FAQ section 6

6) Wedding Rings

6.1) Do I have to wear a wedding ring?

No, though most women, and many men, prefer to wear one. There are two major reasons why people choose not to wear them:

Obviously, if you've thought it through, and you have decided you don't want to wear a wedding ring because it symbolizes ownership to you, this is only a problem if your partner disagrees, and wants you to wear one. In this case, perhaps you could think about the fact that while traditionally a wedding ring might have been a symbol of ownership, today most people view them as a sign of commitment instead. However, I would never encourage someone to wear a wedding ring if it really gave them such negative feelings.

If, on the other hand, your objection is that you simply don't like wearing rings, you might want to try it for a month or two and see if you still feel the same way. Many people find that while initially, the wedding ring feels awkward or uncomfortable, they rapidly become accustomed to it and like the symbolism thereafter.

If you suspect you may have trouble being comfortable wearing a wedding ring, you may want to investigate "comfort-fit" wedding bands. These rings are curved on the inside (like the typical ring is on the outside) for a more comfortable fit.

Once you have become accustomed to wearing the wedding band, you may well find that looking at it or fiddling with it gives you a very positive, happy feeling and directs your thoughts toward your spouse.

6.2) Do wedding bands need to be matching?

Some people prefer matching wedding bands, because the symbolism of matching rings is very meaningful to them. They may feel that with identical rings, there is always some physical bond with their partner, no matter how far apart they may be physically.

Others choose non-matching bands, because they think it is important for each person to have a ring that is the most comfortable for them personally. They might want a ring that matched an engagement ring for one person, for example, but which couldn't really be translated successfully into a ring the other could wear. One person might have a very physical job, which makes a plain ring the most practical, while the other might have a job where a fancier ring wouldn't be a problem.

This is a personal decision, with many relevant family and regional traditions, so there is no one right answer.

6.3) Does a wedding band need to be plain?

Unless you belong to a religion which demands that the ring be plain, it is fine for the ring to have any design you fancy. Even if you do belong to a religion which has requirements for the ring, you may be able to use a plain ring for the religious ceremony, but wear a different ring for everyday.

However, when selecting a ring, you should carefully consider how you plan to use the ring. Do you plan to wear it every day? In that case, take its practical sturdiness and wear characteristics into account. Do you want to wear the same ring (or an identical one) for the rest of your life, or is it OK to replace it if you don't like it anymore? If it's not OK to replace it, you should consider carefully whether the style you choose today is one you think you will still like 40 or 50 years from now.

If you do choose a fragile ring, you may want to get a plain one for everyday also, if it is important to you to be able to wear your ring for a wide range of activities.

Some people prefer a plain ring because they feel that there is a symbolic value in having a simple ring that is only a symbol of their commitment, and has no ornamental qualities as a piece of jewelry.

6.4) What metals can the ring be made out of?

Most people choose gold for their wedding rings, though platinum is also used, and some people use silver or other metals.

Gold is used because it is valuable, and does not tarnish, rust, or corrode, yet is fairly easy to work with. Platinum is more valuable than gold and also does not tarnish, rust, or corrode, but is harder and thus, more difficult to work.

In the United States, most people use 14K gold, which is chosen because it has a good combination of gold content and hardness. 14K gold is about 60% gold. 18K gold is also popular, and has a deeper color, but is less hard, so it deforms and scratches more easily. It is about 75% gold. Pure gold is 24K gold, and is fairly soft.

6.5) If you have both an engagement and a wedding ring, which goes on the outside?

Traditionally, the engagement ring goes on the outside. The idea is that the wedding ring goes closer to the heart.

Another reason for doing this is that some people never want to take their wedding ring off, while they may want to remove their engagement ring for activities where it might become damaged.

During the wedding ceremony, this tradition can cause problems, and there are two main solutions. The first is to switch the rings after the ceremony, while the other is to remove the engagement ring for the ceremony, perhaps transferring it to the other hand, and then replacing it afterwards. The second is more suitable for people who prefer not to remove their wedding ring.

6.6) What do I do if the wedding ring I like doesn't work with my engagement ring?

One easy solution is to wear your engagement ring on another finger after you get married. You might, for example, wear it on your other hand.

If that doesn't appeal to you, consult a competent jeweler. They may be able to cut notches into the wedding ring so that it fits up against the engagement ring, or perform some other kind of modification to it.

If none of this works, you might have a wedding ring custom made to fit together with your engagement ring.

The contents of this document are copyright 2004 Sonja Kueppers. Do not use without permission.

Last Modified: May 15, 2004