How Much Money Should You Spend on a Wedding Ring? – Budget + Cost Guide

budget friendly baguette diamond eternity wedding rings that cost $3000 and under
budget friendly diamond rings: Capucinne

It’s a hotly debated question: how much money should you really spend on a wedding ring? While traditional “rules” may encourage you to empty your wallet for a dazzling diamond ring, we believe in more modern budgeting guidelines. Rather than focus on “average” wedding ring costs, why not spend your money on a ring that reflects your one-of-a-kind love story and financial priorities?!

To help you get started, we’re breaking down the ins and outs of creating the perfect budget for your forever bling — plus some tips and tricks for getting the most bang for your buck!

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What is a good budget for a wedding ring?

budget friendly dainty gold pave diamond studded wedding ring that costs less than 1500 dollars
budget friendly dainty diamond ring: Catbird

When it comes to how much money to spend on your wedding ring, there’s no one-size-fits-all budget. The key is finding something that both reflects your love story and suits your financial situation. Rather than following tradition, we think it’s more important to focus on your specific situation, relationship, and preferences!

Let’s face it: the jewelry industry wants people to spend as much money as possible on their wedding rings. That’s what first started all the so-called rules about average wedding ring costs — but these days, we’re seeing more and more couples thinking outside of the (jewelry) box! After all, there’s no need to start your marriage off with a boatload of debt when you could spend less money on a budget-friendly wedding ring that you love more than the average styles.

To help you create a budget that suits your lifestyle, we’ve included some expert tips down below — including the most important financial factors to consider and the best ways to spend less money on your dream wedding ring. And remember: it’s not about the price tag, it’s about the lifelong symbol of your relationship!

What does the average wedding ring cost?

budget friendly baguette diamond eternity wedding rings placed on top of one another that each cost around 3000 dollars
baguette diamond eternity rings: Capucinne

Wedding rings can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, and there’s no universal “average” price. So, to give you an idea about how much money you should expect to spend on a wedding ring, we polled our editors here at GWS to get their professional opinions.

According to our poll, the average price for a wedding ring is around $1080, with a median cost of $1000. While you can easily spend much more or much less money on your wedding ring, this price range reflects the most average budget for a forever ring.

Of course, the cost of a wedding ring also highly depends on the type of ring you’re looking for. For minimalist wedding rings with no stones, the average cost would be lower — closer to $400 or $500.

On the other hand, if you’re dreaming of major bling, you can expect to spend more than average on your wedding ring — upwards of $3000. It all comes down to your personal style and budget!

Factors to Consider When Thinking About How Much Money You Should Spend on a Wedding Ring

budget friendly circle diamond studded gold wedding ring that costs around 3000 dollars
low cost circle diamond ring: Catbird

When you’re thinking about how much money to spend on a wedding ring, the two factors that are most important are your individual finances and preferences. While “industry standards” and average wedding ring costs can be helpful jumping-off points, don’t think of them as rules. Instead, take some time to evaluate your specific situation to determine how much money you want to spend on your dream wedding ring.

When it comes to creating a wedding ring budget, you’ll want to consider the following, at a mininum:

  • your income
  • any existing debt
  • your wedding budget
  • your current savings
  • your financial priorities
  • upcoming expenses

Even if you do have a solid savings account, you may have other priorities that you want to spend that money on, in addition to a wedding ring, such as an epic honeymoon or a down payment on a home.

It’s also important to consider your aesthetic and preferences when deciding how much money to spend on a wedding ring. The style and design of your engagement ring will guide what kinds of wedding rings you can consider, as well as their average costs.

Do you want to perfectly match metals and shapes? Are you looking for extra bling? Do you want to create a custom design to match your other ring — or to match your partner’s wedding ring? All of these factors will impact the types of wedding rings to look for and how much money you spend overall.

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What factors drive up the cost of a wedding ring?

budget friendly marquise diamond white gold wedding ring that costs less than 2000 dollars and has milgrain detailing around each stone
intricate marquise diamond ring: James Allen

The factors that drive up the average cost of a wedding ring are the metal, the stones (such as diamonds or other gems), and the intricacy of the design.

You’ll spend more money on wedding rings that use precious metals like platinum and high-karat gold, compared to alternative metals like tungsten and black zirconium. Similarly, wedding rings with plenty of bling will cost more on average than designs with subtle sparkle, or no stones at all.

The type, size, and quality of stones will also determine how much money you spend on a sparkly wedding ring, with an average diamond costing more than a budget friendly stone like moonstone.

In addition to these average wedding ring costs, you should also factor in any custom additions when creating your budget. Handcrafted designs, one-of-a-kind styles, and personal touches can make your wedding ring feel extra special, but they can also seriously drive up the average cost.

Plus, custom wedding rings typically can’t be returned, so you’ll want to be extra sure they’re “the one” before you spend money on them!

How to Save Money When Shopping for a Wedding Ring

budget friendly thick textured gold wedding ring that costs less than 2000 dollars
low cost textured gold ring: Catbird

Whether you’re looking for a dazzling diamond design or a classic minimalist style, we have a few tips to help you spend less money when shopping for your dream wedding ring. It’s totally possible to find a wedding ring that makes your heart flutter, without blowing your budget — so you can spend the rest of your money on a dream wedding, an epic honeymoon, or your future adventures!

We’ve even rounded up some tricks for finding designs that cost waaaay less than the “average” wedding ring. Let’s get into it!

1. Choose to Spend Your Money on a Wedding Ring That Doesn’t Use Diamonds

budget friendly thin floral engraved gold wedding ring that costs less than 400 dollars
budget friendly floral ring: LilyandDahlia on Etsy

Diamonds, while undeniably stunning, can also come with a hefty price tag. If you want to spend less money on your wedding ring, opt for alternative stones or intricate metal-focused designs that can cut down that average cost. This is a great way to break the status quo and choose a ring that’s more personal and one-of-a-kind — while also saving some cash while you’re at it!

Plus, wedding rings without stones aren’t as bulky and won’t snag on clothing as easily, making them better for daily wear and active lifestyles. They’re also great if you want to have matching wedding rings with your S.O., as they tend to be more classic, versatile, and gender-neutral. And on average, the cost of a wedding ring without diamonds can be $1000+ less than one with diamonds. Say less!

2. Use the 4 C’s To Your Advantage

budget friendly circle diamond dotted crown style wedding ring that costs less than 1500 dollars
diamond crown ring: Brilliant Earth

The 4 C’s determine the quality of a diamond used in a wedding ring, and they can also have a huge impact on how much money you spend on your design. Here’s a quick breakdown of what the 4 C’s mean and how you can use them to your advantage to save on average wedding ring costs!

  • Cut: The cut of a diamond affects its brilliance and sparkle, but here’s a secret: you can find dazzling diamonds with slightly lower cut grades that still look stunning on your finger. Opt for cuts that offer great value, without sacrificing sparkle!
  • Color: Diamonds range from colorless (very valuable) to slightly yellow (more budget-friendly). To spend less money on a wedding ring, consider diamonds with a slight yellow hue — they’ll still look bright and radiant, especially when set in a warm hued metal that complements the stone’s color (like yellow gold)!
  • Clarity: If you want to spend less money on a diamond wedding ring, embrace the beauty of slightly included stones. These diamonds have subtle flaws that impact the clarity, but often they’re not clearly visible to the naked eye. In other words, they’ll dazzle just as much, while also saving you some dough!
  • Carat: The carat of a diamond is how much it weighs, and wedding rings with bigger stones will inevitably cost more on average than smaller ones. If you’re on a budget, opt for more minimalist wedding rings with dainty diamonds. Not only is this a great way to spend less money, but these subtle wedding rings can also be more timeless and elegant!

As you’re deciding how much money to spend on a diamond wedding ring, take some time to evaluate which of the 4 C’s are most important to you. Maybe you don’t care about the carat weight, but you definitely want the sparkle of a great cut. Let your preferences guide you, and don’t be afraid to check out options that aren’t necessarily “perfect”!

3. Spend Less Money on a Wedding Ring That Incorporates Lab Grown Stones

budget friendly dainty gold diamond alternative wavy wedding ring that costs less than 1000 dollars
lab grown diamond ring: Diamond Nexus

If you’re looking for mega sparkle without the higher price tag associated the average cost of a wedding ring that includes natural stones, lab-grown diamonds are a more budget-friendly alternative to their naturally mined counterparts. They typically cost an average of 35-40% less than a mined diamond, perfect if you want to spend less money on an ultra dazzling wedding ring!

While many people assume that lab-grown diamonds aren’t the real deal, we’re here to dispel those myths. The only difference between lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds is that they’re produced in a lab instead of being mined from the earth. This means that they have the same sparkle and durability as natural stones — if not more!

And not only do wedding rings with lab-grown diamonds cost less on average, but they’re also more ethical and eco-conscious. Since they’re created in controlled environments, lab-grown stones don’t have the negative impacts associated with diamond mining. That means you’re spending less money on a wedding ring that will make you look AND feel good!

4. Lower Karat Metals Can Lead to You Spending Less Money on a Wedding Ring

budget friendly dainty gold tapered diamond wedding ring that costs less than 1000 dollars
dainty diamond ring: Catbird

As we mentioned above, the type of metal you choose for your wedding ring can have a major impact on how much money you spend. Lower karat metals, such as 10k or 14k gold, contain less pure gold than higher karat options like 18k or 24k. And as you may have guessed, wedding rings with less pure gold will also cost less, everything else equal.

Plus, lower karat metals are just as elegant, durable, and shiny as their higher karat alternatives. In fact, 14k gold is actually more resistant to wear and tear than 18k gold! With a slight difference in appearance, the metal you choose may come down to your personal taste — but if you want to spend less money on your wedding ring, lower karat metals will help you keep your average costs down.

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5. Realize That Some Wedding Ring Settings Cost More Than Others

budget friendly gold marquise diamond crown wedding ring that costs less than 2500 dollars paired with a teardrop shaped design
marquise diamond crown ring: Capucinne

The setting of your wedding ring refers to how the stones are mounted into the metal, and different settings will have different average costs. You can expect to spend more money on intricate wedding ring settings (such as elaborate designs or dazzling crowns) versus minimalist ones. The more handcrafted work and effort a wedding ring requires, the more money you’ll spend on it.

The number and size of stones in your setting can also shake up the price. More stones equal a more labor-intensive setting process, which means you’ll spend more money on wedding rings with eternity settings and intricate pavé designs.

If you’re looking to spend less money on your wedding ring, opt for classic and minimal settings that don’t feature as many stones. These rings can be just as meaningful and timeless, without breaking the bank!

6. Only Spend Money on a Wedding Ring During Promotional Periods

budget friendly mountain themed whiskey barrel and silver wedding ring that costs less than 600 dollars
mountain-themed whiskey barrel ring: Staghead Designs

To get the most bang for your buck, wait for promotional periods to spend money on a wedding ring. Many jewelers have Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and holiday sales, and this can be a great time to buy your dream ring for a killer deal.

There may also be promotional periods for other special holidays, such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Keeping an eye out for discounts and special offers during these events is a great way spend less money overall on your perfect wedding ring!

7. Rather Than Spend Money on a New Wedding Ring, Opt for a Family Heirloom

budget friendly dainty gold lace filigree wedding ring that costs less than 600 dollars
budget friendly heirloom-inspired ring: Capucinne

Do you want a wedding ring that’s meaningful, one-of-a-kind, and totally timeless? Rather than spend your money on a pricey new wedding ring, opt for a priceless family heirloom instead!

Heirloom wedding rings carry a sentimental value that no new design can match. They’re a symbol of love, commitment, and the growth of your family tree. Plus, they add an old world charm to your finger that simply can’t be replicated!

And as a bonus, you don’t have to spend any money on an heirloom wedding ring, except for a small fee for resizing (if necessary). It’s budget-friendly, eco-conscious, and SO stunning!

And if you do have more money to spend, you can also customize an heirloom wedding ring by adding engravings, incorporating new stones, or modernizing heirloom diamonds with a new setting. The options are truly endless!

8. Opt to Spend Money on a Ring That Isn’t Marketed as a “Wedding Ring”

budget friendly celestial zodiac inspired wide gold wedding ring that costs less than 2500 dollars
celestial zodiac-inspired ring: Catbird

Since wedding rings are such a significant piece of jewelry, jewelers know that people will spend a significant amount of money on them. But with non-traditional rings, you’re not spending extra money on the “wedding markup,” which means that the average cost is typically lower!

We love non-traditional wedding rings — they’re more personal and one-of-a-kind, plus you aren’t as limited when it comes to designs!

While you can find classic (and budget-friendly) diamond styles from everyday jewelers like Mejuri, there are also endless options for chic, unconventional rings that reflect your personal style. Etsy has tons of a great styles, and you can also shop the non-wedding sections of jewelers like Catbird for timeless designs that don’t require you to spend as much money!

budget friendly gold diamond wedding ring with pink stones that costs less than 1000 dollars
diamond and pink stone ring: Catbird

Now that you’ve decided how much to spend on your wedding ring, based on your personal budget, it’s time to get shopping! For a full guide to our favorite designs, check out this list of stunning rings for women and this round-up for men. And don’t miss our complete measurement guide to help you order the right size!

And why stop at just one wedding ring? If you have a little more money to spend, or if you’re celebrating an anniversary or special milestone, then you’ll love our stacked wedding bands guide. Because there’s no such thing as too much sparkle!

Need more budgeting advice for how much to spend on a wedding ring? Let us know in the comments below!