15 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Wedding Ring
Published date: 29th January 2019
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Everything you need to know to find wedding bands you'll both love for your whole married life.
When you’re caught up in the whirlwind of wedding planning – menu tastings, dress fittings, choosing your wedding flowers etc. – it’s easy to overlook the little details, including choosing a wedding ring. Many couples wait until the wedding is fast approaching before they consider shopping for their wedding bands, but it’s definitely not something you should leave to the last minute. While the rings might be a small detail in terms of their size, they’re hugely significant when it comes to their symbolism. You’ll be wearing these bands for the rest of your married lives, and the exchanging of the rings is often one of the most emotional and romantic parts of the wedding ceremony.
To help you choose the perfect wedding band for your personality, lifestyle and style we spoke to two leading jewellery experts, Anya Walsh from 77 Diamonds and Lorna Haddon, head of diamonds and jewellery at Beaverbrooks, and asked them everything from when and where to start shopping to what metal and stones to choose. After all, once the music has died down on the last dance of the night, it’s the little things like your memories, photos and, of course, those all-important wedding rings that will always remind you of the best day of your lives.
Read on for our complete guide to wedding ring shopping.
How to choose the perfect wedding rings for you
1. Make sure you save money in your wedding budget
This might sound obvious, but a lot of couples are so focused on the big elements like the venue hire, catering and dress that they forget to include small items like wedding rings in their detailed calculations. There’s no hard and fast rule about how much you should spend on a wedding ring, but it is important to set money aside for them well in advance. Take a look at your budget as well as the cost of rings you like online or in shop windows and see if they match up. Most couples will spend less on the wedding ring than they have on the engagement ring, but remember if you both want to wear a ring you’ll need to have enough money in the budget for two rings.
2. Don't leave it to the last minute
“We would recommend you start shopping for your wedding rings at the very latest three to four months before your wedding, and ideally as soon as you are sure you want to get married,” says Anya Walsh from 77 Diamonds. “It’s always best to give yourself enough time to shop around, and figure out what you would most like with your partner.”
“If you opt for a bespoke piece, or unique matching rings, you need enough time (ideally five to six months) to share your ideas with a jewellery designer, and make any changes if needed,” says Anya. “Your wedding rings are so special, so best remove any unnecessary anxiety that can arise from last-minute changes, wrong ring sizes, or problems with delivery.”
Lorna from Beaverbrooks agrees: “I’d recommend starting to shop around three to four months prior to your wedding date,” she says. “This will allow you plenty of time to try a variety of styles, find your perfect fit, and ensure the rings are correctly sized.”
3. Decide where you want to shop
Some couples will be happy sitting on the sofa together and browsing online jewellers, while for others shopping for wedding bands is a huge occasion and can only be done in person. You’ll want to decide what type of jeweller you want to shop from too. A high street jeweller like Beaverbrooks, Ernest Jones, Mappin & Webb or H. Samuel perhaps, or luxury designers like Tiffany & Co, Cartier and Boodles? Or do you want to go somewhere like Hatton Garden or Birmingham Jewellery Quarter where you can find second hand rings as well as having something bespoke made? Then there are online retailers who also have one-off showrooms dotted around different cities like 77 Diamonds showroom in Mayfair, Alex Monroe, Vashi, Lark & Berry and Graff. Finally you might want to work with an independent jewellery designer who will meet up with you individually to discuss making your dream wedding bands from scratch.
4. Shop together as a couple
Often one half of the couple will have shopped alone to find the perfect engagement ring, but when it comes to shopping for a wedding band, it’s a lovely element of wedding admin to do together. Make an occasion of it by booking yourselves a posh lunch or dinner and then take your time looking at gorgeous wedding bands. After all, you won’t have the opportunity to shop for jewellery like this very often. Having your partner there will also give you another opinion and help you to choose something that reflects your personality but that also complements your partner’s ring.
5. Consider the shape and style of your engagement ring
Most brides will need to think carefully about choosing the right ring to go with their engagement ring. As you’ll be wearing the two rings on the same finger it makes sense that they match or at least complement each other with the same metal and style. You’ll also want to make sure that the shape of your two rings sit nicely together. If you’ve got a massive solitaire diamond engagement ring then a standard shaped wedding band isn’t going to sit correctly and will be uncomfortable. Many jewellers make bridal sets with a matching and complementary wedding band to go with the engagement ring, so you’ll want to pay a visit to the shop that your engagement ring came from.
6. Think about your other jewellery and overall style
As you’ll be wearing your wedding ring most days, you need to ensure it goes with your other daily jewellery and works with your look. There’s no point choosing something completely different and trend-led if you tend to wear pared back jewellery. Equally, if you love a boho, vintage look then you probably don’t want anything too modern or bling.
“Choosing a wedding band is an extremely personal decision, and the number one rule is to always choose something that reflects your taste and personality perfectly.” says Anya. “If you enjoy a classic look, a traditional gold band is the ideal choice. You can add a bit of your unique vision by selecting a special metal finish, adding some discreet milgrain detailing for a more vintage feel, or even setting your ring with a single hidden gemstone that has special meaning to you and your partner. Another great option is to engrave your ring with a special message, or even a symbol.”
“You can also have your wedding rings entirely custom-made to reflect your personality,” says Anya. “Maybe you want a unique shape that matches your engagement ring? Or maybe you and your partner want matching rings that fit perfectly together? Whatever your ideas, find a ring designer you can really trust to make your dream design a reality. Communication with your jewellery designer is key here.”
7. Consider your lifestyle
While you might fall in love with the look of an extremely delicate band with lots of stones, it’s really important to consider whether it would be practical to wear on a daily basis. If you work in an office you probably don’t need to worry too much, but if you have a manual job, a really active lifestyle or work in an environment that requires you to wash your hands a lot then you’ll need to be sensible about your choice of wedding bands.
“We often recommend simpler wedding ring designs for those who have manual jobs, or are in close contact with products that may damage metal and jewellery,” says Anya. “For example, full-set diamond rings (that is, rings that feature diamonds all around the band) should be avoided, as manual work may damage the metal claws which hold your diamonds. Your best option would be to choose half-set diamond rings, and to remove your ring if you feel you may damage it.”
“For men’s wedding rings, we recommend larger, heavier bands, as these will be more resistant to knocks and scratches. Again, metals such as platinum or palladium would be your best options if you do manual work.”
8. Choose a timeless style
“Your dream wedding ring should be a piece that you’ll cherish forever, so it’s important to go for a style you’ll never tire of!” says Lorna from Beaverbrooks. “I’d suggest going for a timeless look with a modern twist, such as this stunning Platinum Diamond Wedding Ring, a classic eternity wedding ring wrapped in a dazzling row of brilliant round cut diamonds for a magical layer of sparkle. For men’s wedding rings, brushed platinum is another unique take on a classic style, as the added texture creates a beautiful finish. Bold, masculine and luxurious, this handsome Platinum Brushed Men’s Wedding Ring is the perfect way to add contemporary flair to a traditional look.”
“Remember: when it comes to choosing your wedding rings, best not follow the rules too closely and simply choose something you know deep down you will love forever, and be proud to hand over to future generations when the time comes,” agrees Anya from 77 Diamonds.
9. Consider the metal
There are lots of metals to choose from, so it pays to do your research before you go ring shopping to help you narrow down your selection of bands. A durable and scratch resistant metal like platinum is always a popular choice because it looks good even after years and years of wear and tear. Other durable metals you’ll want to consider are precious metals like gold, silver and palladium, while if you want a wedding band with more colour to it yellow gold and rose gold are good options. Sterling silver is an affordable choice if you’re on a tight budget, while other contemporary metals that are popular especially with men’s wedding bands are tantalum, tungsten, titanium, and cobalt.
“Platinum or palladium are great options for wedding rings, as you can wear them for a lifetime, and they will keep their beautiful, shiny lustre. After years of wear, platinum can develop what is known as ‘patina’, a surface wear that many actually enjoy (for a touch of vintage romance), but this can be easily removed through a professional polish if you so wish,” says Anya. “Gold is also very sturdy, especially gold that is alloyed with other metals to increase durability. At 77 Diamonds, we only provide rings in 18k gold, as it is the perfect balance of intense colour and durability. One thing to keep in mind is that white gold can show a faint yellow glow after years of use, due to its rhodium plating rubbing off. You will need to have your white gold ring re-plated after a couple of years if you are looking for that clear white finish.”
“You can opt for any choice of metal when it comes to your wedding ring,” says Lorna. “But the most popular are generally platinum, yellow gold and rose gold – depending on the style of your engagement ring, of course! Equally, mixing metals is a great way to revamp traditional styles, and we’re seeing this trend making a big comeback this year. For grooms-to-be after something timeless but equally unique, I’d opt for an eye-catching Platinum and 18ct Gold Matt Men’s Wedding Ring, where the bright yellow gold blend adds a lovely touch of warmth.”
10. Decide on your stones
“Diamonds are by far the best option if you are looking for a ring that will stand the test of time,” says Anya. “Diamonds are one of the hardest materials on earth, and can be worn daily. Other gems that can be worn for a great length of time are sapphires and rubies.”
11. Ask your jeweller for inspiration
If you don’t have a strong personal style when it comes to jewellery, shopping for your wedding band can be tricky because you’ll probably love hundreds of the beautiful bands that you’re shown. To help narrow down the choice and to avoid feeling overwhelmed it can be an excellent idea to ask the jeweller what their best sellers are, what they particularly love from the collection or if they have noticed any styles in the current season that really stand out. For example Beaverbrooks have expanded their collections to respond to the demand for unique rings for men. “Traditionally, men’s rings were more classic, with a simple design – typically a plain yellow gold or platinum ring, but we’ve seen an increasing number of gents opting for more unique and inspiring designs, which is why we’ve expanded our collections with new metals, styles and non-traditional designs like bevelled and ridged edges, and bi-metal designs,” says Lorna. “We have also recently launched our Black Zirconium range of wedding rings – a stylish and unique collection of rings combined with platinum, 18ct gold and diamonds for a sleek and elegant look, with a masculine edge. This range has been so popular with customers that we have increased stock levels following the influx of interest!”
12. Know your ring size
“Ring size can often be compared to shoe size: if you have too tight a fit, you’ll often get this nagging feeling that something just isn’t right, and this might become a daily bother,” says Anya. “Too loose a ring, and you’ll always be worried about it falling off. Your ring should never be loose enough to easily pass over your knuckle without effort, but it also shouldn’t be so tight that it is impossible to move on your finger.” You can easily find out your ring size by ordering a ring sizer for as little as £1.50 (recommended if you’re shopping online) or your jeweller will be able to measure your ring finger for you.
13. Comfort is key
You’ll be wearing your ring everyday so it really needs to be comfortable. Getting size right is the first step, but also considering the shape of the ring, the size of the stones and how many stones you have are key. “The most comfortable ring designs have a slightly rounded edge on each side of the band,” says Anya. “We recommend this style for those looking for comfortable wear above all else.”
14. Decide if you want personalise your wedding bands
It can be a lovely idea to add a personal engraving to the inside of your wedding rings. Perhaps the date of your big day, your partner’s initials or a special message or word that is unique to your relationship. Most jewellers will be able to do personalisations or suggest somewhere that does, but again make sure to allow enough time for this service.
15. Don't forget to give the rings to your best man
Now you’ve found and bought your perfect wedding ring styles, don’t forget to give them to the best man. Don’t just have them loose – make sure they’re in a beautiful box (either from the jewellers or you could even buy a special personalised box like these elegant ones on Etsy), as this will ensure they’re in tip top shape for the big moment when you exchange rings during the ceremony. And, hopefully there’s no chance your best man can loose them either!