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Wedding Ring Shopping: Everything You Need to Know

If you're ready to shop for your wedding rings, read these expert tips from wedding jewelers before you make a purchase.

wedding bands geometric holder

Wedding ring shopping is one of the most important parts of wedding planning. The rings you and your partner choose will forever be a symbol of your love for one another, so it's not a task that should be taken lightly. That's why we reached out to wedding jewelers to ask them for their insider tips and tricks on the shopping process, from how far in advance you should make your purchase to what type of ring will work best for your lifestyle.

Ready to go wedding ring shopping? Follow these tips from the pros and you'll be an expert in no time.

Start wedding ring shopping well in advance.

It’s a good idea to start wedding ring shopping about three months before your big day, to give yourself plenty of time to find the perfect band and not feel rushed. “Couples should come and shop at least a couple of months before depending on if they want a custom made one or not,” says Katy Bitton of MB Diamond House in Miami, Florida.

Do some pre-shopping research.

If you’re rushing to go wedding ring shopping, take a step back. You’ll want to do a bit of thinking before you actually hit the jewelry stores. First and foremost, come up with a budget. “Couples should always have a budget decided on before they go shopping,” says Jennifer Centola of Joseph Schubach Jewelers in Scottsdale, Arizona. “And with bands, there is no 'normal' about who pays, so it is good to be on the same page with that as well.”

You’ll also want to do some browsing online, says Jonathan Mervis of Mervis Diamond Importers in Rockville, Maryland. “Look online at a local jewelry store’s site and get a sense of the different collections and styles that you may like,” he says. “Then, make an appointment to go see the bands in person. You’ll quickly see that jewelry looks very different in person, on your own hand than it does on a screen.”

According to Katy Bitton, it’s also a good idea to get your fingers sized by a professional before starting the shopping process.

wedding rings for two grooms

Think about personalization and matching.  

Two other important decisions you’ll need to make before wedding ring shopping are if you’d like to personalize your rings and if you’d like your ring to match your partner’s. “Think about how you would like to make your bands special,” says Laurie Kassabian of Laurie Sarah Designs in Los Angeles, California. “Do you want to engrave a date or a saying? Or maybe a hidden birthstone or other symbol of your love? Do you want the bands to match or be uniquely different?” 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Once you’ve started wedding ring shopping, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and perhaps a bit nervous about asking questions—but it’s essential that you speak up if you have concerns. Start the shopping process by looking at the engagement ring, if there is one. “What is the matching ring to this engagement ring? Does it have to match? The answer is that most engagement rings have a matching wedding band but you can and should choose whichever wedding ring you want! There are no rules–there’s a growing trend of mixing and matching styles,” says Jonathan Mervis.

couple holding wedding rings

Consider your lifestyle.

Active brides and grooms may want to take extra care in choosing a ring that matches their lifestyle. “We find that clients experience the most difficulty in choosing a practical ring that fits with their everyday lifestyle,” says Chris Montalvo of Firenze Jewels in New York, New York.

For men, contemporary metals such as titanium, palladium, or tungsten are very comfortable and durable, says Katy Bitton. And for women, plain metals with few if any diamonds work best. “A plain metal band will require little to no maintenance versus a diamond setting that will always need a little care,” says Jennifer Centola. “However, some diamonds are still an option. Just stay away from eternity bands and opt for something that is channel-set.”

Women who are planning to remove their engagement ring for work or other activities might want to choose a more elaborate or detailed wedding band so that it will shine on its own, says Laurie Kassabian.

Wedding bands should complement your favorite jewelry.  

Think about jewelry that you already wear. For men, that is often a watch, and for women, their engagement ring. Your wedding band doesn’t have to match your favorite jewelry, but should complement it. “Most brides tend to get a diamond band in the same metal as their engagement ring,” says Jennifer Centola.

Be careful with your budget.

While you may have set a budget early on in the wedding ring shopping process, it can be easy to overspend. The style of the band, the thickness of the band, and the size can all affect price greatly, says Katy Bitton. According to Jennifer Centola; “Men’s bands are often wider and heavier, so cost a lot more than you might think. And women’s band often contain diamonds, which can make them quite expensive.”

However, as long as you don’t go completely overboard, it may be worth splurging just a bit on your wedding bands. Says Jonathan Mervis, “It’s worth it to get the rings you love because that’s what you’ll wear every single day!”