When you are planning a wedding with your partner, there are many choices to make, and many things you need to come to an agreement on. From your wedding colors to your venue, as soon as you make one decision five more pop up to demand your attention.
Arguably one of the most important decisions you will need to make as a couple is about your wedding bands. A symbol of your love and commitment to each other, it can feel daunting to wade through all of the many ring options you have in the modern-day – and you may have a lot of questions. The first of which is probably: do the wedding bands have to match?
Wedding bands do not have to match and you’re not breaking any rules. Traditionally, people chose matching wedding bands as a sign of their bond and commitment to each other as a married couple. In modern days, it is okay to buy different styles of wedding bands for different looks.
There are many sweet reasons why you might want to have matching wedding bands – and ways around any obstacles you might face when you try to accomplish this.
The Symbolism of Matching Wedding Bands
Over the years, a lot of symbolism has been attached to having matching wedding bands:
- Romantic ideals
- Symbol of the bond of marriage
When men started wearing wedding bands more commonly in the United States, around the 1940s, there were only a few common band metal options. Usually around this time, you would see white gold, yellow gold, and palladium alloys (palladium being a replacement for the platinum that was being primarily used for the war).
One of the reasons men’s wedding bands became more popular around this time was because men wanted a symbol of their love to wear when they went off to war. Having a matching band with your spouse aided this feeling of connection to someone you were far away from. According to an article published in the Journal of Social History, jewelers encouraged this trend by promoting dual-ring ceremonies.
In the 1950s, while platinum was more available in the 1950s and was used for wedding bands again, yellow and white gold were still the most popular wedding band choices for newlyweds.
With the limited band metal options as dual ring ceremonies were just gaining popularity, it was extremely easy to get your wedding bands to match. People wanted their wedding bands to match because it encouraged the romantic idea of the bond of marriage.
Matching Your Wedding Bands in Modern Days
In modern days, matching wedding bands are still a popular choice. Today, you might choose to get matching wedding bands because:
- You like the symbolism or tradition behind it
- Your want bands that can fit together like puzzle pieces
- It might be more affordable to buy a matching set from a jeweler
- You and your spouse both share the same style or aesthetic
Many people in the current day still appreciate and hold value for the symbolism of getting matching rings. You have more choices than ever, too. Whether you want to get the same metal or similar metals, you can easily find two rings that match in one way but reflect each partner’s aesthetic at the same time.
As the chart above shows, in 2019, at least 50% of women surveyed chose a white gold band, and tungsten was the most popular men’s choice at 23%. While it might seem like there is not much overlap between tungsten and white gold, you can find tungsten rings have similarly silvery grey finishes to that of white gold rings like these gun metal grey tungsten rings.
Similar to rings popular during the Renaissance, you can find matching bands that will fit together like a puzzle. This can be a fun way to symbolize your commitment to your partner while going beyond a simple matching band.
Another reason couples might still opt for matching wedding rings today is that often jewelers will offer sets of wedding bands at a slightly discounted price. If you want things to be simple and easy and to save a little bit of money, you will find that these wedding band sets are going to be slightly cheaper than purchasing two rings individually.
Ring sets are also a great option if one or both of you isn’t a big jewelry person in the first place – if you don’t know exactly what you want, a set does some of the decision making for you!
Lastly, if you and your spouse both share the same style or aesthetic, you might just naturally end up with matching rings. Even if you don’t believe in the romantic ideals of matching wedding bands, you might like the simplicity of them.
10 Metal Options when Matching Wedding Bands
When it comes to getting matching wedding bands, there are occasionally roadblocks that might come up.
However, there are options for wedding bands and there is nothing wrong to choose a non-traditional route.
One reason that you might end up finding it difficult to get matching wedding bands is if one partner has a metal allergy. Depending on the severity of the allergy and the preferences of each partner, it might be more difficult to get a pair of rings that match 100%.
If you would prefer your rings to at least appear to be matching, even if the metal type is different, this chart can help you to navigate different metal choices, appearances, and potential allergies:
|Platinum||Silver||5% or less palladium, iridium or ruthenium|
|White Gold||Silver||Gold alloyed with platinum|
|Silver||Silver||Under 10% copper|
|Tungsten Carbide||Silver/grey||Around 5% nickel, sometimes cobalt|
|Yellow Gold||Gold||Copper and silver|
|Gold Plated Tungsten Carbide||Gold||Around 5% nickel or cobalt|
Plating: gold, copper, and silver
|Rose Gold||Reddish gold||Gold, copper, silver|
|Rose Gold Plated Tungsten Carbide||Reddish gold||Around 5% nickel or cobalt|
Plating: gold, copper, silver
|Zirconium Plated Tungsten Carbide||Black, blue, brown, etc.||Around 5% nickel or cobalt|
Plating: oxidized zirconium
As you can see, there are many options available for ring bands that are similar colors but are different metals.
You can also see that many of the alloyed metals are often used in very small percentages. For example, tungsten carbide rings are alloyed with metals that can cause dermatitis in a small percentage of people. However, you will find that the small amount of any metal that is in a tungsten carbide ring will probably not cause any type of reaction unless you are very sensitive to it.
American Tungsten in particular only sells tungsten carbide rings that are alloyed with nickel.
If you do want to get matching wedding rings with your partner, but one of you has a metal allergy, you can see that it is completely possible to find two rings of different metals that will still look like they match to most people.
Personal Style and Matching Wedding Bands
Another obstacle to getting matching wedding bands is if you and your partner have different styles.
While it is popular to have matching wedding bands, there are some reasons why aesthetically one wedding band metal type might not work for both partners:
- Metals look different on different skin tones
- One partner might have a more bold style and the other a more minimal style
- Certain band materials might be off-limits depending on your job
If you and your partner can’t agree on one ring band style, that is okay! If rose gold looks amazing on your skin tone but not on your partner’s, if you both have completely different styles, or if your partner has a job that requires them to be more selective about their ring choice, there are other ways to make your bands match if you so wish.
In this video, a jeweler talks about some of the different ways you can make rings match non-traditionally:
Some of the options mentioned in the video include:
- Diamonds in different patterns or “hidden” diamonds
- Different finishes or polishes
- Shaping so that rings fit when placed next to each other
Here are further details on some non-traditional matching options available:
Diamonds, Zirconium, or Gemstones
- You can add the same gemstone element into your wedding bands
- Diamonds or zirconium are available in both male and female wedding bands and go with all metals
Inlayed or Multi-Toned Bands
- Both men’s and women’s wedding bands can be found with inlay like wood.
- Multi-toned bands that use two or more metals are growing in popularity
- The easiest way to add a common element onto two rings
- Matching engravings can be done on almost any metal type, and by most jewelers
- You can make an engraving very personal to your relationship
These are just a few of the ways you can take a tradition like matching wedding bands and implement it in a non-traditional way!
While the tradition of matching wedding rings is still living on strong today, there is nothing wrong with going a different route if it is better for you and your partner.
- Traditionally, wedding rings matched as a symbol of your bond
- In the modern-day, finding a matching wedding band set is still easy and common
- Metal allergies and personal aesthetics can be roadblocks to matching wedding rings
- You can make the tradition your own by finding close matches or matching elements