coordinated so that others can tell they belong together. Both rings would be of the same color, metal type, and to some extent similar style. For example, a yellow gold wedding set would mean all rings would consist of yellow gold.

Key Takeaways

  • The average wedding ring costs between $500 and $1,200 per ring. On the other hand, the average engagement ring cost is around $6,000.
  • Communication is a vital part of the wedding ring-buying process. Before purchasing a wedding ring, discuss expectations, overall budget, and personal taste with your partner.
  • Don’t believe the myth that you need to spend several months’ worth of salary to get a quality ring.
  • Do your research and know what the different ring options are before purchasing.
  • How much money you should spend will mostly be determined by your finances. Even if you don’t have much financially, you can still get a high-quality ring without breaking the bank.
View Article Sources
  1. Wedding Statistics for United States — Wedding Report
  2. Weddings — Justice Courts of Maricopa County
  3. 10 Simple Ways Not To Go Broke This Wedding Season — SuperMoney
  4. How Much Does the Average Wedding Cost? — SuperMoney
  5. How to Save Money on a Wedding: 5 Simple Money-Saving Tips — SuperMoney
  6. The Ultimate Guide on How to Plan Your Wedding Finances Effectively — SuperMoney
  7. The Pros and Cons of a Wedding Loan — SuperMoney
  8. 5 Ways to Fund Your Dream Wedding — SuperMoney
  9. Just Married! Now what? — SuperMoney
  10. How Much Does It Cost To Get Married at a Courthouse? — SuperMoney
  11. Engagement Ring Financing: How To Pay for an Engagement Ring — SuperMoney
  12. The Definitive Guide to Wedding Rings — SuperMoney
  13. Best Wedding Loans — SuperMoney