Why I Returned My Engagement Ring (But Accepted the Proposal) - Stefanie O'Connell

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    Why I Returned My Engagement Ring (But Accepted the Proposal)

    1. The only thing that would make this post more Millennial would be proposing over avocado toast at brunch lol. CONGRATULATIONS!!! Communication is key and you’re off to a great start – fancy ring or no.

    2. Kate Horrell says:

      Goodness how I love this post! Congratulations and best wishes for many happy years – I have no doubt that your common sense and shared values will make the journey a lot easier!

      • Stefanie says:

        Thank you SO much Kate. And yes, I was so relieved my fiance was so totally fine with my decision to return the ring. Makes me feel great about our future 🙂

    3. Congratulations for the engagement! And a smart money moves if you ask me. I decided to get a custom made one from a jeweler in New York City. I didn’t spend too much because that’s not what she wanted either.

    4. Penny says:

      Congrats, congrats, and more congrats! My parents eloped so no engagement ring. They also don’t have wedding rings. So I didn’t really grow up thinking much about them. Initially, I think, my ring meant more to my husband than it did to me. I’m happy to have it, but I love the choice that you made for you and as a couple. CONGRATS AGAIN!

      • Stefanie says:

        Thanks so much! Yeah, I think considering your partner’s perspective on the ring is important too. I’m just glad we were on the same page so we can splurge elsewhere 🙂

    5. I have a “promise ring” technically, or so the jewelers told us in attempts to go for a bigger ring. I was engaged/married at 21 with a baby face so I wanted something that at least made it look like I was married, but close to a decade later, I think I’d go the simple band route. I still love my rings though, and I love them even more knowing they were the discount option that was really affordable for even the broke kids we were.

      • Stefanie says:

        Love that. I’ve head from people who totally love their rings, which is why I really don’t think they’re a waste of money. As long as your choices align with your values, do what you want, right? 😉

    6. Congratulations on your engagement and for knowing what makes sense for you.

      I’ve been married twice (thankfully, the 2nd one stuck! ).

      My first engagement ring is a super-snazzy one and it sits in my bank’s safe deposit box. My current ring was purchased on sale from Macy’s. I love it and get frequent compliments on it. My husband bought his own band ALONE at Costco while he waited for me to get a flu shot.

      The second husband is “the keeper”. 🙂

      • Stefanie says:

        Gotta love the keeper 🙂 Have you ever considered selling your first ring? I obviously haven’t been through that process, but I know a bunch of folks who have.

    7. Congratulations! Doing what’s right for you as a couple is important and I’m glad you took the time to discover what your priorities are. Too many people just do what society tells them to whether it’s right for them or not.

      • Stefanie says:

        Exactly. Thankfully, we’re at a point in our lives where we’ve had plenty of time sit with and consider our priorities before making these kinds of decisions. The benefit of getting married in our 30s 🙂

    8. […] an amazing article by the author Stefanie O’Connell about why she returned her engagement ring (but accepted the proposal) and if you read through the reasons – there is so much more to it than worrying about having […]

    9. Lisa Rogalsky says:

      My husband & I eloped, rather than save up money for years to pay for a one-day event that we would be too stressed to enjoy.
      We observed many expensive weddings while playing music together in a band. The more money spent, the sooner the marriage ended.
      Thankfully today a couple can plan out exactly what they want without the pressure of a “royal wedding”!

    10. Congratulations. That’s such a smart thing to do. I wish the rest of North America was as wise as you.

    11. Love this! This is the essence of what being #budgetsavvy is all about– focusing on YOUR priorities and goals, and splurging on what actually matters to YOU! Congrats to you both!! xo

    12. Whoo hooo! Can’t wait to see the video of that!!! That’s awesome! Congrats!

    13. Carey says:

      I’d say that your best decision was to get married. THAT is what really says what you really value. The no diamond vs diamond is way way down the list and frankly, $100 vs & 10,000 spend in the time frame of your life together has little effect. Marriage is forever. Rings, no matter what kind you choose, aren’t.

    14. JMcFly says:

      Congratulations! My husband also doesn’t see the value in expensive, shiny rocks I value sentiment, and history. I was given his grandmother’s bridal set as an engagement ring. It’s not big and flashy, but it’s unique and has a story. (They we’re picking out rings in September 1939, radio on in the background, when there was breaking news “Canada has just declared war on Germany”. His mother reacted by saying “She’ll take that one!”)
      I found a vintage wedding band to match on Etsy of all places.
      I like to think that things have now come full circle. Our son was born on what would have been his great-grandmother’s 100th birthday, and we recently moved into her house. How many meals has this ring helped to prepare in this kitchen?

    15. Sonja says:

      I was very clear with my husband when the subject of marriage came around. This three month salary spend on a ring thing is bullshit. I’d be toting an insurance claim waiting to happen. This smart man sought out the stone I wanted (morganite) and formulated a ring he thought would be perfect for me, along with the wedding band all for less than most spend on a monthly mortgage payment. I get so many compliments about it, including how different it is. Power to those who want the Tiffany’s rock, but I can’t deny the appeal of a truly simple, affordable ring like mine!

    16. I love this entire story. We actually have a very similar one, excepting that we “splurged” on a moissanite ring (aka didn’t spend much at all). We were able to use the money saved to have a fancy NYC wedding. So fun!

      • Stefanie says:

        That’s perfect! We’re thinking about doing the same exact thing. We’re more focused on the experiences that lay ahead, not the ring itself.

    17. OFG says:

      As with everything in life I don’t know if this has to be all or nothing. You don’t have to spend an extravagant amount of money on a ring or go without one. I think you could probably find a simple band that does the trick. My mom had a beautiful pewter ring I gladly would have turned into an engagement ring or wedding band. If you really don’t want to wear a ring there is nothing wrong with that, but perhaps the trick is to break the stigma that rings need to cost a certain amount or be a certain size to be important. I think significance is more important than size or money. It sounds like you are happy with your decision so kudos to you.

      • Stefanie says:

        Totally agree. I believe the idea around a high ring budget is outdated. We’re in the age of women being able to take a stand for what they think is important and as you said, the ring isn’t about how much it cost, but rather the meaning behind it all.

    18. […] Why I Returned My Engagement Ring (But Accepted the Proposal) – Stefanie […]

    19. Sandra says:

      Awww i loved this! It’s so true, what’s the point of having an expensive thing on your finger, when that money can be used in something more useful and meaningful! Thanks for sharing this!

    20. JP says:

      I’m on my 2nd marriage. No engagement ring. Just a beautiful wedding band with small diamonds that cost less than $1,000. We had other financial priorities this time around. 🙂

    21. Margaret L says:

      First husband bought me a very nice engagement ring. But instead of returning it, we put a rider on our house insurance to cover the ring,… whether from loss (how easy it is to “lose” a ring) or damages. It was about $25 a year additional, actually very reasonable.

    22. […] The majority of couples getting engaged are young, usually at the start of their professional lives. They’re likely carrying student debt, saving to make a down payment on a house, or wanting to start a family. It is pretty much the worst possible time to drop multiple thousands of dollars on a piece of bling — money that could be working far more effectively in other ways — and yet, the question of whether or not it’s financially savvy is rarely raised. In fact, I’d never heard of a person returning their diamond to the store until I read O’Connell’s piece, but her words make so much sense. She wrote: […]

      • Stefanie says:

        Thank you so much. It is a little shocking to hear that people are willingly spending so much on a ring, but not surprising. It’s always best to look at what your financial goals are in life and make big decisions based on those. So, when it came to the ring, our goals as a couple were different than what the ring represented.

    23. Sharon says:

      Great article. I didn’t want an engagement ring either (had never worn ring and the expense seemed unneeded). Have a simple wedding band. We’ve been married for 25 years and still going strong!

    24. Bonnie says:

      No one reaches for a newly-engaged gal’s RIGHT hand to see her ring. That part made me chuckle. I loved your story for many reasons. There are many “musts” surrounding weddings that are pure bunk. So glad you and your guy agreed on this one. Wishing you much happiness together.

    25. David says:

      Frankly, I love it! My husband and I got married in NYC and we wore…hematite rings. We didn’t want bling and the rings weren’t important…our marriage was. We got gold bands when I moved to be with him in Chicago, but that’s about it. Like you we have more enjoyable things to do with the money. Best of luck to you two!!

    26. Denise says:

      Personally, I feel to each their own, but I would rather have extra (not 3 months salary) spent on a ring that I will look at and wear every day for the rest of my life versus spending thousands or tens of thousands on a dress food and venue for just a few hours. The special day is about you and the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with and nothing else matters. Congratulations to you.

    27. […] alternatives to a ring or a cheap ring. A story recently stood out from Stefanie O'Connell, where she returned her engagement ring. She and her soon-to-be husband put a higher value on other things, versus having a fancy […]

    28. Tess says:

      Hey Stefanie!
      I really vibe with your decision. I think I’ll want an engagement ring but an inexpensive one that doesn’t detract from other life opportunities.

      If you’re still looking for bands, I have a friend who offers couples a unique experience to make their own rings. Check out his website here: https://www.studiowendt.com/find-us/

      • Stefanie says:

        Hey Tess, thank you! I think it’s great for couples to decide on an engagement ring that fits their goals! I’ll be getting a ring when we get married. It’s so important to talk about everything they want when the time comes! Thanks for sharing the link I’ll take a look!

    29. […] car, a blinged out engagement ring, or an expensive wedding is frowned upon. But aside from the financials behind an engagement ring, some feel the tradition is archaic and that it doesn’t promote female […]

    30. Bob Bossidy says:

      My wife didn’t want an engagement ring, her engagement photo was published 2 week prior to the wedding. She only wanted a gold band not a diamond. She lost three gold bands over the last 32 years. I do have some studio photos of her with an engagement ring on her finger. I guess she never had them published!! Of course she failed to mention the above to me. Any guess as to what happened?

    31. […] When you grow up with 4 siblings, 7 childhood besties and another 5 women who’ve become BFFs over the course of your adult life, the prospect of choosing between them to form a bridal party becomes another one of the too many choices of wedding planning. […]

    32. Jenna says:

      I’m a little late to this post (I just found you tonight on Pinterest) but congratulations on your engagement!! I really enjoy your view on things and how you prioritize what’s important to you. I have similar views and the people around me do not think the same way so it’s nice to find someone else with who feels this way. Some of my friends have engagement rings that are $5,000+ and I honestly couldn’t justify spending that much on a ring (knowing me, I’d lose it! lol). I’d much rather put that money into a down payment for a house. Plus, I inherited my Grandmother’s engagement ring and I have considered just wearing it. Not only would it save us money but I love that it also has additional sentimental meaning.

      • Stefanie says:

        Thank you!! I think families who have rings as a precious hand-me-down is brilliant. It keeps the family memory intact and allows younger generations to afford an engagement ring.

    33. […] But, what happened to blogger Stephanie O’Connell after her fiance proposed is a good reminder that your partner might have some unexpected financial expectations – O’Connell said “yes” to the proposal and “no” to the ring. […]

    34. Khrys says:

      Not a millennial thing at all. The year was 1991 when my then boyfriend and I were discussing marriage and I said that the only rock I wanted was one with a deed attached to it. We bought our first house instead. $100 wedding bands, The wedding, reception, and honeymoon cost us just $3000 at the time for 75 guests and it was awesome! My priorities have never included jewelry.

    35. […] reason I'm telling you about Stefanie is that she did something very few people do – she returned her engagement ring. (but, obviously, accepted the […]

    36. […] reason I’m telling you about Stefanie is that she did something very few people do – she returned her engagement ring. (but, obviously, accepted the […]

    37. […] When you grow up with 4 siblings, 7 childhood besties and another 5 women who’ve become BFFs over the course of your adult life, the prospect of choosing between them to form a bridal party becomes another one of the too many choices of wedding planning. […]

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