Engagement Ring and Wedding Costs


#1

Hello,

My girlfriend and I have been dating for a year now but have been the closest friends for three years. The topic of marriage has been brought up and discussed and it's time to start thinking about ring shopping. With the current economic climate and the limited employment prospects for college graduates, I'm not too keen on spending much money on anything at this moment seeing as our financial future depends on the decisions we make now. It wouldn't make much sense to spend a few grand on a ring right now when that money could go toward paying off college debt or for a downpayment on a house.

I'm considering purchasing her a ring with a cubic zirconia stone and replacing it on an anniversary down the road. She brought this up to me passively in conversation and it seems like a great idea. She is the type that it wouldn't matter to her if I made one out of tin foil or spent a year's pay on it.

I was wondering if any other couples have done this or what anyone thought about it? I know the ring doesn't matter, the marriage does. It's unfortunate that marriage has become an industry of its own in secular America and, quite honestly, neither one of us want to participate in the hoopla of a big and expensive wedding and would like it to be between us, God, the Church, and our close family and friends.

What's your take on our situation and how expensive getting married can be? Were you on a tight budget?

Thanks.


#2

There's no correlation between the cost of the ring(s) and the depth of the love and committment. Ever seen those celebrity wedding pics where the bride is wearing a rock bigger than your eyeball, and the marriage doesn't last a year? Yeah...

My husband's best friend's husband is a metal smith, and he made our wedding bands. (I didn't want an engagement ring.) We used gold from the rings that had sentimental value to both of us (a college graduation gift from my grandpa, a ring my husband's mother got from her mom when she married, etc.), and Mike crafted bands for us.

His labor to make the rings was their wedding present to us, so our rings didn't cost us a penny. :p


#3

When my husband and I decided to get married (we were married for 41 years) we had an opportunity to put a down payment on a house. For that reason we decided to forego the engagement ring.

I know many married couples who exchange gold wedding bands and that's it. Jewelry and fancy weddings are incidental, and don't need to be that way. They can be tailored to suit one's financial common sense. We needn't be concerned about what other people think.


#4

It's a good idea to get a ring now, and change out the stone with a diamond later. Any real jeweler can do this for you.

For the engagement ring I got my wife, I actually bought the diamond separate from the ring online (can save a lot of money finding the best deal online) and then got the actual ring later...and had the jeweler install the stone. If you do this though, make sure to shop at a reputable site. Even saving plenty of money, it still probably cost me too much. :o

Weddings can get out-of-control expensive. Just set a budget. If your parents are willing to help with expenses, great. Just be aware that they may also want to be able to have input on some of the wedding details too (guests, decorations, ect) and that can actually make it more expensive. :shrug:

Use hand-me down or used decorations, shop online, and do as much as you can home-made to save money on the actual wedding. My wife actually found a vintage wedding dress online for $60! She didn't end up wearing it, but it's possible! :)


#5

You could also shop at a reputable, high-end pawn shop -- again, you would have to know what you're looking at. Maybe bring someone with you who is knowledgable about diamonds. Or you might consider another type of stone -- perhaps her birthstone or yours, a favorite stone of hers -- that might not be as expensive as a diamond.


#6

I am looking at non-diamond rings for an engagement ring, such as emerald and sapphire (with or without diamond accents). They are not only cheaper but more interesting than (clear) diamond or cubic zirconia. There are also colored diamonds.

I don't want to have to be worried about losing a ring that's worth several thousand dollars. I'm looking solidly under the $1000 range and probably closer to $500.

My friend got a large diamond (worth several thousand) from her mother's engagement ring and just had a new band made for it. She has the the wedding band set where the wedding ring fits into the engagement ring. That seems more sensible than having two rings where one just sits in a box after the wedding. But it makes your options more limited.

More importantly, make sure you find a good solid priest for Pre-Cana. That's where the real work should be done, not in saving up for an expensive ring or wedding.


#7

They are doing amazing things with CZ these days. They put them in precious metals .

qvc.com/FineFashionJewelryP225.content.html


#8

[quote="Garyjohn2, post:4, topic:245495"]
Use hand-me down or used decorations, shop online, and do as much as you can home-made to save money on the actual wedding. My wife actually found a vintage wedding dress online for $60! She didn't end up wearing it, but it's possible! :)

[/quote]

My friend's dress cost more than $1000 all told which seems ridiculous for something you wear once (and then have to store somewhere for the rest of your life or give-away/sell). It's also hard to find modest wedding dresses these days because so many of them are strapless (as my friend's was).


#9

[quote="usaamerica, post:1, topic:245495"]
Hello,

I'm considering purchasing her a ring with a cubic zirconia stone and replacing it on an anniversary down the road. She brought this up to me passively in conversation and it seems like a great idea. She is the type that it wouldn't matter to her if I made one out of tin foil or spent a year's pay on it. .

[/quote]

Your girlfriend sounds like a jewel, herself.

My bride of 31 years wouldn't let me buy her an expensive ring, eitther.. I promised her a beautiful ring down the road.
She's still very happy with her small stone, and refuses to let me buy her an extravagant ring.


#10

2 matching wedding bands are very nice. Maybe something with a diamond at your ten year anniversary! :D

Best wishes to you both during this exciting time.


#11

It always help to shop around. When my wife and I were looking at rings (I proposed before buying a ring), we found all sorts of rings that would have broken the bank. We finally found one that looked just as nice at a discount furniture store that sold jewelry on the side. They bought most of their rings from a jeweler who bought bulk lots of stones, site unseen, on a steep discount, then put them in pretty standard bands. I paid right around $300 after taxes and had it paid off in 3 months. As luck would have it, when we went to get her a matching wedding band (which cost close to twice as much), it turned out that the stone we got was a real find, and worth a great deal more than we paid for it (the jeweler, who we trusted, guessed that I'd paid at least $1200 for it).

At the same time, my wife had been setting money aside so she could get me something a little better than just a standard gold band. Her parents found the box she was keeping her money in and took it, then refused to pay her back. All she could afford after that was an $80, standard gold band from a 4th-rate discount shop. Her folks then reneged on their promise to have it engraved to make up for the money they stole, but didn't tell her this until two days before the wedding, meaning we didn't have time to get it sized before the ceremony, leaving me without a wearable ring until over a week after we were married. Still, it means just as much to me as her matching rings mean to her. It's not the ring that matters.


#12

Sounds like a good idea--make sure you get a nice band though! :thumbsup: You want it to last a long, happy marriage! :thumbsup:

KG


#13

My husband let me pick out my rings and I am very happy I had the opportunity to do that. He never really proposed; we knew from our very first date that we wanted to get married (used to think love at first sight was a myth until it happened to me! :D) and after a few months we just kind of gradually fell into assuming we would. When I started asking about when we should start making plans, he said he wanted to propose first and that he had a really good idea but he would have to wait a few months until his roomate moved out (he wanted to buy a puppy and tie the ring to its collar). I told him it would have been a nice gesture, but kind of unecessary since I already knew that we were going to get married and that he was planning to propose. :shrug: So then we went and got rings and started telling people. I picked out a $600 engagement ring and a $300 wedding ring because I think it’s crazy to spend several month’s pay on jewelry, and my cheap ones look much nicer than the big glitzy ones anyway!

If it’s at all possible, I think you should let your fiance pick out a ring or be able to exchange it if she doesn’t like the one you choose. She’s going to have to wear it a looong time and I’m sure she’d want it to be something she really likes. Plus, according to a WSJ article I read, when a woman gets to choose her own ring she ends up spending less than what her man would have paid had he chosen one for her. Sounds like win-win to me.


#14

I have to say I like your attitude. I find it awful that the ring is such a big deal. When my husband and I got engaged I did not get a ring. We were both grad students and he recently started a low paying job so I told him I didn’t want a ring. It never bothered me but people were shocked, like I was missing out on something crucial. My sophisticated answer to that was: whatever :slight_smile:

I like the idea of giving her a ring for an anniversary.

Getting married doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you are having a small thing for the family. Don’t get sucked in the whole industry, people will tell you that you need all sorts of things. Nonsence. If you can have a party in a garden, have someone do the catering, that would reduce costs significantly. A friend of mine did it like that and they had an amazing time.

Best of luck and congrats!


#15

Our first wedding was an extravagant 150+ guest event with all the bells and whistles. We were divorced within a few years. Our second “wedding” was a 10 minute affair with our priest and a handful of parishioners (whom we didn’t know, but the priest had invited to attend the afternoon wedding when he gave morning mass). A good marriage depends on the preparation of the husband and wife (both individually and together), not on the cost of the ring or the extravagance of the celebration.

I love the idea of an inexpensive ring now–it shows that you are both committed to the substance of your marriage and starting a financially responsible life together. If a nicer ring is a priority for both of you, budget carefully, skimp a little on yourself over the next couple years (for example, if your budget allows for $50/month of “fun money” for you, set some aside each month for a ring), and surprise your wife with a ring (or a gift card to a jewelry store) for a future anniversary. :thumbsup:


#16

I say, why not?

I told my boyfriend (who I met here, and who may be reading this :smiley: ) that the engagement/wedding ring set which I like, only costs $29.95, out of my favorite jewelry catalog!!

(Mind you, I’m unbelievably-allergic to most normal jewelry, so I don’t know of any other option…but, if I can get a perfectly nice-looking ring for that price, why spend more??) :stuck_out_tongue:

My take on the whole thing is to have a nice wedding…but, not an expensive one!! :thumbsup:


#17

:slight_smile: I got married on quite a tight budget! And it was still a lovely, blessed, and memorable day. Get creative!!
Keep it close family and friends. That’s what we did. The only thing that prevented us from having less than 50 people (we had 75 attendees) was the fact that I have a giant, Catholic sized extended family.

There are so many ways to get married on a budget, and still give her the beautiful day she deserves.

There are things that it is best to save on, and things you want to splurge a little/ pay full price for.

The dress? There are soooo many discount options for dresses. Second hand, $99 dress sales at bridal stores, sometimes a lovely white tea gown makes a lovely wedding dress. Thing outside of the box… our decor was not true wedding decor! We spray painted candlestick holders to match the decor, decorated with thrift store antique books and silk flower petals, and used many other shortcuts.

Photography is where we splurged. It is the only cost anyone helped us with. My mother was adamant about having top notch pictures, since that is where the memories are recorded, so she paid for that. It was nice of her. We paid for everything else ourselves!

You have to figure out what is important to you guys, and where you are willing to save money and spend it.

Best luck - if she is ok with cubic zircon, then by all means get the ring :slight_smile:
Our wedding bands were sterling silver… looks just like white god, but so much more affordable. We will get the bands of our dreams one day when we have the extra money. People still know we are married, that’s the important part!

Much love and God bless.


#18

[quote="VivaCristoRey27, post:8, topic:245495"]
My friend's dress cost more than $1000 all told which seems ridiculous for something you wear once (and then have to store somewhere for the rest of your life or give-away/sell). It's also hard to find modest wedding dresses these days because so many of them are strapless (as my friend's was).

[/quote]

:shrug: Mine was strapless, but it was a sweetheart neckline so it didn't show anything. However... it was very very affordable!


#19

[quote="themeginthemoon, post:17, topic:245495"]

Photography is where we splurged. It is the only cost anyone helped us with. My mother was adamant about having top notch pictures, since that is where the memories are recorded, so she paid for that. It was nice of her. We paid for everything else ourselves!

[/quote]

:p This must be some sort of "mom" thing - my mother keeps telling me the same thing, to not scrimp on the photos.... :D


#20

Do you have any antique rings in your family? Has grandma offered her ring? Check out estate jewlery shops. Also consider another stone. Princess Di had a sapphire and Sarah a ruby.
Recently heard that priests can marry you at a regualar Sunday Mass. Could have a wedding cake at the church hall after the ceremony with punch and then the immediate family and friends back home to her parents for a buffet.
There are wonderful shops which carry pre-owned wedding gowns, and stores which have sales on samples.
Photos: a must. Let your friends do it and do provide each couple with a throw-away to take pictures. They leave the cameras with you at the end of the day so you can have the pictures developed.
Flowers.....doesn't have to be over the top but do decorate.
There's a thin line between vigil re. expenses and being cheap. This is your day, the only wedding you will have so do it with taste and treasure the memories.


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