How Much Should You Spend on a Wedding Ring?

How much you spend on a wedding ring depends on factors including your budget, wedding ring material, and design. Here’s what you should know about wedding ring costs.

By Laura Hensley

How Much to Spend on a Wedding Ring
Photo by Zola

Getting married is one of the biggest moments of your and your partner’s lives. You want the moment to be special and memorable for the both of you. But before saying “I do,” you’ll need to buy a wedding ring. So, how much should you spend?

How Much To Spend On Wedding Rings: What To Consider

When it comes to how much to spend on a wedding ring, there's no one-size-fits-all solution (pun intended!). How much you spend will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • Your current financial situation. Your current financial situation will, in large part, dictate how much you should spend on wedding rings. Are you swimming in student loans and credit card debt? If so, going into further debt for an expensive ring probably isn't the best financial decision. As a good rule of thumb, if a ring's price tag would make it challenging to cover your current bills, it's too expensive—and you should look for something more affordable.
  • How much you're willing to spend. As mentioned, there's no "right" amount to spend on a wedding ring—so how much you spend will depend on how much you're willing to spend. Some people default to the "three month salary rule"—while others wouldn't dream of dropping a few month's salary on a wedding ring. Ultimately, you have to decide what kind of ring budget you're comfortable with—and spend accordingly.
  • Where you're shopping. Some retailers are more expensive than others—and if you want to go to a higher end retailer to shop for your wedding ring, you should expect to pay more than if you went to a local jeweler or shopped at more affordable jewelry stores or online retailers.
  • What kind of ring you're shopping for. The kind of ring you're shopping for will play a major role in how much you end up spending. For example, more intricate rings (complete with diamonds and gemstones, like emeralds or rubies) will be more expensive than a simple band.
  • The 4 C's. If you do go for a diamond ring, the 4 C's of diamonds—cut, color, clarity, and carat—will determine how much you ultimately pay. (For example, a 2 carat diamond is going to cost more than a 1 carat diamond—and a yellow diamond will typically cost more than a non-colored stone). Now that you know the different factors that come into play, let's jump into the actual steps to take when determining how much you should spend on a wedding ring for your soon-to-be spouse:

Determine Your Budget

How much money you should spend on your wedding ring depends on a lot of factors, including your style and budget.

Before you go shopping for a wedding ring, have an honest conversation with your partner about how much you’re both comfortable spending. If your significant other is planning to spend $500 on a simple band, but you’re looking at $1,500 rings, it's best to get on the same page before you go ring shopping.

A budget will also help you understand what you can afford, and what style of wedding ring you should look for. Plain wedding bands can cost anywhere between $250 to $1,500 for women, depending on the metal. Bands that are larger, more intricate, or have diamonds (or other stones), can jump to anywhere between $1,000 to $6,000. This puts the average woman’s wedding ring cost at around $1,400 (which, while definitely less than average engagement ring prices, is still on the pricey side).

Men’s wedding bands can start at $140 for a tungsten band, hit well over $2,000 for a platinum band, or fall somewhere in the middle (like this Men's Meteorite & Cobalt Chrome Wedding Band). The average cost for a man’s wedding band is around $560.

What Style of Wedding Ring Do You Want?

How Much to Spend on a Wedding Ring Photo Credit // Laura Segall Photography

Once you've locked in your budget, it's time to figure out how you want to spend that budget—and what type of wedding ring you actually want.

Material and the wedding band’s weight will largely determine its cost. Yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold are less expensive than rings made of platinum, which is the most expensive metal.

The cost of white, yellow, or rose gold rings will depend on how many karats they are; the more karats, the more expensive it will be. However, it’s important to keep in mind that white gold needs to be rhodium-plated every few years, as it will eventually yellow.

For budget-conscious couples, tungsten is a more affordable option and is a very strong and scratch-resistant metal. Wood, ceramic, and silicone are also popular for their unique style, and they are typically less expensive—especially silicone, which only costs around $30 per ring.

Your wedding ring’s width will also play a factor in how much it costs. A thin band is one to three millimeters, a medium band is four to six millimeters, and a thick band ranges from seven to 10 millimeters. The thicker the band, the more material is needed, thus increasing the cost.

If you’re going to get a wedding ring that has some bling, expect to open your checkbook a bit more. Again, for wedding rings with diamonds (like this Women's Baguette Diamond Eternity Band), prices are based on the “four Cs” of the diamonds: cut, carat, color, and clarity. The four Cs apply to both natural and lab-grown diamonds and are used collectively to rate the overall diamond quality.

Wedding rings with diamonds that are highly rated (think clear diamonds, expensive cuts, etc.) are going to cost more than a ring with lower-quality stones. You may also prefer pre-owned or vintage wedding rings—and the prices of these unique pieces can greatly vary.

Consider Your Lifestyle, and Style of Your Engagement Ring

How much you should spend on a wedding ring will also depend on your lifestyle and the type of work you do. If you’re a personal trainer, for example, and you’re used to lifting heavy weights, you’ll want a flatter wedding ring, as opposed to a raised one that could easily get scratched or dented. Your lifestyle will help you determine what type of material you need, too: Gold is more malleable, whereas platinum is more durable.

For people who also wear engagement rings, you want your wedding ring to match, or at least compliment its style. Some people opt to have their wedding ring made by the same jeweler who designed their engagement ring so that they are the same material and aesthetic. This is also a popular option for people who have uniquely shaped diamond engagement rings, and who want their wedding band to fit within its curves—also known as “enhancers.”

To Match or Not to Match

Do you and your partner want your wedding rings to match? Some couples want their wedding bands to match one another, while others are OK with having different designs. If you’re going the matching route, you may be able to score a better price from a jeweler if they offer discounts for purchasing more than one wedding band—it never hurts to ask.

If you don’t want your wedding ring to match your partner’s, you’ll still need to consider how much both rings will cost in total. Because both people will exchange rings at your ceremony, you should factor in that cost when determining your total wedding budget. Wedding rings are an expense that couples often overlook when it comes to wedding planning budgeting.

How Much to Spend on a Wedding Ring Photo Credit // Viera Photography

How To Save Money Buying Wedding Rings?

Want to find the perfect ring—without breaking the bank? Here are some tips on how to save money on wedding rings:

  • Go smaller. If you want a wedding ring with that comes decked out in precious stones, consider going with a smaller gemstone or diamond size. The smaller the stone, the more affordable the ring will be—and the more money you'll save.
  • Buy at the right time. Jewelry retailers are just like any other type of store; at some point, they're going to have a sale—and if you wait to buy your ring until that sale hits, you can seriously save on your purchase. If you know where you want to shop for your ring, get on their mailing list—and be ready to shop when you get word of an upcoming sale.
  • Look for family heirlooms. Often, wedding rings are passed down from family member to family member. And if someone in you or your partner's family has a wedding ring they'd like to pass down, not only does it eliminate the cost of the ring, but it also adds a special family sentiment to the ring—and that's priceless.
  • Go thrifting. Buying a brand new ring can be pricey. But there are plenty of high-quality, pre-owned rings out there with a much lower price tag; all you have to do is find them. During the ring shopping process, make sure to hit up thrift stores, vintage shops, and online reselling platforms. While you'll probably have to do some more digging to find what you're looking for, you could stumble upon a unique ring that you couldn't find in any regular store—at a much more affordable price point. It's a win-win!

So, what's the verdict? How much money should you spend on your wedding rings?

So, bottom line: when it comes to shopping for wedding rings, just how much should you spend?

And the answer is—it completely depends.

At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong amount of money to spend on your dream ring. It’s a largely personal choice that will depend on many factors, including your budget, lifestyle, and personal style preferences. Whether you spend a reasonable amount or a lot, you and your partner need to be on the same page when it comes to wedding ring costs. You want your wedding ring to last you your entire life—not break the bank before you even put it on. So budget accordingly!

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