who gets the ring?


If you were given a ring like this one over here (thanks Mrs. Kristin Fielder Buehn for showing off your bling for this post), would you give it back if the engagement came to an abrupt end?

Once the tears have dried up, the age old question becomes:

Who gets the engagement ring?

Does the bride get to keep it or should it be given back? I’ve heard many different etiquette answers to this very important question.

Scenario A:

Some say if the groom calls off the engagement, then she can keep the ring. But if the bride calls off the engagement, then the ring must be returned.

Scenario B:

I had to break out the etiquette book for this scenario. [blowing dust off the pages]

Peggy Post says this; “If an engagement is broken, the bride should immediately return the ring (unless it is an heirloom of her family). There is some debate as to whether the ring should be returned if the man is the one who broke the engagement. It makes more sense to return it, why keep this painful reminder of the end of an engagement just to be spiteful? It’s better to take the high road — move on”. source: Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, Fourth Edition, page 12.

Uh, Peggy….some brides sell the ring for moola. 

One caveat she brings up; “If the groom should pass away before the wedding takes place, and the ring is not a family heirloom, then the bride may keep her engagement ring”.

Scenario C:

Lawyers would question, (you gotta love lawyers…sooo romantic); “What constitutes a gift”?

Some may argue if the ring is given during a holiday (Christmas, Valentines, etc) then it may be assumed that this is a “gift” which means it does not have to be returned.

Another viewpoint: courts may consider the ring a legal gift if these three things happen: 1. the donor (the person who gave the ring) showed the intent to give the ring as a gift, 2. the delivery of the ring from the donor to the donee (the person receiving the ring) and finally, 3. the donee’s acceptance of the ring.

Are we feeling warm and fuzzy yet? Not done….

Scenario D:

Courts may view the ring to be “conditional gift”. That if the event (wedding) does not occur, then the donor has the right to get the ring back. Some women (obviously those who want to KEEP the ring) argue that receiving the ring was upon acceptance to the proposal of marriage, not necessarily the completion of the marriage ceremony.

Here’s a crazy idea. Be careful who you ask to marry you. Sheesh.


Love to hear what YOU have to say about this?

ps Thanks Sally for the idea…..


4 thoughts on “who gets the ring?”

  1. I say the one who calls it off forfeits the ring. If it is a family heirloom it is returned to the family it came from.
    Another question is, who gets to go on the honeymoon if it is already paid for?

  2. I think whoever paid for the ring should get it back–no matter who called it off. The vengeful side of me wants to feel differently about it, but I think that’s only fair.

    And if it’s a family heirloom, it should be returned to the family.

  3. Well, my first fiance DID call off the wedding about 3 years ago and he got the ring back (thrown at him I might add) becuase why would I want to keep something that represents so much pain to me? I’m a bigger person that that! (or so I like to think)

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