But exactly where does a man start when deciding what chunk of metal his soon-to-be bride shall slide onto his finger? Well… it should be round for a start—and for a fella who isn’t particularly jewellery-savvy, that's possibly where all considerations begin and end.
At times like this, Essential Groom feels it is prudent to ask the advice of a good woman. Pascale Helyar-Moray, founder of online jewellery site StyleRocks is a gal who knows her jewels. “Some people wake up thinking about what they’ll have for dinner, I wake up thinking about jewellery,” she says.
So, from someone whose first waking thought is of all things shiny and expensive, how does picking a wedding band differ from finding a ring for her? Simply put: it’s doesn’t. “The principles of choosing and wearing jewellery remain the same, regardless of gender,” says Helyar-Moray.
For most people, the wedding ring will become a permanent, unavoidable fixture in their life: somewhere between underwear and a tattoo. If the ring is going everywhere with you—bed, bath and beyond—then it’ll want to be easy and unobtrusive to wear: it oughtn’t snag on clothes, cause discomfort or compete for attention. “If you play lots of sport, perhaps you want to think about a slim wedding ring with a rounded profile so that it doesn’t dig into your fingers if you’re holding a racquet or bat,” says Helyar-Moray. “If you play music, you won’t want a chunky ring that keeps hitting your guitar.” If the ring is likely to get battered consider a texture or satin effect to disguise nicks. As with the bride, you and the ring have to find a way to live together in peace, so choose well.
A plain band is classic and discreet—it won’t dominate an outfit or stop traffic. It's the safe, timeless option, well suited to a man with simple tastes. More outgoing types can indulge in all sorts of detail from the subtle to the elaborate: two-tone metals, engraving, texture, pattern or a gemstone. “Are you going to go for a high-shine finish or something more discreet, such as a matte finish?” says Helyar-Moray. “Your ring expresses who you are.” Except if your ring is too hip and fashionable, in a couple of years all it will say about you is that you’re a fickle slave to trends. If in doubt, go classic. Plus, it is easy to resize a plain band—engraved or embossed rings are trickier. The shape and width of a ring impacts how it sits on the finger and its comfort level. Men's wedding bands tend to be between 5mm and 7mm wide. Width may affect sizing so discuss width when getting sized. Sharp-edged, chunky pieces have the potential to irritate or injure. And, no, there is no hard and fast rule that your wedding band must match hers.
There are all manner of metals at your disposal: white, yellow or rose gold is, of course, a popular option, as is platinum, titanium and sometimes even silver. Which to choose? Your line of work might be a factor. Tradies wanting to wear their ring on the job are well advised to go with tough titanium or high-tech tungsten, both of which are highly resistant to scratches and nicks. If you’re no stranger to wearing jewellery, it’s sensible to stick with what you know: choosing a platinum band if you’ve got a drawer full of gold chains and signet rings is a little inconsistent. Know your style. “What suits you best all depends on your skin tone,” says Heylar-Moray. Cool skin tones (most people) have a pink or red undertones and suit white or silver metals. Warm skin tones have gold undertones (think redheads) and suit similar metals like brass and, well, gold. Click here to read about metals in more detail.
The energy invested in finding the right ring is time well spent. If it doesn’t look, feel or work the way it should, the only person who has to live with it is you. Make sure you like it. “There’s no point wearing something if it’s just acceptable; you will spend the next 40-something years being annoyed that it isn’t quite right,” says Helyar-Moray. Then again, if you've managed to find the right woman, then picking out a ring should be a breeze.