Shopping for an engagement ring and shopping for wedding rings are two distinctly different experiences. The former is typically steeped in mystery for one member of the couple, while the latter is more of a team effort; equal say, no surprises. When you both have endless choices and ample time to browse, where do you start? How about with this one potential point of contention: should your wedding bands match?

Symbolism of Matching Wedding Bands

Having matching wedding bands wasn’t even on the radar for most couples until the last century. “Dual ring ceremonies,” where both partners gift rings, began in 12th century Greece but didn’t gain popularity in the United States until World War II. With young couples feeling the pressure to marry before new grooms headed off to war, couples exchanged rings so that they’d always have a reminder of the spouse they wouldn’t see for months on end. Matching wedding rings became a way to further symbolize unity.

So, Do The Bride and Groom’s Wedding Bands Need to Match?

It’s up to the two of you. Wearing matching wedding bands is a traditional choice that  makes a clear statement that you and your partner are equals and that you have similar style and taste. It’s a personal choice that depends on what you want the rings to symbolize, and what will make both of you happy. Whether it’s his & hers, hers & hers, or his & his, most couples who decide on truly matching rings stick with simple bands in precious metals, no stones, and women typically opt for a smaller width ring than men.

Matching Wedding Bands

The Ziggy and The Stardust matching wedding bands by Abby Sparks Jewelry.

Getting two wedding rings that are an exact match is pretty rare. Even if an identical match is what you’re after, there will usually be minor modifications that differentiate the two. An exception: The Ziggy and Stardust bands (above) are a perfect pair. In most cases, “matching” means that the two bands are the same color of metal, the same finish, the same stones, and have very similar design details and flourishes.

 

Complimentary Weddings Bands

The Sara and The Nick complementary wedding bands by Abby Sparks Jewelry.

Wedding bands that don’t exactly match but share a similar design aesthetic are a nice compromise between absolutely identical and totally mismatched. These rings look like they live in the same universe, but they each have their own personality. Many couples choose to go this route. The more common choice is for one ring to have diamonds or  gemstones, and the other to have none. Wedding bands like The Sara and Nick (above) are a nice reminder that gemstones can be a “hell yes” for both parties.

 

Non-matching Wedding Bands

The Adrian and The Kelsea non-matching wedding bands by Abby Sparks Jewelry

Some couples would never even dream of matching wedding bands. For these couples, picking out wedding rings is more like picking out an outfit–chances of wearing the same thing are slim to none. Choosing not to match your bands is totally common and tends to skew non-traditional. Non-matching bands celebrates your individuality while still solidifying your bond. Reminder:  you’re still wearing wedding rings even if  they don’t match. If you go the mismatched route, you could get some minor shade from your more traditional friends or older relatives, but staged wedding photos of rings excluded, it’s highly unlikely that anyone else would even notice.

Before you start your ring search, take a minute to make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to matching, complementary, or contrasting bands. Each couple is unique and is made up of two individuals with different ideas on tradition, style, and level of bling.

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After being frustrated by the traditional jewelry industry, Abby Sparks created the anti-jewelry store, where there’s nothing to buy, only things to make. She helps those who know nothing about jewelry become diamond and gemstone experts with honest jewelry advice and tips on her blog.