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Wedding Ring Budgeting: How Much Should You Spend

by Willyou.net * Aug 17, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • Most wedding rings will fall just below the $1,500 mark, although they can be a lot higher – or a lot lower.
  • Ultimately, you needn’t expect to pay anywhere near as much for your wedding bands as you would for your engagement ring.
  • Most shoppers will wait to pick out the wedding band until after the engagement ring has been designed and chosen, even if they’re planning on buying them together, since most people want to coordinate the two.
  • Platinum is a great choice if you have the budget, but a 14k white gold will offer the same strength and attractive shine for a much more affordable price.
  • 14K and 18K are generally the best options for gold.
wedding rings on hands - What Should You be Budgeting for Your Wedding Ring

While the engagement ring probably got a budget all of its own, most brides and grooms planning their wedding tend to have to find a space within the overall budget for the wedding rings. This is simply because of the fact that, while that diamond currently sitting pretty on her finger was the ‘main act’ of the proposal, the wedding day itself comprises a (still growing) list of investments, from food to music, the dress, venues, flowers and, well, you get the point.

Chances are, that list is all too familiar to you right now.

So, how much should you spend on a wedding ring? It’s pretty likely you’re scared to aim too low, since this band holds such significance for the wedding and marriage itself – but also likely that you’re scared to go over the top, and set aside a big chunk of your budget when, in reality, you don’t need to…

How Much do Wedding Rings Cost on Average?

The average wedding ring cost, as of 2020, was just over £1,100 for brides, and just shy of $500 for grooms.

It’s always helpful to know what The Joneses are spending. And, while there’s no obligation to spend the national average, this number offers a handy guideline if you’re feeling kind of lost at sea.

When it comes to the wedding ring vs engagement ring debate, it’s safe to say that, for the overwhelming majority of couples, the engagement ring will represent the biggest expense by far. This is primarily because the wedding ring, while cast from precious metals, will not include any of the features that drive up the cost of an engagement ring.

We are, of course, mainly talking about the diamond, which tends to make its big appearance at the proposal, rather than the wedding ceremony.

How Much Should You Spend on a Wedding Ring?

The answer to this question will vary from couple to couple. Use the average wedding ring cost as a guide, along with your own budget for the wedding. The ring needs to be strong, durable, and beautiful – but it doesn’t need to break the bank.

You can either choose to buy the bride’s wedding ring separate from the engagement ring – though we’ll always recommend returning to the same jeweler – or as part of a bridal set, which may save you a little money.

A plain gold band can cost anywhere from $300 – $400 to thousands of dollars, depending on the purity (karat) of the gold used, and the ring’s designer. See this as a baseline price, capable of getting you a quality, plain band – any lower, and you might not get the durability and quality you need for this piece. You should expect the price to increase if you wish to add embellishments or other details.

How Do You Pick a Wedding Band?

It’s all up to your personal preference. Research various styles, then talk to your jeweler about finding or creating something that draws upon your favorite elements. You might design this band around the engagement ring, to create a matching set, or simply choose something you love.

Picking a wedding band is a lot like picking an engagement ring – although, hopefully, it’ll be easier to make your choice, and you’ll be able to do it as a couple.

Unless you’re set on matching, your jeweler will ask you to consider the following factors when you turn up for your consultation: width and shape, metal and/or color, allergens, and embellishments.

When it comes to width, it’s typically advised that a woman’s wedding band is no thicker than the band of her engagement ring. For shape, the traditional choice is a perfect circle, but you may need to add a slight wave to the band to accommodate your engagement ring. Those with a solitaire diamond or flush setting probably won’t need to worry about this, but other settings may need some compromise. For instance, if your ring features a halo, then looking specifically at wedding bands for halo engagement rings will ensure wearing both is comfortable.

Ultimately, however, how you choose a wedding band will boil down to budget and personal style. There are no rules, and the amount you spend won’t matter once that ring is on your finger.

2 wedding rings - What Should You be Budgeting for Your Wedding Ring

Is Platinum Worth the Extra Cost?

Yes, if you value the incredible sheen and strength of this precious metal. If you’re on a budget, or love the warmer undertones of white gold, however, then you can save a little money by opting for this precious metal instead. 

Platinum is a truly beautiful metal, and is widely regarded as one of the most desirable metals for wedding jewelry. In person, it is visibly ‘brighter’ than silver, and boasts a much whiter hue than white gold, which retains a slight echo of yellow. It is also naturally strong, meaning that it will stay looking as beautiful as the day you first put it on.

But, is it worth the extra cost? Definitely – if you can factor that cost into your budget. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that platinum is unrivalled, because it isn’t – a gold band will probably cost you less, and still look incredible (now, and into the future).

In actual fact, while gold is priced higher by ounce than platinum, more platinum is required to create a wedding band. How is this possible? Because platinum is so strong, wedding bands will feature a much higher level of purity – around 95-99%. Pure, 24k gold, on the other hand, is surprisingly soft; in other to be used in a wedding band, it needs to be less pure – typically 14k – 18k.

Is Rose Gold Considered Cheap?

Rose gold is typically cheaper than a lot of other options because, in order to attain that pink blush, gold is alloyed with copper – a relatively inexpensive metal – and silver.

Alloying gold with copper also has another, highly desirable effect: it makes it incredibly strong. In actual fact, an 18k rose gold band will be stronger than a band cast from 18k yellow or white gold – and, since the color can’t fade, it’ll stay looking beautiful throughout your married life.

What Karat Gold is Best for a Wedding Ring?

While 18 karats will ensure strength without disrupting the natural beauty and coloration of pure gold too much, 14 karat gold represents an excellent compromise for couples on a tighter budget.

There is definitely a certain amount of prestige attached to ‘pure’ gold, but once you get to your jeweler and see these two options side-by-side, we’re willing to bet you’ll find it hard to spot the difference – unless, of course, you’re the jeweler.

14 karat gold will be the tougher choice. It features a subtler yellow color, while 18 karat gold appears a little more luminescent.

18 karat gold is certainly better for those with allergies. At 75% purity, there are fewer alloys (such as nickel, zinc, or copper) to cause irritation.

Is it Expensive to Have a Ring Custom Made?

Not necessarily – it’s all about what features you want, what features you’re willing to sacrifice, and what kind of a deal you can make with your jeweler.

If you’re looking to have a new design drawn up, our first recommendation to you will always be to return to the same jeweler you bought your engagement ring from. This is another purchase you shouldn’t leave to chance – AKA, the internet – not least of all because your jeweler will already know what sort of thing you’re looking for, and how to create something to the same high quality as your engagement ring.

Also, if you’re purchasing your wedding band as part of a bridal set, then this might help you to cut a good deal with your jeweler – something you’ll find impossible via an online or chain store. Not to mention the fact that you’ll already have a good relationship with your jeweler, which will make the designing and bargaining process easier.

Still, there are plenty of beautiful designs out there, ranging from elegant and minimal to more ornate and luxurious. If you’re struggling to get your design to fit your budget, talk to your jeweler about making some adjustments – switch to a lower karat gold, for instance, or swap that embedded diamond for a lower carat weight.

men wedding rings - What Should You be Budgeting for Your Wedding Ring

Who Pays for the Wedding Rings?

Traditionally, the bride will pay for the groom’s wedding ring, and vice versa.

We don’t want to muscle in on the money talks – and how you manage the wedding budget depends entirely on each couple – but, while it falls on the man’s shoulders to pay for the engagement ring, the typical way of doing things has each partner pay for the other’s wedding ring.

This likely stems from the fact that the rings are given as a part of the ceremony and, while the couple may well choose them together, treating them like ‘gifts’ can make that moment even more special.

So, the bottom line is this: think about how much you can afford to spend on your wedding bands, and what aspects you’re willing to save on (if, of course, you need to save at all), and work with your jeweler to find the best option to meet your criteria.