Engagement rings, wedding rings, wedding bands… when you’re planning a wedding there is a lot you’re suddenly meant to know about jewelry!
The circle of the ring is said to represent the cycle of life within which we all exist, and the tradition of exchanging rings within a wedding ceremony is still a very important part of most modern-day weddings.
But what is the difference between a wedding ring and a wedding band? And why is this piece of jewelry so essential? Do both parties have to wear the same ring? And what if your groom has never worn any kind of jewelry before?
We’ve pulled together everything you need to know about wedding rings and wedding bands to make life a little bit easier!
So What is the Difference Between a Wedding Ring and a Wedding Band?
The wedding ring and the wedding band have today essentially come to mean the same thing.
You’ll hear some people use the term ‘wedding band’ while others say ‘wedding ring’, but there is actually no real difference between the two in the modern-day world of marriage.
If pushed to define the difference, a wedding ring is more likely to have diamonds in it, and a wedding band is more likely to be of a more simplistic design in plain metal such as gold, silver, platinum, or palladium.
Which Band Was Worn Traditionally?
Historically, it was the woman who received a family ring or precious stone in the form of an engagement ring, and the man who was given a wedding band.
However, over time, women also began to wear a wedding band along with their engagement ring. (More jewelry? Why not?!) These bands then began to be designed with more care and cost, in a more feminine and perhaps stylish way – creating the more modern idea of the wedding ring.
This is why the contemporary wedding ring is more likely to include diamonds set all the way around it, or encompass decorative metal work.
Do the Wedding Bands Have to Be Matching?
Well, the simplest answer is no! Many couples do choose matching bands, but it is not essential AT ALL to have a band that matches your other half. It may be that your partner wants yellow gold but you want platinum to match your diamond engagement ring. It is totally down to your own preferences.
You both should truly love your wedding ring, after all, you are going to be wearing them for your entire lives!
What Happens to the Engagement Ring on the Wedding Day?
Typically, brides move their engagement ring from their left hand over to the right hand for the wedding day. During the ceremony, the 4th finger on their left hand is therefore bare and ready to receive the wedding band from their beloved.
Brides can then move their engagement ring back to the same finger to live in holy matrimony on top of the wedding band.
But why is it that way round you ask? It is said that the person wearing the engagement ring should wear it above their wedding band so the wedding band is closer to their heart. Cute!
Should I Include Diamonds in My Wedding Band?
Some people choose a plain gold or silver band to match their partners, and some choose something more elaborate with diamonds. Luckily there is a wide range to choose from!
Most brides consider their engagement ring in this decision. For instance, if it is flashy, contains a particularly large center stone, or has diamonds set in the shoulders then perhaps a more simple wedding band might be a good choice.
However, if your engagement ring is set on a simple band, a more sparkly wedding band might compliment it nicely. You may even be a ‘the more diamonds the better’ kind of bride who is aiming for the wow factor, in which case bring on the bling!
In recent years, men too have started opting for a more ornate style of ring, shunning the simple gold band for diamonds of their very own!
Whatever your preference, spend some time in a jewelry store trying on some options. Get a real idea of what works best for you, style and budget-wise.
How Do We Choose Which Wedding Rings?
Shiny to matte, round to wishbone, uncomplicated to embellished, there is a HUGE amount of choice out there and any jeweler will be able to show you all kinds of styles. Since you’ll be wearing this on your left hand for the rest of your life, it is important that you pick something that you really love.
If in doubt, think about what is the most timeless. Perhaps a simple classic band will still be in style in twenty, thirty years from now…
Should We Get Them Engraved?
In a world where virtually anything can be customized, it is no surprise that an ever growing number of couples are choosing to engrave their wedding rings. Inscriptions visible on the outside of the band or more personal lettering hidden inside of the ring, an engraving makes your ring that little extra distinctive. If your jeweler is able to engrave your wedding ring – why not!?
What If My Groom Has Never Worn Jewelry Before?
Wearing a wedding band is about declaring your commitment to the world, but as committed to the bond of marriage as your groom may be, some men just do not wear jewelry. Period.
For these men, the concept of wearing a wedding band or wedding ring 24/7 can be tricky to navigate. It’s not uncommon for the ring to live in a box by the bed for those who are just not comfortable enough to wear their wedding band. So if your groom is a little uncomfortable, do try to be empathetic.
I suggest going to the jeweler together and trying on a couple of pieces of different styles. A contoured ring shape might feel less traditional and restrictive for a certain man, or a very thin band might exude just the right amount of subtlety that feels more comfortable. It may just be that once he has that 5mm white gold band on that left finger he won’t want to take it off!
When Should We Get Our Wedding Rings?
Well, this all comes down to how long your wedding planning journey is. You want to get them at least 3 months before the big day, ideally. Not only do you want to leave yourselves enough time to source something you love, you’ll need to allow time to double check sizing’s in case of weight fluctuations.