“With this ring, I thee wed.” It is a tradition that is as much a part of the wedding ceremony as your vows. You probably can’t imagine getting married without the words or the rings, but you may be worried about the cost.
When the possibility of a wedding first came up, the rings were probably near the top of your what’s next list. And close on the heels of that thought may have been worries about how to pay for those rings. First, get the old-school notion of the engagement ring costing two-three month’s salary out of your head. The more expensive the rings, the better–if one were rich. You and your significant other are not, so just like in all other areas, you must work within your resources. If this means going with inexpensive metals or buying a man made diamond until you can later afford better, then so be it. The real value is in the love behind the rings, not the money that goes into them.
Set a wedding rings budget that is in line with what you can afford. Decide how much you will spend and who will be paying how much toward the total cost. While the groom-to-be traditionally buys the ring before proposing and you each buy the other’s wedding band, this is no longer the hard and fast rule. Both timing and funding can vary according to your preferences and financial situations.
Obviously, prices will vary widely. Every element changes the cost–metals, materials, width, gemstones, style, design, and labor required to make the ring, to name just a few. The designer rings on Pinterest are tempting and every salesperson will want to show you more expensive rings, but resist the temptation. So, once you know what you and your fiancé can afford, do not allow yourself to be talked into something you will regret later. A couple of ideas to keep the cost in line with your budget…
1. Buy inexpensive “placeholder” rings. There is no law that says these rings have to be the permanent ones. Buy what you can afford now then upgrade later, when you can.
2. Shop from jewelers with less overhead. Upscale surroundings usually mean higher prices, so gravitate to reputable online sellers and modest-looking retail locations to unearth the best prices.
3. Sell old jewelry to raise ring money. The entire cost does not have to come out of your budget. Supplement it with the value of the gold you never wear.
4. Reset a stone or melt down your old jewelry. There are ways to recycle pieces you already own into a wedding or engagement ring. Choose a setting for one of your existing diamonds or have a setting custom made from the metal of necklaces, rings, etc., for example.
5. Choose silver and CZ as your ring materials. This combination allows you to have a sparkly wedding ring, but keeps the cost low. You can keep the money you would have spent on a more expensive ring on something like a house or baby.
6. Buy pre-owned rings. Buying used is a way to get a lot more ring for your money. Avenues through which you can find them…
– estate sales
– thrift or consignment stores
– local classifieds
As when buying anything of value, research the seller’s reputation before purchasing. If you are buying from a private party, have the ring scrutinized by a jeweler first to assure it is authentic.
7. Wear an heirloom. Many families pass down rings through the generations. Before buying rings, find out if your family has such a custom. If so, you may be able to carry on the family tradition.
The above is adapted from the Dream Wedding on a Dime; 7 Secrets for the Budget-Savvy Bride ebook.