Not Your Parents Wedding Bands – Or Should It Be?

Posted by Azure on May 25th, 2009
Special to OneWed from Jewelry and Style Expert Michael O’Connor

Weddings and their signifiers, the wedding bands, have changed dramatically since the time of our parents. Unfortunately in the evolution, the true meaning and significance of the wedding band has lost some importance. As far as the wedding planning goes, back in the day, this was seen to be the domain of the bride and her family. Fairytale weddings were the vision of few brides and an option of fewer. Most gifts given to a couple were given for the purpose of helping to set up their new nest. Today, more couples than ever are already living together by the time of their wedding. Therefore, they need less stuff to set up house. Additionally, when our parents got married more importance was given to the wedding bands, which were the true symbol of a couples’ commitment and change in status. Today, however, with “Bridezilla-style” wedding shows on television and a score of celebrity wedding coverage couples can easily loose sight of the true importance of the wedding ceremony and the significance of the wedding band. As a result, some couples today seem obsessed with rock-sized engagement rings, rare jewel-orchid bouquets and exotic locales.

But while a large engagement diamond and a country estate wedding are certainly beautiful, the wedding band is truly one of the most meaningful things that most people will exchange in their lives, and as such, should be given the importance that they deserve. Wedding bands should signify the purity and rarity of true love, the durability of the commitment and the eternal union of two people.

They need to be even more carefully planned and thought about than the engagement ring or all of the wedding details. Currently many wedding planning resources suggest purchasing your wedding bands about 2 – 3 months prior to the wedding. Personally, I suggest that couples look for their wedding bands approximately six months prior to the wedding. Couples should have a frank discussion about how they are going to wear their ring. Will they be worn daily or just for special occasions? Does the couple want to have a date or beautiful message engraved on the inside of the ring to make it truly personal. Do they want gemstones included or a simple elegant pattern or finish? Does a couple want to have bands that match exactly, or bands that are somewhat unique? And finally, wow much should they spend on wedding bands?

In order to ensure that a couple gets exactly the rings they want they’re going to need time – time for the discussion, time for the shopping and time to have their wedding bands made, sized and/or engraved. Below are several trends and tips to help a couple with this important decision. 1. If a couple is going to wear their wedding bands daily, as opposed to just occasionally, they need to pay special attention to the metal that they choose and ensure that they purchase something that will stand up to daily wear and last forever. Platinum is not only the most precious of jewelry metals, it is the most appropriate for wedding jewelry and a metal that will stand up to a lifetime of daily wear. It’s durability, experienced in its luxurious weight, means that patterns and engravings will remain intact and the rings themselves won’t wear down over time. Additionally, if a couple decides to have gems in their wedding bands, platinum’s durability will hold the gems more securely forever. 2. From a trend standpoint, it is quite fashionable today for couples to choose wedding bands are not an exact match to each other. My suggestion for couples who want different styles of bands is that they find some small common element of the bands that signify that the bands go together. This element can be as simple as a finish. I also highly suggest that a couple have “metal symmetry” with their bands, meaning that both bands are comprised of the same metal. This becomes even more important for the bride when she wears her engagement ring and wedding band together. For example, while white gold may be bright white upon purchase, after a while, the rhodium plating used to make the gold appear whiter will eventually wear off exposing a less white appearance of the metal underneath. If her engagement ring is platinum and her wedding ring is white gold, eventually this wear will mean that the two rings will appear different in color. Additionally the friction between the two rings will cause the metal on the less durable ring to wear away more quickly. 3. While many people have heard about the “2-months salary” guideline for an engagement ring couples often don’t know how much they should allot for the wedding bands. My suggestion is if you decide to use the 2-months salary guideline for the engagement ring, then budget approximately 1 additional month’s salary for both wedding bands. Otherwise, simply set a budget that is appropriate to show the significance of the wedding bands. They should be given more budgetary importance over some of the weddings other elements, like the flowers, cake or invitations that will not last a lifetime. Remember, that your wedding rings are worth spending more for. And while the engagement ring may signify the “promise”, it’s your wedding bands that signify your greatest “commitment”.

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