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How to Find the Perfect Wedding Ring

The wedding ring is an important piece of the wedding ceremony. It symbolizes the union that the couple has entered into which makes choosing the right ring an important decision.

Before getting into choosing the right wedding ring, we need to define what the difference is between an engagement ring and a wedding ring. There is a big difference between the two BEFORE buying anything, even the engagement ring (although not all is lost if the wedding ring wasn’t considered when purchasing the engagement ring). Here’s what you need to know.

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Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring

The engagement ring is the extravagant ring given from the boyfriend to his girlfriend when he pops the question and she says yes. This ring usually has one large diamond, sometimes surrounded by smaller ones, or it has a cluster of small diamonds. The engagement ring typically costs more than the wedding ring, usually anywhere from $500-$3,000.

The wedding ring is usually just a band that goes with the engagement ring. It can be just a plain metal band or it may have inset diamonds. The wedding band can be soldered to the engagement ring or left separate so that it can be changed out down the road. The wedding ring will cost anywhere from $400-$1,500.

There are some options available to buy a complete bridal set for cheaper. For example, this Diamond Bridal Set 1/8 ct tw Round-cut 10K White Gold from Kay Jewelers is only $480 and looks just as beautiful.

Men’s wedding bands also range in price, anywhere from $100-$1,500. It’s a misconception when people think that the husband and wife’s wedding rings have to match. It certainly would be nice if they did, but if they have different styles it’s completely fine for them to be different.

If at all possible, the decision should be made up front if you want a wedding band attached to the ring or if you’re okay with using the engagement ring as the wedding ring. That’s a great money saving option as well.

Give yourself enough time to have the rings ordered and delivered.

The amount of time it takes to get your rings depends on whether you bought one at the counter or had one custom made.

If the ring you want is pre-made and in stock, it should only take 1-2 weeks to have your ring delivered. If you are having a custom ring made, it could take anywhere form 4-6 weeks.

If you’re purchasing the engagement ring and wedding ring at the same time, you should have too much to worry about (unless you’re on a timeline for when you want to get engaged). If you are purchasing the wedding ring separate from the engagement ring, be sure to give yourself enough time before the wedding for them to arrive.

Decide What Type of Ring You Want

Engagement and wedding rings come in all different types of metal, shapes, and styles. You can choose to have your wedding ring to match your engagement ring or not. It’s completely up to you.

Types of Metals

You can buy wedding rings and bands in a variety of metal types. They all range in quality and type. You can use the guide to get an idea of what you like best.

Yellow Gold. The most popular metal for engagement and wedding rings, yellow gold is made by combining pure gold with other metals such as zinc or copper. Gold is a soft metal by itself so other alloys are added to give the ring strength. The higher the karat amount the higher the gold content is. Some of the disadvantages of yellow gold rings (especially the high karat rings) is they tend to dent and scratch easier. They should be cleaned and polished regularly. Yellow gold looks best on olive or dark skin tones.

White Gold. Just like yellow gold, white gold rings are made by mixing gold with another metal such as palladium, manganese, or nickel to add strength and durability. White gold is similar in appearance to platinum but it costs less. Additionally, compared to yellow gold, white gold is much more durable. White gold needs to be maintained like yellow gold, but it also needs to be dipped every few years to maintain it’s shiny appearance (many jewelers do this for free). This ring could cause an allergic reaction to those who are allergic to nickel. White gold rings look great on all skin tones, but especially those with pale or rosy skin.

Rose Gold. Rose gold rings are made with pure gold and copper alloy. Originally made popular in Russia, is has been referred to as Russian Gold. Rose gold gives rings a vintage feel and is often combined with white or yellow gold to make a multi-color ring. Rose Gold rings are by far the most durable when compared to white and yellow because of the copper alloy and are becoming more and more popular. This ring could cause an allergic reaction to those who are allergic to copper. Rose gold rings look best on pale skin.

Sterling Silver. Sterling silver rings are made with 92.5% silver and 7.5% of another metal alloy (often copper). Silver is a soft metal that is not recommended for everyday use (such as a wedding ring) unless it was made with copper which gives strength to the ring. Make sure to check on the strength before settling on sterling silver for a wedding band. Sterling silver tarnishes easily and much be cleaned often to retain his shine. Typically looks best on pale or rosy skin tone but will look great on anyone.

Tungsten. Tungsten is an extremely hard and wear-resistant metal. In fact, the only thing that can scratch tungsten is a diamond. These wedding bands will never bend, nick, or become misshapen, making it a fantastic ring for everyday use. Tungsten comes in a variety of colors or with diamonds and gems and can also be paired with gold and other metals. Tungsten only needs to be cleaned every once in a while with a soft rag and light detergent. These rings look great in all colors for all skin types.

Stainless Steel. Stainless steel is made up of iron, carbon, and chromium. The chromium gives stainless steel it’s shiny appearance. Stainless steel rings are extremely lightweight but are also very durable. While they’re not scratch proof, they hold up very well in day-to-day wear. Additionally, stainless steel rings are hypoallergenic, unless it is mixed with a nickel allo. They are a great option for a wedding band, but are not commonly found in stores. Stainless steel wedding rings will look great on any skin tone.

Titanium. Titanium is very similar to tungsten as far as durability and wear go. Titanium rings are made with other metals such as aluminum and vanadium. While not completely scratch resistant, they are highly recommended for men who work with their hands a lot since they cannot be crushed or cracked. Titanium rings commonly come in gray or black, but silver or platinum colors are available too. These rings have become one the of the most popular for men. As with any silver colored ring, titanium rings look great with any skin tone.

Platinum. As one of the most durable and most dense metals, platinum rings are one of the most expensive on the market. Platinum rings are made of 95% platinum and 5% other alloys. While scratches are inevitable, it’s not as severe on platinum rings but rather gives the ring a more patina finish. The cost of platinum is much more than other rings because there is a lot more labor involved in making platinum rings since it’s a difficult metal to work with. This is a great ring for men and women of all skin tones.

Wedding Band Styles

Classic Band. This style of wedding band comes with no diamonds or frills. It’s a classic and traditional ring that comes in a variety of sizes. The desired width typically depends on preference with the woman’s ring usually being thinner to go with the engagement ring. The classic band is also the cheapest option and one that will go with any ring if you can’t find one to match the engagement ring. The classic band comes in a variety of metals and colors so that you can easily match the engagement ring.

Stackable Band. A stackable band typically has diamonds and is paired to match the engagement ring. These types of rings are also referred to as an anniversary. Many women like to change out their stackable rings for different looks. It’s also not uncommon for men to buy new anniversary rings for their wives. Stackable bands may only have a few diamonds across the top or they may be in the eternity style with diamonds all the way around the ring. Stackable rings are available in a variety of styles and colors so that they can match the engagement ring.

Enhancer Band. The key feature of an enhancer band is the unique contours that allow it to fit right in with the engagement ring. They are typically meant to enhance a solitaire diamond ring. Therefore, the would be the perfect wedding ring to go with a solitaire engagement ring. Enhancer bands come in many different shapes and styles so that you can pick what you like best, and potentially change out the look in the future. You can purchase an enhancer ring in a variety of styles to match or enhance the engagement ring.

Ring Wrap or Guard. Also considered enhancer band, ring wraps or ring guards and more distinguished bands that add more flair to the solitaire diamond. These types of bands may also be referred to as ring inserts because the solitaire diamond is meant to be inserted in between the two layers. Another style of ring wrap would add stones to the left and right of the solitaire diamond instead of the top and bottom like a ring guard. There are a variety of metal colors and styles available, making your wedding ring easily customizable and interchangeable.

Men’s Wedding Band Styles

Plain Band. This will be by far the cheapest option for men’s wedding bands. They are typically solid metal with no special features. These bands can be purchased in a variety of metals and colors for men. Some of the most popular are titanium and stainless steel rings that are durable and can handle everyday wear. This is especially great for men who work with their hands on a day-to-day basis. The price varies depending on the karat, metal type, etc. They also come in various widths and the prices will vary on that too.

Wide Bands. Similar to the plain men’s wedding bands, wide wedding bands are somewhat plain with no diamonds or specialties. Wider wedding rings are more expensive due to the need for more precious metal and time to shape it. They give a more noticeable look than the narrower bands and can have some subtle designs. Many have groves or a special finish to make them more interesting than the plain, narrow men’s wedding bands. They can be purchased in a variety of metal types and colors as desired.

Unique Wedding Bands. There are a lot of different options for men’s wedding bands from plain to very unique. For example, this band has ion-plated stainless steel cords around the middle of the ring. Other rings might have a camo look or other engravings. Unique wedding bands can even be customized to have names and dates engraved on the inside or outside of the ring. Other rings may have different textures, multi-colored, gemstones, etc. You can even get some engraved with a heartbeat chart/graph.

Men’s Diamond Wedding Band. The woman isn’t the only one allowed to have diamonds on her ring. While a men’s diamond wedding ring won’t be as pronounced as the women’s, there can be diamonds embedded into the band with different designs. Some men’s diamond rings may have a single diamond or they have multiple along the top or sides of the ring. Most of them are low profile rings that do not stick up any more than a plain or wide band. This type of men’s wedding band will cost more than the rest due to the diamond and depending on the quality of the metal chosen.

Set a Budget

Jewelry is expensive and the costs can easily get out of hand if you’re not careful to set a budget and stick to it! Between the engagement ring, women’s wedding band, and men’s wedding ring, you are going to have a lot invested.

On the other hand, these pieces are symbolic to your relationship and will be the single most important piece of jewelry to each of you. Once you have a budget in mind for the rings, the two of you can start looking at your options and saving up if needed.

The Engagement Ring

In the United States, guys spend $5,000 on average on a special ring to wow their girlfriend and pop the question. There is no reason why you have to spend this much and there are great options for bringing costs down while still giving her a gorgeous ring.

Many recommend saving up 2-months of pay for the ring (i.e. if you bring home $3,500 a month, you should save $7,000 to buy the engagement ring). However, this is way over the top for most people and unnecessary. The rule of thumb was created to get you to spend more on jewelry… or maybe that’s just a conspiracy theory 😉

How much you spend greatly depends on the type of metal and the quality of the diamond. If you’re looking to go as cheap as possible, you should stick with yellow, white, or rose gold instead of platinum. While platinum is much more durable, it costs a lot more due to the extensive labor involved because it’s a dense metal. Additionally, the size and number of diamonds will play a role in the cost of the ring. You should have a discussion with your girl to find out what she likes or doesn’t like (and maybe even visit a jewelry store) before budgeting.

If your girl is good with a basic ring that has only a handful of diamonds in white, yellow or rose gold, you should be able to find something she’ll love for $1,000 or less. If she likes something a little more showy and glamorous, you should budget for around $3,000.

You’ll need to remember that the engagement ring isn’t the only cost. You may want to buy a wedding band to exchange on your wedding day which matches the engagement ring. Instead of buying the wedding band separately, you could buy a Bridal Set which comes with both the engagement ring and the wedding band. These range in price anywhere from $500 to $5,000. Be sure to check your prices because it may end up being cheaper to get the Bridal Set than it is to buy each piece separately.

The Wife’s Wedding Band

If you’re really on a budget, you could forgo the wedding band all together and simply use the engagement ring as the wedding ring. There is nothing wrong with this and is actually quite common.

However, if you would like something a little extra special to symbolize moving from the engaged stage to bring married, there are a lot of options. Again, a lot depends on diamonds or no diamonds and also why type of metal the band is made from. You’ll also want to take into consideration the look of the wedding band compared to the engagement ring. They should match somewhat. There are a variety of shapes and options (as seen above) and the price will vary depending on how fancy you want to get.

You should plan on budgeting $300 to $1,000 on the wife’s wedding band.

The Husband’s Wedding Band

It’s a misconception that the husband’s wedding band has to match the wife’s. While that certainly is sweet, the two probably have differing tastes and the husband will likely want something that looks more masculine.

Men’s wedding bands come in a lot of different styles and options as well and the price will be dependent on the type of metal, size, and style. Many men like to get tungsten or titanium rings simply for the durability, especially if their occupation requires them to work with their hands. These rings are more expensive, but if you aren’t worried about the durability so much you can get cheaper options like white, yellow, or rose gold.

For men’s wedding bands, you should budget between $200 and $1,000 depending on the style, metal, and color.

Lifestyle and Activities

The type of ring you get will also depend on your lifestyle and activities, for both the man and woman. There are a variety of options that you can choose from that will be stylish but also practical.

For example, silicone rings have become very popular for men and women who frequently work out in the gym or who’s occupation would make a metal ring dangerous to wear. There are a variety of options and colors that silicone rings come in. Additionally, a silicone ring might just be something you wear while working out our at your job whereas your diamond or metal ring is your “real” wedding ring. There are plenty of options that make wearing a wedding ring fit your lifestyle.

Some metals have nickel or copper alloys which could cause an allergic reaction for some people. While it might cost a little more, thankfully there are other options that you can choose from. A great option for a hypoallergenic ring is stainless steel (although some are still mixed with nickel, so beware).

There are also some metals that are so durable and scratch resistant that you can wear their while working without fear that they’ll be damaged. The only caution with this is that these metals usually can’t be cut in case of an emergency. The most durable (and most expensive) metal is platinum, which is available in women’s and men’s rings.

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Hi, I’m Kristin. While I haven’t found my Prince Charming yet, I’ve been dreaming of getting married for a long long time. I started this site as a place to record all the things I’ve found and researched in preparation for my own wedding someday. I can’t wait to share it all with you!

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