Your engagement ring is most probably a showstopper, but have you considered what kind of wedding band will compliment it on your ring finger? Will you and your husband-to-be wear matching wedding bands? Will you have your bands engraved with a personal declaration of love? Or, will you have a tattoo etched on your second finger to mark eternity?
With so many things to think about, let’s take a look at some engagement and wedding ring traditions.
The history of engagement and wedding rings
While it is easy to be distracted by dazzling diamonds and lose sight of the significance of this staple piece of jewellery, it’s important to note that the wedding band is more than just an accessory.
Your engagement ring may act as a promise, or declaration of intention, but the rings that you exchange on your wedding day are a symbol of never-ending love.
It is thought that the history of the wedding band dates back to the pharaohs of Egypt, who remarked on the infinite shape of a circle; it has no beginning and no end.
Originally made from metals like iron, by Medieval times gems were common in ring settings and, once discovered, diamonds became customary in hand-worn jewellery as they were thought to characterise lasting love.
Historians believe that the tradition of giving rings as part of a dual-ring ritual dates back to Greek Orthodox Church ceremonies in the 1300s, however, it took a while longer for this custom to become embedded in society.
Selecting the right wedding band Q&A
Q: Must the groom wear a ring?
A: This comes down to personal choice. Some men don’t like wearing rings, while others can’t wear jewellery because of their line of work. That said, many young men like to wear a wedding band to proudly display their affection or to avoid sending out the wrong message to other women.
Remember, there are no rules when it comes to engagement and wedding rings – some women prefer not to have an engagement ring and simply wear an eternity or wedding band following the vows!
Q: Who buys the wedding bands?
A: Traditionally, the man would have proposed to his wife-to-be with an engagement ring (which would have cost three-months’ worth of his salary!) making her his fiancée. Times have since changed though, and many women are now proposing to their male counterparts, taking away this expectation that men must be the dominant of the two. As a result, many couples choose to pay for their wedding bands using money they have saved as a combined effort to put towards their wedding.
Q: When should the rings be bought?
A: A lot of women like to be surprised with an engagement ring chosen by their partner yet, with so many great package deals for bespoke engagement and wedding ring sets around, lots of couples are now opting for this choice and are waiting until nearer the wedding to make their purchase. It may not be as exciting a proposal, but going ring shopping together can be equally fun as it allows both parties to choose rings they actually want and to get sized up properly.
Q: Does the ring need to fit?
A: As with most rings, you can get bands re-sized if they don’t fit. That said, if you are buying an engagement and wedding ring set, beware of making any drastic changes to the size in case it causes the set to no longer fit together securely. Also, if your bands have gemstones in them, you should always check if it will possible to re-size them before you commit to buying.
If it looks like it may be difficult to make a ring smaller by melting it down, and it is an heirloom or unique piece, then there are other options that jewellers can offer you such as soldering sizing beads to the inside of the band to make it smaller.
Q: Is it best to buy a basic wedding band?
A: It all comes to down your taste and budget, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with going for a simple and timeless design. One thing to bear in mind, however, is not to go for a ring that is too cheap. Ideally, you want to be wearing the item for a lifetime!