A-Z Of Getting Married – W is for Wedding Rings

The AOW A-Z of Getting Married is a resource for brides (and grooms) to be.  It’s a welcome piece of sanity in an industry-saturated world where people are bombarded with what weddings they should have, what they should act like, and how a bride should feel.  Created by the team behind Any Other Woman, this A-Z is the first collaboration of its kind, bringing together posts from readers across the AOW community filled with advice, wisdom and experience from sane, smart, real women, many of whom have been there.  From wedding planning to family trials to breaking taboos, no topic is out of bounds.  We are honoured and excited to run each and every post, and we learn from each and every one of our readers.

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W is for Wedding Rings by Amanda

Wedding rings seem to have somehow elbowed their way into the forefront of our consciousness – from a simple band they’ve evolved into those studded with jewels (usually diamonds).  I’ve even seen them with the gem on the inside.  That’s inside a metal tube.  I don’t get that at all – how do you know it’s even there and not a ball bearing?  I digress…  They come with inscriptions of names, dates, even morse code, OS grid references and fingerprints .  There’s a whole host of imaginative options out there for those looking to put their own interpretation on this ancient symbol. 

It is not uncommon to see women on wedding forums voicing their fears and concerns that their fiancés have said they will not wear a ring.  It appears to cause them much anguish and soul-searching.  Prince William also publically made the choice not to wear a wedding ring – and was vilified for it with jokey suggestions that it was so he could pick women up.  For that is the underlying implication of not wearing a ring.  Apparently even if you are really quite recognisable as part of one of the most scrutinised weddings of our times.

My husband decided not to have a ring – he really doesn’t like jewellery and doesn’t even wear a watch (don’t get me started on THAT!).  It didn’t occur to me that he was looking to pick up women more easily – he could easily remove a wedding band if he were that duplicitous – but it did give me a frisson of unease.  After all, how would people know he was married?  I suggested we tattoo that finger but he was not keen.  Luckily I was joking….  And I came to understand that it really was his choice – the most important commitment of marriage is in your head, not on your finger. 

It seems to be largely as a result of shrewd marketing that, since my grandparents married at the outbreak of the Second World War, it is more usual for men to wearing wedding rings than not.   My grandfather would have been horrified at the suggestion that he wore a ring – as a gruff traditionalist he would have found it far too effeminate and caddish for him – and he was devoted to my grandmother until they died less than a year apart after over 60 years of marriage.  My father, being married in the 70s, some thirty years later, wore a 70s style fat band of gold and it didn’t stop him from having affairs.  It’s by no means a guarantee of good behaviour!

And it’s not just men’s rings that have changed in the last century: I have seen as many of my contemporaries with gem-set bands as with plain ones.  My friend was sold one on the basis that she wouldn’t want to scratch her (as yet unconceived) child’s face with her princess cut diamond so would need a diamond band to wear on its own at this point.  She’s a sensible woman but this was a shrewd tug on her emotions which was well aimed.  Well aimed at their bank balance I think!

I’m not immune from marketing myself.  I questioned whether I was missing out by not squeezing a few more sparkles from the wedding process.  For me, sanity intervened as I realised that my engagement ring was quite sparkly enough and that no, I really did want my late grandmother’s scrap of gold – as a symbol of a long and devoted marriage, it was worth more to me than any other ring – no matter how gem-laden or innovative – could be.  But he’s not off the hook for an eternity band at some point!

Categories: A-Z of Getting Married
32 interesting thoughts on this

32 Comments

  1. Claire
    Posted January 30, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    My husband doesn’t wear a ring and I am ok with that – he doesn’t wear jewellery and can hardly stand a watch so it seemed silly to force him to do something that would make him uncomfortable. We talked about just having one for the ceremony but that seemed even more ridiculous. Pick your battles I say…he has already come around to the idea of children!

  2. Posted January 30, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    M’s ring is nicer than mine. He decided it was weird to make me wear one and not him. I like that thinking. I do wear jewellery but have always tended to take it all off to do anything (from going climbing to typing – I don’t want clutter in my way). Weirdly I keep the wedding band and engagement ring on all the time and he does too. Its marked something for us.

    If he’d not wanted to wear one I think I would have been okay with it. He likes days when he does not have to wear a watch or shoes (and so do I) so it would have made complete sense. His is kind of black/brown and made of some kind of hardcore metal while mine is white gold. I still massively prefer his and get ring envy but mine never gets in the way.

    Sorry that was a ramble but what I was getting at is that I think I find it weird to have this ring, but I like it and now he is the same. It’s nice but not necessary.

  3. Posted January 30, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I have a diamond wedding band and I don’t think it’s because of marketing or loss of my sanity, I just liked it the most from all the ones I tried on!

    My husband is a jeweller/hand engraver so I often hear about the joint thought process and effort between the jeweller and the couple that has gone into making wedding rings which I think makes them infinitely more precious than their monetary value.

    Having said that, you should see some of the things people get engraved in them, ha!

    • Posted January 30, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Worst one lately: I wuv woo.

      No word of a lie. Dreadful!

      • Posted January 30, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        Was that on the bride’s ring or the groom’s?!

      • Amanda M
        Posted January 30, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        Well, that’s novel! Personalising is great but I think there is a line.

        • Amanda M
          Posted January 30, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          And do you think the other ring said “I wuv woo too”?

      • Posted January 30, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        Actually spurted out tea at that Becci!

      • Posted January 30, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        I kind of love you Becci…

  4. Lexie
    Posted January 30, 2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Choosing rings was definitely one of the highlights of our engagement as we chose/designed them together. No sparkles for me on my wedding band, but it is engraved by the guy who engrave the ring in The Lord of the Rings film which I find quite exciting!!

    • Amanda M
      Posted January 30, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      That’s WAY cool

      • Amanda M
        Posted January 30, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Ooh, and did you have it engraved to say “One Ring to rule them all, one ring to bind them….” Please say yes!

        • Lexie
          Posted January 30, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

          Darn it missed a trick there!

    • Posted January 30, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Super cool!

  5. Posted January 30, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    We are both having rings and can’t wait to be able to wear them permanently. We decided to design ours with the help of a rather lovely place up in Hertfordshire (there was tea, I was hooked – we were there for nearly two hours) after the place where we bought my engagement ring was sadly less than helpful when it came to wedding rings.

    My tip would be for both of you to try on as many different shapes and styles as you can – one of the reasons A wasn’t sure about having a ring at first was that he doesn’t wear that kind of thing and didn’t know what would suit him/what he would like.

  6. Amanda M
    Posted January 30, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I’m beginning to wish I’d asked people to post photos of theirs – sounds like there’s lots of really interesting and personal choices been made out there

  7. Posted January 30, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I loved choosing our rings and am super excited about them (we’re picking them up next week!). I had a clear idea of what I wanted (something very simple that matches and compliments my very elaborate engagement ring) so knew it would be easy for me but James was very wary as he doesn’t like jewellery and didn’t want anything chunky – which most mens seem to be – but in the end he loved the first one he tried on (from the same jeweller as my rings).

  8. Posted January 30, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I am so excited about our wedding rings, we are spending the day next weekend making them!! I’m making Rod’s and he is making mine…. eek!! But there are people there to watch us and check we don’t ruin them, and feed us cake in the morning and champers when we are done.

    Here’s the link if anyone else is interested http://www.makeweddingrings.co.uk/ I’m so excited :-)

    • Posted January 30, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      LOVE that idea!

    • Amanda M
      Posted January 30, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      If you wanted to job share, I could do the cake and champagne bit (by ‘do’, I mean consume obv) but definitely am too clumsy to be allowed near tools or heat.

    • Katie
      Posted January 30, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      We made our rings and Donna and Hannah’s workshop and it was lovely – it one one of the only things I put down on my non-negotiable list when we started planning out wedding. I can’t wait to wear my ring in September and E is looking forward to wearing his – mostly because our relationship has been so hard to define so far and I think he just wants to feel like a husband and have a visible token of that.

      • Posted January 30, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        That’s so lovely to hear someone else that has done it. Glad you enjoyed it! xox

        • Katie
          Posted January 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

          You’ll have a fabulous time. Can I also recommend the Roseleaf http://www.roseleaf.co.uk just round the corner from the studio for a celebratory post-ring-making drink. They serve cocktails in teapots: what’s not to love?

          • Posted January 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

            Can I just come for the teapot cocktails?

          • Posted January 30, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

            Yes we love the roseleaf, thinking about having dinner there, we have talked about it for ages but cos we live at the opposite end of town never make it there. xox

    • Posted January 31, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      I LOVE THIS IDEA! (jealous now!) x

  9. Posted January 30, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I actually don’t have a wedding ring. I have an engagement ring, which was once my husband’s grandmothers ring: a row of gorgeous sapphires. Yet when I looked at wedding rings, it just seemed weird to put something next to this perfect ring, so I didn’t.
    My husband took all of five minutes to find his ring – he wanted to go to (in his words) a “proper jewellers”, and we found one in a town near his house – the jeweller greeted us in his metal-working apron, and taught us about the different metals etc. He (not the best salesman) advised us to go for a cheaper silver ring, as the harder metals are more effort to maintain.
    I love hearing the stories behind people’s decisions regarding wedding rings – it can often be one of the most personal parts of the ‘getting married’ process.

  10. Posted January 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Making them sounds amazing! So cute.

    Mine took about 2 minutes to choose, I have tiny fingers and wanted it to match the engagement ring and fit. He spent about an hour dithering but eventually chose something he loved despite it being literally 6 times the price of mine – but you wear it forever (hopefully) and I wanted it to be right.

    And yes there’s always eternity rings ;-)

  11. Kate G
    Posted January 30, 2013 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Ive got a diamond inside my plain band! Its a tiny speck and apparently lots of people use it as the letter o for engraving. I chose it a) because it was 3x cheaper than the other band I was looking at and b) because I would have loved a sparkly bejewelled band, but it would have looked ridiculous with my engagement ring. So this way I have it all – its just a bit of fun really.

    However, note to anyone still in choosing process – the band depth doesnt match the depth of my engagement band and its a little uncomfortable – it was chosen in a hurry 2 days before our wedding. So Im going to have to get it redone to the same depth – you may want to check that the depth of the bands are the same for optimal comfort if theyre not made by /from the same jeweller/shop..

  12. Posted January 31, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Ooh this is interesting and also am loving the comments. We found getting wedding rings (from Birmingham Jewellery Quarter – would recommend as there is so much choice and good value) took longer than finding my engagement ring; mostly because I’d chosen an engagement ring that was a funny shape so needed a wedding ring to fit round it. So we got one made that sort of sweeps round it – if I wore it on its own it would be a sort of wiggle – it doesn’t fit exactly to the engagement ring as then if I wore the wedding ring on its own it would be obvious that there was a bit missing, if that makes sense? So, if you have an unusually shaped engagement ring factor in some time to find a wedding ring or get one made, as you may not be able to get one straight out the jeweller’s.

    Mr W’s wedding ring took quite a while to choose; he got one that was brushed white gold but all the brushing has now come off and it is shiny. I think you can probably get them re-etched to make them matt again – he’s also found that because he got one that had ‘sharp’ (not rounded) edges rather than a D shape it sometimes gets caught when he puts his hand in his pockets etc. He’d never worn any jewellery before the wedding ring so it did take him some time to get used to (and we had to have it enlarged on our first day of honeymoon because he was paranoid it was too small and was going to get stuck on his finger. It’s now too big in cold weather!)

    Mr W was always going to wear a ring but I don’t think I would have minded too much if he hadn’t; my dad has never worn his (although has recently started to again, after my sister’s wedding when he got it resized to wear on the day – he never wore it at work because it would have got caught on the machinery) – I agree with Amanda that marriage is in the head, not on the finger!

    K x

  13. Emma
    Posted February 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Really interesting responses to this. When we chose our wedding rings we were both agreed we would each have a ring. We made sure D’s was strong and hard wearing because of his job and he really loves wearing his wedding ring. I love my wedding and engagement rings too, but out of the two of us, i’m the one who takes it off all the time. In fact, at the moment my wedding ring is in its box on my bedside table. I am wearing my engagement ring at the moment, but I don’t wear either when i’m at work and know i’m going to be doing stuff that might damage it. I don’t want to cheat on my husband, and I do want people to know i’m married but i’m not bothered about wearing my ring. Its more about how i feel in my head and heart. Ironically my PiL are exactly the same, my FiL has never taken his wedding ring off, but MiL hasn’t worn hers for 24 years now. Before we got married I thought she was weird. Now I get it.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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