Getting engaged is a joyous occasion, one worth congratulating and celebrating. The path to marriage, though, often requires exhaustive and expensive preparation. Getting rings is just one part of the process, and one that can cause plenty of stress. The tradition of getting two different rings only further complicates matters.
If you ever wondered whether there is even a difference between wedding rings and engagement rings, you have come to the right place. This article is meant to be the definitive wedding ring vs. engagement ring guide. We will explore the distinctions between the two bands below and try to help you out.
The Tension of Tradition
Before we begin the actual wedding ring vs. engagement ring guide, we want to address our approach to the topic. Every word we write in this article, every piece of information and advice we provide, is based on tradition. More specifically, this article is based on practices commonly observed by many people in a specific culture.
Note that we say “many people” instead of “all people.” There are no laws forcing people to do specific things with their wedding rings or engagement rings. If you and your partner wish to reject any traditions for any reason, you should feel free to do so. It does not matter what your friends or family do. It’s not their relationship or their wedding.
Of course, no one has to chuck tradition out the window, either. The idea is that everyone should approach their imminent nuptials any way they want, without pressure from peers or society or blog posts. If following your hearts means following classic rituals, then go right ahead.
Many people take comfort in the sense of continuity that traditions bring. Learning more about them gives them a better idea of their options. We write this not to dictate, but to inform.
The Aesthetic Difference
Laypersons may not even know about any traditional distinctions between rings in the first place. In many people’s eyes, a band is a band is a band. Any example can serve as an engagement ring, wedding ring, or personal decoration. The choice of material, the presence of additional decorations, and other qualities have no effect on that status.
Tradition — again, only in a particular cultural context — upholds a definite distinction. Engagement rings have complex designs that are meant to stand out. They often feature a central gemstone meant to catch light and the eye. Other stones may run along the band, which may contain assorted accoutrements.
Wedding rings, on the other hand, are not designed to dazzle. Their construction is simple, even plain. Even the shiniest ones are usually not as flashy as engagement rings. This is not a hard rule. Plenty of jewelers will offer decorative services, like inscriptions.
The next time you browse a ring selection, notice which ones stand out most immediately. The big ones with brilliant jewels refracting light from atop an ornate support structure will likely be labeled as engagement rings. The store will likely promote the more basic ones for wedding ceremonies.
The Symbolic Difference
Why does the distinction exist in the first place, let alone continue to hold strong? Many factors go into the traditional divide, but we do not have space in this wedding ring vs. engagement ring guide to go over them all. What matters is that the aesthetic differences resonate because of their symbolic differences.
Think about it: engagement rings convey the excitement of a new love, or more accurately, a new marriage. Engagements can be seen as a victory. Two people took a chance on each other and found the relationship so fulfilling that they want to seal it for life. The rings are ostentatious displays of their passion, designed to call attention to their status.
Engagement is only a transitional phase before marriage, and that period will ideally last for as long as both partners live. Symbolically, wedding rings are presented at the marriage ceremony, the end of the engagement. The latter de-emphasize aesthetics in favor of a sturdy construction, representing a strong and enduring love.
To be clear, the flame of passion never needs to die out. The shift in rings reflects a shift in priority. Marriage partners do not commit to show off, but to make their romance last.
Coordinating the Rings
Engagement rings and wedding rings each have their own traditional styles. As a result, they may differ sharply or even totally in their appearance. With that said, the ones that a couple chooses do not need to be polar opposites. You and your partner can coordinate them in various ways, especially if you plant to wear both bands throughout the marriage.
Perhaps the most obvious approach would be to get two rings made from the same kind of metal. This one factor is the clearest way to create visual continuity. Whether the metal is gold, rose gold, silver, or something else, you cannot go wrong this way.
Then again, two rings of the same material may still have noticeably distinct designs. You should look at the sculpting of the bands as well. Some are smooth, while others tweak the appearance. Adornments like stones and inscriptions may also offer intriguing points of comparison and juxtaposition.
If you have trouble, feel free to ask for help. Many jewelers know that couples may find coordination difficult with separate options and offer sets of matching pairs. In the meantime, trusting your guts and tastes can help you and your partner find the perfect match.
Wedding & Engagement Ring Guide at Luvari
Here at Luvari, we strive to help our customers any way we can. This mission extends beyond offering an extensive selection of wedding and engagement rings, though that is a big part of our mission. We also wish to provide information for couples preparing to get engaged or married.
If you want even more information, we have a whole page on our shopping site that serves as an engagement ring guide. Check it out for extra details we could not fit in here, then feel free to browse our enormous selection of gorgeous bands.