It's time to ditch the diamond ring. Yes, you heard me right. Millennials are getting married, starting families and changing things up in the way of tradition, which includes the diamond ring. Many are opting for non-traditional engagement and wedding bands for a variety of reasons, but the concensus is the same: it's time to ditch the diamond ring.
According to a study released by The Knot earlier this year, the average amount spent on an engagement ring in 2015 was $5,871. That is a costly $6,000 object to wear on your finger that can all-too-easily get washed down the drain, lost or misplaced or even swallowed by an infant.
Millennials are taking note of this, in part due to the economic recession in 2008. This generation is more concerned with saving money for a house, or paying off student loans, rather than dropping $6,000 on an engagement ring. Not only that, but millennials are getting married later (late 20s, early 30s) and are more interested in purchasing non-traditional or mass-produced rings. They're replacing diamonds for more unique rings with colorful gemstones or even lab-grown stones, an effort to fight against the conditions in which diamonds are procured and produced in some countries. Some even do away with rings altogether! Most, however, are opting for a more frugal option.
Celebrities Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher did just that. In an interview with Conan, Mila Kunis opened up about the money the couple spent on their wedding rings. Total: $190. Kunis found the rings on Etsy, fell in love with their simplicity and bought hers for $90 and her husband's for $100. Kunis even said, "My engagement ring is beautiful, but I don't ever wear it." These two represent a frugal culture that will surely carry into the future.
This begs the question: Does a big, fat diamond ring or how much it cost really, truly express your love for someone? The answer is no. How big the diamond is or how much it costs altogether is a mere material representation of love that means literally nothing, except that you're married. It just isn't necessary.
In fact, here are some more staggering numbers from the aforementioned study. The average total cost of a wedding (not including the honeymoon) in 2015 was $32,641. Tens of thousands of dollars are being poured into a single event that lasts for just a few hours. The wedding day is arguably the most important day of a bride and/or groom's life, but what matters more: the money spent on the glitz and glam for a fairytale wedding or the days, months and years after where you get to spend the rest of your life with your husband and growing family? Clearly the answer is the latter.
It doesn't make sense to spend insane amounts of money on an engagement ring or a wedding ceremony and reception. It's like taking all of your life savings and pouring it down the drain. What really matters is the life you will live with your spouse and the family you will create together.
Of course, our culture is wrapped up in spending so much money on the diamond ring (and the wedding) because of tradition. There's nothing wrong with following tradition. What's wrong is going dead broke before you get married. What will you have left to actually start your family with? Not much.
Not everything has to be new and flashy. Heirloom rings especially are not only free but sentimental. You would definitely be lucky to have one.
What it really comes down to is you, what you want and what your pocketbook says. Besides, you can always save for a big diamond ring later in life (if you so desire) to make for a (kind of) meaningful wedding anniversary.
Wedding and engagement rings are a staple tradition that isn't going away any time soon. What needs to go away is the dependence on the diamond ring. Opt for more frugal options that you can afford. A unique engagement ring and wedding band is bound to be more meaningful than how big the rock is on your finger.
Callie has two Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Communication and when she isn’t writing, she’s reading. Some of her favorite things include Harry Potter, all things Disney, road trips, and telling stories.