What could getting engaged mean for your finances?

Engagement Ring

There are a lot of things to consider before proposing. When it comes to getting married, it’s not just the wedding which can come at a cost. Getting engaged can be pricey too.

In this guide, we outline everything you need to know before you pop the question - including when to get engaged, how much you might look to spend on an engagement ring, and how to plan your perfect wedding.


The engagement ring

An engagement ring can be a major expense.

A report by online gift shop Hipper found that the average Brit spends £1,042 on an engagement ring - just slightly over half of one months’ salary. The results varied by region, with Belfast being the most expensive at £1,567 and Norwich being the cheapest at £614.

Even if you don’t pay the top price for a ring, it can still be a big purchase. To help save on initial costs, you may opt to propose with a temporary ring (or without one at all) and pick the perfect ring together later. Whether you choose the ring alone or together, it’s important to be realistic about what you can afford.

The proposal

Next, it’s time to think about the proposal. There are plenty of different ways you can propose and unsurprisingly, these can vary in cost.

When it comes to planning your proposal, there may be a few questions you want to ask yourself:


How are you going to propose?

Are you going to pick a quiet, romantic setting to get down on one knee? Or are you going to be a bit more creative enlisting the help of friends and family to perform a flash mob?

Whichever way you choose to propose - it’s a personal decision. You’ll need to consider the timing, location and be mindful of the additional costs it could involve.


When are you going to propose?

Research from restaurant booking platform Bookatable found that half of Brits (52%) now take over six months to plan and save for a proposal, with 23% taking between one and two years.

Perhaps, you also want to give yourself some time to plan and budget? Or maybe you’re waiting for a special date - a birthday, an anniversary, or of course - Valentine’s Day? Once you have a time frame in mind, you should be able to work out how much you can realistically save.


Where are you going to propose?

The location of your proposal can also have a significant impact on the cost.

For example, a romantic meal at home is likely to be cheaper than dinner at a high-end restaurant. Whereas taking a trip abroad to propose is, of course, a more expensive option.


How much should you save before proposing? 

This all depends on the type of proposal you’ll be giving - as well as the amount of disposable income you expect to have at the time.

If you choose to use a temporary ring and propose somewhere sentimental, you may be able to comfortably pop the question with a smaller amount of savings.

However, if you’re planning to incorporate your proposal into a holiday and want to present a top-of-the-range ring, you may need to consider the amount you need to set aside before you’re ready.

Are you financially ready to get engaged?

Even if you choose what you believe to be a low-cost way to propose, you still need to make sure you’re financially ready before you get engaged. Not only are there costs involved in the initial proposal, but it leads to a big commitment which can also cost a significant amount.

Consider doing the following first before proposing:


Talk to your partner about money

Communication is important. It’s a good idea to get comfortable talking about money with your potential spouse.

When it comes to getting (and then being) married, you’ll probably end up needing to share many financial responsibilities.Developing a transparent dialogue about money in your relationship can be a very sensible approach. Understanding how you both view and deal with money as individuals could help you work out your finances as a couple.

It could also be beneficial for you to be open with each other about debts and savings. This can help you better understand how you can work together towards financial security.

Don’t forget the unexpected costs 

Understanding your finances and budgeting for your future plans is a sensible approach. For example, we wouldn’t recommend spending all of your money on an engagement ring, especially if you don’t have some form of savings.

It’s important to still have money available for those unexpected costs for example your car breaking down or your boiler needing replacing.


Understand how much you spend

Get a better understanding of how much you are really spending, and what you are spending it on. Once you know this, you can cut down on unnecessary expenditure and be realistic with how much you can afford to save.


Save for the future

And by ‘future’, we’re not just talking about your wedding day. Once you’re married, your financial priorities are likely to change. While you’re independent, you should start to think beyond an ‘emergency fund’ and start considering saving for the long term.


Make sure your debt is manageable before spending any more

Think carefully before putting an expensive engagement ring on a credit card.

It’s not unusual to have credit card debt - in fact, the average credit card debt per household is £2,604 (as of October 2019, according to The Money Charity). However, you want to make sure that your repayments are realistic and manageable before taking on a new debt.


Consider where you’re currently living

If you currently live apart, you need to consider how things will work out once you live together - whether this happens while engaged, or after marriage. Will you be renting? Or do you want to buy? And where do you want to live?

For some, cohabitating will save money; but if buying a property, you’ll need to save for a deposit and work out how you’ll manage monthly mortgage repayments.

How long is the average engagement?

According to BrideBook.co.uk, the average engagement length in the UK is 20 months. This may sound like a long time, but don’t forget that almost all expenses need to be paid before the big day. Before you get engaged, consider how realistic saving will be.

Planning the perfect wedding - for less 

When it comes to wedding planning, it can be easy to get carried away and spend beyond your budget. Our research showed that nearly two-thirds (65%) of married couples who tied the knot in the last five years underestimated the cost of their wedding and the majority had to borrow extra funds to cover it.

Here are some things you can consider during your engagement to cut the costs down on your ceremony and celebration:

  • Reduce the guest list - Think about how many people you want to attend - particularly when you’re paying per-head. Don’t feel obliged to invite everyone you know or offer all attendees plus
  • Consider a weekday wedding - Saturdays are the most popular day to get married. Because of this, they’re also the most expensive. A weekday wedding can reduce your costs
  • Shop around for venues - This is one of the largest costs of your wedding day, so try to get a good Explore different venues and be flexible with dates to find the best rates.
  • Ditch paper invites - Sending e-invitations will save you money on postage and printing. Plus, it’s environmentally friendly, too.
  • Limit the bar - Place a capped tab on your bar or restrict the kinds of drinks you’ll offer to guests. An open bar can be extremely

If you’d like to understand more about the costs associated with a wedding, be sure to read our ultimate guide to financing your wedding.