There are many moving parts involved with planning a wedding and getting married. From figuring out the best way to propose, to handling the details of setting a date and coordinating the event, there is plenty to navigate. There are also certain expectations and wedding etiquette to consider, particularly surrounding the rings.
Picking the perfect engagement ring is not always the end of your ring search; most couples also have wedding bands that are separate from the engagement ring. The information below gives insight into the parameters of both types of rings and how they differ from one another.
What Is an Engagement Ring?
An engagement ring is largely used for the marriage proposal, and is commonly associated with diamonds. Some couples may choose to stick to diamonds, while others may opt to use different stones to represent a personalized, sentimental touch. Diamonds can be expensive, so some individuals may prefer to make an alternative investment. There are many different stones you can choose from, including (but not limited to):
- Lab-created diamonds;
What Is a Wedding Band?
A wedding band is commonly used in the actual wedding ceremony, where both partners receive one of these rings. There are many bands to choose from for both aesthetic and material reasons. While some couples might prefer an engagement and ring set, others may prefer to wear a more minimal amount of jewelry and opt instead for a single band. When possible, size both you and your partner’s ring fingers in advance, or be sure to choose a ring that can be resized to ensure the best fit.
Traditionally, the wedding band is a simple ring that complements the engagement ring. While women’s wedding bands could be considered optional, it is important to consider that men’s wedding bands are generally the only ring they receive. Traditional wedding bands for the groom can be traced back to WWII, when rings were used as a reminder of their spouse.
The Difference Between an Engagement Ring and a Wedding Band
The most notable difference between engagement rings and wedding bands is largely about intent. Although physical and aesthetic differences are common between the two, the primary difference comes down to an engagement ring being used for the proposal, and the wedding band being used for the wedding ceremony.
Do You Need Both Engagement and Wedding Rings?
While there are traditional etiquettes and expectations surrounding engagement rings and wedding bands, it all comes down to you and your partner’s personal preferences. Couples may choose to stick to one ring for a variety of reasons, including:
- Less to worry about: with one ring, you only need to keep track of one valuable piece of jewelry;
- Less money: a wedding can be pricey, and sticking to one ring can give you the ability to allocate your money to different parts of the wedding;
- Comfort: multiple rings on one finger (or even one hand) can be uncomfortable, so sticking to one ring can be more convenient;
- Compatibility/Aesthetic: there are some cases of rings that simply don’t pair well with any wedding bands. For example, a ring that you inherited may not fit, and there are limits to how dramatically an old ring can be resized. A new wedding band may be necessary to avoid damaging the heirloom.
How to Choose a Wedding Band for an Engagement Ring
If you want to choose the perfect pair of rings for your wedding, one of the more straightforward options is to buy a bridal set. These are sold as a package by jewelry stores because they not only complement each other, they also physically fit well together.
If you’re composing your own set, you will want to search for what fits your budget, lifestyle, and ultimately your personal style. Use the following tips for how to choose a wedding band for an engagement ring:
- Set a budget: since there is an endless amount of options for wedding bands, the easiest way to eliminate unnecessary shopping and overwhelming options is to set a strict budget. Be sure to include your significant other in setting the price points;
- Decide on a style: some individuals want a bolder wedding band to offset a simple engagement ring, some want a simple wedding band to compliment a bold engagement ring, and some are only concerned with matching an engagement ring with a wedding band;
- Choose a material: some materials are more expensive than others; individuals with certain metal allergies may opt to go for a less conventional material for comfort and safety. There are a variety of materials to choose from. There are silver rings, tungsten wedding bands, silicon rings, ceramic rings, wood rings, cobalt rings, gold rings, titanium rings, and many other types that you can choose from depending on need or preference;
- Consider lifestyle: when you choose a wedding band you want to consider you and your partner’s lifestyle choices. For example, if you are someone who works in healthcare that requires gowning gloves, you may not want something with a tall setting because it can rip the gloves;
- Shop around: do your due diligence and look at different options at different jewelry stores. It can be easy to decide if you only look in one place, but you are wearing these rings forever. Take your time, and make sure to really shop around for your options.
Choosing the perfect wedding band for an engagement truly comes down to you, and the person you are marrying. Traditional expectations can be used as a starting point, but the meaning behind the ring is what provides the true significance.