Would You Pay For Your Own Engagement Ring?

engagement ring

Would you pay for your own engagement ring? Look, before we get into this – and we’ll get into it – we should probably look at some of the history behind engagement rings.

The concept of an engagement ring became popular in the 19th century at a time when, if an engagement was broken, the woman’s reputation would suffer. People might assume there was something wrong with her – for instance, that she was sleeping around, or otherwise not good wife material. The woman was, legally, allowed to keep the engagement ring, which would represent a kind of financial compensation for her damaged reputation.

This really isn’t as relevant in the 20th century. When my friends have broken off their engagements I have never once thought, “That certainly happened because the lady was a trollop. I shall be her friend no longer.”

So… maybe it’s okay for women to go in on the cost of an engagement ring?

According to The Daily Mail: 

Modern brides are downsizing their weddings and spending money on that dream diamond instead… it seems that modern would-be brides are so desperate to bag their dream engagement ring they are chipping in to the cost themselves.

According to a new survey, a third of women are so determined to get the perfect ring they would go to any lengths to get it.

I mean, chipping in on a piece of jewelry you are going to be wearing does not strike me as a “going to any lengths” type of situation. Women are not fucking a monkey for an engagement ring. That is a “going to any lengths” type situation. That, or anything on Fear Factor.

Still, personally, I’d rather be presented with a ring by my fiance. I think it’s romantic, but I don’t really have a great argument for that beyond, “I like things being done in a traditional way.” How would you feel about this?

Picture via WENN

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    • JennyWren

      Tricky. I think on the whole I would, as you say, rather be surprised with a ring. But, y’know, life isn’t perfect, and if a couple need to pool resources in order to symbolize their commitment then why not? After all, it’s not so long ago that it would be unthinkable for a woman to pay or part-pay for her own wedding. The only thing that would bother me in this situation is that the partner doesn’t anything; so if it’s no longer a straight-up gift maybe I’d rather skip the engagement ring entirely and focus on getting really nice wedding bands.

    • http://twitter.com/misst0pia Not-So-Miss Kelli

      The ring in the header image is beyond hideous. The only way I would ever wear that would be if it was a family heirloom and I had to appease the spirit of my husband’s dead grandmother. I realize it has become as cliche to scoff at rings as it is to pine over them, but they’re just not my thing. Engagement shoes, maybe.

      My husband and I just kind of decided to get married. No proposal. We chose our wedding bands together and ordered them online from an indie designer. I chose two 1.5mm sterling silver stacking rings, one of which has a very small diamond in it. The total came to under $500. When my husband lost his ring surfing, I bought the replacement for $10 on etsy and threw in another tiny band for myself.

      I’ve been rudely asked many times (only by women, mind you) if I’m disappointed in my rings, especially because my sister has an $18,000 Tiffany boulder. In my opinion, a ring’s value is only important if you plan on selling it, in which case your marriage didn’t go so well, did it? I’ve never looked at a woman’s ring and made an assumption about anything except her partner’s credit card balance.

      • http://www.facebook.com/cecileqpham Cecile Pham

        OMG, i LOVE this response. Seriously what happened to this generation? I dont’ recall our parent’s generation have monstrously sized engagement rings. It’s almost as if this generation suddenly became self entitled to all have 2 carat rings no matter what financial situation they’re in. What happened to the meaning behind it? It still baffles me and something I dont’ think I’ll ever understand.

      • Jessica

        The media happened.

      • http://twitter.com/JenAshleyWright Jennifer Wright

        I would wear the shit out of that ring. I am going to continue using that picture forever. I actually do recognize that wanting a large ring is silly, and I’ve spent some time trying to figure out why I feel a pang of envy towards women I see in yoga class who have huge rings (I look. I do). I think it’s because these seem like difficult economic times, and I think “If they and their fiance have that much money to toss away on a piece of jewelry, they must have a pretty easy life economically. I bet they take great vacations. I bet they eat in terrific restaurants. Maybe I should ask her what are good restaurants.” Of course, that could not be true! At all! The ring could be a CZ! It’s a silly reaction to have… but I still have that.

      • http://twitter.com/misst0pia Not-So-Miss Kelli

        I agree about the lifestyle aspect. When I see a gigantic ring, I feel a pang of materialistic envy because it means she probably doesn’t live in a cramped apartment and she probably drives a car that hasn’t had its Check Engine Light on for over a year, but those are the same thoughts I have when I see a person of any gender driving a Jaguar or carrying an Hermes bag. I have no thoughts whatsoever about her relationship with the man who gave her the ring. I know how much it sucks to fight about money; it’s a huge issue in my life, but there are happy and shitty marriages in every tax bracket.

      • MR

        More important question. Would you want to look at some with me before I buy it for you?

    • MR

      Come on that’s not what a women really wants? Educate me. From the guy’s side, I say it’s the headstone of the Wedding ring that defines everythng.

      • Matilda

        It is just a nice gesture… with all these feminists running around no wonder this is happening. Men no longer have the same respect for us as they used to, you do not need a huge ring, that is not the point of a marriage, Id rather he get me one that was special to him or one that he loved for me than me buying a more expensive one for myself, what is the point?

    • AmbienceChaser

      I did pay for mine. We had not initially planned on rings, but our mothers were making a huge goddamn fuss about the engagement ring or lack thereof, so we decided to get one. After looking around a bit, it turned out I wasn’t as opposed to the idea as I thought (I like sparkly things). He wasn’t ever opposed (he used to make jewelry in college and is really into it as an art form and thus way more into jewelry than I am. He says if we were super rich he would want to buy all the jewelry, but it would be OK if I only wanted to wear it sometimes.) But anyway, I had all the money at that point so I paid for my ring and his.

    • Eileen

      No. But mostly because I don’t really care about an engagement ring. I want a wedding ring, and I want my husband to wear one too (and a real ring made out of gold or silver not one of those tungsten things that seem to be the trend among men who think jewelry is “girly”). But if an engagement ring isn’t a gift he can comfortably afford, then I don’t want one. I also wouldn’t want a diamond, or anything expensive enough that it makes me feel weird wearing it every day.

      I would absolutely expect for both of us (and not our parents unless they insist to the point of wearing me down) to pay for the wedding. Wouldn’t mind if someone else planned it, though.

    • Cee

      I’m paying for my engagement ring because I lost my first ring :(. It was a 3/4c solitaire princess cut engagement ring that my soon to be father in law gifted my girlfriend to give to me. I was completely devastated and angry because I lost it. I will repay him and buy my own. But…I have this ring for now. I kinda don’t know if I want to part with it for another. Its absolutely beautiful.


      • Eileen

        OMG that’s gorgeous.

    • Kate

      If you’re combining finances after marrying, you’re paying for your own ring in a roundabout way regardless of who makes the actual purchase.

      My fiance proposed as a surprise, then we went ring shopping together. He set the budget and it came out of his savings. I was very conscious, though, that money spent on a ring was money that couldn’t be spent on a honeymoon or a house down payment. In the end, he spent enough to get me a really nice ring, but not so much that it delayed other financial goals.

    • Mandy

      I told my husband that I would never marry him if he spent a huge chunk of change on a ring while we were saving up for a down payment on a house. He surprised me with a sweet celtic love knot that was super affordable and will look beautiful on our daughter when she turns sixteen.

    • Scarlett

      I know that there is a ring in my future … I want a ring for the tradition and symbolism. I told my man as long as the stone was not heart shaped i would be proud, honored, love whatever he gave me. (Sorry to heart shaped stoned fans… its just not my style) I have a friend who has been married for less than a year and she is already complaining her stone is too small and needs to be upgraded.

    • Lemona

      I would contribute to the cost of an engagement ring, because I like contributing and I would certainly contribute to the cost of wedding rings, but then I have to wonder, why are *we* buying a ring that only one of us wears? What is the point of this ring? Jennifer has told us the 19th century purpose of the engagement ring . . . and made us ask what the 20th-21st century purpose is. Any ideas? I’d especially like to hear positive ideas from those of you who are/have been engaged.

      I found an engagement ring in my fellow’s desk, by accident . . . I told two friends, and they asked how big the diamond is (they assumed it was a diamond) before they asked anything else, and that made me sad.

    • Nymph1816

      I would lose an expensive ring within minutes of getting it. I would prefer a sparkly necklace… that I would probably insist on helping to pay for.

    • ms_v

      My man and I want to get married and he actually surprised me by saying this to me. I was the one in the relationship who was hesitant to go further like it took me three months after he did to say “I love you”. He never got upset, and was never offended or hurt that I didn’t because I asked him later on in our relationship if he ever felt that way and he said no, and that he knew I loved him. Which is actually true, even though I did have a guard. He also has said (and continues to) he wants to marry me, even though he had a previous marriage that did not end well because his ex was unfaithful and was using him throughout the relationship since he is a very generous person in general. He also has two older children who he adores completely and who love him, and him being such a good father is one of the many reasons I love him, and he again surprised me when he said he would be so happy if I said I was pregnant. Cause again, I was the one saying I did not want children from the beginning, but again there is no hurt or pressure because he just loves me period, and said either way he wants to be with me. I think we are a very unconventional couple in general because of the completely random and absurd way we met (on a chat room on a movie site) No really…lol! I know it would never happen in a general sense, and neither of us were looking for a relationship let alone using a chat room to talk about movies to find one. But he said he was just drawn to my was of speaking (writing whatever) I guess because I am a pretty blunt person, and awfully inappropriate in the humor area, and I just love making people laugh and for some crazy reason he liked that. Still think he is odd for that, because I have a dirty mouth hahahaha but the more we talked and then on the phone, and the comp cams, we just fell for each other. Of course he lives in Texas and me in NYC *sigh* so we do the long distance thing, but we are both faithful people and I know he is it for me, and he feels the same about me. And it does hurt to leave him to get back on the plane. Sorry to ramble here, just getting to the point I promise! For a ring I would have no problem paying for it, or paying partially for it. I think it is romantic when the guy surprises the girl with the ring, but a guy can still propose to you meaningfully without one, so it doesn’t bother me if I see it first. I am not looking for a 3 carat mountain either. I actually really love the antique style settings and I think 1 carat is stunning. I don’t get the obsession with rock size because your diamond can be 3 carats and be cloudy and flawed as hell and actually be ugly, but a one carat that is a better quality will look 100x times more beautiful. I guess it is the obsession with the HUGE ROCK= better from all the bridal mags where the girl has a 10k dress on+a 13k ring+a 5k veil, celebs, and what not. Rings are expensive and just like the wedding I have no problems paying for it or helping to pay for it because in the end it is for the both of us. I don’t think everything has to be so entirely traditional if you want to use that word, and I don’t see anything wrong with a woman getting her own ring/wedding band/husbands band or helping to pay for it. You are a couple and helping each other financially should just be seen as another aspect of that.