Your engagement ring is a symbol of a promise to marry but your wedding rings are a symbol of your vows themselves. Despite how meaningful they are, too often the wedding rings are afterthoughts. Don't wait until the last minute when it may be too late to design exactly what you want or budgets are already committed to things that won't last, like flowers or the cake.
Although couples can match their wedding rings to each other, today it's more common to have two different styles. Often brides will match their bands to their engagement rings instead. If you want different styles that are still connected, choose the same metal, motif, or gem.
Engrave your bands with a message of love you'll cherish your whole life. Keep your engraving a secret until you exchange rings at the ceremony.
When choosing a wedding ring, make sure it is comfortable to wear every day and a style you love enough to look at the rest of your life. Most people choose a wedding band: a style that is the same width all the way around. A wedding ring that is designed to be worn next to an engagement ring, shaped like an interlocking puzzle piece, is called a shadow band. It's fashionable today to wear two shadow bands, one on each side of the ring. The second band is sometimes a first anniversary gift.
Metal will make a difference in the durability of your wedding rings. Sterling silver will show wear when worn daily. 14k white gold and 14k yellow gold both have excellent durability and the strongest scratch resistance. 18k gold follows close behind. White gold is most popular but it can need replating to keep its bright color after a few years. Platinum is the most luxurious metal: although it will scratch, the metal doesn't wear away like gold, it just moves and can be polished back into place. Because it's naturally white, it doesn't ever need plating. If your skin is sensitive to metal, platinum is the best choice because it is hypoallergenic.
To clean your wedding rings, wipe with a soft lint-free cloth. Wash them by soaking in warm sudsy water. Brush gently and pat dry with a soft lint-free cloth.
A little common sense will protect your rings. It's OK and actually a good idea to remove your wedding ring for rough work or sports but always put it in the same place (never near a sink or on your towel on the beach!) Definitely don't wear your ring around strong chemicals like chlorine. Each tiny mark on your ring is a step on the journey of life. But if your ring starts to show too much wear, you can renew it, just like you might renew your vows. Repolishing will restore its shine.
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