11 Ways to Pick the Perfect Wedding Ring

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Writed By The Knot

You’ve got the engagement ring (after dropping a few hints of course),
now it’s time to pick out the perfect wedding ring to go along with
it—and we’ve got all the help you’ll need. Before saying “I do” to the
perfect wedding ring, check out our guide on every important factor to
consider.

1. Narrow Down Your Wedding Ring Choices
Diamonds or gemstones, platinum or gold—narrowing down your ring options
may seem overwhelming, but don’t panic. Just take it one step at a time.
Start with style: Are you envisioning a simple band or one with
embellishments? Do you want your wedding ring to be the same metal as
your engagement ring? Do you think you and your partner’s rings should
match? Work out these kind of questions beforehand so you can zero in on
exactly what you’re looking for, then start shopping around.

2. Consider Buying Your Ring and Your Bands Together
If you prefer to be surprised by the engagement ring, this may not work,
but knowing what bands go with the engagement ring can help you make a
decision. For example, if you have a unique engagement ring, you may
want a simple, no-fuss band, whereas a simple engagement ring may call
for the added sparkle of a diamond pavé band. Also think about how the
rings fit together. If you’re planning on wearing your engagement and
wedding ring side by side, 24/7, look for a contour or shadow band
designed to interlock with the matching 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. Talk to your jeweler about finding a band that works with your
ring (some can even create both at the same time).

3. Start Your Ring Search Early
Once you have a basic idea of what kind of ring you’d like, it’s time
for the fun part: trying them on! Give yourselves at least two to three
months before the wedding date to ring shop. You’ll need this time to
browse, research prices and revisit rings that catch your eye. If you
have your heart set on a custom ring, you’ll probably need even more
time. And keep in mind: Extras, like engraving, can take up to one
month.

4. Mix It Up
Don’t fret if you like platinum and your partner likes yellow gold.
There’s no rule that says you have to choose the same metal or even
style. You could compromise with braided bands that blend the two metals
together or just be totally different—the key to finding something you
both love is choosing wedding bands that reflect your individual styles.

5. Set a Budget
Shop with the assumption that you’ll spend about 3 percent of your total
wedding budget on the rings. Depending on the retailer, a plain,
14-karat gold or simple platinum band can cost around $1,000.
Embellishments, like diamonds or engraving, will quickly add to the
cost, so factor that into your budget if you plan to personalize your
rings with any of these extras. The price of engraving is usually based
on the number of characters, the font used and whether it’s engraved by
hand or machine (hand is usually pricier).

6. Keep Your Lifestyle in Mind
Remember: You’re going to wear this band every day, so the goal is to
choose something that seamlessly becomes a part of your life. If you
play sports or an instrument, a slimmer ring with rounded edges
(appropriately called the “comfort fit”) may make the most sense. If you
work with your hands, you may want to search for a simple, solid metal
ring and avoid gemstones that can come loose or carvings, which can trap
dirt. If you’re super active, go for platinum, which is extra durable
(when scratched, the metal is merely displaced and doesn’t actually wear
away).

7. Try Something Different
You may love the idea of a braided rose gold ring or a diamond eternity
band, but once you get to the store, try some rings that aren’t on your
inspiration board. Chat with the jeweler, then let them make suggestions
based on what you like and don’t rule anything out. Just like with
wedding dresses, you may end up loving something you never thought you
would. Wear it around the store for a few minutes and while you have it
on, try writing and texting as a comfort test.

8. Think Long Term
While you shouldn’t be afraid of being trendy, make sure the style you
choose is something you’ll want to wear for, say, the next 40 years.
Just don’t stress too much: You’re not married to the ring and can
always make changes to it (add diamonds or go from white gold to
platinum) later on to mark a special anniversary.

9. Consider the Maintenance
To keep a wedding band with stones clean and sparkling, you’ll need to
wash and soak it in warm sudsy water, then gently brush it with a soft
toothbrush or eyebrow brush (too much pressure can loosen the stones
from their setting), rinse it and pat it dry with a soft lint-free
cloth. Sound like too much upkeep? You may want to opt for a fuss-free
gold or platinum ring—simply rub it with a soft, lint-free cloth
(chamois works well) and you’re good to go.

10. Size It Right
Most people rarely take off their wedding bands; they wear them through
summers, winters, exercise, pregnancies—all times when your fingers
swell and contract from heat, cold, water retention or weight gain. To
find the right size that will best weather all of those changes,
schedule your final ring fitting at a time when you’re calm and your
body temperature is normal. That means you should never finalize 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).

11. Check for Quality
Quality control applies to all rings, not just your wedding bands. Make
sure the ring has two marks inside the band: the manufacturer’s
trademark (this proves they stand behind their work) and the quality
mark, 24K or PLAT, for example (this proves the metal quality is what
the retailer says it is).