It’s time for another post from our lovely modern bride Hannah. She’s back to offer some advice on choosing your wedding rings – one of the only things you get to take away from your wedding day! (Apart from your other half of course ;) )
Hello Cwtch the Bride readers! :) Making decisions on which wedding ring to choose can be tough – after all it’s one of the only pieces of jewellery you’ll wear every day for the rest of your life! To help make the decision that much easier we’ve put together a guide for choosing your perfect wedding band (no, not some singers – the rings ;) )
How to Choose Your Wedding Rings
Match the metals
Choosing a ring can be daunting, there are so many different styles, it can be hard to narrow down the one that’s right for you. A good place to start is knowing which metal to pick.
Not many people realise that it’s best to match the metal of your future wedding band to your engagement ring. For example platinum is a lot harder wearing than white gold, so it’s not recommended to wear the two together.
If you’re not sure which metal your engagement ring is made from, have a look on the inside of the band where you’ll find it’s hallmark. (Don’t panic if you can’t see a marking, vintage rings and those brought abroad sometimes don’t have one – your local jeweller should be able to help identify the metal.)
If you see the numbers 375 that means that the ring is 9ct gold. 750 means the ring is 18ct gold, 575 is 14ct and 916 is 22ct gold. It doesn’t matter which colour gold your ring is, whether it’s yellow, white or rose they will all have these numbers stamped. If your ring is palladium or platinum they will be stamped 950 or very occasionally 900. An easy way to distinguish the two is that the 950 on a platinum ring would be shown in shape similar to the outline of a house, where palladium’s number appears in three interlocking circles.
Setting a budget
Quite a few brides and grooms overlook setting a budget for their wedding rings and can be guilty of opting for the cheapest rings in order to save money for something else on the wedding wishlist. I strongly advise setting aside money for buying rings as (apart from photography) they’re the only things you get to physically take away from your wedding day. In years to come you’ll be thankful you did.
As a guide on how much to spend I would set aside up to £300 for 9ct rings, up to £1000 for 18ct, up to £800 for palladium and up to £2000 for platinum. These are all approximate prices taken from the main high street jewellers. The costs vary according to width, weights and if the rings are set with diamonds: for example a 3mm ladies platinum band may cost £595, but add in some diamonds the price could increase to £1995.
Finances may dictate whether you choose a plain traditional style ring or a fancy diamond encrusted version, but don’t be afraid to ask your jeweller if there are any special offers on. Also most stores offer interest free credit or an in store deposit system where you could spread the payment of your rings over a set amount of time.
Think of the wear and tear
An important factor in picking wedding bands is considering how they will hold up to wear and tear a few years down the line. Whilst it would be lovely to think that spending a lot of money on a ring means that you will never have to have them repaired at any point, in reality it isn’t the case. Claws wear on all rings and eventually need re-tipping or replacing, whilst a 22ct wedding band may need reshaping. Here’s some tips on the metals to help you pick the right style from the start…
Platinum – Is the crème de la crème of wedding ring metals. Extremely hard wearing it’s a very rare metal that is nice and heavy. Naturally white it requires little maintenance. Platinum is the most recommended metal for diamond set rings.
Palladium – A relatively new metal, palladium is part of the platinum family and like platinum is very hard wearing and naturally white. However it tends to be a lot cheaper than platinum as it’s not as rare. It’s also less dense so is a very light metal to wear on the finger. Perfect for those not used to wearing rings!
22ct gold – This lovely gold is not normally sold in high street jewellers any more due to the high gold content. It’s identifiable by it’s lovely bright yellow hue and is normally reserved for plain wedding bands.
9 & 18ct gold- 18ct is the most popular metal used for wedding bands today. Coming in a range of colours such as yellow, white and gold. 18ct is stronger than 9ct, which is more brittle in comparison. 18ct gold is also a tougher metal against everyday chemicals, such as chlorine and dyes and is a good choice for wedding bands.
Think about the finish
White gold rings are very popular but not many people realise that they require regular maintenance as they are rhodium plated. Naturally white gold is a yellowy grey coloured metal which is dipped in rhodium (a precious metal which is part of the platinum family) to give it that real bright white finish. Unfortunately the rhodium over time does wear to reveal the original colour of white gold underneath. How quickly white gold wears depends on the individual, a hairdresser may need to recoat the rings every few months compared with someone else who may only do it every few years. Luckily recoating isn’t particularly expensive costing approximately £40.
Similarly it’s important to consider the maintenance when it comes to brushed, matte and pattern finished rings. Ask your jewellery how easy it is to mark off the pattern on a brushed ring and if the ring is able to be resized in years to come.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend
Personally I love the diamonds in my wedding band and have accepted that it may eventually require some tlc to guarantee the security of the stones. If you’re considering a diamond set band, certain styles are more suited to everyday wear than others, for example maybe avoid a full hoop style wedding ring, (where the diamonds spread all the way around the band) if you’re a bit heavy handed or do a lot of typing.
Knocks (even unknowingly) can easily dislodge a diamond. When choosing a diamond wedding band ask your jeweller to point out any wear and tear issues so you can make an informed decision on your purchase.
Can’t find the style or shape you like?
Go bespoke! Almost all jewellers offer a bespoke or shaping wedding band service, even if it’s not clearly advertised, just ask! Most companies will have a portfolio of previous work they have done with other clients for you to view and could even have a wax or computer generated image made for you to see what your future wedding ring could look like.
If you decided to go bespoke, be prepared to part with your engagement ring for a few weeks, they’ll need to keep it to measure it against the wedding band at every stage of the casting process. It’s worth it when you have a ring which is a perfect fit!
How much time to leave before buying?
Jewellers don’t keep every size in stock and most rings are ordered in, this can take up to 12 weeks. Allow yourself plenty of time in case any adjustments are needed to the ring when it arrives in store. This is particularly important to brides (or grooms!) who are losing weight for their big day.
Our top tip! – Let the sales assistant bring you out a few different rings. Quite often something you wouldn’t have considered whilst looking in the window, is just what you were looking for once on your finger!
I hope this guide was helpful. Ring shopping is such an exciting experience and hopefully this post has given you a good place to start from. If you have any ring buying questions feel free to leave us a message in the comments and I’ll be happy to help. If you’ve already found your rings please Tweet/Facebook us a picture – We love being nosy!
Happy wedding planning,