Between the dresses, the venues, the bachelorette/bachelor parties, bridal showers, and gifts - everyone has to be prepared to fork over a decent chunk of change whether they're getting married or just attending.
But, it all starts with an engagement ring. It is expected that whomever is proposing spends a significant amount of their income on an engagement ring, and "three months salary" is usually the amount that is suggested.
That's a quarter of someone's yearly income so you better make sure you're prepared to spend the rest of your life with this person. This is a big decision emotionally and financially, and if the recent divorce rates or the Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth recent split has taught us anything, a long-lasting marriage is never guaranteed…
In an article in the Guardian, Tauriq Moosa attacks Engagement Rings as worthless objects created by the deBeers marketing department, with no intrinsic value whatsoever. He goes further to pillory those who use them to “prove their love,” stating that if you need a physical object to show your love, your love is in trouble.
Which brings me back to the topic of discussion…. The answer isn't a simple yes or no, and each couple should decide whether or not to get a ring based on their individual beliefs and preferences.
For starters, what’s the function of a shiny rock/ Engagement ring on you?
The function is not in the "Ring", but in the ritual of choosing it, obtaining it, and giving it. We forget the power of ritual in modern society, even as we mimic it and yearn for the transformations it can help provide.
Tests of endurance and feats of strength are our vision quests. Would you forgo a bachelor’s party before marriage? No? Then if your future spouse wants one, buy the ring you can afford.
It is an expression of commitment, and it should take effort to obtain. That can mean a pricey diamond, or time spent finding the perfect ring. It is not about monetizing this ritual - and it doesn’t have to be a diamond.
You decide what it is worth to you. Does it have to be X number of paychecks? That is up to you and your future fiance. If you can’t compromise on those things, it is a good way to measure what your future arguments over money and spending will play out, so the ring serves that purpose as well.
The ring is not a symbol of love, but of work. Love is behavior, and it takes a mature man to go through the process of procuring an engagement ring, whether by saving enough to buy a car or seeking out a modest gift that blows his fiance’s mind.
As a symbol of work, the Ring is something intangible, that drives you to do it whether it’s easy or not. If you see it as a gift to someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, it becomes easier. And it is a gift. You don’t walk around saying “hey, like that expensive gift I got you last year?” to people, do you?
The Ring doesn’t prove your love, but it can symbolize it if you want it to. When you see your fiancee or wife’s ring, you should think to yourself, "I put that there. I went through the effort of finding someone I wanted to marry, and who wanted to marry me, and working out the issues to make a long term relationship work. It wasn’t a brand of ownership I put on her hand, it was something beautiful, with no intrinsic value, that would symbolize the years we spent courting and dating and working together so our marriage would last."
Lastly, when it comes to weddings and all wedding-related events, it's best to keep judgment to yourself.