If you found this article by googling “is it ok to pay for my own engagement ring” then chances are you’re probably feeling some sort of guilt about breaking an unspoken proposal rule. You may be worried about hurting your partner’s feelings or even taking power away from their expected role in this process.
Yes, weddings and engagements are steeped in this tradition. Meaning that they come with weighty expectations and duties assigned to each gender in a heterosexual coupling (though these expectations can still put pressure on same-sex couples too). These “rules” are often constrictive, especially to women, whose voices tend to be left out of the decision process completely.
A lot of these old traditions have shifted – for example keeping your own damn name and not having to quit your job after becoming a Mrs. But the engagement process is having a slower evolution. Yes, more and more couples are picking out the ring together – but the idea of a woman actually paying for her own ring?
*Record Scratch* – how could she?!
Perhaps this response is due to the fact that our culture associates women who ask for what they want in a partnership (such as a promise to be married) as desperate, demanding, and/or completely bonkers. Ladies? How many times have you avoided sharing your feelings about something your partner does that makes you mad as hell because you were afraid to be tabled the “crazy” girlfriend? Even the best of us have held our tongue for fear of being too emotional. Instead, we women are expected to shut up and smile every time another holiday season or romantic couples vacation passes with no proposal, waiting passively for some magical grand gesture that may never come.
But women ARE starting to pay for their own engagement rings. And they ARE taking a more equal role in their partnerships. It’s not fantastical, it’s not scandalous, and it’s actually completely logical. According to De Beer’s annual Diamond Insight Report. “The proportion of engagement rings financed solely by brides rose to 14% in 2017 from 11% in 2015 and 7% in 2013…During the four years ending 2017, grooms’ average outlay on engagement rings dropped 13%, while brides’ spending rose 19%.”
Why is this shift happening? The following are 4 reasons we’ve seen from real women in our own studio who contribute to, or pay entirely, for their own ring and why it’s ok for you to do it too.
Engagement Rings Are Sexist
Yeah, we said it. It’s no secret that the traditional connotation of an engagement ring was a symbol of ownership. Wearing one meant that you belonged to your husband, a sparkly equivalent of a giant “SOLD” sign on a house – you were off the market. Nowadays, engagement rings have a deeper personal meaning shared between partners that is much more loving and powerful. But, for the women who still don’t like this history of ownership, contributing to the cost of your engagement ring or buying it yourself can give it new life. You own this ring. It’s the ultimate symbol of empowerment.
You Want Your Dream Ring
Would you ask your partner to pick out your wedding dress? NO! Where would they even start? How would they know what you like? How would they decide what size to get? It’s a completely unfair and they would be destined to fail. So why do we put such a high expectation on men to magically know what your perfect ring looks like? How can you expect them to budget the exact number for that perfect mystery ring? It’s really not realistic when you think about it. When you know what you like, it’s 100% ok to pay for what you like, or add some money on top of your partner’s budget to get the ring you want. You are the one who has to wear this piece everyday for the rest of your life, don’t you want to make sure you actually like the ring? And honestly your partner will probably be so relieved to have some guidance and help in a sea of options. They love you and all they want is for you to be happy.
You Make More $$$ Than Your Partner
Women have started to out earn their partners, and as we fight to close the gender pay-gap our incomes will only continue to increase. Even if you don’t make more than your partner, maybe they’re in grad school, or starting their own business, or just put a downpayment on a house and buying an engagement ring just doesn’t financially make sense for them right now. Their finances will someday be your finances (unless you choose not to combine), and there’s no use in putting them in debt or putting a financial burden on them when you are able to purchase the ring you want. Some women feel guilty about asking their partners to invest in such important piece without them contributing to the cost at all. Remember there’s no shame in asking your partner if you can add something extra to the budget with your own cash.
You’re a Team
You and your partner are already a team. You already make all of your decisions together. You’re already on the same page, and you have an equal and open partnership. The engagement ring is often one of the first big financial decisions a couple makes together, and for many couples there isn’t even a conversation about who’s going to pay – Of course they would split it 50/50. For those who still want to have a conversation, it can be an excellent way to practice your communication and assert yourself as an equal contributor to your future together. You’re about to be married, meaning all financial decisions from here on out are going to be made together. Why not start with the engagement ring?
Having this conversation with your partner might feel awkward at first. But I must stress: this person loves you, and more likely than not they are a reasonable and sensible person. Telling them you want to contribute in some way to the cost of your engagement ring shouldn’t be a blow to their ego or “manhood.” In fact they may even be relieved. Remember that they have enormous pressure on them to get this part right. It will still be possible to make your proposal surprising or to get engaged in a really special, magical way.
And besides, your engagement ring isn’t special because of some wild hot-air-balloon-will-you-marry-me-mowed-into-a-cornfield-proposal, an engagement ring is special because of the love and life you share with this wonderful person who really knows you – in your good and bad moments, and wants to honor you through them all.
If the emphasis on tradition is important to you, then that’s ok too. The whole point is that there are no “shoulds” anymore. Follow the path that makes sense for you and your relationship. All of us are different and unique in our own beautiful ways – and because of that the path to marriage will be different for all of us.
No matter what path you take, having meaningful conversations or sparking a hint, can be a great way to make sure that you’re working towards what you want in your relationship.
Have questions? Send us a message or give us a call. We also drop a lot of engagement ring advice on our instagram, and that’s where you’ll find all of our #sparkahint wallpapers, so make sure to follow us.
If you’re ready to find out everything you need to know before buying an engagement ring, download our free guide here.