Wedding rings and engagement rings both symbolize the bond and promise of marriage, but they are very different when it comes to tradition and cost. Depending on the style, design, and material used, your rings could drastically differ in price. On average, people spend between $3,000 and $10,000 for their engagement ring alone. But there are a few main reasons why one is so much more expensive than the other.
What’s the difference?
Both rings have a long history, but they have completely different meanings. While the wedding band is typically used during the ceremony to signify the official bond of marriage, the engagement ring is typically given during the proposal and worn prior to the main event. If you’re planning on tying the knot, your engagement ring serves as your announcement to the world. For this reason, many people choose to prioritize the engagement ring over the wedding band when they’re building their budget. Since the wedding bands are usually not exchanged until the day of, you can also expect to wear your engagement ring for a longer amount of time.
All materials are not created equal
In most cases, the design for an engagement ring is built around a diamond or larger stone at the center. This is one reason for the higher cost, since the price of the ring will depend heavily on the size and quality of the main stone. Wedding bands, on the other hand, are usually much more simple in design. Your band might include a row of small diamonds, just a few, or no stones at all.
More popular engagement ring styles, such as halos and three-stone settings, also require more metal than a basic band. The additional weight and craftsmanship required can significantly impact the total cost of the ring. Choosing a more expensive metal such as platinum or palladium can create an even wider margin between the cost of your engagement ring and wedding band.
Design is a key factor
Engagement ring settings often feature more intricate and eye-catching details in comparison to wedding rings, which also factors into the cost. Adding more features, such as a cathedral mounting or pave accents, will likely increase the price. Wedding rings are usually more simple in appearance, so you can expect to pay considerably less for standard styles.
Wedding rings are often purchased or made to match the engagement ring, and not the other way around. This is, in part, due to the fact that the engagement ring is traditionally received first. Also, it tends to be the more dominant of the two rings. Once you fall in love with your engagement ring, you want to ensure that the wedding band compliments it well without drawing away too much attention.
Keep an eye on current trends
The cost of your rings can be greatly affected by popular styles and settings. Alternative stones and metals are becoming more and more mainstream. A ring made from tungsten and topaz would cost considerably less than a cushion-cut diamond solitaire, so this would decrease the difference between the cost of your engagement and wedding rings. However, impressive center diamonds and intricate accents are still in the spotlight, so choosing a ring with a higher carat weight could easily triple the amount you’d expect to pay.
Regardless of the style you choose, you can expect that your engagement ring will come with a steeper price tag. But whether your rings are a surprise or a planned purchase, you’ll think of the investment everytime you look down at your hand.