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Ask the Wedding Maven and the Plunge: How Much Should a Ring Cost?

Every few weeks we like to do a little exchange program with our friends over at The Plunge. They send us one of the questions a groom has sent them, and we send them a question from one of our savvy brides. We publish both answers and you can get a male and female perspective. This week, we tried something a little different. We both answered the same question at the same time. Here's the rather lengthy question: It all started when she asked me “what if I don’t like the ring you proposed with? Would you be offended if I don’t like it?” The answer was tricky but I said “Yes, I would be offended on the grounds of you missing the point that it is not about the ring, it is about me offering my life to you.” Call me old fashion but that is how I feel. However, I took her window shopping for the ring. The idea behind it was that at least she would get what she wants (size, cut, color, setting, etc) even if I had to sacrifice the surprise. It was explained to her prior to the excursion that we were doing our homework and that we were not going to buy a ring that night. The problem is that she fell in love with a $12,000 dollar setting, capable of holding a 2.5 carat rock. The ring (diamond included) carried a price tag of $40,000; far more than 3 months of salary by a long margin. The next day she went to work and tracked down the designer of the monster setting online. She then e-mailed me the results of “the hunt” because she “thought it might be useful to have these pictures in my archives.” I was furious. She knows the price of the setting and she does not care if the thing is by itself more than two months salary, half the price of a car, 5 years of food, 7 years of gas, 9 mortgage payments and an infinite amount of dog food. I know I sound like a cheapskate, but I am ready to invest up to $18,000 on the ring (hardly a drop in the bucket), but now I am thinking that maybe, just maybe, I am being taken advantage of. She is certainly not in it for the money, but sometimes she makes me feel like she likes the flash more than the idea of being with me for life. My question is: Am I in the wrong to think that $12,000 for a setting is crazy and that 40 grand for a ring is just insane? Furthermore, since she knows the price of the setting and obviously has check estimates for the diamond, why does she think that such an inconsiderate number is OK? Lastly, if it is all about love, what is so wrong with a ring pop? Here's where you go if you want to know what the Wedding Maven has to say about this expensive ring question. Here's where you go if you're curious about how guys see this ring buying issue. If you have a question for the Wedding Maven you can write
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