When it comes to choosing wedding rings, one of the most common questions engaged couples ask is “Do we both need to buy a ring?” The short answer is no, you do not necessarily need to buy two rings. However, most couples today do exchange rings as a symbol of their commitment to one another. Ultimately, whether you buy one ring or two is up to you and your partner.
The tradition of wedding rings
The tradition of exchanging wedding rings dates back thousands of years. Originally, the ring symbolized a binding contract or agreement between two parties. Over time, it evolved into a sign of never-ending love and commitment between spouses.
In many cultures today, both the man and woman receive a ring during the wedding ceremony. The rings represent their union and the promises they make to each other on their wedding day. Wearing rings on the left ring finger stems from an ancient Roman belief that a vein in that finger leads directly to the heart.
Do both partners have to wear a ring?
No, there is no rule that says both the bride and groom must exchange rings. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. Here are some things to consider:
- Cost: Buying two rings doubles the cost. For couples on a tight budget, they may opt to only buy one ring.
- Tradition: In some cultures, only the woman gets an engagement and wedding ring. The man may prefer not to wear a ring.
- Occupation: People who work with their hands in trades may find wearing a ring dangerous or uncomfortable.
- Style: One partner simply may not like wearing rings in general.
The decision should be mutually agreed upon by both individuals. There are many different options today for how to handle wedding rings.
Options for wedding ring styles
Here are some common options couples have when deciding on wedding rings:
One engagement ring, two wedding bands
This is a very popular choice. With this option, the man proposes with an engagement ring for the woman. Then at the wedding, they exchange plain matching bands.
Two matching rings
Some couples prefer to keep things simple by choosing identical wedding bands for both partners. This highlights the equal partnership and symbolizes their shared future.
As mentioned, it’s completely fine to forego a ring exchange altogether. Some couples opt for other symbolic heirlooms like watches or jewelry instead of rings.
One wedding ring
One partner can give a ring to the other without receiving one in return. This may appeal to couples who want to save money or those who have occupational concerns.
This involves an engagement ring, man’s ring, and woman’s ring. The engagement ring has a center stone, while the wedding bands are simpler.
|One engagement ring, two wedding bands
|Man proposes with engagement ring, wedding bands are exchanged at ceremony
|Two matching rings
|Identical wedding bands symbolize equal partnership
|Use other heirlooms or forego exchange altogether
|One wedding ring
|Only one partner receives a ring
|Engagement ring with center stone plus two plainer bands
Are there any rules about who pays for the rings?
There are no set rules about who pays for which rings. It often comes down to tradition and the couple’s financial situation. Here are some common approaches:
- The man buys the engagement ring and his own wedding band.
- The couple splits the cost for both wedding bands.
- Each partner pays for their own ring individually.
- The partner proposing pays for the engagement ring and both bands.
- The couple uses gifted money from parents to pay for rings together.
Couples should have an open discussion about their budget and how to handle ring expenses. Do not feel obligated to abide by any traditions that do not work for your relationship.
Engagement vs. wedding rings
Though often lumped together, engagement and wedding rings are separate purchases:
- Given when marriage proposal is accepted
- Often has a precious stone like a diamond
- More elaborate in style
- Worn on left ring finger after getting engaged
- Traditionally paid for by the individual proposing
- Exchanged during marriage ceremony
- Typically a plain precious metal band
- More modest in design to be worn daily
- Worn after getting married to signify union
- Cost decided on mutually by couple
That said, there are no set rules, and some couples prefer to only exchange wedding bands. Do what feels right for your relationship.
Should I have a say in picking out my partner’s ring?
It’s very common and recommended for couples to discuss their preferences for engagement and wedding rings. Surprising your partner can be romantic, but rings are very personal pieces of jewelry that will be worn every day.
Before purchasing a ring, couples should talk about:
- Budget: How much can you each comfortably afford to spend?
- Ring styles: Do you prefer gold, silver, platinum? Solitaire or side stones?
- Ring sizes: Do you know your partner’s accurate ring measurement?
- Engravings: Would you like any words or dates engraved inside?
Giving your input helps ensure your partner buys a ring you will truly love and want to wear. You know your own taste best. However, the individual proposing can still aim to surprise their partner by choosing the exact design.
How to choose a wedding ring
Here are some tips for selecting the perfect wedding ring:
- Set a budget. Determine what you can reasonably afford to spend on each ring.
- Know your partner’s style. Talk about their preferences for metals, shapes, simplicity vs. embellishment.
- Consider durability. Daily wear requires durable metals like platinum, gold, or titanium.
- Get measured. Have your partner’s finger sized properly by a jeweler.
- Look together. Shop with your partner so you both love the final look.
- Think engraving. Opt to engrave a private message inside the band.
- Insist on comfort. The band should feel amazing on your partner’s finger.
Prioritize quality over size or extravagance. This ring will be worn for decades to come. An excellent fit and high comfort level are key.
Unique ring ideas
Want to think outside the box for your wedding rings? Here are some unique ideas:
Etch a private phrase, lyric, date, or coordinates inside the band for a personal touch.
Colorful gemstones like sapphire, ruby, or emerald offer beautiful alternatives to the traditional diamond.
Some companies can engrave personalized fingerprint patterns onto rings for an intimate detail.
Rings made from wood, bone, or other natural materials make for an earthy, bohemian style statement.
These special rings contain metals from meteorites that fell to Earth for cosmic appeal.
Opt for a matching ring design tattooed around your finger in place of a physical ring.
At the end of the day, choose rings that reflect your unique love story. The options are endless for making them meaningful to just the two of you.
A double ring wedding ceremony is a special tradition for many couples, but there are no rules stating you must exchange rings. The decision comes down to your budget, occupation, personal style, and cultural preferences. Talk openly with your partner about whether one or two rings feels right for your relationship. Shop together and select durable, comfortable bands that reflect your unique bond.