Choosing a wedding ring – also known as a wedding band – might seem a more straightforward task than selecting an engagement ring, but it still involves many important and exciting decisions!
You will be wearing your wedding ring for the rest of your life so it’s important to choose a design you’ll be comfortable with. Consider a variety of metals, shapes, thicknesses and styles in order to find the perfect choice for you..
The choice of metal for the bride’s wedding band is usually dictated by her engagement ring. The groom’s ring will often follow suit too. However, if the bride and groom have different preferences there is nothing to stop the groom opting for gold while the bride goes for platinum. In any case, here are the most popular options:
A yellow gold wedding ring is the traditional choice. 24k is the purest but also the softest variety, so is not generally recommended for wedding bands. 14k and 18k gold are less pure but harder and therefore more likely to make a durable wedding ring.
A white gold wedding ring will complement any silver or platinum jewellery you may have already. However, a white gold wedding ring is often plated with rhodium to enhance its appearance, and this plating is likely to wear off with time.
A platinum wedding ring is another popular choice. This silvery metal is highly resistant to damage. It’s much rarer than gold and is therefore more expensive, but a platinum wedding ring will last a lifetime.
A titanium wedding ring is a more modern choice since it is only relatively recently that this striking greyish metal has been used for jewellery. It is extremely durable and can be carved without losing its strength. A titanium wedding ring is a real talking point.
When it comes to the shape of the bride-to-be’s wedding band, the main consideration is how it sits with her engagement ring.
If the engagement ring is straight-edged, a classic, straight-edged wedding band will sit snugly next to it. However, the gemstone setting in some engagement rings will not accommodate a straight-edged wedding band. In this case you could either wear your engagement and wedding rings on different hands, or opt for a curved wedding ring, sometimes known as a fitted wedding ring or a shaped wedding ring.
Many curved styles can be bought off the shelf. Otherwise, a good wedding-ring jeweller can custom-design a wedding band to sit perfectly next to your engagement ring. You might find this a rewarding and symbolic process in itself.
You will probably never have considered this before but if you turn a ring on its side you will notice the style – or profile – of its band. The most common band shapes for wedding rings are:
Rounded-edge wedding ring: this gently curved style is the most subtle and traditional option.
High-domed wedding ring: with its more pronounced curve, this style is slightly taller than the rounded-edge design.
Flat wedding ring: this design has quite square edges for a more modern look.
Other terms you might hear when it comes to wedding-band shapes include D-shape wedding ring, court wedding ring or concave wedding ring. Don’t be unnerved by all this terminology; find a jeweller you trust who is prepared to give you plenty of time and who will answer your questions patiently.
Nowadays couples often favour jewel-set wedding rings. If you like this idea you should consider the harder stones (such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, topaz) as time takes its toll on softer varieties. Diamond-set wedding rings are the most popular option.
Couples often want to have their wedding date engraved on the inside of their wedding rings and sometimes there is room for other sentiments too. If you are doing this, make sure you write down exactly what you want inside your ring – including use of capital letters etc – and ask your jeweller what font or style (eg italic) will be used.
Be sure to check out how long it will take for your wedding bands to be ready. Allowing at least eight weeks is a good rule of thumb. Ask your jeweller, and if the rings will not be ready in time, don’t panic – ask them about a ‘loaner’ ring. Also be sure to get advice on sizing – a common mistake is to order a size too big.
Families often pass down wedding rings as heirlooms so this may be an option for you. If so, you probably will want to leave any original engraving inside the ring. It might also be appropriate to note in your will who you would like your rings to go to.
The trick is to choose rings that you and your partner are happy with. Don’t worry about other people’s choices, but do ask around and look in jewellery stores, in magazines and online for inspiration.