We all know the stories about engagement rings. They are associated with big decisions, high stakes, stress, and lots of research. Designs need to be impeccable, secrets need to be kept perfectly, and the reception must be positive. An engagement ring is part of the perfect proposal and the first step in a lifetime of happily ever after.
When it comes to wedding bands, the rules are far simpler and easy to follow:
Wedding bands are traditionally purchased after an engagement ring has been bought and a proposal receives an ecstatic “yes!”. Therefore, most of the stress is already out of the way.
Your partner said yes; they’re proudly wearing their first commitment to you on their finger, and now they’re in the loop for help in this second step. Most people choose to shop for wedding bands with their significant other to coordinate and compare.
Wedding planning definitely still comes with its challenges, but we like to think that once you’ve gotten to the wedding band phase, you’re in the home stretch. To make this experience as relaxed, fulfilling, and meaningful as possible, you want to invest in a band that will truly last. You want an heirloom piece that can be passed on to the next generation — retaining its value the whole time.
So, how much should you expect to pay for this sentimental accessory? Follow us into the wonderful world of wedding bands as we break down character and cost.
The first step in the wedding planning process is meeting with your partner and discussing your needs and wants. Sometimes it is easiest to separate responsibilities and tasks, but other times the moment is too special to pass up without one another present.
Cake taste testing may not require all hands on deck, but we like to think that wedding band shopping does — literally and figuratively!
Wedding Band Styles
Some couples prefer their wedding bands to match, some like them to compliment each other, and others want to do their own thing. When it comes to ring style, it is best to discuss this with one another as soon as possible. You can come to a conclusion that works best for your separate visions and highlights your unity in marriage, too.
For instance, you might want to match gemstones. If her engagement ring features alexandrite, for instance, perhaps you’d love an elaborate or sleek, simple band in the same stone.
What Is the Average Ring Cost?
Wedding band price is not consistent for all pieces. It depends on whether or not the band has adornments, engravings, and what material it is made out of. Its size also matters.
However, it should be noted that the average engagement ring cost was $3,756 in 2020, according to the American Wedding Study that Brides Magazine ran. Two years earlier, in 2018, the average engagement ring cost was $7,829. Potential reasons for this price range might largely center around the economic impact of Covid-19.
The Average Price of a Wedding Band
Wedding bands only recently became a shared sentiment during ceremonies. Prior to WWII, only brides wore wedding bands. Now that they are worn by both partners, discrepancies in cost are clear.
The average cost of a male wedding band is between $510 and $560, while the average cost for a bride’s band is $1,100 to $1,400. This means that both bands combined average around $2,000.
Adding in details like precious gemstones and high-quality metals can influence the bottom line.
Is It an Investment?
Today, many are looking not only for an engagement or wedding ring they like but one that will last even longer than their love.
Both diamond engagement rings and traditional wedding bands are incredible investments in your future. These pieces will become family heirlooms and increase in value over the years if treated properly. They are so much more than just jewelry to wear at your wedding ceremony; they are now staples in your look and, eventually, in tales that will be told about your love story.
Perhaps the most critical factor in the cost of your wedding bands, apart from its inclusion of gemstones, is what metal (or material) it is made of. Most wedding bands are made of gold, but the purity of that gold matters and can directly impact the price tag as well.
A plain gold wedding band for grooms is around $500. We suggest avoiding 24K gold because not only is it the most expensive option, it has a tendency to bend and scratch.
If you’re looking for a bright yellow gold hue, try men’s wedding bands in 18 karat gold for a stunning color with practical durability. If you prefer a slightly more untraditional look, you might love white gold or rose gold instead, which are metal alloys (fewer karats).
If you’re looking to go just one step up in price, consider a palladium band. This metal offers a very modern look and feel. It has a very light color, similar to white platinum, with better durability than platinum.
You’ll need a jeweler specialized in these bands to ensure the resizing goes perfectly.
For men, the average platinum wedding band cost is about $1,200. Platinum is not as durable as gold, which is known for its malleability in its own right.
If you like the weathered style, platinum bands hold onto scratches which can benefit their design altogether. However, if you want your band to be blemish-free for life, we recommend opting for another metal.
The ultimate affordable wedding band is the tungsten band. It is a bit more modern looking, and this can turn away some buyers. This is generally considered to be a budget-friendly option, coming in at around $250 per band with no add-ons.
Tungsten bands feature sleek black, gray, and white colors. They also have all of the durability of steel and titanium. Know your size before you head to the jewelry store because resizing proves difficult for this metal.
Wedding Bands vs. Wedding Rings
Generally, wedding bands and wedding rings are considered to be in the same category. However, some jewelers draw a fine line in this fine jewelry category:
Some define a wedding ring as having slight embellishments, like a row of stones. Conversely, wedding bands tend to be sleek metal variations. (As a review, an engagement ring is one that traditionally has a center-stone and is associated with a marriage proposal.)
Diamond encrusted wedding bands go for about $1,800 depending on the carat weight, size, and high quality of the stones themselves. The more diamonds that you include on a band, the more the price will grow.
An easy way to cut corners on these styles is by looking at lab-grown diamonds and gemstones. They are not up to par with the real thing, and at Mark Henry Jewelry, we always emphasize the importance of authentic stones. However, they can help pull down the price point if you’re in a pinch or if you are keen to spend the bulk of your budget on metal material.
A carat is a unit of measurement that applies to stones and pearls. One carat is equivalent to 200 mg — 0.00705 oz. Obviously, carats are a much simpler way to determine the stone size and, of course, the equivalent cost.
Naturally, the larger the carat, the more significant the price. Miners are more likely to find smaller diamonds, so the inherent rarity of larger stones drives up the price. However, a large and perfectly colorless, and flawless diamond will cost far more than a large diamond that has noticeable inclusions.
The cut of certain diamonds also influences not only their shape but their brilliance. If you are going off of the 4Cs, you know how the right cut will make your diamond shine. That is why baguette and solitaire diamond cuts are popular in wedding bands.
Talented jewelry designers know how to work with proportions. For example, the round, brilliant shape tends to look larger than it really is thanks to the clever weight distribution.
You may also find yourself attracted to brilliant cuts, and while these are beautiful, they are of the highest quality and, therefore, the most expensive.
The Myth of the Perfect Ring
Everything about your wedding day is tailored to you.
There used to be a saying that couples should spend three months’ salary on engagement rings or popular wedding bands, but every couple is unique, and there is no hard and fast rule that applies to this process.
Regardless of how much you spend on any jewelry, the most important thing is that it has a comfortable fit and that you enjoy it. When it comes to wedding bands, it is paramount that this is a piece you can see yourself wearing forever.
The perfect wedding band is your wedding band, in whatever shape, style, or material that means. Experiment with something new. You’ll know you’ve found what you’re looking for when your eyes light up!
Brides' American Wedding Study | Brides
How Much Should a Wedding Ring Cost? | Something Borrowed
Palladium - Element information, properties and uses | Periodic Table