Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ring Toss

The time between engagement and wedding is, perhaps, the time when most brides will be more spoiled than ever before in their lives. And, while the fruits of this “spoiling” are also intended for the groom, in all honesty most grooms rarely revel to the same extent in the glassware, home furnishings and other received gifts as do their future spouses.

Moreover, unlike a bride, a ring is usually the single piece of jewelry a groom receives to celebrate his nuptials. While most brides receive two rings along with earrings, bracelets and necklaces to adorn themselves with on the big day, grooms often walk down the aisle with bare hands.  

Which is why, dear brides, a groom’s wedding ring is extremely important. For this reason, HJ recommends that couples put thought, energy and effort into selecting the groom’s ring – the same amount of thought, energy and effort that goes into selecting the bride’s ring(s), to be specific.

This may sound obvious, but when couples enter a jewelry store – often the same one where the bride-to-be’s engagement ring was purchased and where the bride’s wedding band is intended to be purchased – looking for a ring for the groom, it becomes quite obvious why we urge this. Simply – most jewelry shops have far fewer men’s wedding bands than women’s.

When my husband and I married, we selected and purchased our wedding bands together from the same store where my engagement ring had been purchased. Our jeweler spent a good 45 minutes showing me bands that matched my engagement ring, selecting the size and fit for my band and preparing our order (note, that’s an extremely short time, many brides take much longer). But when it came to my then-fiancé, now-husband’s turn, the jeweler simply pulled out three small display boxes, each of which contained approximately ten rings.

My husband selected a ring and loves it. However, it was quite humorous when, not three months later, we learned that his cousin had selected the very same ring as he had – despite the fact that we live thousands of miles apart.

Small world? Maybe. But a much more likely explanation is the fact that there are far fewer choices for men’s wedding bands than for women’s. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there are fewer rings available, but rather fewer rings that are suitable for a specific groom. For example, once narrowed down by metal type, size, and type of decoration desired on the ring (none) my husband had approximately three rings from which to choose.

Selecting a man’s ring has a different process than choosing a female’s. Whereas for females the first question is décor, for men it is size. This is because, for men, size often determines the type of metal available for the ring; the sheer cost of a ring in the size needed may make the cost of the ring untenable if made in, say, titanium.

The next concern is whether the type of metal can be polished. Generally, men’s rings take much more wear-and-tear than rings worn by females. This isn’t because men are clumsier or less careful than females, but rather because having a flat surface means that men’s rings are scraped and scratched across surfaces more frequently than women’s rings.

The third concern is band width. Whereas for females this concern is often higher on the list, band with for men only becomes an issue after the metal type is selected. Why? Companies often make only two or three different widths, none of which may be uniform to the widths created by other companies.

The final concern is décor. Does the groom want diamonds, etching, a monogram or nothing at all on his finger?

After answering these questions and whisking away all of the unsuitable rings, many brides and grooms are faced with less than five options. Sometimes, none of these options may be particularly appealing.

The solution to limited selection is to visit other stores or even to shop online – if only to obtain an understanding of what else is out there.

Now brides, we ARE going to admit that getting your fiancé to shop around with you for a ring for HIM is going to be quite difficult. However, it’s completely worthwhile - you can tell him HJ says so.

I’m not saying we made a bad purchase in my husband’s ring; his ring is amazing and he loves it. But now, looking back, perhaps we should have shopped further. After all, he wears his ring every day, all day, but made his decision from limited options, especially compared to my choices.