If you’re planning on getting married, then you’ve likely started shopping around for rings. If you’ve yet to pop the question or be asked that question you’re so longing to hear, then you’ve likely limited your looking to engagement rings. However, if you and your sweetie are firmly in fiancé territory, then you’ve moved on to shopping for the perfect wedding ring. But don’t think that this will be one of the easier parts of your wedding planning. While wedding rings and wedding bands can seem simple, you’ll want to take care to buy the best options for you and your spouse-to-be. Here’s everything you need to know.
What’s the Difference Between a Wedding Ring and a Wedding Band?
First of all, let’s clear up one thing. There’s no difference between a wedding ring and a wedding band. The two terms are used interchangeably by different people, but they’re both the same thing.
Your wedding bands or wedding rings are what you and your spouse will exchange during the wedding ceremony. The rings are purchased ahead of time, and versions are purchased for both individuals. While traditional wedding bands may have seemed a bit plain or boring in the past, you can now find wedding bands and wedding rings in a variety of styles, made from all sorts of precious metals and outfitted with an array of gemstones.
Does Your Wedding Ring Need to Match Your Engagement Ring?
When you were shopping for the engagement ring, your jeweler may have suggested matching wedding bands, as many designers and big-box jewelry brands create specific wedding band designs to go with specific engagement rings. However, if you don’t want a matchy-matchy pair of rings, you certainly don’t have to go with this option (though if you do want to go this route for the sake of an easy shopping experience, we wouldn’t blame you either).
Beyond purchasing a matching wedding ring to go with your engagement ring, you can simply opt for a complementary engagement ring. Think a ring that’s in a similar style, making use of similar gemstones or precious metals, but not quite the same.
You can also go with a very different wedding ring. More and more, couples are choosing wedding bands that are quite different from the engagement ring, for more visual interest and a stylish and unexpected look. If you can pull it off, don’t hesitate to mix and match gemstones, metals and more.
Really, the only thing you need to worry about in terms of whether or not your engagement ring and wedding ring match is whether or not you like the rings you’ve chosen. This is a very important, sentimental piece of jewelry that you’ll likely wear every single day for (hopefully) the rest of your life. You want it to be one that you love — not a piece that you picked out simply because you felt you should.
What Kind of Wedding Rings Should Men Wear?
Admittedly, women do have more wedding ring options than men. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t find at least a handful of options to pick from.
Men’s wedding bands are typically on the simpler side. Classic metal wedding bands typically come in gold, silver or platinum and they come in various sizes and shapes. Along these lines, you should pick a men’s wedding band based on the size and shape of your hand.
More modern takes on the classic men’s wedding band can be a bit more stylish and individualized, with new textures and looks. The hammered metal look is a popular texture alternative for many men. Others prefer a brushed, matte metal look, or a ring that combines multiple metals, for a striking color combination. Others prefer to get a men’s wedding band that features matching gemstones, to better pair with the bride’s wedding ring and engagement ring.
What Metals and Stones are Used for Wedding Rings?
Platinum, white gold, yellow gold and sterling silver are likely the most popular metals used for wedding rings, both for men and women, but other metals are becoming trendy as well. Rose gold is a nice pick for its pinkish hue, and is gaining traction with stylish brides, while men’s rings are branching out into other metal options such as tungsten, titanium, cobalt and tantalum.
When picking a particular metal for your wedding ring, consider the overall look of the band, but also the durability. If you want to be able to wear your wedding ring in all situations, no matter what kind of damage you might inflict, you’ll want a metal that can stand up to that sort of wear and tear.
Just remember that if you pick a non-diamond option for your engagement and wedding bands, you’ll have to take some other factors into consideration, too, beyond just the mere look of the ring. Diamonds are one of the most durable gemstones in the world, so if you pick another gemstone, you may need to worry more so about damage, scratching and breakage, than you would with a diamond. Additionally, you may find that some gemstones are more expensive than diamonds if you’re looking for both a comparable size & quality.
Diamonds are the most popular gemstone for wedding rings, just like they’re the most popular option for engagement rings, but just because they’re the most common option, that doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for you. Other diamond alternatives that you might consider for both your engagement and your wedding rings include other favorite gemstones such as rubies, emeralds or sapphires, or even less-common options, such as aquamarine or moissanite.
How to Get Your Wedding Ring Resized
Luckily, since you’ll be shopping for your wedding rings together as a couple (most likely), you’ll be able to try on your wedding rings in-store and have the jeweler resize your rings accordingly when you make your purchase. However, if you didn’t have this option — say you weren’t present when your other half purchased your wedding rings or you’re choosing to use a wedding ring that’s been passed down through your family — then you’ll need to get your wedding ring resized later.
Resizing a ring will be an extra cost, but typically that cost is minimal and always worth it, since you don’t want a wedding ring that’s going to be uncomfortably tight or so loose that you’re at risk of losing it. Rings can usually be either sized up or down as much as two sizes, before you have to worry about the integrity of the ring.
If you need to resize your ring, it’s always a good idea to go back to the same jeweler from whom you purchased the ring originally. They’ll either cut part of the ring away and solder it back together to make it smaller, or, they’ll stretch the metal or add in extra metal to make it larger.
Keep in mind that some rings cannot be resized due to the type of metal used or design. Eternity band rings cannot be resized, due to the full loop of gemstones. Metals that cannot be resized include tungsten, rose gold and, in some cases, titanium.
The best way to go about all this? Just make sure to buy a ring that’s in your correct size in the first place.
Taking Care of Your Wedding Ring
Once you’ve picked the perfect wedding rings for you and your spouse, you’ll want to be sure to take care of them properly. You want your wedding ring to last a lifetime, don’t you?
One of the first things you should do after purchasing your wedding or engagement rings is to make sure they’re insured. Work with a reputable insurer to purchase specific insurance for your valuable jewelry, rather than assuming your homeowners or other existing insurance will cover your pieces. Your jeweler can likely make a recommendation as to where to start shopping for this insurance.
Then, keep your ring clean. In addition to keeping your ring cleaned at home based on professional guidance for the particular metal and gemstones used in the band, also get your ring cleaned and inspected by a jeweler regularly. Additionally, keep your ring safe by never exposing it to harsh chemicals (from cleaning chemicals to chlorine in the pool) or dirt and grime (like what you might encounter when gardening