Engagement Etiquette: How Much Should You Spend on That Ring?

Engagement Rings


The sun is shining, and the sound of wedding bells rings through air. It’s summer, and it’s the perfect time for love. If you want your proposal to be picture perfect, summer is the perfect time to do it – but there’s one question that you need the answer to first.

Exactly how much should you spend on an engagement ring?

It’s often said that an engagement ring should represent a set proportion of the proposer’s salary.

That precise figure, however, may change depending on where you ask the question. You may hear the figure set at two months’ pay in America, with a much more modest one month sometimes suggested in Britain, whilst the Japanese tend to insist on three months’ wage.

Whichever figure is mooted, the idea behind the guideline is the same. An engagement should not be something undertaken lightly, so the amount you spend should be a significant investment.

At the same time, as you set out upon a new life with your beloved, you don’t want to be taking on a significant debt, so it shouldn’t be a figure that’s punitive.

Many people, when considering such an important purchase, will entertain a natural curiosity over what others have spent on their engagement rings.

Pippa Middleton, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, made headlines earlier this year showing off an engagement ring with an estimated value of £250,000, whilst back in 2014, actor George Clooney chose a seven carat diamond ring valued at £450,000 for his proposal to human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin. These are figures which have, no doubt, given a few people pause over their own decisions, but they are most certainly outliers!

The average spend on a wedding ring is still dictated by the traditional guidelines, and most do look to set aside that three months’ salary. However, a report earlier this year from insurance company Allianz suggested an average spend of only £573. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that this figure was based on a survey of just 2,000 people.

Of course, you may have the option to spend nothing at all on your engagement ring – and at the same time make it far more meaningful.

An heirloom ring, one that has been passed down through the generations, can carry more meaning than even the most expensive of diamonds. If you’re lucky enough to have such a piece available to you, your decision is made much easier.

Bear in mind, though, that it may not be as straightforward as getting it out of the safe and dusting off the box. A ring that suited your great-grandmother perfectly might not look quite right on the finger of a 21st century bride-to-be. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to take such a ring and redesign it to create something that is bespoke, yet with all the sentimental value intact.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider is whether this is a choice you should make on your own, or one which you should make together.

If you don’t have a clue about whether she’d prefer a ring with a single stone or with three, if she likes brilliant cut or princess, or even if she’d favour platinum over gold, then you may think it a safer option to choose the ring together. We offer the privacy of our lovely bar area for this consultation, so that you can take the time over your choice with a glass of champagne, a pint of local ale or a soothing cup of tea or coffee.

If you are quite certain that you know your beloved’s tastes well, then a surprise proposal could be the perfect choice – and indeed, we would say that around 60% of the engagement rings we sell are for surprise proposals. And, for your complete peace of mind, we even offer to change it if she doesn’t like it as much as you hoped!

However much you plan to spend on your engagement ring, at Banks Lyon we aim to ensure that you get the perfect ring. We have the largest collection of diamond rings in the North West, and over 35 years’ experience in buying and selling diamonds, all of which are at your disposal to make the process of choosing your engagement ring enjoyable and stress-free. For more information, or to book your free consultation, contact us today on 01524 38 10 20.