You've found the love of your life. Whether it was love at first sight, a slow-burn friendship that became something more or that person you met on a dating app, it happened. Congratulations! Now it's time to ask that four-word question that will forever change the course of your life. And, you're going to need a ring.
So how much do wedding rings cost? We've all heard the rule — spend two months' salary on the engagement ring — but what about the wedding bands? According to a 2020 study by The Knot, the average engagement ring is costing Americans around $5,500, while the average wedding band is costing between $500 and $900.
Take a breath. If your tears of joy just became tears of pain realizing how much the ring (or rings) for your beloved will cost you, don't worry. We've got six clever ways to get your bling on a budget plus 15 affordable wedding rings, bands and engagement rings that will cost you less than $1,000.
How to Get Your Bling on a Budget
There are many acceptable reasons to spend less than the "average price" on your wedding and engagement rings. Most likely, that kind of cash is simply not in your budget, but don't fret.
There are lots of ways to get your lover a classy, budget-friendly ring that only the two of you know didn't cost a fortune.
Consider a Gemstone
This may be the simplest way to bring the price down. Diamonds are expensive, and while they aren't the most expensive option out there, they are the most costly when it comes to wedding rings. Thanks to clever marketing by DeBeers in the 1940s, diamonds became the go-to option for popping the question because, just like your love: "A Diamond is Forever."
But if you don't want to be paying for this ring forever, consider a gemstone. You can even find diamond-like replacements that will give your beloved the diamond lookalike without the monster cost. Gems like white sapphire and moissanite are near-perfect replacements. If your partner is a little out of the box or likes the non-traditional, a sapphire, garnet, even moonstone or pearl may be just the ring they will love.
Consider Lab Created Stones
Lab-grown diamonds and gemstones are still diamonds and gemstones. They are just grown in a lab. According to jewelry retailer Jared, "They have the same chemical, optical and physical characteristics as stones dug from the ground."
Opting for a lab-created version of your desired stone will save you anywhere 10%- 40% on your ring cost and can give you access to colors of gems that are super hard to find in nature.
Be sure you are purchasing "lab-created" or "lab-grown" gems and not synthetic or crystal versions. It's also essential to know that these stones hold little resale value.
Choose Vintage or "Used"
If your spouse-to-be loves vintage jewelry, this can be in your favor. Estate jewelry can be expensive, but with a little research, you may be able to find an engagement ring or complete wedding ring set for far less than you would pay for a new recreation.
Check out your regional antique stores and keep a lookout for estate sales that mention jewelry. Ask your local jeweler if they carry any estate pieces, as many offer these pre-owned options. And if you're lucky, you may even get to hear the love story behind the ring and put a little of that good juju into your nuptials.
You don't need to hit a pawnshop, as many of the quality rings pawn shops carry are overpriced for what you are getting.
Don't Forget the Family Heirloom
So you inherited great-grandma's wedding rings, and they are not your fiancé-to-be's style. You can still utilize the stones, metal and sentimentality by getting the stones reset and by using the band's metal.
First, take the ring(s) to a jeweler for appraisal and to make sure what your mom swore is platinum and diamonds aren't just sterling silver and glass. Then discuss what your options are. You may be able to cut a larger gem down into smaller gems for a wedding band or use the metal for the setting and trade in the old stones for new stones.
Alternatively, if none of these options are feasible, you can have your grandparents' ring turned into a necklace or tie pin to keep it in the family, just not on the finger of your spouse.
Skip the Platinum and White Gold
Look for a ring set in palladium, titanium, tungsten or other metal that isn't gold or platinum, which are at the higher end of the cost range. If your partner is a yellow gold lover, look for something set in 10k gold, as the price will be less.
Palladium is as strong as platinum — it just weighs a little less — so the ring will lack that "hefty" feeling. Titanium is a lightweight metal known for its durability that's becoming popular for rings meant to take a beating, traditionally referred to as the "men's rings."
Sterling silver is soft, but if your partner doesn't have a job or lifestyle that requires them to work with their hands too much, it would work just fine and save a mountain of cash.
Make an Upgrade Plan
While it's a romantic notion to think that the ring you propose with will sit on their left ring finger forever, this is so not the case. In fact, many couples are choosing to upgrade at least one of their rings after they have been married for a while. Many people get engaged and married before reaching their career destinations and have more capital to work with by their 10th anniversary.
If you are disappointed with the ring your budget can afford, be upfront and explain that this is not their forever ring and plan to upgrade when it's feasible. If you find it uncomfortable to talk about money in this way, maybe you need to consider whether this is the person you actually want to marry. They are not marrying your wallet; they are marrying you.
You can add additional bands, larger stones or throw it out altogether and get something new. This is the perfect time to renew your vows and makes a beautiful anniversary present.
15 Low-Cost Wedding And Engagement Rings
We took our budget-broadening tips and scoured the internet to find 15 low-cost wedding ring sets, bands, and engagement rings for every ring style and preference.
This affordable "bridal set" gives you the look of a bigger diamond as the center stone set in a halo setting. The small diamonds on both bands will catch the light to give it a sparkle.
Available from Macy's, $600
If you're looking for a classic princess cut ring, look no further than this one from Zales. The solitaire center stone is available in both White sapphire or pink sapphire — if you want a funky twist -- and utilizes diamonds in the band for accent and sparkle.
White sapphire is almost impossible to tell from diamonds to the naked eye, meaning you'll get a classic diamond look for a considerably lower cost.
Available from Zales, $729
Don't let the fact that this is from Walmart completely throw you off. If you're shopping for someone who does not follow tradition, a black diamond may be the perfect ring option. The ring set has a total 1.5-carat weight and is set in 10k black gold.
Available from Walmart, $489
This engagement ring is perfect for someone who doesn't want a classic look. This asymmetrical five-stone ring showcases a 1.05-carat emerald cut prasiolite, two quarter-carat green sapphires, and two small baguette-cut, socially responsible diamonds all set in 14k white gold.
Perfect for the wearer that likes a little whimsy, this ring is available in three other stone combinations and 14k white gold.
Available from Mejuri, $750
This cushion cut solitaire engagement ring is perfect for making a statement. It comes in nine gemstone types, including amethyst, citrine and garnet, making it a great option if you wanted to shop for their birthstone. The London Blue Topaz color is one of the most popular in this ring and currently trending for weddings. No matter what color stone you select, each ring is set in 14k white gold.
This ring sits high enough to fit most wedding bands underneath, even though it is technically sold as a cocktail ring.
Available from Blue Nile, $525
This ring comes in at under $200, making it a highly affordable engagement ring. The pink morganite and rose rhodium-plated sterling silver looks just like rose gold and provides a feminine look.
Available from Zales, $160
A timeless cushion-cut aquamarine center stone is bordered with tiny sparkling diamonds and gleaming 10k white gold. This ring is also available in white sapphire for a diamond-like look.
Available from Zales, $449
This one-carat natural emerald ring is available in 14k yellow, white or rose gold, giving you the power to customize based on the wearer's taste. This Edwardian-style three-stone ring is a steal. Plus, buying from Etsy supports an independent seller and gets you away from a chain store, if that's important to you.
Available from Etsy, $626
A dainty diamond cluster ring could be a modern take on an engagement ring or a lovely delicate wedding band. Nine diamonds in various sizes are nestled together in 14k, white yellow or rose gold.
Conflict-free diamonds are diamonds that have not funded or provided funding for civil wars.
Available from Etsy, $336
This simple and elegant 14k white or yellow gold ring is perfect for a simple and understated wedding band. While they are made to fit perfectly with other engagement rings from Mejuri, the 2.5mm size will fit nicely with any engagement ring.
Available from Mejuri, $265
This wedding band packs an eighth of a carat into a simple silver band. A perfect merriment of bling and silver, this ring is an excellent selection for someone who wants the sparkle of a circle of diamonds and is willing to trade for a less expensive metal.
Available from Zales, $171
If the great outdoors is calling, this ring is your answer. Available in 4mm width to 10mm width, this ring is perfect for any couple who likes to spend time outdoors.
Handcarved in titanium, meaning no two rings are alike, these durable and low-priced rings are a unique alternative to a gold wedding band.
Available from Etsy, $145
Our most affordable option, coming in at less than $50, is this textured stainless steel wedding band. Textured grooves add a unique look to the durable, low-maintenance metal.
Available from Kay Jewelers, $40
This Miadora Bridal Ring Set has one center diamond followed by 14 side diamonds and nine diamonds on the band. If you’re looking for a simple yet elegant ring, this will be an affordable option for you.
Available from Overstock, $200
This unique and durable wedding band is excellent for a rugged wearer, made from black plated tungsten and Koa wood.
Koa wood is a symbol of strength and was used by ancient Hawaiian warriors for making tools and weapons due to its hardness and durability.
Available from Manly Brands, $275
Time to Pop the Question
When I got married, I opted for a 1.5-carat color-enhanced blue topaz that caught the light in the most beautiful way. Most people mistook it for tanzanite as it often looked purple and green. We could have never afforded the diamond equivalent, and I have never regretted my lab-created selection.
No matter what ring you choose, splurge on the warranty whenever it's available. This will usually require you to bring your ring to where you bought it annually so it can be cleaned and inspected to make sure no stones are in danger of falling out. Some warranties will even replace a gem for no charge if they fall out. No brainer.
Now, pop the question and some bubbly because someone is about to say "Yes!"
You might also like: The Importance Of RSVPing
15 Affordable Wedding And Engagement Rings:
- Promised Love Ring Set
- Princess-Cut Lab-Created White Sapphire Ring Set
- Oval Black Diamond Wedding Set
- Linear Cluster Engagement Ring
- London Blue Topaz Engagement Ring
- Oval Morganite Engagement Ring
- Cushion-Cut Aquamarine and Diamond Engagement Ring
- Natural Emerald Gemstone Engagement Ring
- Conflict-Free Diamond Cluster Wedding Band
- The Band from Mejuri
- Diamond Vintage-Style Wedding Band
- Mountain Range Titanium Wedding Band
- Stainless Steel Wedding Band
- Miadora Sterling Silver Bridal Ring Band
- The Cowboy Wedding Band