How to Choose the Perfect Wedding & Engagement Rings

the perfect wedding ring

Before you plan the perfect wedding, you’ve got to plan the perfect way to show your commitment to one another. The classic symbol of that commitment is the ring. Finding and wearing the perfect wedding rings will fill you both with warm feelings every time you look at them. It’s a huge purchase and one that you want to make with as much information as possible.

Choosing the perfect engagement ring isn’t a particularly tough task, but it does require some thoughtful planning. The better you know your partner, the easier it is. The same goes for finding the perfect wedding ring. We can get stressed when we see all the available options out there but don’t worry. Before you make what may be one of the largest purchases of your life, run through this guide to make sure you and your betrothed are going to be happy with your decision.

The difference between engagement rings and wedding rings

Most people buy two rings. One for the engagement, and one for the wedding ceremony. 

Traditionally, when it comes down to the engagement ring vs wedding ring, the engagement ring is the more showy of the two. It is an announcement of a big step in the bride’s life. It lets everyone know that she is committed to her partner and is off the market. Many people go for a relatively simple band on the engagement ring and mount a beautiful stone atop that band.

On the other hand, the wedding ring is often a simple band, sometimes set with small stones. It’s less showy, but many women stack their rings, so if that’s what your bride wants to do, make sure to choose something that works well with the engagement ring. Many jewelers even sell bridal sets for just this purpose. 

What is a bridal set?

If your bride plans on stacking rings, a great option for her is a bridal set. In a bridal set, the engagement ring and wedding ring are designed as two pieces of a whole, meaning that when they are stacked, they fit together perfectly and look beautiful together.

If you really love the idea of stacking your rings, you may even opt to get them sautered. With sautered rings, a jeweler will solder the two rings together, meaning your rings are always oriented perfectly. It also means they don’t rub together and damage one another. It is usually reversible, so you aren’t necessarily stuck with a single piece, should you change your mind.

Now that you know a little more about what you’re looking for let’s look at how to make your decision.

Finding the perfect engagement ring

The purchase of the engagement ring is the first step in making it official. Make sure you’re making a statement that accurately reflects the way you feel.

Suit her style

If the two of you are shopping for the perfect engagement ring together, the process will be much simpler. If you’re a guy who’s shopping for this one on his own, it’s important to dig for details on what your potential future fianceé might like. The more you can match the engagement ring to her personal style, the happier she’ll be with it. Choosing an engagement ring will be a good test of how well you know her.

What sizes and colors speak to her? If she wears silver or platinum jewelry exclusively, a gold band likely isn’t the best metal choice. Likewise, if she isn’t particularly flashy, or if she’s active with her hands a lot at work, an overly large stone might become cumbersome. 

The big thing you want to avoid is buying something simply because it’s currently in style. It won’t always be that way. There are all kinds of engagement ring styles, so choose one with a timeless look that will be happily worn for years to come.

Work with a budget

There are a lot of nice rings out there, but you don’t want to go broke buying one. Plus, if you plan on buying matching engagement rings, you’ll be doubling your cost. You need to set a budget. 

The guidance from the good marketing people at De Beers has evolved over the past century. During the Great Depression, they recommended spending one month’s salary on your engagement ring. That jumped to two months by the eighties and has now hit three months. Keep in mind that this guidance is provided by a diamond mining company and doesn’t suit all couples.

The four C’s: Cut, clarity, color, and carat

Rather than focusing on a specific dollar amount, focus on the different aspects of the ring itself. Most jewelers will recommend that you focus on the four C’s. Cut, clarity, color, and carat. 

If she loves the big stones, you can cut costs without sacrificing carat by making concessions with the color or clarity. Slightly lower grades in these categories can save a lot of money and are barely perceptible to most people.

If she prefers smaller stones, you may have more room in the budget for a nicer stone and cut. Keep in mind that more expensive cuts don’t always mean the best rings for her. If she prefers some shape other than round, you both find something unique, and you can save money.

The trick to finding the perfect engagement ring is to decide which factors are most important and adjust the other elements to hit your budget.

Finding the perfect wedding ring

Even though the wedding ring is usually less showy than the engagement ring, that doesn’t mean it has to be a boring band. It’s still important to put some thought into getting something that fits your personal styles and that you’ll both actually want to wear. 

You aren’t bound by any rules when it comes to selecting the perfect wedding ring.

Buy your rings early

It’s always a good idea to give yourself some time when buying rings. The ones you ultimately choose can take some time to produce, so make sure you start the process well in advance of the wedding. This also gives you a good amount of time to find the perfect wedding ring.

Consider the engagement ring

If you will be wearing the two rings together at all, it’s important that the wedding ring looks good with the engagement ring, even if you don’t stack them daily.

Decide on traditional or non traditional rings

The perfect wedding ring itself is steeped in tradition, so many people feel they should go with traditional wedding rings. There are many styles of traditional rings that have a timeless look, so there’s something out there that she’ll want to wear for decades to come.

If your family has a tradition of passing down wedding rings, you’ve got a good place to start. If she likes the ring as is, you’re set. Don’t force it, though. Make sure it’s something she will want to wear daily. No one wants a hand-me-down that they don’t like. Alterations can be made that will make it her own while keeping your tradition going.

Since the wedding ring will be worn every day for the rest of your life, it’s important that it’s functional as well. For this reason, some people are opting for non traditional wedding rings like silicone bands.

Many people work in environments where it may be dangerous to wear a metal band around their finger and need a wedding band to accommodate. Silicone wedding bands have become a popular option for this segment. They are inexpensive, so if they are lost or destroyed, there’s no need to make an insurance claim.

Ring FAQs

Why we buy wedding and engagement rings

The idea of giving rings to the ones we are going to marry goes beyond simply exchanging nice pieces of jewelry with the ones we love. While they are essential parts of the wedding ring ceremony, engagement and wedding rings also have historical significance.

Engagement rings have been around for centuries. Men in ancient Rome would give women rings to gain the father’s approval and symbolize the transfer of ownership of the woman from the father to the husband to be. Yikes!

Fast forward a couple hundred years, and the engagement ring became a symbol of the groom’s wealth and ability to provide for his new wife. A fancy ring likely meant that the new couple would be able to afford the nicer things in life.

In the twenty-first century, most of us simply buy wedding and engagement rings because we want the world to know how we feel about one another. They can be simple or spectacular, but the purpose is the meaning behind them.

What does a wedding ring symbolize?

Even though a circle is a natural shape for fastening it to your finger, the shape of the ring also symbolizes elements of our feelings for one another. People throughout history have believed the circle represents an infinite love. No beginning and no end. There are also many beliefs surrounding the meaning of everything, from the choice of metals and gemstones to engravings. At the end of the day, wedding rings symbolize our love and commitment to one another.

Which hand is the marriage hand?

There are no steadfast rules on how to wear wedding rings. It is customary in some countries for people to wear wedding rings on their right hands, but engagement and wedding rings are most commonly placed on the fourth finger of the left hand. 

People once believed the ring finger on the left hand contained a vein that ran directly to the heart. By placing the ring on that finger, it was tied directly to the heart, the perceived center of our emotions. We know more about anatomy now but carry on the tradition anyway.

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