Is the traditional plain metal wedding band a thing of the past? These days there are fewer rules about the style of rings exchanged on your wedding day - so how do you choose? With the festive season becoming a more and more popular time to pop the question, January brings a flurry of wedding fairs and planning sessions. Whilst a lot of time, effort and thought goes into the all-important engagement ring (how to choose, what to choose, how to show it off!), wedding rings can become something of an incidental along with all the other wedding details.

Don't make the mistake of allocating all your budget to dresses, flowers and 10 course dinners, but forgetting the second piece of jewellery you'll wear every day for many years to come. It always surprises us to meet brides at wedding fairs who don't blink at spending upwards of £4000 on a dress that can only be worn for one day, but will be shocked at the thought of spending £800 on a ring that literally becomes part of your hand!

Spend time carefully choosing the style that will carry you through the years of your marriage, the ups and downs, the laughs and the tears - something you love and that inspires you to remember why you decided to tie the knot.

Now, how to go about choosing a wedding band? Wedding rings were once a traditional gold band - job done. The options are more varied today, so here is our step by step guide to choosing the perfect wedding band.

Budget

Although a wedding ring can be one of the purchases you make further down the wedding planning road, keep aside a healthy budget and protect that money from being used to top up some other unexpected cost - like the extra fancy cake that will be cut up, eaten and forgotten within minutes! It's easy to get carried away with planning the day, but remember you are planning a life together - your wedding ring will be worn every day for many years to come, so don't let it be an afterthought once everything else is paid for!

[caption id="attachment_267" align="aligncenter" width="625"]Wedding Budget shutterstock Don't forget to set aside ample budget for wedding rings[/caption]

Metal

The natural tendency is to choose the same metal as your engagement ring is crafted from. This often makes sense, but mixed metal bands are becoming more popular, and it is perfectly acceptable to mix your metals if you like the contrast. Especially if there is more than one metal on your engagement ring, like Meghan Markle's yellow gold band with a platinum or white gold setting - this gives the option to go with either a gold or platinum band.

Gold is the traditional choice, but white gold and platinum (the most durable option) have become more popular for contemporary designs. Rose gold has also seen a huge increase in popularity in recent years, as has mixing and matching metals.

Engraving the inside of a wedding band with a shared memory, the wedding date or initials is a wonderful way to personalise it and add to the symbolism. Whilst gold is the preferred metal for hand engraving, great results can also be obtained with machine engraving.

[caption id="attachment_266" align="aligncenter" width="625"]Wedding Rings Brown Newirth Brown and Newirth Wedding Rings - one ring, so many options![/caption]

Stones

Once upon a time, wedding bands were plain and more diamonds were reserved for the eternity ring. However, having some diamonds or other stones in a wedding band has become increasingly popular, for both men and women.

A diamond-set wedding band can be a frosting to complement your engagement ring, it often looks more special when worn alone without your engagement ring, and if an eternity ring is not on the cards any time soon, you can incorporate two meanings into the wedding band.

On the other hand, don't overpower your engagement ring with too much bling and sparkle. If you plan to have a diamond eternity band, two diamond bands may not go as well together as one plain and one stone-set, especially if the styles you have in mind are different. In this case, a plain band could be the better choice. Small set stones can be difficult to keep clean, so if you have a messy job, diamonds may not be practical in your wedding band.

And what about other stones? Sapphire, Yellow Diamonds and Morganite are now all popular choices to incorporate into engagement rings, whether as a main stone or a side detail - so these can also be lovely choices to incorporate into a wedding band. Browse our collection of wedding jewellery here.

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Design

Whilst the engagement and wedding ring should complement one another, they don't need to be exactly the same style, since the two rings are for two separate purposes and occasions. What they do need to do is sit neatly together, so do try to consider the wedding band when settling on an engagement ring.

A large, low set stone may leave a gap when fitting the wedding band. Some engagement and wedding bands are designed to fit around one another, but if you are purchasing them separately, look for a band that is a similar width and height to the band of your engagement ring, to prevent gapping.

If you are considering engraving your wedding band, a plain, flat inside edge is preferred, and the width is also important to ensure the engraving is large enough to be legible - 3-6mm is ideal.

Read more about choosing an engagement ring in our inspirational blog or our all about wedding jewellery in our Wedding Jewellery Guide.

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Our expert staff are available from 9:00am to 5:30pm Monday to Saturday on 01702 480 898 to discuss your wedding ring needs, or pop into our Leigh-on-Sea store. Or browse our collection of wedding jewellery here.

We're also at the Chelmsford City Racecourse Essex Wedding Show on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th February 2018, where you can get 20% off Brown & Newirth wedding bands if you buy on the day! Click here to register for the event!