A piece of jewelry this significant demands some serious thought and many couples like to shop together for this important purchase. Often, the bride will have a good idea of what she wants in a ring, but the groom may not have thought about it at all! Either way, you can find all the information you need to make an educated purchase in the guide below.
The traditional placement of a wedding ring is closest to the heart, with the engagement ring on the same finger but over the wedding ring. If you will be wearing your ring in the traditional manner, you need to consider how your rings will fit together.
Some rings are designed to fit together from the beginning and are purchased a an “engagement set” that includes both engagement and wedding band. Some people prefer the symmetry of this style, with matching metal types or diamonds or other jewels of the same size and shape in both rings.
However, a look that is becoming popular with today’s bride is to choose a wedding ring in a style other than the one that matches the engagement ring. This is particularly apt when the engagement ring was chosen by the groom as a surprise at the proposal. These rings don’t need to match at all in terms of design or style, although it is preferable to choose rings in the same metal.
You can also forgo metal bands for a band that flashes with the fire of diamonds! If you choose a diamond wedding band, know that a prong setting lets in more light for the most sparkle and a channel setting protects diamonds from abrasion -- a consideration if you lead a very active lifestyle. Two popular diamond styles are the infinity band, with diamonds all around the finger that symbolize being together forever, and the three stone band that symbolizes your past, present and future.
Gemstone ring wedding bands are also rising in popularity. These can be fiery or subtle and are available in the styles similar to diamond wedding bands.
Finally, a simple metal band of gold, silver, white gold, platinum or even titanium, bronze or copper can be the perfect counterpoint to the brilliance of your engagement stones. Many bands are offered with beautifully incised designs, such as Celtic knots, as a nod to style, heritage or theme. Choosing an ornately designed band can perfectly complement a simpler engagement ring.
Some couples choose wedding bands that match each other to represent their hearts and lives being matched as well, but that isn’t a hard and fast rule. Many men prefer to choose a ring that reflects their personal style and personality -- after all, they will be wearing it daily for the rest of their married life!
If you like pattern and design, consider a ring incised with Celtic knots or other intricate designs that reflect your personal tastes or perhaps your heritage.
Men’s wedding bands can also have diamonds or gemstones inset, which can add character and style to this daily worn piece of jewelry. Often, a wedding ring is the only piece of jewelry a man ever wears, so many men prefer to spend a little more on this ring so that it can really reflect their tastes and style.
Not all wedding rings, even plain metal bands, have the same shape. If you cut through the wedding ring's band the cross section can be anywhere from completely round (halo profile) to flat. Typically, the most comfortable profiles are those with a rounded inner surface such as the halo or the court profile, which is rounded on both inner and outer surfaces.
A more contemporary look is achieved with the flat with softened edges court profile, which gives you a flat outer surface with a comfortable rounded inner edge. Rings with square edges like the flat profile can nip and rub the skin around the finger joints and become uncomfortable. Rounded wedding rings tend to move more freely and cause less problems.
Most wedding rings have space to engrave a personal message inside and most jewelers can accommodate this request. Many couples choose inscriptions together, symbolizing a theme of their wedding or a phrase that is important to both, but sometimes a bride or groom takes the initiative to have the ring engraved as a surprise for the other. This is a touching and romantic gesture, but make sure you have the engraving done well in advance of the ceremony in case of errors or unforeseen accidental damage to the ring.
Where to buy?
According to The Wedding Report, in 2010 more than $1 billion were spent on wedding and engagement rings online. Why? An online retailer has more competition than a retail location and so must keep prices low to maintain a competitive edge; plus, by foregoing an actual brick-and-mortar location with all its attendant costs and taxes, the online retailer is often able to pass along cost savings to the consumer.
In addition, shopping with an online jeweler can allow you access to rings with real authenticity, such as Celtic or Irish designs from a jeweler based in Ireland. These online stores often use local artisans and craftspeople to design and/or create their rings -- something that many “big box” retail jewelers cannot offer.
Did You Know?
In parts of England, the groom would say "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" while putting the ring part way onto the bride's thumb and next two fingers, to have it permanently stay on the next finger, today's "ring finger."
Some of the gorgeous Celtic knot designs have lovely meanings particularly appropriate for a wedding band:
The Celtic Knot
When Celtic sailors were at sea, they would spend their free time weaving rope mementoes for their loved ones still at home. The Celtic Sailor's Knot is made of two intertwined ropes joined together as one and has come to symbolize the union of two as one, a perfect description of today’s modern bride and groom.
This Celtic symbol of everlasting love is formed from two triskeles, or three cornered knots that denote the body, mind and spirit. The