Everything You Need to Know
Your wedding ring serves as a beautiful reminder of the commitment you and your partner make to each other on your wedding day, which you will likely wear every day. Every couple has a different preference for their wedding rings; some dream of diamond wedding bands, while others are focused on the highest quality and durability, and select platinum wedding rings. Whether you are just beginning to think about engagement rings, or are months out from the big day and looking for a wedding ring set for you both to wear, there’s a lot to learn about the options and significance of wedding jewelry.
If you have questions about choosing the perfect wedding ring, you’re not alone. Our expert guide is an ideal resource to help you navigate the world of wedding rings. Before you and your partner invest in a wedding ring, take some time to browse photos of real men’s and women’s wedding bands that other couples selected for their I-dos, and see which styles you like. Our wedding ring directory provides you with everything you need to reach out to wedding jewelers who can craft the band of your partner’s dreams.
What should you keep in mind about wedding rings?
The feeling of giving your partner a wedding ring on the big day is unforgettable, but the process of selecting wedding rings can prove to be overwhelming. That’s why it’s helpful to do your research before you begin the wedding ring selection process.
If you’re asking yourself, “What’s the difference between engagement ring and wedding ring shopping?” we will break down the differences. Plus, you could also have questions regarding where you should purchase the wedding ring, especially if you are looking to stay within a certain price range. In this case, you might also wonder, “How much does a wedding ring cost at a jewelry store?” While a jewelry store is perhaps the most popular place to find your rings, there are plenty of other places where you can find your special wedding jewelry.
In addition to general questions regarding where to purchase wedding rings and how much to spend, you could have questions about the style of the wedding ring itself. For instance, are diamond wedding rings a must-have, or are traditional white gold wedding rings for couples more your style? For couples interested in having symmetry, they might also ask themselves or a jeweler, “Do wedding bands have to match?” While a diamond wedding band would go well with almost anything, having your metals match could make it a more aesthetically pleasing set. One classic example is a platinum ring with a solitaire diamond (the engagement ring) paired with a diamond wedding band.
Of course, engagement and wedding ring prices are also something you must consider when you are selecting your wedding jewelry. Many couples aren’t sure about the cost of a wedding ring when they begin the process of finding their wedding jewelry. Having an understanding of the average wedding ring cost will make the process easier, and you could even see if purchasing a wedding ring set helps you stay within your price range—and it could give you peace of mind that the rings were quite literally made for each other. But before you start looking for diamond wedding rings or white gold wedding rings for couples (or any style, really), you should first spend some time thinking about engagement rings.
What should you know about engagement rings?
If you’ve found yourself searching for the perfect wedding ring for your partner, chances are you already have a brand new accessory on your left ring finger. But in case you’re in the wedding jewelry research phase, we’ve rounded up some basic wedding band vocabulary that’s helpful to have on hand. Whether you’re looking for a wedding or engagement ring, having an understanding of the different types of rings will be helpful in your overall wedding planning process.
Let’s begin by discussing the four Cs, which serve as a general guideline to keep in mind while researching and purchasing diamond wedding bands and engagement rings: carat, cut, color, and clarity. These standards were set by the Gemological Institute of America, and wedding jewelers find these guidelines helpful as they offer a sense of standardization. The four Cs represent:
The term “carat” refers to the size of the stone on your engagement ring or wedding band. One carat weighs 200 milligrams, and there’s a significant range from there, depending on the diamond wedding rings you’re interested in. So, how much do you spend on an engagement ring? The more carats, the more you can expect to spend on wedding bands. You might notice that the sales associate refers to points when discussing stones under one carat and switches to decimals when the stone weighs over a carat. This is helpful when comparing diamond wedding rings and engagement rings with differing carat weights.
Do you dream about princess-cut engagement rings? What about rose gold wedding bands with a pear-shaped diamond? There are several different cuts for stones (diamonds are just one of the many you can choose from!) used. For many women wedding bands might feature stone cuts described as emerald, round, princess, cushion, old mine, Asscher, pear, round, or marquis. The names reference different shapes and facet numbers for wedding bands. For example, the princess cut is a square cut with a pyramid shape. Meanwhile, a round cut has 57 or 58 facets. Wedding ring prices depend on the name of the cut but also the quality of the stone itself. For example, a round cut that’s marked as “no culet” (the pointy end on the bottom) will increase the average wedding ring cost. The culet is another element to consider, and as the point of the diamond’s diameter increases, the price typically decreases.
You’ll also hear wedding jewelers refer to an engagement ring’s stone colors. There is a scale that shows the quality of a diamond’s color after experts put your wedding jewelry through a white light test. The more “colorless” it appears, the more expensive the engagement ring or wedding rings will be. White diamonds are judged by a color reading that ranges from D to Z. The closer it is to D, the closer your diamond engagement ring is to what the pros consider “perfection.”
The diamonds in engagement rings are made of carbon, and while undergoing heat and pressure, natural inclusions (think cloudiness or other rarely-noticeable imperfections) are bound to occur. Jewelry stores usually refer to these as impurities, even though they might not be visible to the naked eye. The industry standard is to check the stone at ten times the magnification to look for these inclusions. From there, they rate the stone in one of six categories: flawless (the most expensive type of engagement ring diamond), internally flawless, very very slightly included, very slightly included, slightly included, and included (the least expensive wedding ring).
No matter which diamond you select, you will find that it looks gorgeous on a platinum wedding band, rose gold wedding bands, or white gold wedding bands for women. Alternatively, some diamonds look best against traditional yellow gold wedding bands. If you have questions about what works best, your wedding jeweler can offer advice about how to find the perfect platinum wedding bands, men’s white gold wedding bands, and so many more combinations.
Once the decision about the engagement ring diamond has been made, the next step is to select the material. There are platinum rings, yellow gold wedding rings, white gold wedding bands for women and plenty of other metal types to choose from. Of course, there are also different types of these engagement ring materials. For instance, if you are looking for a gold ring, make a note of whether you prefer yellow or white gold wedding rings. If neither of these fit your style, rose gold wedding bands or platinum wedding rings are other chic options.
Platinum wedding rings are also popular. The bright metal will really stand out, beautifully accentuating the platinum ring wearer’s fourth finger. However, it’s important to take budget into account, as platinum wedding rings can be more expensive than traditional white or yellow gold wedding bands. That’s because platinum rings are ranked as the most durable type of metal. When selecting a wedding band material, you should consider whether you'd rather splurge on the stone itself or the ring material (or both!). Of course, it’s possible to find an engagement ring that balances beauty and cost. For instance, you could pick your favorite among the platinum rings available and pair it with an internally flawless diamond. Or, you could decide on a plain platinum ring in lieu of a diamond wedding band (with small diamonds lining the band) to level out the overall cost.
Historically, platinum rings were commonplace in the 1930s—until World War II, when the material was needed elsewhere. Consequently, platinum wedding rings were scarce during this time and many opted for yellow gold wedding rings. The next time a platinum ring made headlines was in 1955, when Marilyn Monroe’s diamond wedding band featured a whopping 36 baguette-cut diamonds. By the 1990s, white gold and platinum wedding rings were trending over yellow gold. Platinum rings continue to be a top choice, but it’s certainly not your only option. People love mixing it up based on their personality, favorite jewelry styles, and more.
Once you choose a material for your wedding jewelry, it is time to decide on the setting style of the engagement ring. The most popular engagement ring setting is the solitaire, which is frequently showcased in advertisements. These more minimalist engagement rings allow the stone to take center stage. A wedding band with a three-stone design is another trending engagement ring style, and celebrities like Ariana Grande and Megan Fox have led to many people putting two-stone rings on their list of must-haves. Other options include the pavé, channel setting, bezel, or halo. If you’d like to see examples, your wedding jeweler will be able to provide you with some (and you can have a fun try-on!) platinum wedding rings, diamond wedding rings, and other options brides and brides-to-be absolutely love.
Of course, engagement or wedding ring price is a huge deciding factor when it comes to purchasing engagement rings and wedding bands alike. Wedding band cost depends on which material you select. For instance, platinum rings are more expensive because it’s a pricier material for engagement rings. Rose gold wedding rings are one of the most prominent on-trend options too. And for a similar-yet-elevated look to silver, men’s white gold wedding bands and platinum rings are other highly sought-after choices. Meanwhile, if you are looking for a way to prevent scratches on your diamond engagement ring, select a tungsten ring for your wedding jewelry. It is scratch-resistant (but not necessarily 100 percent scratch-proof) and harder than titanium. In addition, choosing tungsten will decrease the wedding ring price significantly. However, it’s known for having a more matte finish, which contrasts with the bright sheen of a platinum ring. Tungsten is also a popular material for unique men’s wedding bands, but it’s also a great choice for women’s wedding bands.
What is the significance of a wedding band?
Wedding bands are the rings you and your partner exchange at your wedding and wear for the rest of your lives. While engagement rings typically feature a larger diamond or stone (or multiple), these rings are typically diamond wedding rings or more minimalist bands. Brides- and grooms-to-be usually choose a gold or platinum ring that they’ll cherish forever.
While your new white gold wedding rings might be new, the idea of exchanging wedding bands as a testament to eternal love is not. In fact, there is hidden significance behind your wedding band. Everything from the shape of the wedding ring itself to the sentiment behind giving it to your partner has a deeper meaning. Take note of the rounded shape of your wedding ring set. Of course, your metal or diamond wedding rings are round to fit your finger. However, this circular wedding band shape also refers to infinity; it has no beginning nor end, just like the love that you and your partner share.
Did you know that wedding rings date as far back as Ancient Egypt? The tradition began with Egyptian pharaohs. Not only did Egyptians use the rings to symbolize eternity, they also compared the shape of the wedding band to the sun and the moon, which were worshiped. In Ancient Egypt, the open space in the middle of the wedding ring was also significant, as it symbolized the gateway to the unknown. Ancient Egyptians also believed that the fourth finger on the left hand (now referred to as your “ring finger”) had a “vein of love” that went right to the heart.
And after Alexander the Great invaded Egypt, the Greeks adopted this wedding ring custom. Wedding bands for men and women alike most featured either Eros or Cupid, the god of love. When the Romans conquered Greece, the wedding ring trend continued in the Roman Empire. From there, wedding bands for women started becoming customized and taking on more uniqueness and style. Gold wedding rings became popular by the second century CE. In medieval times, artisans added precious stones to gold wedding rings. Over the following centuries, wedding bands for women evolved to become more ornate and were exceedingly popular throughout Europe.
In the 12th century, wedding bands for women and men became part of a new holy sacrament: the Christian marriage ceremony. Diamond rings are also not a recent invention. While they might have been exchanged much earlier, there is a famous example of Archduke Maximilian of Austria, who gave a diamond wedding band to Mary of Burgundy in 1477 (that was over 500 years ago!). Ever since the church became involved in standardizing marriage ceremonies, engagement rings became accepted as a personal promise and would later be followed by the more official, “church-sanctioned” wedding ring.
But wedding rings for both partners became normalized more recently. Wedding rings for men gained traction during World War II among soldiers. Soldiers wore their wedding rings abroad during wartime as a reminder of their partner on the other side of the world. As we mentioned previously, platinum wedding rings were also more rare because the metal was needed for the war. Even after the war, women's wedding bands and men’s wedding rings remained popular. In the 1940s, any jewelry store selling wedding bands had plenty of precious stones to choose from (not necessarily diamonds). But the now-widely known diamond company De Beers set up a massive marketing campaign around the same time, which involved giving Hollywood actresses their diamonds to wear. This epic moment is marked by the Gemological Institute of America as the time period when the diamond wedding band became the most sought-after ring.
Nowadays, wedding rings play an important role in the wedding ceremony. Couples exchange a metal or diamond wedding band and their vows during the wedding ceremony. It’s now common for religious officiants to conduct a blessing of the rings too. Some popular styles include platinum wedding rings, yellow gold wedding rings for couples, and white gold wedding bands for women.
You might be wondering, “Do all couples wear wedding rings?” Although women's wedding bands are pretty common, some men prefer not to wear a traditional wedding band. As a result, wedding jewelers have looked for ways to make wedding bands for men popular again. For instance, tungsten or platinum rings are appealing (not to mention, super durable and lower cost) options.
What are the different kinds of wedding bands?
When selecting a wedding ring, there’s a lot to consider. Namely, think about the stone (if any), the material, and all the different types of wedding bands available. There are thousands of options—platinum wedding bands, diamond wedding bands, and more—to choose from when selecting wedding rings for men and women.
One option is to choose matching wedding bands, or rings that complement each other. And many women's wedding bands could be purchased as a wedding ring set. These wedding ring sets are designed so that your wedding jewelry matches or is very similar, and you can get these to go with your partner’s ring too. Wedding rings sets ensure that your engagement and wedding rings complement each other and look cohesive. However, if you’re looking for an answer to the question, “Do wedding bands have to match?” the answer is absolutely not. There’s nothing wrong with choosing from rose gold wedding rings sets, for example, but it’s also fun to showcase your individual style with an interesting and unique combo. Some people also love mixing metals and might combine white gold wedding rings with a rose gold engagement ring, or pair a platinum ring with a diamond wedding band.
Alternatively, you can purchase individual wedding rings. There are ornate wedding rings for men with new and exciting designs. For example, some men’s wedding rings designers craft wedding rings that feature intricate engravings for a more personal touch. However, some men opt for traditional rounded gold wedding bands, and matching gold wedding rings for couples is also quite chic and complementary. There are also men’s diamond wedding bands that feature black diamonds. Other unique mens wedding band choices might include wedding rings crafted from tungsten or two-tone carbide. Custom-made jewelry is also an option for men’s wedding rings, but be prepared to pay for customization. Another favorite is a wedding ring that is passed down among family members.
Beautiful wedding rings for women are available in several different styles. Some wedding bands for women are even stackable, so the engagement ring and wedding ring complement each other. To begin, let’s discuss some of the materials used to create your wedding ring. The best wedding ring stores will offer couples the option of diamond wedding rings, rose gold wedding bands, and beyond.
In addition to different wedding ring materials, you should keep in mind that the types of diamonds will vary too. While we’ve briefly touched on the various diamonds suitable for use in a wedding band, there’s even more to learn.
Unlike a colorless diamond, which is considered perfect because of its purity, you can actually purchase a diamond for a wedding ring that is specifically chosen for its color. These diamonds have a different set of standards. Engagement rings and wedding bands with these upscale diamonds are classified by the primary hue of the color, the saturation or intensity of the color, and the tone, which refers to the lightness or darkness of the color. You can find a diamond that’s as vibrant as you or your partner; there are beautifully-hued options in every color in the rainbow. Depending on your style, and even your wedding color, this could be an unexpected way to add uniqueness to your big day aesthetic too.
While these diamonds are precious, keep in mind that some colorful diamonds are considered less authentic due to specific color treatments. Sometimes, nature does the magic, and other times there’s modern intervention that creates these show-stopping diamonds. A typical process is annealing, which refers to the repeated heating and cooling process that changes the color of a diamond.
If a wedding or engagement ring you’re looking at seems unrealistically inexpensive, it likely features synthetic stones. Cubic zirconia is an excellent example. If you are looking to stay within a certain wedding ring price range, the store associate might suggest a synthetic stone instead.
Whichever type of diamond you choose, material still matters when you’re trying on different types of wedding rings. As we’ve mentioned, platinum rings have gained momentum due to their durability, rose gold wedding bands are also trendy and popular due to their unique hue, and tungsten is increasingly popular for men buying wedding rings. Most wedding ring stores will have a display of wedding bands and wedding bands for men, so you can try rings on together.
Customized wedding rings are also available. Some people like to engrave the inside of the wedding band with their wedding date, names or initials, or a personal phrase. This is only a small addition to the wedding ring price, but certainly worth it. You can ask the jewelers at wedding ring stores what the cost is for this service, and some of the best wedding ring stores will often provide this addition for free.
How do you find wedding bands?
When it comes to finding unique wedding bands, there are plenty of options. This means that narrowing down the search for the perfect wedding ring can be tricky. However, we have some helpful hints that can make the process a lot smoother. To begin, peruse our directory for hundreds of pictures of real weddings. You’ll see plenty of different wedding rings, so take note of which you’re drawn to. When you see the ring of your dreams, you can learn more details about the jewelry designer listed. Just click on the wedding to learn more about the wedding ring jeweler, and you can navigate directly to their website from there.
Another option is to allocate time to browse local jewelry stores. This will help you get an idea of what you’re looking for. For example, maybe you’ve always dreamed of rose gold wedding rings sets, but when you see one in person at a jewelry store, you realize you’d rather opt for yellow gold wedding bands instead. Because a wedding band is an extremely personal purchase, and one you’ll have forever, take your time choosing the right ring. The best wedding ring stores will have a trusted jeweler who can help you and your partner find a ring that checks every box. And if you want to be surprised, you could give your partner a few of your “must-have” elements, or visit a jewelry store and narrow it down to a couple choices you really love.
Have your engagement ring and absolutely love it? If so, you can visit the jewelry stores or wedding jewelry designers who crafted your engagement ring. These experts likely have complementary options from wedding ring sets, and they can even recommend wedding bands that will look best with your ring. Alternatively, if you want a one-of-a-kind wedding ring, you can work with a jewelry store that offers you the ability to create your own wedding bands. This provides you and your partner the opportunity to craft unique wedding bands that are a testament to your individual love story. Just remember that this super special customization will come with a significantly higher wedding band cost.
You can also discuss the availability of heirloom engagement and wedding bands with your family. Members of your family might be willing to share their gold wedding rings or a vintage engagement ring that has been around for decades. This is a particularly special option, as it carries the history and love of your family.
How do you know your wedding band size?
If you are ordering wedding bands online but are unsure of what you or your partner’s wedding ring size is, don’t panic. Luckily, there are several ways that you can tackle measuring your finger to guarantee the perfect fit. This will help ensure that your wedding bands will fit correctly when they arrive in your mailbox—no returns necessary. You can use an online wedding ring size chart as a measuring method. Or, you can try one of the many other ways that you can measure your finger. Here’s one strategy that you can probably try with items in your home right now:
- Cut a piece of non-elasticized string. Whether you are shopping for men’s wedding rings or wedding bands for women, this method works.
- Wrap the string around your finger. People typically wear the wedding ring on the fourth finger of their left hand, affectionately dubbed the “ring finger.” However, if you plan to wear your wedding jewelry on a different finger, wrap the string around that finger instead. Then, make a mark where the string meets.
- Measure the string. Lay the string flat on the counter and use a ruler to measure its length in meters based on where you made a mark. The figure you end up with is the inside circumference of the wedding ring that would fit you. If you are shopping for rings for both partners, you need both parties to take these measurements.
Another option is to simply visit local jewelry stores where you might purchase your wedding rings. Wedding jewelers have a ring sizer that will help you determine your best fit. Alternatively, if you’ve decided to purchase your wedding band online, you can utilize online tools that your selected wedding jewelry store offers to ensure you are selecting your best fit. Wedding jewelers may also ask you to bring along a gold or platinum ring that you already own and that fits you perfectly. They will then use this measurement for your order of gold wedding bands, platinum wedding rings, or other rings.
How much do wedding bands cost?
So, how much should you spend on a wedding ring? Because wedding ring prices run the gamut from more budget-friendly to the-sky-is-the-limit (just like there’s a wide range when selecting a wedding dress or venue), there is no right or wrong answer here. However, allocating a wedding ring budget before visiting jewelers at wedding ring stores can help ensure you don’t spend more than you and your partner designated.
To give you an idea of your overall wedding budget, the average wedding in the United States costs $20,300. However, you will likely spend more if you plan to wed in New York, Hawaii, or California, as these states have a higher cost of living. The average wedding ring cost in the United States is $5,204. With the average figures in mind, let’s dig a little deeper. Of course, wedding ring prices will vary depending on what style you want, the type of stone (if any) that you go for, and which metal you choose for the band. For instance, style-conscious individuals might find themselves looking for wedding bands for men and women with a higher price point. Generally speaking, traditional or unique men's wedding bands will cost about $572 (but men’s white gold wedding bands, or platinum wedding bands could be higher) and women's diamond wedding bands could cost significantly more, due to the high demand for diamonds or other jewels. Because of these trends, you’ll find that women’s wedding ring prices are much higher at most wedding ring stores. Depending on the wedding ring style, there’s practically no limit to what it could cost.
You might be wondering what dictates wedding ring prices. To get a better idea, it’s crucial to understand that wedding ring prices can vary considerably between wedding ring stores and the design and style will weigh in significantly. For example, if you’re interested in wedding bands made by a well-known luxury designer, it will likely be more expensive than similar choices that aren’t made by a name-brand retailer or jeweler. Meanwhile, white gold wedding bands for women (a popular and more expensive metal) with or without stones up the wedding ring price. Plus, the intricacies and stone choice will factor into all engagement and wedding ring prices. And that’s not exclusive to women’s styles: Men’s wedding bands will come with a similar price tag. That said, there are several other aspects that influence the wedding band cost.
Wedding Ring Materials
We have already touched on the fact that some materials are more expensive than others. When compared to a platinum ring, a tungsten wedding band is considered fairly budget-friendly. The same goes for rose gold wedding rings sets and white gold wedding bands for women and men. Yellow gold wedding bands vary in price depending on the metal’s purity, and platinum wedding bands are usually more expensive. Many brides and grooms are drawn to the platinum ring options because of their shine and durability. So, it’s important to remember that if you choose platinum wedding bands, you are probably already starting at a higher cost than if you were to choose rose gold wedding rings sets.
Wedding Ring Embellishment
Diamonds, in particular, increase the average wedding ring cost. The average wedding ring cost with other precious stones will be less, and the cost of the stones (diamond or not) depends on size, purity, color, cut, and quantity.
Wedding Ring Engraving
Adding your names or wedding date to the wedding ring set will likely be relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to the overall price. Some wedding ring jewelers will even provide this service for free, so inquire with your wedding ring store if wedding ring engraving is something they offer.
Wedding Ring Sets
If you buy your wedding rings as a set or even just from the same vendor, the cost will likely be lower per wedding band. There are matching wedding ring sets available in several different materials too. This may not be a good option when you are in the market for unique men's wedding bands and custom wedding bands for women alike. However, you could buy a wedding ring set and then work with your wedding jeweler to make the individual wedding rings unique to each partner.
Wedding Ring Customization
Whether you’re interested in designing unique men’s wedding bands or an on-trend diamond wedding ring, the cost will inevitably increase. A designer will charge you more for a women's diamond wedding band that is customized because it involves drafting, client consultation, and labor (among other elements involved in the process). Or, if you want the ring setting on your wedding bands changed, there will be some prices attached to that as well. That’s why it’s important to have the proper size and style before making this major purchase.
Who pays for the wedding bands?
If you’re talking about the more “traditional” route, brides or their families tend to purchase the men's wedding bands for the grooms, and grooms or their families purchase the women's wedding bands. However, there are so many ways to share your love and exchange these precious symbols. Tradition doesn’t suit every couple, and it really comes down to personal preference for covering the wedding band cost. The groom might pay for the engagement ring and take care of the wedding band cost for both partners’ rings, or vice versa. It’s also possible that the couple could choose to purchase wedding jewelry for each other, pay for their own, or split the cost evenly. There’s no right or wrong way to pay for wedding rings, but it’s important to have a conversation about how you hope to handle your finances (leading up to and after your big day!).
Regardless of who pays for the wedding bands, you do not want to forget to purchase insurance for your wedding rings. To do this, you will also need to get your rings appraised by your local jeweler. Wedding and engagement ring insurance will often cover a ring that gets damaged, stolen, or lost, which is why it’s a worthwhile investment. Be sure to read the fine print of your insurance policy so you know what exactly is covered.
Because your engagement ring and wedding bands have sentimental value, purchasing insurance for the wedding jewelry could provide a safety net. Before you get your rings appraised, remember that the wedding ring price doesn’t always reflect its actual value. Therefore, you can have an independent appraiser value your wedding jewelry. The more expensive the wedding band or engagement ring, the higher the insurance cost—but if something ever happens to your wedding band, it would definitely be worth it.
Where should you begin when looking for wedding rings?
Whether you’re looking for diamond wedding rings or a stunning diamond engagement ring, our directory of real weddings can help you and your partner find the wedding jewelry of your dreams. Browse photographs of classic women’s rings and unique men’s wedding bands (among other types!) that are beloved by real couples. Then, see the details for the jewelry designer or retailer and get in touch with the jewelry stores that sell wedding bands for men and wedding bands for women. You can look through pictures of their wedding ring sets to learn more about the wedding jewelers’ offerings and interesting combinations you want to try on. Our directory is a trusted resource that helps couples connect to expert vendors to build their perfect wedding day. Your wedding ring jeweler is one of the most important vendors to connect with, so let us help you find the perfect gold, platinum, or diamond wedding rings that will serve as a testament to you and your partner’s eternal love.