If you’re getting ready to pop the question to that special someone, your mind is probably a little bit all over the place. After all, making such a grand gesture and taking such a big step forward in your relationship is a big deal, and you want to make sure that you do it right. While a lot of attention is generally paid to the symbolism of how you ask your partner to marry you, less attention is generally paid to how it can set you up for a strong financial future together.
Although the wedding industry would like you to think otherwise, an engagement doesn’t need to be an overly expensive affair as long as it’s meaningful to you and your special someone. If you’re interested in having a more affordable engagement, here’s how to plan the perfect proposal for less.
Pick an affordable, ethical ring
The ring is, of course, one of the most important aspects of any engagement, and certainly one of the higher-priced purchases you’ll make for your future spouse. That being said, there are ways to save money on an engagement ring without sacrificing quality or the sorts of customizations that make an engagement special. For example, a lab created diamond engagement ring is graded by the Gemological Institute of America on the same axis of clarity, cut, color, and carat that all earth-mined diamonds are.
One of the only major differences is that the cost of a lab created diamond is much more affordable than an earth-mined counterpart. Not only does shopping for lab created diamonds help you stretch your budget further, but it also helps you make a more ethical purchase since you don’t run the risk of purchasing a blood diamond. This can give your conscience and your wallet the peace of mind to plan a beautiful engagement.
Get creative with engagement photos
If you’re planning on working with a photographer in order to chronicle or commemorate the big day of the engagement, there are a few different ways to save money, too. For example, finding a local student, friend, or family member with a professional-grade DSLR camera can be a simple way to save money on your engagement photos without sacrificing any quality. Even better, picking someone that you know and are comfortable around can make your photos much more natural and authentic to you and your fiancee.
Another way to save some money on your engagement photos is by being smart about the outfits you wear and who does your hair and makeup. Sourcing from clothing you already own rather than buying a completely new outfit ensures that you know you’ll like the way you look in your outfit, while still saving you money.
If you do want to get a haircut or trim leading up to the photo shoot, you may be able to save money by volunteering to help students at a cosmetology school train. Often, you can get a great haircut for a fraction of the price just by using a barber or hairstylist who’s currently in school instead of working at a salon.
Make it meaningful
Ultimately, the most special aspect of any proposal is how you’ve personalized it for your fiancee-to-be. Revisiting the site of your first date or preparing a simple speech from the heart are both ways to make things feel personal and intimate, and don’t cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If you have a favorite restaurant that you like to go to together, maybe you can coordinate a surprise placeholder ring reveal in a special dessert with the manager. All of these ideas just take a little bit of ingenuity and legwork in order to get right and can make your proposal really meaningful.