Throughout the years, wedding traditions have been constantly evolving. The question of who buys the groom’s ring lingers as many are confused due to gender roles that have existed since the onset of the tradition.
Currently, there isn’t a rule that dictates who should buy the groom’s wedding ring. Traditional practices include either the groom paying for both his and the bride’s wedding rings, or the bride paying for the groom’s ring as a gift. However, in modern times couples opt to split the expenses according to their financial capacities.
This article will explain who can purchase the groom’s wedding band along with how this tradition came to be, and what aspects are worth considering when looking to buy one.
Traditionally, the groom pays for both his and the bride’s wedding bands. In places where males are predisposed to become the family’s financial provider, it is expected from them that they pay for everything essential to matrimony and the events that follow.
In more recent years where more women are becoming steadily employed, brides opt to pay for the groom’s wedding ring while the groom pays for his bride’s. In this case, the groom’s ring is seen as a sentimental gift from the bride.
In modern times, the task is up to anyone between the partners. Some choose to stay traditional while others make choices based on their financial situation.
For example, some partners will opt to split the bill evenly while others will split it depending on their income difference. This deviates from the traditional route as gender-specific roles are not strictly followed.
History of Women’s Wedding Bands
The first record of women’s wedding rings dates back to the Neanderthal period where women would wear rings made from twigs and grass tied around their waist to signify their loyalty to their partner.
It was also a prominent tradition in Ancient Egypt to use materials such as reeds, rushes, and later, ivory, leather, and bone, to make wedding rings that were exclusive to women.
History of Men’s Wedding Bands
It wasn’t until the 1940s that men started to wear rings in America. The idea surfaced during World War II when soldiers were gifted sentimental rings by their spouses upon deployment.
The rings were simple in design and were used to symbolize what the men were fighting to preserve—their family.
It is important to note that other cultures also had similar traditions with rings. In particular, Romania has a traditional ceremony wherein it is usual for both wife and husband to gift a silver ring to the other during their 25th wedding anniversary.
The Double Ring Ceremony
Prior to World War II, most marriage vows still took place with one wedding ring. Though, in the spike of marriage ceremonies after the Great Depression and second World War, both efforts from churches and retailers encouraged weddings involving two rings.
The practice appeared in Catholic, Unitarian, Baptist, and Methodist churches, among others which was then followed by civil ceremonies. For some, its purpose was to bring a sense of equality to the ritual.
Moreover, due to the increase in weddings, the jewelry industry was also thriving. The Jewelry Industry Publicity Board campaigned widely to promote a double ring service to increase sales.
Jewelry makers created a “masculine band” in onset. This was intended for wartime sentiments, initially tokens of love and commitment but later proved to provide relief from the pain of separation and potential loss.
After the war, the groom’s band came to represent a man’s acceptance of domesticity and his new role as a husband and a prospective father. Both bride and groom showed interest in the idea.
Overtime, this trend of men wearing wedding bands adopted popularization across cultures.
Wedding Ring Design Selection
In terms of design, there is currently a wide variety on the market. Some opt for a basic design (e.g., plain gold) while others prefer rugged (e.g., in iron or bronze). This was originally the “masculine brand” campaigned by the industry.
Christians also have their own take on wedding ring styles. They initially preferred ornate and intricate designs such as one showing an engraving of interlocking hands. Though later, transitioned to a more “spiritual” looking design—i.e., simple, and clean.
In present time, matching rings have also caught couples’ interests. They can choose to get rings of similar or complementary design.
Hence, wedding ring traditions evolve constantly, and ring design will primarily depend on the wearer’s preference.
Metal choices are also worth considering as some are more durable than others. It is currently listed that Tungsten, Ceramic, Titanium and Platinum are four of the strongest metals for wedding bands.
Other attributes of the materials worth considering are allergenicity, colors, and their capability of being resized.
Some metals are more hypoallergenic like Platinum. Colors are often limited within the properties of the metal.
More so, some materials such as Tungsten cannot be resized or repaired. This is also applicable to certain design such as eternity bands.
The couple can still choose from a variety of materials ranging from gold, stainless steel, to wood depending on their needs.
Wedding Ring Prices
On average, couples spend approximately 500 USD on men’s wedding bands and over 1000 USD for women.
As mentioned above, there are a variety of designs and materials to choose from. These will determine the price of the band as a platinum one with diamond embellishments will definitely be more expensive than a plain yellow gold one.
Customized designs also cost more. Additionally, in some jewelry stores, personalized engravings cost additional charges while in others it does not.
Overall, it is up to the couple to decide who buys the groom’s wedding band. They can choose the traditional route or the more modern one that depends on their financial ability.
As this tradition is also relatively new, it is subject to constant changes. Design will primarily depend on the wearer or buyer’s preference, ideologies, and financial capacity.