iris + mill

wedding ring buying guide

Our wedding ring buying guide has the answers to your most pressing questions when it comes to finding the perfect symbol to finalize your eternal love.

If you've ever wondered what the differences between an engagement ring and a wedding ring are or how much you should spend on a wedding ring, then you've come to the right place. Our Wedding Ring Buying guide answers all your questions and more, so you can find the perfect ring to symbolize your everlasting love.

What's the difference between a wedding ring and an engagement ring?

The main difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring is that one is used for the actual proposal (engagement) and the other is what is exchanged and worn during the wedding ceremony.

The other key difference is style. The engagement ring usually features a center stone (either diamond or gemstone) and often has a more stylish/intricate design than a wedding ring. The wedding ring is often more of a simplistic design than the engagement ring. Wedding ring styles usually include a plain metal band for men (that may include smaller stones within the band) and a similar style for women but often include a slightly more elaborate design (i.e. smaller diamond center stone sets and/or diamond band sets).

Bonus: Is there a difference between a wedding ring and a wedding band?

No. The terms wedding ring and wedding band are often used interchangeably. Generally, if a wedding ring doesn't contain any gemstones and is plain metal, then the term "band" will be used more than "ring".

How much should you spend on a wedding ring?

The average spend or cost for a wedding ring is substantially less than what people normally spend for their engagement rings. A study from The Knot found that in 2019 the average spend for a women’s wedding ring was $1100 and $510 for a men’s wedding ring (that’s compared to $5500 for an engagement ring).

Keep in mind that everyone’s budget is different, and you should always spend within your means. A wedding ring or engagement ring is a symbol of love and eternity, and whether it’s $10 or $10,000 – the important thing is that symbolization of a couple’s commitment to one another.

why is the wedding ring worn and what does it symbolize?

Traditionally, the wedding ring is worn on the left hand on that third finger over from the thumb (right next to the pinky). This tradition dates all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome. At the time, these ancient people believed the ring finger on the left hand had a vein that connected directly to the heart called Vena Amoris. It’s because of this (believed) connection to the heart, wedding rings and engagement rings (which are symbols of eternal love and devotion) have been worn on the left hand ring finger ever since.

The engagement ring is also worn on the ring finger on the left hand and is usually stacked with the wedding ring (post wedding ceremony). You should always consider how a wedding ring and engagement will ultimately compliment each other. For example, a classic wedding band and classic engagement ring band (regardless of center stone) will almost always pair well together. If an engagement ring has a more intricate band, such as an infinity band, then extra attention should be paid to how the wedding band will sit once stacked together.

Feel free to mix and match color and bands! There is no “standard” when it comes to stacking wedding rings and engagement rings. At the end of the day, it’s about personal preference, style, and comfort.

how do you choose the right wedding ring?

The process for choosing a wedding ring varies slightly between men and women. For women, there's several additional considerations to keep in mind:

Engagement ring style: Since women will be wearing both the engagement ring and the wedding ring (most often on the same finger), consideration needs to be taken on how the wedding ring will match the engagement ring style.

The profile, size, and metal type should be taken into account when choosing the wedding ring.

For example: Low profile engagement rings like halos match well with curved wedding bands. High profile rings such as solitaires can be paired with both straightline and curved bands.

Remember the engagement ring is the star of the show! Be sure not to outshine the engagement ring with a wedding ring that may have a larger total carat weight.

For men, you'll want to consider things like:

Width and thickness: Men's wedding bands typically come in a range of widths, so choose a size that complements the size of your hand and fingers.

Metal finish: Common finishes include polished (shiny), satin (matte), or a combination of both. The finish can affect the overall appearance of the ring.

Your partner's style: Some couples opt to match wedding ring styles or choose complimentary styles.

How do you find the right wedding ring size?

We've compiled some great tips and resources around how to find and measure for your ring size. Visit our page below to find out more!

Find Your Ring Size

How do you choose the right wedding ring metal?

The most common metals used in wedding rings (which are the metals we craft our rings with at Iris & Mill) are platinum, white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold.

Like most considerations when looking at wedding or engagements rings, there’s no “right answer” when it comes to choosing the correct metal – style and personal preference should always be on the top of the list.

However, certain metals do have differentiating factors over others. For example:

Platinum is naturally hypoallergenic and is incredible durable with very little long-term maintenance, but it’s also the most expensive of the metals.

White gold is a lower cost alternative to platinum that still offers the lustrous silvery white appearance that many consumers prefer, but it is mixed with alloys and doesn’t offer the hypoallergenic appeal and low-maintenance durability (although 14k gold is still quite durable).

Learn more about ring metals