Wedding Bands Guide

exchanging wedding bands during marriage

Design a wedding band that makes you excited to wear it for a lifetime.

Exchanging a wedding ring during a marriage ceremony is a time-honored tradition with roots that date back to the Roman Empire. If you are planning to get married, the wedding ring is a piece of jewelry that you would be wearing for most of your adult life.

So, if you want to learn how to purchase the perfect wedding band, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we will reveal everything you need to know about choosing a wedding ring, where to buy them and show you how to get better value for your money.

Let’s dive right in…

4 Useful Tips to Selecting a Wedding Band

bridal jewelry

Wedding rings for him and for her.

Tip#1 – Set a Budget: For most people, your budget is usually the primary factor in your purchase as it sets the boundaries of what you can realistically buy. That’s why I always recommend my readers to decide on how much they want to spend before they even start shopping.

For example, if you have a budget of $500, you can immediately eliminate the possibility of buying a platinum wedding band as well as rings with elaborate designs since they cost a lot more.

Having a predetermined budget would also help you prevent overspending and keep you focused. So, that’s the first thing you need to do before anything else.

Tip#2 – Decide on the Style of the Ring: The recipient’s lifestyle, comfort level and style will be big influences on the type of jewelry to choose. A wedding band should not only look beautiful, but it should also be comfortable to wear too.

Ideally, you should look for bands that fit your lifestyle as they are meant to be worn for long periods of time. If you’re an active person and you’re likely to use your hands for performing rough work, go for something simple and sturdy.

You don’t want to go for an ultra blingy ring with lots of diamonds but end up taking them off every time you need to do chores or exercise. For sporty people, you may want to consider smooth, rounded edge rings that won’t cut into your fingers on impact.

Tip #3 – How to Lower Your Costs and Save Money: Lastly, although budget will largely determine the designs of the ring you buy, you can still make a statement with your wedding band by using “relatively cheaper” materials. Metals like 14K white gold or yellow gold can look stunning while being reasonably priced.

If you want a colorful looking band, there is a range of semi-precious stones you could incorporate into your design too. Examples of these gemstones could include peridot, citrine, aquamarine, and the like.

Embellishments, like diamonds or engraving, can quickly add to the total cost of the wedding band. While some vendors like James Allen may offer free engraving as a value-added service, most other retailers charge a fee which is typically based on the number of characters. If a ring costs $500, the cost of an engraving service (typically around $50) can easily add another 10% to the price tag.

Tip#4 – When Should You Buy Your Wedding Bands: It pays to plan ahead when you are buying an engagement ring especially if you intend to buy a wedding band down the road. You may want to consider buying your ring and band together.

That’s because you want to think about how the rings will fit together. If you purchase a really fancy engagement ring with protruding edges or contours, getting the wedding band to fit nicely when both of them are worn together would be a headache.

I know some people would want to wait till the proposal is successful before picking out a wedding band with their loved one. That’s perfectly OK and it is quite sensible. Just make sure you plan in advance and see if the retailer has a matching band that you can buy in the future.

You can make the purchasing process much simpler if you think things through and do your prior research. My recommendation is to start your search at White Flash, James Allen or Blue Nile as they offer competitive pricing and their craftsmanship on the finished ring is superb.

Choosing the Type of Metal For Your Wedding Ring

wedding band which metal to choose

Do you like white or colored metals?

In practice, any type of metal used in making jewelry can be used for wedding bands too. These metals include gold (yellow, rose and white), platinum, palladium and titanium, among others.

For years, platinum has always been the #1 choice of material used in wedding jewelry. While platinum is pricey, it possesses some excellent qualities which can justify its cost. For instance, platinum is a very sturdy metal, has a beautiful white color, and doesn’t trigger irritable allergic reactions like white gold does.

Gold is another commonly used material and can come in several shades of color. Unlike platinum, gold is rarely used in its purest form. Instead, gold is usually combined into alloys like 18k gold or 14k gold to make it more durable for everyday wear.

Unfortunately, this comes with a downside too. Since nickel is often added into making the alloy, people with hypo-allergenic conditions may have skin reactions with white gold.

Palladium is similar to platinum but it is lighter and not as rare. It is an option that is more affordable and feels lighter on the finger as compared to platinum bands.

Titanium is a light and sturdy metal. And because of this, many people opt for titanium when buying wedding bands, particularly for men. The downside of titanium rings is that they are very difficult to resize in the event you need to do so.

In general, I would recommend white gold settings as it offers the best value for money and an overall balance of durability and strength. Click here to read a more indepth write up on white gold.

What About Designer Rings? Do You Need Them?

verragio designer diamond wedding band

18k white gold Verragio beaded twist diamond wedding ring.

Before heading to the stores or shopping online, it is wise to sit down and think things through. Is your spouse interested in a designer ring? Are you looking for something unique or bold looking? Do you need to buy an expensive ring for showing off your social status?

I personally don’t place designer rings (for e.g. Tiffany, Cartier, Vera Wang) in high regard mainly because of their excessive pricing. Admittedly, some of their designs do look good and have a distinct flavor to them.

However, with the huge array of ready-made designs available at many places, I don’t see the need to pay a ridiculous premium just for branding’s sake. That’s unless your other half specifically requests for a designer ring.

Well, then you are out of luck and you better get prepared to burn a hole in your pocket.

You see, even if I do need something unique, I would be way better off by going for a fully customized ring design. Instead of buying one from a branded store, the end product of a customized project can look just as good (if not better) with a vendor like Brian Gavin.

Should You Choose a Matching or Complementary Wedding Ring?

complementary vs matching diamond ring

Well, it really depends on your personal preferences. Personally speaking, I like wedding band designs that complement the engagement ring. When the engagement ring has a design that matches the wedding band, it can be worn together without making the overall appearance look weird.

This is also the reason why many vendors offer “wedding sets” where both the wedding band and engagement ring are designed to be matching and can be worn individually as well.

That said, if you prefer your engagement ring to look completely unique and different from the wedding band, that’s fine too. If you really want a rose gold band to go with a white gold engagement ring, who’s to say that you are wrong.

It’s really a matter of personal taste but this is something you should think about before you start shopping.

Where is the Best Place to Buy a Wedding Band?

Just like buying an engagement ring, you will want to purchase your wedding band from a vendor that is reputable and reliable. When it comes to wedding rings, good craftsmanship is one of the most important factors I look out for.

You should pay attention to the way the band is formed (look out for symmetrical shanks) and how the melee diamonds are set (if any) as they will affect the ring’s beauty.

Having reviewed the products from hundreds of different retailers in person, these are the top 3 vendors I would recommend for the best overall selection, price and workmanship standards.

James Allen – They are the pioneer in offering high-resolution video listing to show you exactly what you are buying. James Allen also has a wide range of simple wedding ring designs to highly intricate masterpieces for you to choose from.

where to buy eternity wedding rings james allen

White Flash: A vendor that specializes in super ideal cut diamonds, White Flash has a fully integrated in-house workshop that makes high quality jewelry pieces. Besides the complementary wedding band designs they offer, White Flash also has a range of designer ring settings on sale.

where to buy designer wedding bands

Blue Nile – They have come a long way from becoming the world’s largest online retailer of diamond engagement rings and fine jewelry. Due to their large scale operations and relationships with manufacturers, Blue Nile offers some of the most competitive prices in the industry and an enormous selection of ring designs to choose from.

buy wedding bands online

With the wide array of designs and selections available, you will definitely be able to find your perfect ring at White Flash, James Allen or Blue Nile. These are reliable vendors that I personally use to buy jewelry. Check them out for yourself!

More Insights to Helping You Find the Perfect Ring:

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  1. Dr. S. Chatterjee-
    April 18, 2016 at 5:54 am

    Pls inform me regarding Platinum & 18k band rings with prices.

  2. Roberta-
    January 2, 2019 at 2:23 am

    thank you for the very helpful website.

    I am looking for a diamond wedding band (married 37 years) and I find following the directions to buy a diamond engagement ring helpful, but not necessarily exactly what I need for a band of diamonds. The grading system, while helpful, isn’t quite as important as it is for a solitary diamond as there are usually several smaller stones or chips almost depending on the ring. So, my question is this: what websites would you recommend for a diamond band? I looked at the three you recommended and found White Flash had the best variety. I was somewhat disappointed in the selection from James Allen and Blue Nile.

    Any assistance in this process would be appreciated.

  3. Paul Gian-
    January 3, 2019 at 8:42 am

    All 3 vendors offer great craftsmanship on their wedding bands and I think it depends on the type of design you are looking for to choose the best vendor to work with. James Allen and Blue Nile offer more generic designs when it comes to wedding rings while White Flash have a bigger selection. They are also an authorized retailer for well known designers in the industry and in this regard, have more unique designs available.

    One thing that I like about WF is that they utilize better quality melees in the rings; so that’s a plus point especially for someone like you who is looking for a band with diamonds.

  4. Paul Gian-
    January 4, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Melees = small diamonds typically used in bands and settings.

    If you want a band that feels heavy, you definitely need to stick with platinum. Buying a branded piece of jewelry doesn’t automatically qualify it as being high quality nor does it necessarily make it better than one made by the local jeweler. It depends on a case by case basis.

    What I can tell you is that Tacori is one brand that sets high standards. I can’t say the same for others sold in large chains like Jared or Reeds. In fact, it’s like comparing day and night.

  5. Roberta-
    January 4, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    Thank you for your prompt response. I did see that White Flash has melees (what exactly is a melee and how does that compare to micropave?) and a better selection of bands, with prominent names suppliers.

    Question: I like a band that feels relatively “heavy in the hand” but buying online I can’t experience that. Does buying a Tacori band, for instance, imply that they will utilize slightly more gold/platinum in the band than some no-name band at my local jeweler? I assume lower quality bands most likely keep the gold weight as light as possible to keep the profit margin better–is that a fair assumption?

    Another question: I have a poorer quality micropave band that “catches” on everything (sweaters, pants, causing pulls.) Is this just the nature micropave, or just because the ring is less than top quality (bought on Diamond Row!)? In other words, without being able to try a ring on that I will buy online, should I just assume a micropave style will always be rougher compared to, say, individually pronged (and larger) stones?

    Looking forward to your responses.

  6. Donald-
    November 10, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    What’s the difference between a wedding ring and an engagement ring? I’m intending to use the diamond proposal ring as the wedding ring itself to be exchanged during the wedding.

  7. Paul Gian-
    November 12, 2019 at 2:35 am

    It depends on individual culture and beliefs. Firstly, you have to consider the real significance of the wedding band to you and your partner. A ring can symbolize a pledge of commitment and fidelity in some societies but some cultures shun wedding rings. For others, wearing a ring or not wearing one means nothing at all.

    I’ve written an article here about this topic. In most cultures, the engagement ring is given to the woman during the proposal. It’s akin to making a commitment to the woman that you want to marry her. The wedding ring is placed on your spouse’s left finger during the wedding ceremony and is akin to making a promise towards each other during the ceremony. But I need to reemphasize this again.

    There’s no wrong or right meaning to the rings. If you want to use your engagement ring as a wedding ring during the wedding ceremony, that’s perfectly fine!

  8. Sonja-
    January 9, 2020 at 1:45 am

    Is there a best time of the year to buy wedding rings when they are on sale or cheaper in pricing?

  9. Paul Gian-
    January 10, 2020 at 9:27 am

    It’s really up to personal preferences as to when should you buy your wedding bands. Some jewelers may run promotions during the year end to bundle a band together with an engagement ring. But really, there’s no best timing as it depends largely on when you need the ring. As I had said in the guide above, you may want to think about getting the wedding band at the same time you buy your proposal ring. Or at least keep in mind the designs that have matching rings for a good fit.

  10. Henry Killingsworth-
    June 22, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    You made a good point when you mentioned that it is a good idea to set a budget when you are looking to purchase a wedding ring. It might be a good idea to visit a couple of jewelers before picking a budget. This would be a good way to get an idea of what prices wedding rings are going for these days.

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