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The Wedding and Engagement rings

How to save money on Engagement rings and Wedding bands and get more bling for your Wedding budget!

Grooms are shelling out, on average, a wallet-weakening £1,300 for Engagement rings in the UK and £700 on Wedding rings. Follow the Chief Bridesmaid's advice, and you can save money on your wedding rings -

If you're looking to purchase great wedding and engagement rings more cheaply, then my first piece of advice is perhaps the most important of all: if you're a potential groom who's keen to propose as a surprise to your girlfriend, unless you're 100% certain that you're going to get a positive answer - it might be better to propose with a stand-in ring rather then the real thing.

Finding yourself in a position of trying to return a engagement ring might not be pretty, as independent jewellers are unlikely to offer straight refunds. Diamond engagement rings have been said to lose half their value the moment you leave the shop - even a diamond bought from Hatton Gardens in London (where rates can be at almost wholesale prices) can take five years to regain its value. An monetary "investment", at least in the short term, it's not.

Many of the high street shops like Top Shop, Aldo and Accessorize sell replica diamond rings for around a £5 - and trust me, your new bride will be so happy that she's getting married that she won't mind having to wear a cheap fake diamond for a few weeks until you get the real  thing. I loved mine so much I wore it for about six months after we got engaged!

For Richer - tips on saving money on Engagement rings:

- No-one can tell from looking at an engagement ring where it's from, so there's no point shelling out more money for a designer rock. Buy something from Tiffany's and you'll be paying 50% more just for the honour of a duck egg blue box. Think about it this way, buy from a local Jeweller and you'll get roughly 50% more diamond for your money!

- Buy from abroad - back when the pound was strong, we went to New York to buy our wedding bands and bought them about 50% more cheaply. Hong Kong, South Africa and Australia are also meant to fab places to buy cheaper diamonds. Just make sure that you get a diamond certificate when you buy it to verify that what you think you're buying is the real thing! The type of diamond certificate is important too, as not all are universally recognised. The most internationally recognised are those issued by the GIA (Gemmological Institute of America). You should be aware that you may also have to pay an import tax when you get back to the UK - so you should do your research and check that this is less money than the money you'll be saving.   Top tips for buying Wedding and Engagement rings more cheaply

For Poorer - tips on saving money on Engagement rings:

- Can't afford diamonds - well, no-one need know! Cubic zirconia looks almost identical to diamond and yet you'll pay 90% less. The perfect diamond substitute! Other cheaper, natural diamond-lookalikes include topaz, white sapphire, zircon and quartz. Plus, if you're willing to settle for silver rather than platinum, or for a lower carat gold ring, you'll save money on the band too.

- Save the entire cost of the ring by wearing or proposing with a family heirloom as an engagement or wedding ring?  

- High Street Jewellers like H Samuel sell Engagment rings from just £40, even cheaper are Argos who sell gold wedding rings for just £10. If you're just after a plain gold band, no-one would ever spot the difference!

Marks and Spencers - Cheap Engagement Ring offer- Marks and Spencers have launched a credit crunch engagement ring - and it looks absolutely fab (see image on the right)!

Believe it or not, the bands cost just £18!

The bargain bands are made of tin, but are plated in platinum and diamanté encrusted, while the huge sparkler is a fake diamond.

Instead of a hallmark, the ring bears the M&S logo and the bands will come in four sizes.

M&S spokewoman Rekha Kannan said: 'These rings are for the bridegroom who wants the look of real diamonds but can't necessarily afford them.

'They are perfect for credit crunch weddings - they look really beautiful but you don't have to break the bank for them. You wouldn't know they're not real diamonds.'

Good on them! Boys, use them to propose with, even if you do decide to upgrade them to something a bit more stylish once the credit crunch is over.

Special Offer at H.Samuel - 10% off Wedding Rings

When you buy your engagement ring at H.Samuel, you'll receive a voucher entitling you to 10% off the price of your wedding or signet ring, when bought from H.Samuel. This offer is available in-store only, so please ask staff at your local H.Samuel for more details.

Looking for more wedding discountsHow to save money on designer wedding dresses? Or cheaper wedding catering tips