If the Wedding Is Cancelled, Who Keeps The Engagement Ring?

engagement ring etiquette cancelled wedding

Photo: Getty Images

Wondering if it's okay to propose to your boyfriend? Eager to pick out your own engagement ring? Etiquette expert Anna Post, the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, has the answers to all your burning engagement-etiquette questions.

If the wedding is cancelled, who keeps the engagement ring?

Even though technically the bride isn't required to return the ring (at least in most states), it's the best thing to do, regardless of who called off the wedding. While the ring was a gift, it was more importantly a symbol of a commitment to marry. Since there will no longer be a marriage, do you really want to keep a reminder of a future that won't happen? After all, the ring isn't a consolation prize. The emphasis here should be on appreciating the relationship you once had, not on cashing out any material value. Returning the ring gives everyone a fresh start. In the end, you will need to let your conscience be your guide.

If, however, the ring was a family heirloom of the groom's family, there's no question: It should be returned. If you and your fiance purchased the ring together, one solution would be to sell it and split the proceeds proportionately.

—Anna Post, The Emily Post Institute

You Might Also Like:
Browse more etiquette questions
How to Insure Your Engagement Ring
175 Years of Tiffany's Little Blue Box

Give a Subscription to Brides Magazine as a Gift

Get personalized planning advice, exclusive offers and must-read wedding news.

Thank You
for Signing Up!

Check your e-mail inbox for the latest updates from brides.com