Sep. 27, 2013 at 3:01 PM ET
Rules are meant to be broken, even when it comes to the institution of marriage. These days, plenty of women don’t wear white dresses on their big day, and many couples pay for the wedding themselves instead of expecting their families to do it. But there’s one new trend on the horizon: couples who split the price of an engagement ring.
When New York City-based writer Jaya Saxena and her then-boyfriend Matt Lubchansky, an illustrator, began talking about getting engaged, Saxena said that she wanted to balance out the cost of a ring. Instead of asking Lubchansky to buy her a new piece of jewelry, the couple used the diamond from Saxena’s great-grandmother’s ring, a family heirloom, and had it set in a new band.
“I said that since I'm the one who wants a ring, I don't want the burden of the cost to be just on him,” Saxena explained to TODAY.com. “I asked him to use that diamond whenever the time came.” Lubchansky paid for the new ring setting.
Though she wouldn’t quite call it going dutch, Saxena’s contribution of a diamond greatly reduced the amount of money that her now-fiancé spent on the ring. That meant that the couple was able to save more money to pay for their May 2014 wedding and honeymoon.
Saxena and Lubchansky aren’t alone. Couples who are trying to save money or who don’t want to support the diamond industry are repurposing jewelry they’ve inherited or splitting the cost of a new ring. This way, an engagement ring can be personally meaningful to the couple — without breaking the bank. Wedding website The Knot posed the question of whether it’s a good idea to split the cost, and the response was varied.
“I put money down on my ring,” said a respondent named Jessica. “My fiance and I have been together over 7 years now. We work together for what we want and need. We are a team.”
Samantha Daniels, professional matchmaker and founder of Samantha's Table Matchmaking, has noticed more couples paying jointly for a ring.
“Today, because both the man and woman earn money and contribute to the financials and the decision-making, it’s not surprising that both of them are involved in all aspects [of choosing and paying for the ring],” she told TODAY.com. “I think it makes for a better connection between the two people.”
Hillary Fields and her husband Quinn Mander, who wed in 2007, also re-used a family ring when they got engaged. Fields had a ring that she had inherited from her mother, and she and Mander split the cost of a new band for the stone.
“Would it be nice to be showered with jewels? Sure, but that’s not his job,” Fields said. “I love my diamond ring, I love looking at it, and love that my family helped provide something that has history and connects me to their past.”
But not everyone agrees with Fields’ sentiment in regards to splitting some of the cost.
“I may be old fashioned but the ring should be a surprise,” a respondent named Julie told TheKnot. “Too much is changing in this world, don’t take away the element of surprise. When my hubby popped the question I had never even discussed rings with him. He had been talking to my mom and she told him what I liked. It was a moment I will never forget.”
Ultimately, Daniels believes that every couple should choose the ring — and the wedding — that works best for them. The way a couple chooses an engagement ring can give clues to their communication style and what kind of a relationship they’ll have down the road.
“If the man feels strongly that he wants to take a more traditional ring, to pick out the ring and pay for it, it’s important for the woman to let him do that,” she advised. “If the man is open to the sharing, then that’s fine too. For her to pay outright when the man isn’t comfortable, that is not a good idea."