How Much Should You Spend on a Wedding Ring

how much to spend on a wedding ring

A wedding is a big thing to plan. Huge even. But it’s also beautiful, heady, and exciting, requiring a lot of effort and preparation. A large part of this will be budget, which will be compartmentalized into a number of considerations: caterers, flowers, venue… the list goes on. Yet, probably the most important part of this is budgeting for your wedding rings. 

How much should you spend on a wedding ring? The variety of budgets is truly impressive, with some couples spending thousands on finding the perfect pair of wedding bands. But a huge receipt does not a perfect wedding make. The right wedding ring for you can be bought within a reasonable budget. 

This blog delves into the key information on how much a wedding ring costs, from average spending to the main things you should consider.

How Much Should You Spend on a Wedding Ring?

The answer to this question is simple; spend as much as you feel comfortable spending. Don’t listen to outdated ‘three-month salary’ rules for ring-buying. Budget wisely, and remember that with a little effort, you can find a high-quality wedding ring without spending vast amounts of money.

This beautiful, modern yellow gold diamond wedding ring by Simon G. is the perfect example of a wedding ring that’s high quality and yet very affordable. Image credit: Whiteflash

What’s the Average Cost of a Wedding Ring?

Many websites will try to tell you the average cost of a wedding ring, and they’re almost always different. The average cost of a wedding ring is affected by several factors: gender, location, karat, and year, amongst many others. Trying to determine the average cost of a wedding ring now could be inaccurate within 12 months. However, there are some interesting constants. For example:

  • Men’s wedding rings tend to cost less than women’s wedding rings. This is interesting considering that, according to Brides, the average ring size for men is eight to fifteen, and for women, it is six. What this tells us is that it’s not necessarily size that determines price. 
  • Wedding ring prices range from year to year. One study showed that, in 2019, the average price for a wedding ring for a woman was $1,100. This average will vary over time in relation to multiple external factors. 
  • Location has a big effect on the both price, and how much people are willing to pay. For example, if you look at how much was spent on engagement rings by region in the US in 2020, people in the northeast spent $6,000 on average, while those in the southwest spent $5,200. Evidently, this is referring to engagement rings, but we can assume that location-based spending trends also ring true for wedding ring purchases.
  • While costs change, the higher the karat of the ring, the more you will potentially have to pay. This is not to be confused with carat, a measurement of diamond size.

So, in reality, there is no true average price of a wedding ring, because every ring is different—from the year they’re sold, the location they’re sold in, their size, and the external factors influencing market prices and the prices of raw materials. It’s always better to remain flexible in your approach to average ring costs, because relying on old data will only end in a disappointing purchasing experience, where you may end up paying more than you wanted to. 

What Should a High-Quality Wedding Ring Cost?

Again, the answer to this question isn’t set in stone. You can purchase a high-quality wedding ring for a wide variety of prices. The average for women’s rings tends to be anything over $1,000, with men’s rings being a little less expensive. 

Essentially, what a high-quality wedding ring costs ultimately depends on the price set by the retailer, based on the calculations they have made and what they deem to be a fair retail price. However, it’s always worth remembering a number of crucial pieces of information:

  • The cost of a wedding ring will depend on the metals used, whether it includes gemstones (such as diamonds), the karat of the metal, the designer, and where you buy the ring. 
  • Be wary of ‘too good to be true’ rings. Imagine you find a ring by a well-known designer. It is an 18K wedding ring with embedded diamonds, but it only costs $500. While this sounds amazing, it seems too good to be true. Remember to check the credentials of the retailer before purchasing any wedding ring you find. Some notable, trustworthy, and highly-experienced retailers that are worth drawing attention to are Whiteflash, James Allen, and Blue Nile

Consider how the wedding ring matches your engagement ring. Does it clash? Does it match? For items you will be wearing for a long amount of time, it might be worth making sure that the designs of both work well together. Fortunately, many high-end retailers are here to help—Whiteflash dedicates a whole portion of their site to matching wedding sets and Blue Nile offers a wedding band matcher that’s simple to use.

High-end retailers realize that matching wedding and engagement rings are popular, and so offer bespoke matching services, like the one offered by Whiteflash, and James Allen below:

What Else Affects the Price of Wedding Rings?

Multiple elements affect the price of a wedding ring, but the following features to be found have the largest influence.

Karat

Most rings come in either 14K or 18K, meaning they have either 14 or 18 parts of pure gold, mixed with other metals. Pure gold is 24K, but it is far too soft a metal to be used for wedding rings. The softer the metal, the more likely you are to dent it. 

Of course, the closer to pure gold, the more expensive a wedding ring will be. Yet, there’s also the idea of durability to consider. The small the proportion of gold in the ring, the more durable the ring will be, meaning it’s less likely to experience scrapes and dents through day-to-day wear. 

Ultimately, your consideration of price must weigh up how pure you want your ring to be, versus how durable you’d also like it to be. 14K and 18K versions are still durable, but also retain the unique luster of gold. Anything less than 14K and you will find that the luster of natural gold is dulled. 

This, of course, isn’t the case with wedding rings made out of other metals. For example, popular metal options for men are titanium and tungsten carbide, both of which are very durable metals. 

Design

Your classic wedding ring is the yellow gold, minimalist band that everyone is familiar with. However, more complex designs are also available. Many of these designs also include diamonds or other precious gemstones, and so will naturally be priced higher than the conventional wedding ring. 

For example, take the 14K White Gold Pavé Twist Diamond Engagement Ring from James Allen. It’s much different from traditional wedding bands, and features a gorgeous pavé that wraps around the entire band, which has been twisted to create a truly exquisite look.

Image credit: James Allen

The presence of diamonds within a wedding band will increase the price, especially if these diamonds are either a large carat weight, or very high quality (or both). 

The Most Important Factor: Budget

The ultimate question of ‘how much should you spend on a wedding ring?’ can be answered simply: you should spend however much your budget allows for. Some couples work it out within an overall percentage of a wedding budget, such as 3%. For example, a $25,000 wedding would include a $750 wedding ring budget if set at 3%. The percentage or budget you set is completely dependent upon your specific scenario. 

Discuss at length with your fiancé just how much you want to spend, so that there’s no miscommunication on the budget of these important wedding must-haves. You should find a number you both feel comfortable spending. 

Ultimately, a wisely-prepared budget is what separates those who have a good purchasing or wedding-planning experience from those who don’t. So look around, do the math, do the research. The more you work now, the more satisfied you will be with your chosen wedding ring. 

Where to Find High-Quality Wedding Rings

Finding the right wedding rings is a crucial task, so if you’re looking for the best place to do it, we’ve got just the recommendations. 

You’ll be able to find gorgeous choices within the vast array of offerings provided by Whiteflash, they specialize in the highest quality diamonds available. Blue Nile has one of the largest selections of diamonds available, and James Allen has fantastic lab and coloured diamonds. 

If you would like more information on other talented retailers, you can explore my diamond retailer reviews here.

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