Written by Nick Gold Last updated: September 6, 2013
I want you to get the best value for your money when planning your wedding and one of those significant purchases will be your wedding rings. Here’s a short check list of questions to help you with your initial wedding ring research!
1. What’s my budget?
You should hopefully have set something aside for your wedding rings, but your budget will largely depend on how much of a priority (over other wedding essentials) you feel your wedding rings are. Once a budget is set, it will likely dictate all other factors, such as the precious metal, weight & style. However, if you’re short for your dream ring, don’t be disheartened and read on as much can be done to get close to what you have always wanted.
2. Which precious metal shall I choose?
You might have already pre-decided this based upon matching your wedding ring with your engagement ring. However, there is no rule to say they must be the same metal, nor the same carat of gold. Metals can be mixed and will not ‘harm’ each other when worn together (although you might not like the slight difference in hue between 9ct & 18ct gold). Your traditional metal choices are gold, white gold or platinum, however also consider rose gold or palladium. The gents will like palladium for its similarity to platinum but without the price tag, and rose gold is seeing a significant and fashionable comeback.
3. What styles are available?
These days thanks to ever developing manufacturing techniques, all sorts of unique and beautiful styles are available. But remember you’ll hopefully being wearing these rings every day for the rest of your lives. My recommendation is to keep it simple. Plain wedding rings in either a traditional Court or D-style (rounded on top) or more contemporary Flats and Flat Courts (flat on top) cover the majority of core wedding ring styles. Thereafter you are free to ‘express yourself’ further by adding elements such as special finishes, engravings, diamonds and more. For those brides trying to match their wedding and engagement rings, make sure that you have a good chat with your jeweller for their recommendations, as they might be able to offer a suitable standard style without the expense of a bespoke ring.
4. What about the weight of my ring?
Most jewellers should offer their range of wedding rings in varying weights. Weight usually affects the height (known as ring depth) and the comfort of a wedding ring when worn. While you might like the idea of a weightier ring, something too chunky could be uncomfortable when you close your fingers together or lean on your hands. Again if you are trying to match your engagement ring, look for rings whose weight and therefore depth are close to the shoulder height of your engagement ring (either side of the center diamond mount).
5. What’s my finger size?
Measuring ones ring finger is more of an art than a science. While UK ring sizes follow a set formula (reading from A to Z+), measuring equipment can differ slightly between jewellers. Add to this different finger shapes, and how external temperatures can affect your ring size and you could get quite confused. If possible, check the size of your finger at different points on the same day to see if there is a fluctuation. Bear in mind that if you are buying in the summer and you’re having a Christmas wedding, your finger size might shrink in the cold. You might also loose a little weight prior to the wedding. The width of your chosen ring can also affect the size needed (as a general rule, allow a ½ size extra for any rings over 6mm in width). A good tip is to order a small ring sizing tool in the form of a plastic belt. Most reputable online jewellers will post you one for free. Finally, always check your jeweller’s sizing policy. Some jewellers will include a free initial sizing or may charge a small fee to cover costs.
6. How do I match my engagement and wedding ring?
If you’ve read this far then you’ll know about the various elements which pre-determine a good match between your engagement and wedding ring. If you’re reading this prior to choosing your engagement ring, then consider purchasing a special matching set of rings, made to fit together perfectly. If you’re the proud owner of a whacking great big diamond solitaire ring, then a tailor made option might be more suitable. If not and you need to find a match, remember to ask your jeweller for their recommendations and also if they can measure the depth of your current ring. Good online jewellers will happily advise you based upon emailed pictures of your engagement ring.
7. Do I want to add an engraving?
Engravings are a lovely way to subtly personalise your wedding ring. Many choose to have their partner’s name and the wedding date engraved on the inside of their ring. Most jewellers will offer an engraving service with a choice of styles (block text or script). Do bear in mind that once a ring is engraved, while it can be sized, you might have to pay for a re-engraving too.
8. Can I add diamonds?
Of course you can and many do! However, wedding rings will require a minimum depth (and therefore a certain weight) to ensure that diamonds will sit comfortably and safely without pinching the wearer’s skin or unexpectedly pop out of place. A hint of sparkle in your wedding ring can really set off your engagement ring when worn together, so do consider this option but discuss it with your jeweller first.
9. Who should I trust to make my wedding ring?
While you might see a large range of samples at your local jeweller, most wedding rings are made to order. Retailers will likely have the ring made by a local workshop or a large manufacturer. In either case, the responsibility on getting it right falls upon the vendor and not the manufacturer. Make sure that whoever you purchase your ring from is a member of the British Jeweller’s Association (BJA.org.uk). If you are buying online, you can also look for other trust marks such as ‘Assay Assured’ (assayassured.co.uk). If you buy your rings using a credit card you should also have some level of protection from your bank should anything go wrong.
10. How should I approach negotiating the final price?
Precious metal prices usually dictate the overall price of a wedding ring and can sometimes be outside the control of the jeweller. However the styling of a ring and the addition of diamonds and special finishes might offer more room to maneuver. Get a good idea of prices for plain wedding bands by looking around, especially online, where there are some superb deals to be had. It may be difficult to compare like-for-like as ring weights and finishes will vary from vendor to vendor. If you’re mathematically inclined, see if you can work out the price per gram of any certain ring. This can really help get a good idea on which jeweller is most competitively priced. Also once you’ve chosen your rings, if you’re slightly over budget, let your jeweller know, they might want to meet your price to close the deal.
I hope that’s a helpful introduction to buying a wedding ring! My team at Bands of Love is here to help – please also visit Confetti’s Wedding Rings & Bridal Jewellery forum if you’d like to pose any questions for me, or leave a comment below!