Couples spend time poring over engagement rings, but the wedding band deserves the same attention.

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Getting engaged is one of the most highly anticipated times in life. As couples talk about their future together and dream about getting married, senses heighten as the proposal day looms closer. Couples spend hours—together or separately—heading to jewelry stores and scouring the internet to hone in on the perfect ring. After all, post-proposal, the engagement ring is the first thing everyone wants to see.

Although a lot of time is dedicated to searching for just the right piece, your wedding band deserves that same attention. It will become a treasured item that should enhance the gemstone given at the proposal. So, whether you want something unique or desire a coordinating piece, here's how to pick a wedding band that complements your engagement ring.

Look for a wedding band together.

Many times both the proposal and engagement ring are a surprise. As one partner selects a ring—often with help and hints—the other is often caught off guard as to the timing of when that life-changing question finally gets asked. However, once you are engaged, make time to go together to choose a wedding band.

"Typically, the wedding bands are purchased after the proposal," says Jared Robbins, manager of Bowen Jewelry Company in Lynchburg, Virginia. "This offers a wonderful opportunity for the newly engaged couple to have a once-in-a-lifetime bonding experience." As you look, you can both offer opinions and get your jeweler's suggestions on what best complements your engagement ring.

"Shopping for a wedding band down the line then allows the bride to be part of that design process," states Kathryn Money, SVP of Merchandising & Retail Expansion for Brilliant Earth, which has a retail store in Atlanta, Georgia. "Though many jewelers offer engagement rings and wedding bands as a set, it's entirely possible to find a wedding band that pairs perfectly with your engagement ring at a later date."

Select a wedding band made of quality metal.

The engagement ring is usually the more considerable investment. However, you should still consider quality and durability when it comes to the wedding band. After all, it's a piece that is intended for decades of use. "Couples should usually try to avoid rings that will not stand the test of time, such as plated, hollow, or fragile bands," suggests Robbins.

Why avoid the above list? Plating, the process of using a precious metal to cover a less valuable metal, can rub off over time. Hollow rings bend and break easily, and the same can be said of highly fragile bands. Your wedding band should be of the same quality and standard as the engagement ring.

Consider a band that can be worn alone.

Some activities, such as exercise or certain work conditions, aren't conducive to wearing an engagement ring. In those circumstances, you may want to consider a band that goes with your ring yet can be worn by itself. "Ability for your wedding band to stand on its own is another thing to consider," suggests Money. "While traditionally we look for bands that complement and sit flush with our engagement ring, some brides who may anticipate wanting to wear only their band on occasion (travel or exercise), might consider a more unique and eye-catching band that is breathtaking on its own."

However, if you or your partner will wear the band around machinery or in sports situations, invest in a coordinating wedding band and purchase an inexpensive secondary band to wear as necessary. Robbins advises, "I also recommend having a non-metallic band, such as a silicone band, for more extreme physical activity." Silicone bands are inexpensive, and wearing one is a great way to protect the investment of your main wedding band.

Focus on matching metal color and diamond quality.

"If a couple is trying to match the engagement ring, they should always focus on matching the diamond quality and metal color," Robbins suggests. In addition, many jewelry manufacturers make it simple for couples by offering wedding bands designed to accompany their engagement rings. For example, a newly manufactured platinum engagement ring should have a companion wedding band. Also, if clarity and color were essential factors in choosing your engagement ring, keep those as a priority for the band.

Consequently, mixing metals is also fashionable, but be sure you want to commit to mismatching for the long haul. "There is a trend towards having non-matching bands that either complement or contrast to give a stackable look," advises Robbins. "These are all, of course, personal preferences."

Money agrees that matching metals isn't a must for those who want to be unique. "Traditionally, engagement rings and wedding bands are made from the same metal, but this isn't the rule," she advises. "You can explore different metals, just ensure they're the same density so that over time, they'll wear similarly (for example, platinum and white gold will wear differently over the years)." Even metals of different karat weight, such as 14k and 18k yellow gold, may look good together but will wear down differently.

Commission a custom band or look at estate pieces.

Whether you have an heirloom from your grandmother or selected a preloved engagement ring, you may need a custom piece designed. Additionally, older rings don't often come with wedding bands. "The best way to match rings is to shop at a local store that either has a good collection of estate goods or an on-site shop that can provide custom services to create a one-of-a-kind piece to fit your heirloom engagement ring," states Robbins.

Going to a locally-owned store that carries estate pieces is your best bet. That way, you can peruse wedding bands from the same period as your engagement ring or have a band specially made. This principle also works well if your engagement ring has a unique shape. Robbins advises, "If a couple chooses a non-traditional ring, such as one that requires a curve, then they could either go with either a ring that has a stackable look or go to a store with an on-site shop that can create a band that will complement the engagement ring."

Money suggests using modern techniques, such as contouring and notching, to ensure that a band sits flush against the engagement ring. "Contouring can help match the curvature of your engagement ring, while notching can allow two rings to fit together like puzzle pieces," she explains. "Contouring and notching can also be combined to accommodate unique engagement rings that have both an elongated shape and fine details around the center stone."

Use your wedding band to express your personality.

Everyone has their preferences, and the engagement ring often reflects the style and personality of the wearer. The same principle reigns true when choosing wedding bands. Therefore, don't feel pressured to pick the perfect match if you genuinely adore a piece.

"Your wedding band is an extremely personal decision," explains Robbins. "Don't limit yourself to being boxed in to just having the matching band. Feel free to have fun and explore different options to see what you like." You or your significant other is the one who will be wearing the band, so ultimately the choice is yours. Select something that resonates with you both as a couple, which means that — yes — it's ok to break from the norm.

"We suggest embracing the contrast and exploring a mix and match aesthetic. For instance, you can pair a classic solitaire engagement ring with a more ornate band that embodies your unique style," suggests Money. Likewise, pairing a timeless solitaire with an estate or one-of-a-kind band can make a beautiful statement.

Ultimately, you're the one that will be wearing the band, so select a piece you truly love while focusing on quality. "It's important to remember, this ring should last a lifetime, so always make sure you buy a well-made ring," advises Robbins. If you're in doubt or have two heirloom pieces, think about wearing them independently. "You can always consider wearing your two rings on separate hands," states Money. No matter what you decide, choose a piece that symbolizes your love and reflects your taste as a couple.