In a year where we’re seeing more weddings than ever before (supposedly, this year we’re seeing the most weddings since 1984, up a whopping 200,000 from pre-pandemic times) it’s only natural that we’re seeing the pleas of brides-to-be everywhere who are on the hunt for the best value and most unique wedding rings for their special day.
And why not? Your wedding bands should be just as special as your marriage: not only are they a symbol of devotion to one another but they’re the outward way to show the world you’re finally married.
But while we understand the meaning behind wedding bands, there’s a few things that we need clarifying: How much should you spend on a wedding ring? Where can I find the most unique wedding ring? Can I go bespoke? Well you needn’t fret, because we’ve asked the experts.
Which Finger Does A Wedding Ring Go On?
The exact question my other half asked me one month out from our big day. While this question might be rather frustrating, the answer is actually quite endearing. Traditionally, we wear wedding rings on the fourth finger of our left hand – a custom that dates back to ancient Egypt where they believed there was a vein in this finger that went directly to your heart. We now know no such vein exists, but it’s a lovely sentiment.
How Do I Pick A Wedding Ring That Works With My Engagement Ring?
Firstly you need to decide what camp you’re in: do you want your wedding band to curve snugly around your engagement ring, or are you looking for something that feels like two separate entities?
There’s usually a 50/50 split between brides, says designer Sophie Breitmeyer, whose family jewellers works with couples for every stage of life’s big moments. ‘Some don’t really mind if there’s a gap and then for some, it’s all about making sure the two bands match and sit tightly together – paying close attention to the width of the engagement band. We say to our couples, have a think about whether it’s really important to you that they lock together and start from there.’ This is particularly important when thinking about comfort.
Liz Olver, director of product design at Vashi, agrees - stressing the importance of comfort in a ring that you’ll wear everyday. ‘The main thing to consider is how your wedding ring sits next to your engagement ring, and whether it goes well with that design.’
Meanwhile, Justine Lancon, chief creative officer of contemporary jewellery brand Mejuri, has found that ‘comfort and durability continues to be non-negotiable for our customers; they are investing more into wedding bands that will last forever. At Mejuri, we design focusing on experience first - we made our bands wearable and everlasting. For example, if you love diamonds and want to wear them all the time, we designed slimmed-down versions of everyone’s favourite eternity style.’
The days when everyone went for plain yellow or white gold bands are almost a distant memory, brides are now looking to have fun with their ring selection - adding as many diamonds or precious stones as budget allows. And you needn't stop there, try mixing up your metals or opt for twisted or hammered finishes for a contemporary take on your ring stack.
How Much Should I Spend On A Wedding Ring?
While this decision is entirely your own (there truly is no right or wrong answer here) it’s always good to go into such a big purchase with an idea of what diamonds, white gold or bespoke will set you back. A little like wedding dress shopping, you always need budget in mind so you don’t accidentally say yes to the £10,000 dress, if that isn't within your budget.
As a general rule of thumb, plain metal bands work to a rough guide of:
9k gold will cost between £100 - £300 (the most popular choice for men)
18k gold will cost between £300 - £500 (the most popular choice for women)
Platinum wedding rings will cost between £500 - £1,000
If you're looking to add stones, such as diamonds or rubies, or opting for bespoke the price will typically begin around £1,000. If you use Tiffany & Co as your benchmark, its most affordable wedding bands start at £570 for a plain 18k rose gold ring and rise all the way up to an eye-watering £15,900 for a 2.86 carat diamond platinum ring.
At Vashi, which offers a bespoke design experience, its team works closely with each customer to design wedding rings that reflect 'their personal style as well as telling their love story, and we can work within any budget.'
What Is The Most Popular Wedding Ring For Women?
Typically, the most popular design for women is a really simple D-shaped band (a little rounded on top, flatter on the inside and designed for comfort) but increasingly brides are looking for something less traditional and a little more sparkly.
According to Olver, couples are also asking for designs that show more of the metal. 'We’re noticing that wedding bands are getting wider. When it comes to the metal, the Vashi customers are definitely drawn to yellow gold.'
'While traditional wedding bands set with micro diamonds have always been popular, couples are increasingly looking for something a little different; something that’s personal to them. They might want to inject some personality with fancy cut diamonds, for example, or a band that has a bit more shape and movement than the classic straight wedding band.'
‘We’re doing a lot of curved designs’ says Breitmeyer, who has found a similar demand for shapely styles: ‘when people opt for a larger engagement ring, you want something that can slot underneath it. But if you take off your engagement ring, you’re left with a funny shape – so we’ve tried to make them a little more subtle.’
What Makes For A Unique Wedding Ring?
The possibilities are endless – you can go bespoke, vintage, or engraved even.
At Mejuri, there's more desire for non-typical settings, such as the popular Toi et Moi Ring. 'This setting has a rich history — the closeness of two distinct gemstones was designed to represent union, balance and equality. There is something playful about it too; you don’t have to decide between two stones - there is room for experimentation and it is personal to you.'
Engraving your wedding ring is something that is becoming increasingly popular amongst newly-weds, particularly for those who went through numerous rescheduled dates to finally get down the aisle. Most of Mejuri's engagement and wedding rings are engrave-able which continues to be one of the most important details for their customers - helping to create a piece that truly reflects the couple.
Lots of jewellers now offer engraving as a complimentary service, so you can choose to have everything from your initials, anniversary, wedding date or emojis. Sophie Breitmeyer was even asked to engrave the poo emoji into a wedding ring (she said no, for the record – but only because the band wasn’t wide enough so do bear that in mind!).
Selecting a vintage ring, or giving new life to a piece of inherited jewellery, may feel like the right fit for you - adding another layer of meaning to your band. Sourcing vintage jewellery can feel like a big undertaking, trawling the lanes of Brighton or Hatton Gardens, but increasingly you can find some really special pieces online.
Gatsby Jewellery is a great place to start. A husband and wife team, trained in Hatton Gardens, they travel the country in search of rare pieces from the Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco periods, as well as signed jewellery by designers like Tiffany & Co. and Cartier.
And of course, choosing vintage rings is a more sustainable way to shop. Precious metals, diamonds and gemstones are mined, refined and finally turned into jewellery. This process can be tough on the environment, and, while truly sustainable modern jewellery is increasingly becoming easier to find (thanks to brands like Vrai and Kimai) buying antique wedding rings is a great way to reduce the need for further mining - making it a truly eco-conscious option.
How Do I Go About Getting A Bespoke Wedding Ring?
For the less traditional bride seeking a ring that reflects their unique personality and style, we understand you're on the hunt for something one-of-a-kind. Of course, going bespoke is the ultimate way to ensure your wedding band is entirely unique to you. But where do you begin with such a process?
According to Breitmeyer, when designing bespoke rings for men, the best place to start is to try on loads of different styles and ask yourself 'how does it feel, is it too chunky? too thin? is it comfortable?' Whereas for women, she first considers the stones - are you thinking diamonds or perhaps rubies or emeralds? and then looking into the different setting styles.
Creating a bespoke wedding ring with Vashi is a unique experience that’s built entirely around you.
'The first step is to have a consultation with one of their bespoke designers. They’ll talk you through the possibilities and find out a bit more about what you’re looking for – for example, are you planning to wear your wedding ring with your engagement ring all the time, or would you prefer a wedding ring that makes a statement on its own?'
'Our team will then develop some designs inspired by your passions and your lifestyle, as well as any ideas you might have brought to the first consultation, before meeting with you again – via video or in person – to present you with some options. Once you’ve chosen your design, they’ll make a note of any feedback and work closely with you to create your wedding ring in time for your big day.'
'You can ultimately be as involved as you wish to be, even coming in-store to help physically set your piece' - a service unique to Vashi, that helps to make the end result all the more meaningful.
Similarly, at Kimai, the process always begins with a design meeting and mood boarding and then moving onto sketches and finally approval before the design is created in their Antwerp atelier. Your designer will guide you from initial sketches, through to when that green box arrives at your door.
SHOP: Our Pick Of The Best Wedding Rings To Shop Now
SHOP: The Best Wedding Rings For Women
Fashion editor favourite Sophie Bille Brahe have recently launched a collection of bridal jewels inspired by the authentic declaration of love letters, offering a broad palette of wedding bands to pair with Bille Brahe's most iconic engagement rings.
The ideal band for your next chapter. Lightweight, wearable and enduring, it's the perfect piece to symbolize your unbreakable bond.
Technically an eternity band, this wreath band would look gorgeous balanced with a minimal engagement ring.
A timeless classic from legendary jewelers Cartier. This design is crafted from 18-carat yellow gold to a clean, streamlined shape that evokes purity.
Messika's 'Gatsby' ring is cast from 18-karat white gold and traced with a dusting of diamonds along the delicate band. Designed to be worn solo or stacked with other styles from the collection.
Designed in London by Carrie Elizabeth's founder, Carrie Dennahy and made by talented artisans in Jaipur, India using 14k Solid Gold and only the finest ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones.
Rachel Boston's Baguette Deco Ring has a distinct profile, with its slightly chunkier, geometric band. Its flat top and tapered sides are inset with white baguette diamonds, making for a completely unique and striking silhouette.
The unique silhouette of Vashi's platinum half-eternity ring is shaped by alternating marquise and pear-cut diamonds, creating a graphic note contrast to your engagement ring.
AKVA are a Danish brand that use recycled gold and conflict free, fair-trade diamonds for their wedding bands (and entire collection). The design of the bands are sea inspired in an abstract way, a very special touch for anyone who is a fan of the ocean.
This glamorous ring would make a phenomenal reminder of your perfect day. Crafted from lustrous 9 carat white gold, this gorgeous ring features a delicate 0.25 total carat weight diamond, which is designed to sparkle beautifully in the light.
Mejuri's slimmed down style handcrafted in recycled 14k solid gold features 47-60 responsibly sourced diamonds for an average carat weight of 0.248ct. Each diamond is hand-set in a basket of open prongs to enhance the sparkle.
A subtle twist on a signature design, Vrai's Brushed Single Baguette Band marries clean modernity with a romantic nod to the past.
If you're looking for something to make a statement, and sit as a separate entity to your engagement ring - this sculptural ring by Melissa Kaye is both super modern and super sparkly.
Perfectly combining classic and contemporary, the Pillar ring is a modern take on a traditional half eternity ring.
Vashi's twist ring nods to the Lumina collection's solar inspiration, as though tracing the path of the sun. It has a half-diamond pavé to catch and reflect light at each angle.
A symbol of devotion that's designed to last, Suzanne Kalan's 'Eternity' ring is a beautiful gift for the person you love. It's cast from 18-karat white gold and set with round-cut diamonds.
Jessica McCormack's highly skilled London-based artisans frost this Eternity ring with twenty-five diamonds, totalling 1.28ct, in cut-down settings.
Simply place your engagement ring in the centre of your silhouette ring and watch as you showcase the most sparkle as your rings sit perfectly together.
A bold and expressive style, the eternity wedding band forms a line of bezel set, lab-grown diamonds. This contemporary ring design comes in yellow, rose and white gold.
A sucker for Tiffany branding? This ruby-set band could be the one for you.