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The Complete Guide to Wedding Bands

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While engagement rings receive the majority of the attention, wedding bands are an important part of your ring aesthetic—not to mention the steadfast symbol of your love. Expert Shannon Haas breaks down everything you need to know to say "yes" to your wedding band, from selecting a metal to selecting engraving or embellishments and purchasing the bands before the big day.

Wedding Band Purchasing Advice

Using your engagement ring as a guide is one of the simplest ways to begin your band search. Although you will wear your wedding band alone at times, it should complement your engagement ring when worn together. Visit local jewelry stores and try on everything, including styles you never thought you'd like. When it comes down to it, choose a band that you adore and can see yourself wearing for the rest of your life. Make sure it's comfortable, fits your lifestyle, and looks good both alone and with your engagement ring.

Finally, ensure that your jeweler offers an excellent warranty that covers the care of your jewelry. For the duration of the ring's life, they will be your go-to for any cleaning, sizing, changes, or repairs.

Wedding Band Options

  • Metals

    Yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, platinum, and palladium are the most popular metals for bands, but tungsten can also be used. Most brides choose the same metal as their engagement rings for their wedding bands, but this is not a hard and fast rule. If you like the look of mixed metals, use a different type for your band than your engagement ring, or choose a braided band that combines multiple colors in a single ring.Another consideration when choosing your metal is that this ring is intended to last a lifetime (and potentially beyond). If you work with your hands, consider tungsten or platinum, which are both harder than traditional white gold.

  • Stones

    Many brides and grooms add stones and gems to their wedding bands to make them unique. While pavé styles (small diamonds line the band) add a lot of bling, the gems can become loose and fall out over time, especially if you live an active lifestyle. If you still want the glam look but are concerned about missing stones or snags with pavé, consider a channel setting instead. While similar, this look involves cutting a small channel into the ring and setting stones in a row inside the channel to secure the gems. Finally, when it comes to the stones, stick to large stones like diamonds, sapphires, or rubies.

  • Engraving/Etching

    There are countless ways to make the metal on your band a work of art, from vintage art deco designs to stars and florals. Just keep in mind that intricate etching is more likely to trap dirt (and is more difficult to clean), and any additional designs (or inside engraving) will increase the final price. Expect to pay between $25 and $75 for 15 machine-carved characters and 8 hand-engraved characters.

  • Width

    The width of your band, which can range from 1mm to 8+mm, is arguably one of the most important decisions you'll have to make. Most brides will match the width of their wedding bands to the width of their engagement rings, with the most common width being between 2 and 4 mm. However, mixing widths can create a unique look, so don't be afraid to go bigger or smaller depending on the overall vibe you want to achieve.

  • Finish

    Finishes on men's rings, in particular, are popular. When it comes to the final details of your band, a finish can really set the accessory apart and help your ring stand out." Whether you prefer a more textured look like stone, brush, matte, hammered, or sandblast, or a satin or high polish, a finish is the finishing touch that will truly make your band your own.

When is the best time to buy wedding bands?

When it comes to choosing your wedding band, the most important thing to remember is to start looking early. Many couples wait until a month or two before their wedding to choose their bands, and because they have spent so much money on the wedding, their bands become an afterthought. Remember that your wedding band is a symbol of your eternal love. Choose your date first, then your band." Begin your search early and make it an adventure. The more time you give yourself to figure out what looks and feels good, the better your chances of selecting something that will last.

Who purchases wedding bands?

Nowadays, our couples frequently share expenses and purchase items together. Whether you go the traditional route and buy each other's bands or you split the costs, expect to spend about 3% of your wedding budget on the rings. Prices vary greatly depending on the metal, finger size, and ring width. A simple 14-karat gold or platinum band will cost around $1,000, with additional embellishments adding to the final cost.

Is it necessary for the wedding bands to match?

Wedding bands are extremely personal, and there is no rule stating that a couple must agree on a metal or style. It's all about discovering what you like and what reflects your individual styles! Consider a unisex option, a braided band that combines two metals you both like, or a similar element, such as a hammered finish, if you want to have similar bands. Whether you match, find something unique, or forego bands entirely, the goal is to work together to find a solution you love.

How should you look after your wedding ring?

Bring your ring into your local jeweler once a year and let us clean, polish, and refinish it to keep it in pristine condition. If we detect loose diamonds or abnormal wear, we will be able to make the necessary repairs before further damage occurs. In addition to ensuring that your rings receive annual inspections, daily caution and care will help ensure that they retain their beauty and integrity.

When cleaning, swimming, cooking, gardening, playing sports, sleeping, or showering, remove your rings. While many couples enjoy the idea of never taking their rings off, removing them before any activities that could tarnish, scratch, or result in loss is the best way to ensure that your rings remain intact indefinitely. Scrub with a soft toothbrush and some mild dish detergent in hot water between visits to the jeweler (just make sure to close the sink).

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