With the impending royal nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this year, the world eagerly awaits the finer details of the big day. The church has been decided, the stag party is rumoured to be taking place in Verbier, and no doubt the all-important dress is well underway.
Here at Burrells, we are not only looking forward to seeing our “Party Prince” wed our future American Princess; As jewellers, we are also intrigued to find out which wedding rings the royal couple will choose to be daily reminders of their commitment.
In the midst of so much choice, how exactly do you decide on the piece of jewellery that you will wear for a lifetime?
In this article, we will take a look at everything that needs to be considered when choosing your perfect wedding ring - from weight and width, to metals and practicality. We'll also look at how these factors influence cost.
Traditional vs Contemporary - Which is the Best Wedding Ring Style for me?
The first question to ask yourself is ‘what is my style?’ Do you love the traditional or contemporary look? Let’s go through the traditional options first.
Traditional Wedding Ring Styles
Many people don’t know (until they come to make this decision), that traditional wedding rings come in a variety of shapes or ‘profiles’. By this, we mean that if you were to chop the ring in half, the cross-section of the metal would have a certain shape.
We give different names to certain styles based on the roundness of the profile; Court, softened court, flat court or D-shape.
The court shape is what many people will associate with a traditional wedding ring. The outside and inside profile of the ring are rounded. This curved style is comfortable and also makes it easier to slip the ring on and off.
Softened court rings have a very similar profile to the court shape but with a less pronounced dome on the outside of the ring. This outwardly flatter style sits somewhere between traditional and contemporary.
D-shape (as the name suggests) has a “D” profile. The ring has a rounded exterior, but the inside is flat to the finger. This style is often chosen to sit with an engagement ring that has the same profile (or when a traditional appearance is desired, without the depth of the court shape).
Contemporary Wedding Ring Styles
The flat court is one of the most popular contemporary shapes. This style is the reverse of the D-shape. The exterior is flat, but the inside is domed to give a comfortable fit. This style is often favoured by men who would like a different finish or external decoration, as the flat surface is an ideal canvas.
What About the Weight and Width of my Wedding Ring?
The Weight of Your Wedding Ring
Once the decision on shape has been made, think about how weighty you’d like your ring to be. Some people like the feel of a heavier ring - some prefer a barely-there feel.
Many traditional and flat court shape rings will be available in at least two weights.
Lighter rings will sit more flush to the finger, whereas a standard or heavy court will sit in a prouder position.
Very often the bride's engagement ring will dictate how thick the wedding ring can be. Many engagement rings are designed with the wedding ring in mind and will have a specially raised setting to accommodate it.
The Width of Your Wedding Ring
The width of the band is another thing to consider, as this significantly affects the overall look. Our wedding rings are available in 0.5 mm increments, from 2 mm up to 12 mm.
Very often the bride's engagement ring will dictate how thick the wedding ring can be. Many engagement rings are designed with the wedding ring in mind and will have a specially raised setting to accommodate it. Sticking to the same fineness of metal will also prolong the life of both rings, as one will not wear down the other over the years.
Men's rings do tend to be on the wider side, with the most popular widths being 5 mm or 6 mm.
Which Metal Should I Choose for my Wedding Ring?
Platinum is the most popular metal for wedding rings, because of its hardness and natural white colour (which will stay white forever and never need re-plating). Platinum rings are also hypo-allergenic, so perfect for people with sensitive skin.
We think this is the best metal choice for your wedding ring. It is the most durable metal and, if your budget allows, we think it is worth investing in the best quality material for a ring you are going to wear every day for the rest of your life.
If you’re budget doesn’t quite stretch to platinum, palladium is an accessibly priced alternative.
Palladium is a member of the same group of metals as platinum, so it is very durable. It has the same hypo-allergenic properties and coveted bright white colour, which will never fade or need re-plating.
The difference in colour between palladium and platinum rings is very minimal. Platinum rings are generally one shade whiter than palladium rings. This is a very small difference though, which is barely noticeable.
Palladium is a more affordable alternative to platinum, as it is not as rare. The only physical difference you’ll really notice between palladium and platinum is the weight. Platinum is a lot denser than palladium and almost twice as heavy.
Some people love the weightier feel of a platinum ring, but some find the lightness of a palladium ring more comfortable. It’s really just down to personal preference and budget.
If you have the budget, we suggest choosing platinum. If you don’t, then palladium is still a very precious metal and an excellent choice for your wedding ring.
White gold is a popular metal for wedding rings. The main advantage of white gold over platinum or palladium, is that it is much more affordable.
If you'd like to find out more about the differences between white gold and platinum, you might like to read our article Platinum vs White Gold – Which is Best for Jewellery?
The disadvantage of white gold is that you will need to re-coat your ring in rhodium once or even twice a year. White gold rings are rhodium plated to achieve the bright white colour. Rhodium plating also helps to protect the white gold. Although strong, rhodium will wear away over time. Re-plating is an easy process that can be done to restore the brilliant white colour.
We advise people whose jobs involve frequent hand washing (or use of cleaning solutions), to avoid white gold, as the detergents can wear down the plating quicker.
Yellow gold is a traditional option for wedding rings, which has become very popular in recent months. We offer 9ct, 14ct and 18ct rings. Yellow gold is created by combining pure gold with copper and silver. Depending on what carat you choose, the colour and hardness of the ring will differ.
Unique and romantic, rose gold has a warm, pink hue created by combining yellow gold with a copper alloy.
Rose gold often features in bi-coloured rings to offset the more traditional white or yellow gold. Like yellow gold, depending on what carat you choose, the colour and hardness of the ring will differ.
Each wedding ring metal offers different qualities, but the decision of which metal to choose for your wedding ring is entirely down to personal preference and budget.
Should I Choose a Plain or Diamond Set Wedding Ring?
The most important thing to consider here is your style. If you prefer a glamorous, bold look, a fashionable diamond set wedding ring will be perfect for you.
There are lots of options available, from diamond shapes and settings, to full or half diamond bands. Diamonds are not just for brides either; more and more men are choosing diamond set wedding rings.
Diamond wedding rings will be more expensive so be sure to allocate budget to this if it is something you are interested in.
If your style is more classic and understated, a plain, elegant wedding ring is the way to go. You can jazz it up a bit by choosing to have a patterned band.
Whatever you decide, be true to your own style, and don’t be swayed by trends. This is a ring you will wear for life.
Think About Practicality
It may not seem romantic, but when choosing the finish for your wedding ring, it is worth considering practicality.
Think about what you will be doing while wearing the ring. If your profession involves a lot of physical activity, it is best to avoid a diamond set wedding ring. Also, medical professionals are only permitted to wear a plain, non-stone-set band while at work.
Other options include matt or sandblasted finishes, and grooves or patterns etched onto the outer surface of the ring.
Can I Design my Own Wedding Ring?
Do you have an engagement ring that is a little more unusual? Perhaps you are looking for a unique style of wedding ring? Designing your own ring, with the help of a reputable jeweller, could be the perfect option for you.
Another great resource we have at Burrells is our in-house designer and goldsmith who can turn your ideas into reality.
Sarel Du Plessis has been with us for many years and loves nothing more than meeting with customers and talking over designs and ideas.
Sarel can also produce a computer-generated image of your wedding ring before it’s made, so you can be sure it will look exactly as you want it before the ring is put into commission.
By choosing a bespoke ring, you have the freedom to match existing rings or even do as Prince Harry did and incorporate other family jewellery or stones.
To find out more about how the jewellery design process works, have a read of our article, Designing Your Own Jewellery: Here’s What to Expect.
How Much Does a Wedding Ring Cost?
At Burrells, we have a wide range of styles to fit any budget, starting from £265.00 for a classic 18ct yellow gold 2mm lightweight court (price correct at the time of publishing blog), up to… well, as far as wallets and imaginations will stretch!
When budgeting for all aspects of your big day, it is important to remember that when the day is over, the dress is cleaned and boxed up, and the photos have been put away; the one daily reminder is your ring.
Many online wedding blogs and publications suggest your rings should cost approximately 10% of your wedding budget, but we believe that you will know when you've found the right rings and if they are more or less than the suggested 10%, then that is absolutely fine.
What is the Right Way to Wear my Wedding Ring?
Married people tend to wear their wedding ring closer to their heart – so below the engagement ring. This is just a tradition though, not a rule!
After your wedding day is over, wear your wedding ring whichever way you like best, above your engagement, below it, or even on another finger.
Some women are even receiving more than one wedding band, to surround their engagement ring. Two diamond bands sat either side of an engagement ring creates a ultra glamorous look.
Breaking wedding ring traditions makes your choice even more unique in our opinion.
Do you Have any More Questions?
If you have any other questions about your wedding rings, our experts would love to help - you can get in contact here.
You can browse our stunning range of wedding rings in-store, over a glass of champagne. Book an appointment with one of our wedding ring specialists by clicking on the button below.