How to pick the perfect wedding ring?
Our ultimate ring buying guide will help you choose a wedding ring you love. You’ve got the engagement ring (after dropping a few hints of course), now it’s time to pick out the perfect wedding ring to go along with it—and we’ve got all the help you’ll need. Before saying “I do” to the perfect wedding ring, check out our guide on every important factor to consider.
Ways to Pick the Perfect Wedding Ring
Narrow Down Your Wedding Ring Choices
Diamonds or gemstones, platinum or gold—narrowing down your ring options may seem overwhelming, but don’t panic. Just take it one step at a time. Start with style: Are you envisioning a simple band or one with embellishments? Do you want your wedding ring to be the same metal as your engagement ring? Do you think you and your partner’s rings should match? Work out these kinds of questions beforehand so you can zero in on exactly what you’re looking for, then start shopping around.
Consider Buying Your Ring and Your Bands Together
If you prefer to be surprised by the engagement ring, this may not work, but knowing what bands go with the engagement ring can help you make a decision. For example, if you have a unique engagement ring, you may want a simple, no-fuss band, whereas a simple engagement ring may call for a diamond pavé band’s added sparkle. Also, think about how the rings fit together. If you’re planning on wearing your engagement and wedding ring side by side, 24/7, look for a contour or shadow band designed to interlock with the matching engagement ring. If you’re planning on wearing your wedding ring alone, you may want a more intricate style that will look great with or without your engagement ring. Talk to your jeweller about finding a band that works with your ring (some can even create both at the same time).
Start Your Ring Search Early
Once you have a basic idea of what kind of ring you’d like, it’s time for the fun part: trying them on! Give yourselves at least two to three months before the wedding date to ring shop. You’ll need this time to browse, research prices and revisit rings that catch your eye. If you have your heart set on a custom ring, you’ll probably need even more time. And keep in mind: Extras, like engraving, can take up to one month.
Mix It Up
Don’t fret if you like platinum and your partner likes yellow gold. There’s no rule that says you have to choose the same metal or even style. You could compromise with braided bands that blend the two metals or be different—the key to finding something you both love is choosing wedding bands that reflect your styles.
Set a Budget
Shop with the assumption that you’ll spend about 3 percent of your total wedding budget on the rings. Depending on the retailer, plain, 14-karat gold or simple platinum band can cost around $1,000. Embellishments, like diamonds or engraving, will quickly add to the cost, so factor that into your budget if you plan to personalize your rings with any of these extras. The price of engraving is usually based on the number of characters, the font used and whether it’s engraved by hand or machine (hand is usually pricier).
Keep Your Lifestyle in Mind
Remember: You’re going to wear this band every day, so the goal is to choose something that seamlessly becomes a part of your life. If you play sports or an instrument, a slimmer ring with rounded edges (appropriately called the “comfort fit”) may make the most sense. If you work with your hands, you may want to search for a simple, solid metal ring and avoid gemstones that can come loose or carvings, which can trap dirt. If you’re super active, go for platinum, which is extra durable (when scratched, the metal is merely displaced and doesn’t wear away).
Try Something Different
You may love the idea of a braided rose gold ring or a diamond eternity band, but once you get to the store, try some rings that aren’t on your inspiration board. Chat with the jeweller, then let them make suggestions based on what you like and don’t rule anything out. Just like with wedding dresses, you may end up loving something you never thought you would. Wear it around the store for a few minutes and while you have it on, try writing and texting as a comfort test.
Think Long Term
While you shouldn’t be afraid of being trendy, make sure the style you choose is something you’ll want to wear for, say, the next 40 years. Just don’t stress too much: You’re not married to the ring and can always make changes to it (add diamonds or go from white gold to platinum) later on to mark a special anniversary.
Consider the Maintenance
To keep a wedding band with stones clean and sparkling, you’ll need to wash and soak it in warm, sudsy water, then gently brush it with a soft toothbrush or eyebrow brush (too much pressure can loosen the stones from their setting), rinse it and pat it dry with a soft lint-free cloth. Sound like too much upkeep? You may want to opt for a fuss-free gold or platinum ring—rub it with a soft, lint-free cloth (chamois works well), and you’re good to go.
Size It Right
Most people rarely take off their wedding bands; they wear them through summers, winters, exercise, pregnancies—all times when your fingers swell and contract from heat, cold, water retention or weight gain. To find the right size that will best weather all of those changes, schedule your final ring fitting at a time when you’re calm, and your body temperature is normal. That means you should never finalize first thing in the morning (you retain water from the night before), right after you’ve exercised (fingers swell) or when you’re extremely hot or cold (which can cause your hands to expand and shrink).
Check for Quality
Quality control applies to all rings, not just your wedding bands. Make sure the ring has two marks inside the band: the manufacturer’s trademark (this proves they stand behind their work) and the quality mark, 24Kor PLAT, for example (this proves the metal quality is what the retailer says it is).
How Much Should You Spend on a Wedding Ring?
While the cost of a wedding ring can vary wildly based upon the ring’s material, style, and decorative elements, it can be helpful to have a ballpark range for what most couples are spending on their wedding rings. These averages can help you set realistic expectations and allocate an appropriate amount towards wedding rings in your overall wedding budget.
For women’s wedding bands, a plain band can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,500 depending on the metal. Prices increase to between $1,000 to $6,000 for a band that’s larger, more intricate, or set with diamonds or other stones. The average price of a woman’s wedding ring is around $1,400.
A men’s wedding band can start as low as $100 for a plain titanium band, to over $2,000 for a platinum band, with the average price being around $560.
In general, rings made of platinum will always cost more due to the more expensive nature of the metal—but platinum rings will last forever without any required maintenance. White or yellow gold are less expensive options, with prices decreasing by the carat number (lower carat golds are less expensive than higher carat golds). However, white gold will need to be rhodium-plated every few years as the metal wears down and turns yellow. Palladium is another great, low-cost alternative to white gold and platinum that is largely maintenance-free.
Kinds Of Wedding Rings
Minimalist Wedding Ring
Minimalist wedding rings are simple, often just plain bands with little to no adornment. More embellished minimalist rings might include a row of small diamonds, a twisted rope or a flat-edge design, or an interesting textural finish. Minimalist wedding bands are great as subtle accents to more statement-making engagement rings.
Diamond Wedding Ring
Diamond wedding rings include one or multiple diamonds in their design. See below for an explanation of different types of stone settings—each of these settings shapes the ring’s final look. From rows of tiny pavé diamonds to larger stones set within channels or bars, a diamond wedding band adds a touch of sparkle and luxury to your ring set.
Eternity Wedding Ring
An eternity band is a type of diamond wedding ring but is distinctive in that the diamonds encircle the entire band instead of just being placed in the front half. Eternity bands can be expensive due to the number of stones required but are beautiful statements of elegant symmetry. They are great choices for those who want to wear a statement wedding band, rather than an engagement ring-band combo.
Enhancers Wedding Ring
Enhancers are two separate (top and bottom) rings designed to curve around and, well, enhance an engagement ring. Enhancers can come in a variety of metals and colours and frequently include additional diamonds or stones. Some brides choose to solder together their enhancers and engagement ring for one large, unified ring.
Matching Wedding Ring
As we’ve discussed, matching wedding rings are his-and-hers sets of bands that complement or exactly mimic each other. You can match your partner’s band by metal, colour, or stone—the style possibilities are as endless as the love commitment they represent.
Engraved Wedding Ring
Engraved wedding rings include a touch of extra personalization in the form of your names, wedding date, and/or a short message engraved on the interior of the band. If having an engraved wedding ring is important to you and your partner, be sure you choose a ring style that can accommodate engraving, both in width and material.
Types of Wedding Band Stone Settings
In this setting, gemstones sit side-by-side in a “channel” formed by a top and a bottom track of precious metal. The stones are flush with the ring’s exterior, rather than protruding out from it.
Pavé means “paved” in French, and this set aims to “pave” the ring with tiny diamonds by setting them very closely together. The stones are secured with small beads or mini-prongs that are minimally visible. Pave settings create abundant sparkle factor.
The same concept as pavé, but with even smaller stones. Micro-pavé settings include smaller than 0.1 – 0.2 carats, which is the size usually used in pavé-set rings.
Gemstones are separated by metal bars in this setting, most often seen in diamond wedding bands or other rings where the stones form a continuous circle around a large portion of the ring.
Shared Prong Setting
Diamonds or other gems placed side-by-side other share prongs in this setting. Shared prongs make sense for rings that contain a long row of adjacent stones, as less metal means room for more stones.
Also known as a “gypsy” setting, the stone here is inset into a hole in the band so that it’s flush with the metal. A flush setting can look very modern, or more antique, depending on the metal and style, but either way, this setting is great for protecting the stone.
Types of Wedding Band Materials
Choosing the metal for your wedding ring is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make when it comes to buying wedding bands. The metal will affect how the ring looks, how it wears, what kind of maintenance is required, and the price of the ring. Get a leg up on your wedding ring metal research with these helpful descriptions.
The Precious Metals
Yellow gold is the warm-hued metal that’s associated with traditional wedding rings. Gold comes in different karat weights, which indicate its purity: the higher the karat weight, the more pure gold is present in comparison to other alloys, and the harder and more expensive it is. Gold is easy to repair and polish but is also the most malleable precious metal.
White gold is yellow gold that’s been alloyed with palladium and silver to achieve a polished shine and then plated with rhodium to provide a layer of protection and a bright, white appearance. Rhodium plating does wear after time, so if you want to keep a silvery sheen to your white gold ring, you’ll need to replace it every so often.
Platinum is the premier choice of precious metals for wedding rings. It’s the rarest, most lasting, and most durable—and, therefore, the most expensive. It’s naturally white, bright colour will never fade, and platinum is also hypoallergenic.
A member of the platinum family, palladium has a bright white sheen that won’t fade and doesn’t scratch easily. It’s less dense than platinum (but still a pure alloy), meaning it’s a lightweight, durable option that’s much less expensive than platinum.
Like yellow gold, silver is a long-standing precious metal used for making jewellery. It is less expensive than other precious metals, largely because it is softer and less durable. To improve its durability, pure silver is often rhodium-plated and/or mixed with sterling silver. Silver will also scratch and tarnish over time, so prepare to schedule regular maintenance.
If you want the look of gold but the durability of sterling silver, vermeil is a great option. A vermeil ring is made of sterling silver plated with a thick layer of gold (anywhere from 10k to 18k in weight). Vermeil will hold up well for many years with proper care.
Titanium has grown in popularity for wedding bands, especially for men, as it’s incredibly strong, durable, and lightweight. It has a slightly darker grey appearance rather than a bright white sheen and is also naturally hypoallergenic. While titanium can withstand many elements, including chlorine and saltwater, it can scratch.
Cobalt chrome is an alloy of cobalt and chromium, and its bright white colour most closely resembles platinum or white gold. It’s a popular choice for those who work with their hands for a living, as it is more scratch-resistance than titanium and nearly as lightweight.
Tungsten Carbide is one of the most popular alternative metals due to its scratch-resistance and affordability. It comes in a variety of shades, from white to grey to black, and is much heavier than other alternative metals. Yet as it’s exceptionally hard, tungsten rings can shatter if they are dropped or suffers a blow.
Another durable, anti-corrosive option, zirconium is similar to titanium is strength, weight, and hypoallergenic qualities. It naturally has a grey/white lustre, and however, when treated with heat, it forms a black, scratch-resistance coating. Known as black zirconium, this distinctive black look (it can be polished or left matte) has recently become very popular.
Stainless steel is great for small budgets, as it offers durability and strength at a lower price point. It has a brighter sheen than titanium or zirconium but isn’t quite as bright as palladium or platinum. Like many other alternative metals, it’s hypoallergenic.
Silicone rings are gaining in popularity, as those with active lifestyles or hands-on work don’t want to risk damaging a traditional metal ring. Silicone is affordable, durable, comfortable, and can even be made to mimic the look of metal if you want to have a more classic wedding ring look.
Whether inlaid in metal or made entirely out of wood, wooden wedding rings have a distinct appeal for their unique look, eco-friendliness, and affordability. They are good choices for those with metal allergies or those who work around heat or electricity. Since they’re easy to find in matching sets, some couples like the idea of exchanging wooden rings due to the symbolic strength, protection, and regeneration associated with trees, of course, wood are much less durable than metal, so wooden rings will need to be kept dry and removed before activities that could cause damage or scratching.
Diamond set wedding rings.
Once you’ve chosen the wedding ring, now is the time to consider including a diamond or other precious gemstone. Diamond-set wedding rings are becoming more fashionable and are more commonly found in women’s wedding rings to provide a sparkly backdrop for the engagement ring.
But grooms shouldn’t discount diamonds. Diamond wedding rings a.re finding favour with men, too, as a way of remembering someone close to their heart. Another fun way to do this is with an imprint of your fingerprint.
Diamonds in wedding rings are usually brilliant-cut (round) or princess-cut (square), but you can also find designs with pear-shaped, emerald and marquise-cut stones. The more unusual the diamond shape, the more glamorous your wedding ring – and probably, the more expensive