by Staff Writer
You've put some time into finding just the right wedding rings so you'll love them for a lifetime. It is also important to consider accessories for your wedding. Whether you are looking for classic gold wedding bands, gorgeous wedding sets or bridal jewelry for your wrists, neck and hair, this guide can help you select the wedding jewelry of your dreams.
A budget helps you save time when you're shopping. Having an idea of how much you wish to spend makes facing the vast assortment of available wedding rings less daunting. The wedding industry and social convention both suggest that a woman's engagement ring cost at least two months' salary; the price guidelines for a couple's wedding bands are less strict. Budgets for bridal jewelry and wedding accessories beyond wedding rings will vary for each couple.
You'll get a better deal if you invest in some education. No matter how limited -- or unlimited -- your wedding jewelry budget is, you want the best value for your money. In addition to online guides like this one, there are books, magazines and classes available that teach consumers about fine jewelry. Taking the time to learn about jewelry metals, gemstones and designs makes you a more informed and confident shopper. A good place to start your education is our own diamond buying guide.
A wedding ring should reflect your personal taste and style. Whether you want to stay with tradition or experiment with cutting-edge design, you'll find rings in a myriad of style choices. Many men, and quite a few women, love and prefer the simplicity of the unadorned wedding band. The plain design accentuates the band's unbroken circle as a symbol of eternal love, and the highly polished finish highlights the metal's beauty. They are distinctive when worn alone or with a diamond engagement ring.
Half-round band: This is the most common type of wedding band. A half-round band features a domed exterior, flat interior and slightly rounded edges. They are often slender rings and offer comfort and simplicity. For the most traditional look, choose a half-round platinum or gold band with a polished finish.
Flat band: A flat band features squared edges, a flat exterior and a flat interior. Often used for wider rings, the flat-band design offers the wearer a more modern look than the half-round band.
Comfort-fit band: The comfort-fit band features slightly rounded interior and exterior sides. The band provides a comfortable fit as less of the metal actually touches the skin.
Decorated band: If an unadorned ring is too plain for your tastes but you don't want diamonds or gemstones, choose a decorated wedding band. Jewelers enhance these rings with elegant engraved patterns or detailed beading. Some bands feature more than one metal.
Select wedding jewelry for the big day. After choosing your wedding rings, it's time to consider the jewelry you'll wear for the ceremony and wedding reception. There are no set-in-stone rules for choosing bridal jewelry; try to match your gown and the theme of the wedding. An elaborate diamond necklace or choker is spectacular with a plain neckline and bare shoulders, but it might overwhelm an intricately beaded bodice; you could wear diamonds at the ears instead. Drop earrings, with diamonds or pearls, and upswept hairstyles are a pretty combination. The occasion is also a good time to pull out the heirloom jewelry. You may find that the vintage pearl earrings that grandma wore to her wedding are just right for your ensemble. Consider adding a little color with yellow or pink diamonds and blue sapphires.
Accessorize the groom: Many men limit their jewelry to a wedding band and a good watch, but they can add a little extra glamour for the big day. Classic cuff links made of the same metal as the wedding band are accessories a man can continue to wear after he is married. A handsome bracelet is a good choice, also.
Every wedding couple wants to reward their attendants for their dedication, and many couples thank a bridesmaid, flower girl or groomsman with a wedding gift of jewelry and accessories. Pretty jewelry also accessorizes the bridesmaids' dresses. Consider giving the women and girls in the wedding party earrings or a pendant with colorful gemstones or pastel pearls. Cuff links and tie clips are popular gifts for groomsmen. If you can't imagine your friends ever wearing cuff links or a tie clip, give them watches, ID tag bracelets or money clips.
If you and your mate are committed to a green lifestyle, consider choosing heirloom wedding rings. The estate jewelry market offers many vintage, one-of-a-kind rings that feature beautiful materials and exquisite styling and craftsmanship. In choosing an heirloom wedding band, you adhere to the reuse-and-recycle aspect of the Earth-friendly philosophy.