Bride and groom rings

Examples of bride and groom rings.

So you're planning your wedding. You've got ideas on the location, the food, the flowers and the ceremony. You've probably even started thinking about where you'll go on your honeymoon.

If you've already purchased the engagement ring, then you've been down this road before. But now, there are two rings to buy — his and hers wedding rings. Here are a few tips on checking this wedding "to-do task" off your list with confidence.

1. Set your budget and timing. How much you spend on your wedding rings is an individual decision. Regardless of your budget, aim to purchase your wedding rings at least two months in advance of your ceremony. This will allow a comfortable amount of time for the delivery of your rings and any size adjustments that may be necessary. For custom rings, allow at least three months for design time and any necessary adjustments.

2. Select your metal. When choosing the metal for your wedding rings, consider whether she wants a ring that matches her engagement ring or if you are planning on purchasing matching bands. If you are considering individual bands, look at the other jewelry you both regularly wear, such as watches and other rings and choose a metal whose color, durability and weight appeals to you and works with what you already wear.

Take into consideration your skin color too and try on different metals to see what looks best on you. For example, 18K yellow gold is a much brighter yellow color than 14K. Consider your lifestyle as well when choosing certain metals. White gold needs periodic "brightening" with a rhodium plating to keep it bright white, especially if you are active or work with your hands. Platinum is extremely durable but is also much more expensive. For men and women, tungsten and titanium bands are an inexpensive but stylish choice.

3. Choose your style. There is a wide variety of wedding ring styles both with and without diamonds, including classic, modern and vintage. Women's diamond wedding bands offer extraordinary sparkle and shine in every shape and style. Consider the style of your engagement ring when you choose a band and whether the band will need to be custom made to fit next to your engagement ring.

Men's and women's plain wedding bands have a classic appeal for those who want or need a simpler ring. Your lifestyle, personal style and even the length and width of your fingers play a part in choosing a ring that's right for you. Remember that there are really no rules here, just a clear sense of what you want and what works for you.

Alternatively, some women choose to wear their engagement ring on the right hand and the wedding ring on the left. This gives her a lot of choices when it comes to the wedding ring and it eliminates the need for a "matching" band. One last thing to consider when choosing your ring is again, your lifestyle. Rings with a lot of small diamonds set in them may not be the best choice for women who tend to be a little hard on their jewelry. Prongs will wear down eventually so excessive wear on these types of rings will lead to broken prongs and losing diamonds.

Same goes for you guys. Men who work with their hands or participate in extreme sports, for example, may want to consider a ring that can not only handle that kind of wear, but will also not cost an arm and a leg to replace if it is lost or damaged. Talk to your jeweler about how you plan to wear your ring so they can guide you to styles that will work for you in the long run.

4. Find your size. If you're shopping for wedding rings, chances are you've already figured out your finger size. It's just as important to get the correct size for your wedding rings, especially if you are wearing your band next to your engagement ring. Sometimes the size of a second ring on your finger will be slightly larger than just one, especially if you will be soldering them together, because it sits on the meatier part of the finger.

Did you know that the size of your fingers on your dominant hand are usually larger (sometimes by 1/4 size) than the other hand? Measuring the size of your ring finger at the end of the day will give you a fairly accurate reading, but it's a good idea to measure several times throughout day. Changes in body weight, temperature and even what we eat and drink will have an influence on your ring size.

Find a jeweler who has a good reputation for customer service, education and longevity. They will have graduate gemologists and knowledgeable sales people on staff who will work with you to meet your personal needs and your budget and help you find the perfect symbol of your love.

Karen Remijan is the marketing/advertising director at McCarty’s Jewelry.

Emily is a staff writer covering higher education and other various topics for Gazette Newspapers. She has a background in weekly and daily newspapers and a bachelor’s in communication from La Sierra University.

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