Once upon a time, this wouldn’t even have been a question! Largely because men didn’t even wear wedding bands at one point, unless of course, they were a trendsetter. Then they simply purchased their own wedding band.
In fact, even once men did start wearing wedding bands, because of the culture, it was unheard of for a man to allow a woman to buy his wedding ring. After all, he was the man. He was the supporter and breadwinner. Anything that made him seem less than that was downright offensive.
Today’s culture, however, is wildly different. Not only do men and women both buy their own wedding rings in some cases, they also buy each other’s wedding rings. But does the wedding band come with the engagement ring, do the wedding bands have to match, and does the wedding band go on first? Obviously, every couple will be unique and it’s up to you to decide what works best for your relationship. But thankfully, there’s no “wrong” answer.
A Little History
Women have been wearing some form or fashion of a wedding ring for ages. The Neanderthal women used to wear wedding rings around their waist, usually made of twigs and grass as a way to signify loyalty to their partner. In Ancient Egypt, they also wore wedding rings, at first made of materials like reeds and rushes, and eventually graduating to rings made of more durable materials, like ivory, leather, and bone.
The ancient Romans had a version of a wedding ring as well. However, instead of symbolizing things like love and loyalty, the Roman wedding ring was a symbol of control and ownership. Men would give women a wedding ring and “claim” them as their own. Though that may seem somewhat romantic in theory, it’s a sure bet that in those days, being “claimed” by a man was anything but romantic. Roman times were violent, and women were not valuable to men beyond their ability to reproduce. They were simply property. Romans are also thought to be the leader of the pack when it comes to ring engravings, so at least something good came from that era!
Eventually, Christians started exchanging rings during the wedding ceremony and went through a few different styles. First they were ornate and intricate, such as two doves linked together, or two hands linked together. But eventually these styles were considered “heathen” in design, and the style began to change. The rings became simpler and clean, and ergo, more “spiritual” looking.
Though it’s believed that wearing a wedding ring of sorts was quite common for women throughout the ages, men didn’t really start wearing wedding bands until sometime in the 1940’s, during WWII. Men wore wedding bands to help remind themselves of the love and commitment waiting for them back home.
It was a time of major upheaval and uncertainty, and couples needed something to hold on to when they weren’t sure if they would ever see each other again. In most cases, these wedding bands were plain and simple in style, and worn more for symbolism than looks. Once America set the stage and men wearing wedding bands became more popular, the trend began to spread to other parts of the world.
If You are Both Traditionalists
Traditions are important. They set standards and many couples love and value those standards and traditions. If you and your guy fall into this camp, your man may want to buy his wedding ring himself. He may even want to buy your ring as well. That’s just the way it’s been done for centuries, it’s tradition, and for some couples, that tradition is important.
Also, keep in mind that women haven’t always been equal with men when it comes to money and means. So not only is this decision steeped in tradition, at one point in history, it just made financial sense. If a woman didn’t make a lot of money but her man did, he paid for the rings, and that was that.
If money wasn’t an issue, many men would often purchase the bride’s engagement ring as a gift, and the bride would then purchase the partner’s wedding ring as a return gift.
If You are Both Individualists
Some couples highly value their individuality and independence, and prefer to shop for their own rings, on their own time, using their own budget. Maybe it’s a financial thing and you both want to keep your finances and purchases separate. Nothing wrong with having some boundaries if that works for your relationship.
Perhaps you’re just a strong-minded person and you know exactly what you want. In that case, it doesn’t make much sense to settle on a piece of jewelry you might not love. Better to choose your own and know you love it, than risk hating it by letting your other half choose and purchase it for you.
Yes, it might steal some of the romance out of the process, but at least you know the ring you buy will be one you can live with for the next decade or two. Men especially may be worried you’ll choose a wedding band that doesn’t fit their lifestyle or might feel uncomfortable. Therefore, they may prefer to buy their own just to be safe.
Shop Wedding Rings Together
For couples that don’t have skin in the game either way, you might consider shopping for your wedding rings together. Yes, even the engagement ring. While this might not be the most romantic notion either, it does make sense from a practical standpoint. Not only will you eliminate the potential of one of you not liking your ring as much as the other, it makes shopping for rings that match or complement each other much easier as well.
By shopping for your perfect wedding rings as a couple, you can decide as a couple what your budget looks like and shop for rings that both fit the budget and suit your tastes. Bridal sets are always great options for couples to ensure they get the perfect match and can make the buying process much less stressful.
Even if you don’t want perfectly matching rings, you can shop for rings that are complementary, and tie them together with matching inscriptions. Just be sure to have a jeweler help you. Buying rings that complement each other is an art best left to the pros at the jewelry store.
Shun Tradition, Buy Your Man’s Wedding Band Yourself
In today’s culture, there are more women than ever who are financially stable entirely on their own. As a strong, independent woman, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t buy your groom’s wedding band yourself if you want to. Many women today enjoy being the breadwinner in a relationship, and it may just make more sense from a financial standpoint.
Remember that not every couple enters into marriage on equal financial footing. If your guy earns less than you and you’re not a stickler for tradition, there’s nothing wrong with buying his wedding band for him. If either of you are worried about making the right selection, you can always make the purchase, but allow him to choose the ring itself. That way you can still make the purchase, but you’ll know it’s a perfect ring he’s comfortable wearing.
Ring Shop for Each Other
For couples that can’t allow one or the other to pay for the jewelry, for whatever reason, deciding to ring shop for each other is a great middle ground and is more common than you might realize. Even better, it makes the ultimate ring choice more personal and meaningful to each of you.
After all, you’re buying a ring for the other person as a symbol of how much you love and adore them. It’s like buying them a gift and waiting for them to unwrap it. There’s a lot of love and intention that goes into buying a ring for another person.
It also allows you both to be fiscally responsible for the purchases and helps foster a sense of equality in your relationship. For many couples, feeling as though you’re both on equal ground is important for the success of the relationship. Deciding to shop for each other rules out any potential feelings of inadequacy and allows you both to just have fun through the buying process.
Deciding who buys the man’s wedding band doesn’t have to be difficult. You just have to determine what’s more important to you… tradition or bucking the status quo. Both options can be equally fun. Regardless of who buys the wedding band, at Diamond Nexus, we will always be here to help you find the perfect ring!
*Here at Diamond Nexus, we strive to provide valuable information while being clear and honest about our products. The Nexus Diamond™ alternative is a patented lab created diamond simulate that, among all simulants, most closely imitates the look, weight and wear of a diamond, with two exceptions - it is absolutely perfect in every way, and it costs significantly less. Price points and environmental facts expressed in this blog were taken from popular online retailers and may vary. Learn more about the environmental impact of mining by visiting our blog.