You and your loved one have been together for a long time and you’ve already had the marriage-and-kids talk. You know in your heart that you want to spend the rest of your life with this person, so you are thinking of popping the question. But how exactly can you do so?
If you know that you want to utter your marriage vows soon and there are huge wedding expenses to handle, you might want to keep the costs of the ring and the marriage proposal down. The good news is that there are plenty of frugal ideas that you can follow, without sacrificing on romance. Read on to find out how to pick the engagement ring, and how to pop the question being frugal – not cheap – and without sacrificing on romance.
The First Step: Knowing Which Engagement Ring to Get
Naturally, you would not want to pop the question without having the right engagement ring. There’s an old saying that an engagement ring should cost at least twice your entire month’s salary. This is actually quite extravagant and if you’re living on a shoestring budget, it may not be very practical.
It is actually quite extravagant to spend more than 15% of your income on an engagement ring – so it pays to know exactly how to come up with one that is within the price range, without disappointing the bride-to-be. To give you an idea about how you can buy the perfect engagement ring, take a look at these tips:
Go for a fraction of the carat to lower the costs.
Unless your girlfriend is a jeweller, she most probably won’t be able to tell the difference between a 1-carat diamond and a 0.9 or a 0.8 carat stone. This is very good news for men who are planning to propose because even such a seemingly small difference in carat rating can spell a huge discount in price.
For instance, between a 1-carat and a 0.9-carat solitaire diamond ring, there can be a 30% price difference. The same goes for two different rings: 1.4 and 1.5 carats; or 1.9 and 2 carats. Depending on the budget that you have for the ring, you can choose a stone with a slightly lower carat rating to also decrease the costs.
Skip the diamond altogether
Almost everyone in the world has seen the sapphire engagement ring given by Prince William when he proposed to Kate Middleton. This revived the trend for non-diamond engagement rings. Consider the personality of your soon-to-be-bride and look for non-diamond options. How about choosing her birthstone which is set in tiny diamonds as an engagement ring? This will definitely cost you less than a solitaire diamond ring.
Keep in mind the personality of your bride-to-be when choosing a ring
Another thing to consider when choosing a ring to use for your marriage proposal is the personality of your girlfriend. Some men go for the colour of their significant other’s eyes. Any stone that reminds you of the colour of her hair, the fire in her eyes when she gets mad, or anything else that gives you a hint of her personality, you can choose as a basis when picking an engagement ring.
Choose diamonds of a lower grade or colour
None of your girlfriend’s friends or relatives would look at the engagement ring using a magnifying glass. So if there’s hardly any difference between the colour and clarity of a higher-priced and a slightly lower-priced stone, go for the cheaper one. As far as colour is concerned, jewellery experts recommend choosing a ring which has the lowest grade but still appears to be white.
Don’t discount the possibility of buying an engagement ring online
Lastly, do not discount the possibility of buying your engagement ring online. It may not be as romantic as purchasing an engagement ring from Tiffany’s or other glittering jewellery store, but the price difference will definitely make you think twice about not doing it. What makes online engagement rings cheaper than the ones that you can buy from brick-and-mortar stores is the lack of overhead costs.
Online stores do not have to invest in an actual store, sales staff and other costs. The price difference can therefore be passed onto the buyers in the form of huge discount. Based on a study released by The Wedding Report, more than $1 billion out of the almost $10 billion spent on engagement rings in 2010 came from online purchases. When doing so, you really get the best value out of your money. Just make sure to choose a reputable online jeweller and ask what the return policies are in case the actual ring that they will send does not fit.
Frugal Marriage Proposal Ideas
According to WeddingWire.com, 33% of engagements happen between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. There’s probably something about the holidays, being with friends and family gatherings that make men want everyone to witness their marriage proposal. If it’s almost that time of the year and you wish to pop the question without sacrificing on romance, here are a few frugal but not cheap ways for you to consider:
Have a holiday or season-themed proposal
If almost half of marriage proposals occur during the holiday season, why not have a holiday or season-themed proposal? If your girlfriend loves the snow, think of a way to incorporate the snow into your proposal plan. Spring or fall are equally colourful seasons where you can use leaves or flowers as part of your grand plan for the proposal.
To make things much more personalised, work with friends and family so that you can set the stage for the proposal. Depending on your girlfriend’s personality, you can choose a grand proposal which everyone can witness, or something more intimate between you and her, as well as your closest friends and relatives.
It’s all about the details
If you don’t have a budget for a proposal at a famed restaurant, why not set your very own stage? Let’s say that you love hanging out at the park. During the holiday season, the park would teem with brilliant holiday lights. This makes the perfect setting for a proposal where you can simply bend on one knee and ask your girlfriend to marry you; or have a more elaborate setup where you will work with friends and family to surprise her into saying yes.
Do it on the beach
During the summertime, the beach is a popular setting for marriage proposals. You do not even need to spend anything because the use of the beach is free. All you have to do is think of the details and a very creative way to go about popping the question.
Do the first date proposal
One of the most popular ways that men use to propose marriage is to go back where they first met or had their first date. If there’s a quaint little restaurant or a park where you had your first kiss, that can be your setting for the proposal. Revisit that extra special place where sparks first flew and make it even more romantic by getting down on one knee to propose to her.
Go for what she likes
If your girlfriend is a hiker or the outdoor type, use the great outdoors as a setting for your romantic proposal. You two can go on a hike or a cycling trip where you can lead her to a special place where there’s a small table with flowers and a bottle of champagne. If she likes rom-coms, look for proposal ideas there and be downright cheesy – she will surely love it.
Do the double-cross proposal with her best friend
Women would have that intuition of when you’re supposed to propose. Conspire with her best friend about a fake proposal, time or location and disappoint her at first. This way, when you get to the real setting of when you will propose, it will completely surprise her.
Other frugal ideas to propose to your significant one without sacrificing on romance
If your girlfriend loves being the center of attention, she will definitely love a public proposal. Do it at a national park, on the rooftop of a hotel, your favourite club or a dancing spot – and pop the question when she least expects it. If you’re the type of guy who never cooks, bring out that recipe book and sweat it out in the kitchen.
Invite her over for a romantic dinner that you prepared and she will surely appreciate your extra effort. Scavenger hunts that lead to where the engagement ring is, a slide at your local movie theatre, a romantic picnic, a scrapbook of your love story that you put together yourself – the possibilities of how you can pop the question are practically endless.
As long as your gesture is sincere and you put a lot of effort and thought into the marriage proposal, it does not necessarily have to be expensive. She will surely say a big yes once you ask her to marry you if she feels your love and sincerity.