Choosing the ring - a quick guide for the bride
Picking the ring, the one that is just right for you, is not quite so easy as you might first imagine. The sheer range of options is bewildering. What’s more, you’ll be wearing it for the rest of your life – so it has to be perfect. No pressure then! Having said that, if you follow the tips in this article you’ll find the process a lot easier…and much more fun.
Think two rings, not one
The fact you’ll have a wedding ring and an engagement ring immediately raises a few questions. Some couples like to make buying the engagement ring a joint decision – in which case you can buy the engagement ring and wedding ring at the same time. In some ways this makes finding a perfect matching pair a little easier.
However, in many instances, the ring is presented to the fiancé as a surprise. If you find yourself in this situation, where your partner has already purchased the engagement ring, you’ll want to consider what kind of wedding ring will work best alongside it. For example, if you have a very striking engagement ring, you may want a simple, no-fuss wedding band. However, a simple engagement ring may call for the added sparkle of a diamond pavé band.
Also think about how the rings will physically fit together on your finger. If you're planning on wearing your engagement and wedding ring side by side, every day, look for a contour or shadow band designed to interlock with the engagement ring. If you're planning on wearing your wedding ring alone, you may want a more intricate style that will look great with or without your engagement ring.
Although this won’t sound very romantic…it’s wise to set a budget when choosing your ring. As a simple rule you should probably think about spending something like three percent of your total wedding budget on the rings. Adding diamonds, or engraving the band, will quickly add to the cost, so factor that in too. The price of engraving is usually based on the number of characters, the font used and whether it's engraved by hand or machine (by hand is usually more expensive).
Narrow down the choice
The sheer range of options can be overwhelming…but don’t panic! Take your time and just ask a few simple questions – by a process of elimination you’ll be able to narrow down the choice. For example, do you want a simple ring or something more embellished – a classic plain band, a ring with a single diamond or something with multiple diamonds in a pave or channel setting, a design featuring some other gemstones, a patterned wedding ring, a shaped wedding ring? What metal takes your fancy – gold, white gold, rose gold, silver, platinum, palladium, titanium and zirconium? Then, as mentioned earlier, what is going to work best in terms of your engagement ring?
Don’t leave it until the last moment
Once you have a rough idea of what kind of ring you'd like it's time for the fun part: trying them on! You should probably start your search about six months before the big day - at the very least give yourself a couple of months to shop around. This is one decision you won’t want to rush – research online and allocate a couple of days for visiting physical jewellery stores. Set your heart on a custom ring? Then you'll probably need even more time. Also remember that extras, like engraving, can take up to a month.
You’ll probably wear your wedding ring 24/4, for months on end, through summer and winter, year after year. And over that extended period your finger will change shape – if you exercise, when you get pregnant, should you put on weight, when your hands get hot and when they get cold. You need to bear these factors in mind when deciding on the right ring size. It’s good advice to schedule your final ring fitting at a time when you're calm and your body temperature is normal. Don’t book that appointment for first thing in the morning (you retain water from the night before), right after you've exercised (fingers swell) or when you're extremely hot or cold (which can cause your hands to expand and shrink). Of course, if your finger changes permanently over the years you can always have your wedding ring re-sized by a jeweller.
Following on from the previous point, your ring will become almost a part of you – so you want a design you’ll find easy to live with. If you play a lot of sports, or a musical instrument, a slimmer ring with rounded edges may make the most sense. If you are someone who works with her hands work you may want to choose a simple, solid metal ring - gemstones can come loose and carvings can trap dirt. If you're a super active kind of person you’d be well advised to go for platinum. This metal is extra durable and when scratched the metal is merely displaced and doesn't actually wear away.
Keep an open mind
While it is important to narrow your focus a little before you start to browse in earnest you should still give yourself the opportunity to change your mind. You might start out loving the idea of a braided rose gold ring or a diamond eternity band, but don’t rule out other ideas and styles that take your fancy. Be open to suggestions made by the jeweller – they may come up with an inspired idea that you’d never have come up with on your own.
The last word
There are no hard and fast rules when choosing a wedding ring. Hopefully you’ve found these hints and tips useful but ultimately it’s a matter of what you feel best suits your own unique sense of style. Enjoy doing your research and have confidence in your own judgement!