Ring shopping regret: I went window shopping for rings and now regret it
Quartz Bling Ring
I had a plan — I had a modest ring that I could afford bookmarked and budgeted. That part was done. Then my fiancé convinced me that we HAD to go try on rings at a big box jewelry store. I knew better. There were so many GOOD REASONS not to but he was so excited about doing something “normal people do” that I gave in. I'm a lot more offbeat than he is and he's been seriously craving his “normal” wedding planning. I told myself we would just be learning some lingo, and maybe appreciate the reasonable plan and budget when comparing to these prices.

The good news is I did not let myself or him get swept up into any finance agreements. The bad news is the men's band and wedding set we found and fell in love with costs $8,000! And my reasonable little ring looks shabby and drab by comparison. I thought I could walk away, and I can. I just did not anticipate the other cascade of feelings.

Tl;dr I went window shopping for rings and now regret it because everything is a pale comparison. Suggestions? – Kitty

The Wedding Industrial Complex is as monolithic and all-encompassing as ever, as you've experienced. It's definitely easier to make affordable offbeat choices when you're not confronted full-on with pricey, traditional alternatives. Unfortunately, you were and I'm so sorry you're feeling those emotions because of it. Here are some ways to recover from leaving the offbeat bubble…

Re-learn to love your ring

Now that you've seen what else is out there, your ring has a shadow on it. But it can be redeemed in your eyes (and that's who matters here!). I'd suggest spending some quality time on the internet re-appreciating what you originally loved about your ring. Was it simple and elegant? Was it edgier and more interesting? Find alcoves on the web where non-bling-y rings are adored. It'll take some time, but re-adjusting your expectations and ideals sometimes just takes some perspective.

Head back to offbeat alternatives

Look at offbeat-friendly retailers to find a similar wedding band and wedding set for less cash. Using diamond alternatives like moissanite, semi-precious stones, vintage/used rings, and less fancy metals can cut the cost of your rings without sacrificing the shmancy looks. Unless the $8k set was seriously unique, you'll likely find something similar with smaller or local retailers.

Think of it as a first ring

If you just can't make peace with your original ring, think of it as a starter ring. You can always save up and upgrade it on a special anniversary. And, in all likelihood, you may learn to love it again and not want to upgrade it at all by that time.

Plus, you'll have gotten through the wedding planning stages where everything's importance is heightened and you'll likely have bigger fish to fry later on.

Apply the lesson to other parts of the wedding

You've probably already learned this lesson, but don't forget to apply it to other areas of the wedding. Don't feel pressured to go look at rentals you can't afford, marked up designer dresses, or other pricey outlets for money because it feels like the “way it's done.” It may be traditional, but you'll surely be much happier sticking with more affordable and offbeat vendors. Plus, you'll be supporting smaller companies who are usually awesome about making custom changes. Because custom-to-you > cookie-cutter. Hopefully that will help make the case to your more traditional partner, too.

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Comments on I went window shopping for rings and now regret it

  1. It might help to look at other rings too, ones that you don’t like as much. Look at some that aren’t at all to your taste. In comparison, your original ring will seem so much better and you’ll realise that although an $8k set is nice your ring is still awesome and up near the top of your list of desired rings, rather than thinking of the expensive set as being at the top and your ring at the bottom. Plus when you see how ugly other rings are you’ll just be grateful you found something within budget that you DO like rather than getting something cheap that you hate.

    If you really want the expensive ones, as Catherine said in the post you can probably find a cheaper alternative. Look at custom-made. My fiancé and I had our wedding rings custom-made in the shape of snakes (various golds, no stones) and the pair of them cost just over £900. They were made using CAD-imaging, so even if the shape of the ones you wanted is unique you could recreate it for less (obviously there’s not much you can do about expensive materials, but the suggestion of using less-fancy, cheaper stones and metals is good).

  2. Whenever I’m unsure about a purchase I imagine somebody offering me the item for free or a pile of cash that is the same ammount that the item costs. It helps me to think about all the other things I’d like instead of the item and what all the possibilities are for the money. Ring or 8k? 8k could be turned into a house down payment, or a super swank trip, or, or, or a ring set. I do the same for little things too… the $5 shirt on clearance or $5 which could slso become a drink with a friend or a new paperback novel, or, or…

    • OH MY GOSH this is officially my new strategy. I feel like if I compare a lot of the stuff I buy this way I will save a ton!!

  3. I went through a little bit of this. I was all set to get a plain band and then I stopped by an antique jewelry store and fell in love with a $2400 1930s diamond eternity band. That is just crazy far out of my budget. I bought a very plain 10K white gold band with little milgrain edges. It was only $100. It arrived earlier this week and I love it. Actually seeing it on my finger, imagining having it on my finger every day, etc., really helped.

    And part of me still loves the fancy antique ring. But I don’t think I’ll miss it. I’m not much of a jewelry person – so it’s hard to imagine wearing something that gorgeous and expensive every day. The simple band makes way more sense for my style and lifestyle.

    I like the post’s suggestion of thinking if this as a starter ring – if I still find myself lusting after fancy rings years from now – maybe I will get a fancier ring. I don’t think I will, but knowing that I could swap it for something else helps.

    • Yeah. I always thought I would get a simple band in 14k white gold. We had budgeted a total of $1000 for both our wedding rings. Then I started shopping and my more traditional groom is afraid that the simple band “isn’t good enough.” It’s not that I’m against a blingy band, it’s just that I don’t really need it. Luckily I haven’t found anything that I’ve fallen in love with. It’s hard to stick with the original plan when all the external messages tell you not to.

      • Yeah- a lot (let’s be real, most) of the WIC expectation nonsense falls on the bride’s shoulders, but I think people still really really judge grooms for the quality/expense of the rings. And also expect them to pick out a ring the bride is supposed to wear for the rest of her life (or at least the whole engagement) without checking with the bride? There’s so much craziness about rings. No wonder your fiancé is worrying whether the ring will be good enough.

        I am glad that most people I know recognize that the rings are not necessarily the man’s reaponsibility or choice. It makes it much easier to do what makes the most sense for both members of the couple.

  4. YAY I’m so glad you included the upgrade option! When my parents got married, my mom wanted a tiny ring, since they didn’t have a lot of money and were planning kids right away. About 8 years later, she upgraded it to a simple but elegant band with a lovely row of diamonds. Another couple years later, with their upcoming 25th anniversary, they upgraded it again to a custom ring by a local goldsmith, chunky yellow gold with a high quality almost carat. I’ve asked, and she has no regrets about doing it this way, she got an amazing ring when it wouldn’t cripple them financially.

  5. I had to let an amazing ring go from a big box store because it just didn’t make sense for me. (Guys, it had a plain band, but secret stones on the SIDES. So when you moved your hand, it was like BAM, whole different bling!)
    Here are the truths I realized, and I’m sharing:
    1.) Everything about a jewelry store is designed to make those rings seem way more awesome than they are. The setup of lights makes them more shiny and spectacular than they will ever be in your day-to-day life.
    2.) The love affair wears off. Committing to a ring is a lot like a romance: the first part is hot and heavy, but you eventually bond and fall into a warm, loving, farting-in-my-sweatpants zone of comfort. Whichever you choose will become YOUR ring. So the real question becomes… which ring would you rather wear while you wipe your butt?
    3.) Seconding the offbeat alternatives, and it’s the route I went. I virtually guarantee that those rings exist as CZ or moissanite. I bet that those rings exist in less expensive metals. I even bet that those exact rings exist elsewhere at a lower price, possibly pre-owned.
    4.) If all else fails, self-bribery usually works for me. My smart, well-researched ring choice meant I saved $600-$2000 off my next-closest choices. While it’s not technically money saved, I suddenly felt a lot more secure in my choice when I treated myself to a pair of earrings that matched my ring.

  6. I’ve never been a diamond girl. I don’t buy into the consumerism of “diamonds” being rare, especially when they can be manufactured instead of mined. Also there are far more beautiful & rare stones on this planet.
    Stay away from the commercial jewellers. Go to local small jewellers that sell new & antique, etsy or eBay. The mark up on all jewelry especially wedding rings is crazy ridiculous.

    When I was planning my wedding party winter I spent months shopping on etsy, I wanted something unique and telling of our personalities & relationship. Symbolism is important to us, he’s not the flashy kind & kept telling me he wanted a plain band, I’m not into bling but I am into design & aesthetic, I wanted more than a cluster of meaningless stones on my finger for the next 60 years. After at least 3 artist fail attempts with negotiating what I ideally wanted I eventually “settled” for what meant the most. Our bands are open weave Celtic trinity knots (symbolising the promise to love each other yesterday, today & tomorrow), my engagement ring came from a different artist but it still has trinity knots on it flanking each side of a small green emerald for May when we married & on each side of it are small accent diamonds.
    He loves his ring & the unique ascetic of it, he’s very happy that is not a plain band. I’ve gotten so many compliments on my set, more so than any cluster of diamonds that look like every other women’s wedding rings.

    Go for personality. Go for style. Dare to be different!

  7. You guys should write an article on how to handle a situation where one partner is off-beat and one partner is not (like in this case). That would be a very helpful article.

  8. I’ve had complete strangers tell me that my ring is the most beautiful they have ever seen. You should see the way their eyes bulge when I tell them it’s from Etsy and cost less than $800. Rose gold, half eternity diamond pave with a Charles & Colvard Moissanite stone in prong, pave set.

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