(MARTIN, Tenn.) -- When Ariel and Quinn McRae decided to get married on the last day of their vacation, the last thing they were thinking about was buying wedding bands.
The Martin, Tennessee, student wrote in a now-viral Facebook post that she and her now husband "scrape and scrape to pay bills and put food in our bellies."
So they went to a local mall to pick out Ariel McRae's rings, ultimately settling on a sterling silver, pearl and cubic zirconia ring set that cost the couple $130.
But, according to Ariel McRae, as they were buying the rings from a sales associate, another employee at the store approached and asked "'Y'all, can you believe that some men get these as engagement rings? How pathetic.'"
Her husband appeared chagrined, Ariel McRae said. "Poor Quinn's face fell and I was a little baffled," she wrote.
Thankfully, another "super nice" sales associate helped them purchase the ring set they fell in love with, Ariel McRae told ABC News. "We went ahead and bought them because we wanted them and I really liked them," she added.
But Ariel McRae wrote that before she left the store, she told the employee, "It isn't the ring that matters, it is the love that goes into buying one that is."
Ariel McRae's message has now gone viral on Facebook, with more than 44,000 likes, and many complementing her on her ring.
The newlywed said what prompted her to vent on Facebook was after receiving similar comments from friends and family members asking when she planned to upgrade and if her wedding bands were placeholders for a larger ring in the future.
"I wanted people to understand that ... a ring is just a bonus," Ariel McRae told ABC News. "You're not marrying someone for a ring. You're marrying someone because you love them."
The Knot magazine's fashion and beauty editor Shelley Brown agrees despite the fact that in their most recent survey, the 2015 Real Weddings Study, the magazine found that on average grooms spend nearly $6,000 on engagement rings.
"Really the center stone of your ring will make up the bulk of your price," Brown explained. "The majority of the data shows that people are investing in a half-carat to two-carat diamond [ring]."
Brown gave suggestions on how grooms and couples can cut down on the price tag. "You don't have to buy a diamond," Brown said. "Precious stones are also becoming more popular than they used to be."
Sapphires, emeralds, rubies and Morganites are particularly popular, she added.
Brown also suggested that grooms choose a ring with a halo or a "ring of micro-diamonds that surround your center stone," to cut costs. If grooms avoid "bedazzled settings" or any "intricate side work ... that's labor intensive to create," that can also cut down on the price tag.
Still, Brown said grooms should remember that it's "really whatever makes you happy." She noted that some couples forgo rings altogether and opt for ring tattoos.
"It should be more about the significance than having a big stone," she added.
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.