When a couple becomes engaged, the focus and celebration usually centers around the engagement ring. Friends and family all want to see and compliment the bride-to-be’s ring. But as the big wedding day draws near, the couple should shift focus from the engagement ring and start looking at wedding bands.
There are lots of options when it comes to wedding bands. The bride and groom can buy a coordinated his-and-hers set, or the groom can look for something that reflects his own taste or is simply more practical for an active lifestyle. After the wedding ceremony, the attention often goes back to the bride’s engagement ring and wedding band set.
But the groom’s band is just as important and deserving of some oohs and ahhs. After all, the man is going to wear his wedding band for years, and his ring should be something he loves as much as the bride loves hers. We’ve compiled a men’s wedding ring style guide to help the groom pick a wedding band and make the best possible purchase.
How to Choose Men’s Wedding Bands
The options for men’s wedding bands are limitless. There are many metals, materials, colors and widths to choose from. Men’s bands can be classic and simple or ornate. Men today are no longer limited to the simple but elegant gold band their fathers may have worn.
So how does the groom decide what he wants out of all the choices? There are many factors to consider, but this men’s wedding band guide will focus on the following considerations:
- Type of metal
Although thinking about budget might be less exciting than looking at band styles, it is important to determine how much the couple wants to spend on the ring before shopping. Looking for bands in the optimal price range will be more fun for the groom in the long run because he will not be disappointed to find that the platinum band that he has fallen in love with is out of his price range.
The groom should let the jeweler know how much he wants to spend so he can enjoy looking only at bands he can afford. Many couples choose to set aside 1/5 of the budget spent on the bride’s engagement and wedding rings for the man’s ring. This number is completely optional, and each couple can decide for themselves whether to spend more or less than that. If the style of the ring is important to the groom, the couple should plan accordingly for the purchase of a ring he can wear proudly.
The only way to know the groom’s ring size is for him to visit a jeweler. Take the time to get the correct size. Some rings, such as those made of titanium and tungsten, cannot be resized. Ring sizing is usually a free service at a jeweler’s and will ensure that the groom’s ring is as comfortable as possible. The groom can also look for rings with specially rounded edges for added comfort. This feature can make it more compelling for a man to wear a ring, especially if he is not accustomed to wearing one.
Men’s wedding band trends are dependent on the width of a man’s hand and his fingers and, of course, personal taste. The current trend does lean toward wider bands, but with wider bands, it is especially important to get the correct fit. Typical ring-sizing tools are for a narrower band. A wider band might require that the ring be a little larger for maximum comfort. Some men prefer up to a 7 mm band or larger. Bands of that width make a bold statement, but they can be less comfortable.
Before purchasing a very wide band, the groom should discuss the correct sizing with a jeweler. A qualified jeweler will know best. Men with slender fingers might find the thinner band more comfortable — an elegant 5 mm band or smaller would be the best fit for them.
The groom should consider his type of job and hobbies before selecting a ring. Men who often work with tools or with their hands might choose not to wear a wedding band to work for safety reasons. If the man is not going to wear his ring during work hours, he can indulge in a ring made of a softer metal with more ornate details to wear only after work or for special occasions. A gold or palladium band with diamond insets would be acceptable for him.
He might also decide to select a ring made from a more durable metal that he can wear daily. Some metals, such as titanium or tungsten carbide, are much harder and less likely to scratch than a softer gold ring. If the groom has particularly rugged hobbies, such as rock climbing, it might be best to leave any ring off during those activities entirely.
After the groom has evaluated his activity levels, he can move on to looking at metals that will fit within his lifestyle.
Men’s Wedding Band Metals Guide
The classic yellow gold ring is definitely still popular, but other colors of gold and a variety of metals are available. Choosing the right metal will ensure that the ring choice is highly personalized to the groom’s taste.
Gold comes primarily in three colors — yellow, white and rose. All of the colors have the same properties and can usually be resized for a custom fit. The hardness and expense of a gold band are dependent upon how much pure gold they contain in proportion to other metals. 24K gold is 100% pure gold. Wedding bands are usually 14K or 18K gold, no matter the color. 18K gold contains more gold than 14K, so the 18K wedding bands cost more. Either type of gold is acceptable for everyday wear, but an 18K gold band is better for a man with a more active lifestyle.
White gold looks similar to palladium, silver and platinum, but it is rhodium-plated to maintain its brightness. Rhodium is related to platinum. Plan to have the white gold band re-plated with rhodium every decade to maintain its brilliance. Rose gold is a distinctive color and would be a good choice for a man looking for a wedding band with more color than the traditional gold and silver bands. Rose gold has a vintage look, a style that is trending right now in fashion.
Palladium is related to platinum and looks similar to it but is less expensive than platinum. A groom can find a very lustrous ring made of palladium.
Platinum is a rare and very durable metal, which makes it a highly desirable band choice. A platinum ring is almost 95% pure platinum. It has a beautiful luster and is unlikely to cause any allergic skin reaction. Because of its rarity, it is significantly more expensive than palladium and white gold.
An unusual characteristic of palladium that other metals do not possess is that it does not lose any of its metal mass when it is scratched. Instead, the platinum molecules simply move away from the scratch. As the platinum ring ages, it will likely develop an antique patina because of its unusual properties, but it will never need rhodium plating to retain its color, unlike white gold. Many couples find the patina adds to the platinum ring’s beauty over time, symbolic of their marriage.
Titanium is one of the hardest metals in the world, so it is a very durable metal for an active man. It is three times stronger than steel but is remarkably lightweight. Titanium is more difficult to scratch and dent than gold, but it still can scratch over time. Like platinum, it is hypoallergenic and will not cause an allergic skin reaction. It also comes in a variety of beautiful colors.
Titanium cannot be resized, so it is important to select the correct size before purchasing the ring. In an emergency, some titanium rings are able to be cut off a swollen finger, but airplane-grade titanium is not able to be cut in an emergency. A man with allergies that cause swelling might want to consider the likelihood of needing to have his ring removed and choose a different band metal. The active groom who could sustain injuries to his hand while pursuing his hobbies should remove his ring beforehand.
A hot trend in men’s wedding bands right now is tungsten carbide, also called tungsten. Tungsten is much more scratch-resistant than titanium but looks similar to titanium with its gray hues. Tungsten feels heavy, which some men prefer over the lighter weight feel of titanium. Tungsten also retains its high polish permanently.
However, tungsten is not indestructible. On high impact, a tungsten ring can crack or completely shatter. A particularly active groom might want to consider a different metal or remove his ring during his activities. Like titanium, tungsten rings cannot be resized, so it is important to choose the correct size during purchase.
Cobalt, or cobalt chrome, is a very bright, white metal. It naturally has the most luster of all wedding band materials. Unlike tungsten, it will not shatter if dropped. Cobalt rings have approximately the same weight as gold but are very inexpensive. This hypoallergenic metal is trendy right now.
Stainless steel men’s bands are not actually stainless, but they have terrific properties for the active groom. Stainless steel is a composite of many metals that make it extremely strong and resistant to being bent out of shape. It is not coated, so it never needs to be re-plated. It is generally hypoallergenic but is not 100% hypoallergenic unlike titanium and platinum. Because stainless steel is unlikely to corrode or rust, it is a great choice for grooms who live in tropical or coastal communities.
The finish of a ring is the overall texture of the metal. Does the groom want his ring to be highly polished, matte or hammered? Many rings provide a combination of polish and matte, which makes for a distinctive look. Additionally, matte, satin, engraved and hammered finishes can reduce the appearance of scratches on a ring.
A man might opt to have details on his wedding band that will make it stand out from the crowd. Even the simplest gold band can shine with the addition of a subtly detailed edge. The bride’s rings tend to grab all of the attention, but the man’s ring can also be quite ornate if it suits him. There are many options here, such as the use of more than one metal, inset gems and precious stones, wood inlays or unusual shapes. Some men might prefer a band style that has a relatively simple detail on the outside of the ring while the interior has some bright color or fancy scrollwork.
Another option with detailing is engraving on the interior and exterior of the ring. The date of the wedding or someone’s name can be engraved on the inside. On the outside of the ring, an engraved design can showcase a particular interest in culture or beliefs, such as a Celtic knot or a crucifix.
The groom should consider his lifestyle when looking at details on a ring. Precious stones add sparkle, but inset gems would not be a smart investment if the groom intends to wear his ring during rugged activity. The gems may become loose or lost. A ceramic inset can shatter upon a hard impact. Detailed engravings or colored metals have less risk of becoming damaged than inset gems on the hand of an active man.
When to Buy the Groom’s Wedding Band
It’s important that the groom take the time to look at the many rings that meet the criteria listed above. He can also refine his choices by purchasing a ring that coordinates with the bride’s. His-and-hers ring sets that include the engagement ring are a traditional option. Even in a ring set, the ring should reflect his tastes and lifestyle so he will enjoy wearing it.
The groom should purchase his band at least two months prior to the wedding. This will leave time for engraving and exchanges. Be certain the ring fits and is comfortable before ordering any custom engraving. Once the ring decision is settled and it has arrived, the groom can relax and focus on other wedding details.
Where to Buy Men’s Wedding Bands
JR Jewelers offers hundreds of men’s wedding bands in an extensive variety of metals and styles. Our dedicated staff will work with the groom to help him find a ring that suits him and showcases his personal taste from our inventory of nearly a thousand styles. The groom can order custom engraving to make the ring even more special.
Grooms and couples should visit JR Jewelers online or in person at 5975 N. Federal Hwy. Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308. All shipping is free, and interest-free layaway is an option. For an added luxury, free gift wrapping is available on all purchases.
JR Jewelers wants to be a special part of your big day and deliver quality rings that both bride and groom will treasure for years to come.