We seal our vows with an exchange of rings, but just because we bow to that tradition doesn’t mean you have to be cliché about it. No one says it has to be all hearts and flowers…although those are definitely an option. The media frenzy to showcase celeb wedding bands illustrates how fascinated we are by ways to put our own stamp on custom. Select a distinctive motif to symbolize you’re definitive style:
Be a hipster and get your plain gold wedding bands. Score family heirloom wedding rings if you can swing it so you can work the artisanal, repurposed vibe even during your ceremony. Show them off as a rebellion against the very personalization of weddings that this list represents. Instead of showing off your individuality, be retro and sport the most traditional and simplest of symbols. Prove that it’s hip to be square.
Tiptoe just slightly south of serious traditional gold bands but putting an inscription or engraving on your bands. Whether it’s your initials inside the band or a Scripture quote that’s meaningful to the pair of you, personalized wedding rings set your bond apart from the millions of others with the bands you exchange. You’ll wear these for the rest of your lives so pick a personalization that makes you smile. Think funky, not just Shakespeare. If you both cracked up when you took your niece to see Despicable Me 2, maybe engrave your bands with “You’re one in a minion” as a wink to that fun bonding experience that showed you what a great dad he’d be. If you surprised your fiancé with tickets to see Phantom of the Opera for Valentine’s Day, personalize with a phrase like “music of the night” or better yet “all I ask of you”…both names of show tunes in the romantic production to remind you of your own sweeping romance. Make it your own in the weirdest way possible.
In the U.S., “Paisley” is rapidly becoming a popular baby girl’s name in honor of the country music singer Brad Paisley. So if you’re a country fan, maybe nod to your love of cowboy hats and drinking songs with a paisley wedding band…or choose one for normal reasons like the fact you think the pattern is pretty. The curving feather shapes of the paisley motif are based on an Indian design depicting pine cones. So if pine cones or forests or Christmas trees are somehow special to you or had an integral part in your relationship (annual autumn pine cone fight? got lost driving to the tree farm? built a tree house together?), paisley works for you. It’s an opulent pattern with a nod to the Far East, an appropriate choice if either of you has Indian lineage as well. Choose wedding rings that are meaningful to you as a couple.
7. Heart Rings
Wear your heart on your sleeve—and your ring finger—with this totally un-ironic depiction of the universal symbol for love. Admit it. You’ve written his name and doodled a heart around it. Maybe surrounded it with doodles of puffy hearts all over the paper. Pick out the kind of wedding band that your thirteen year old self would have thought was perfect. The heart motif wedding ring bears the same daringly sincere romanticism that still carves initials into tree trunks and wants a dozen red roses every Valentine’s day till kingdom come. The heart is a durable icon for romantic love. If you’re marrying a real traditionalist and you want a more personal, distinctive wedding band, a band decorated with hearts is a safe choice. They’re sweet, meaningful, and as long as you don’t use them to dot your i’s, just go with it.
Embrace the texture of a dappled band that has been hammered, distressed into shape. Even the most cynical friends will melt a little when you tell them that your hammered wedding bands represent the way you have both been tempered and sometimes damaged by experience and come together in a perfect eternal circle, pledging yourselves to one another, imperfections, shadows and all.
A silver or platinum hammered band has the added appeal of resembling the shining, rippling surface of a river, making it perfect for loads of timeless water metaphors in your wedding program and a quirky choice for the couple who likes to go fishing, boating or waterskiing together. If by some chance one of you is a blacksmith by trade (or your married name will be Smith, natch), the hammered wedding band is practically perfect.
5. Floral Bands
Patterns of leaves, vines and blossoms adorn floral wedding bands. Botanical motifs are special to a lot of couples because of nostalgia for sentimental moments like the first time he brought you flowers…or the time he brought flowers and you set them down on a chair to kiss him and your dog chewed up a mouthful of daisies when you weren’t looking! Anyone familiar with the Victorian language of flowers with their array of subtle meanings will have fun choosing floral motif wedding bands for their specific resonance…the same bride sure to terrorize florists by pointing out that some of their blooms carry nefarious implications (hint: stay away from lavender which means mistrust and the popular lush peony which stands for anger!).
Put your money where your heart is and indulge in diamond encrusted wedding bands. A milgrain band is delicate, with a fine beaded edge on either side of the row of diamonds. Channel set diamond wedding bands are placed adjacent in a row down in a veritable trough of precious metal with walls to encase them. A shared setting boasts a series of usually round diamonds sharing prongs and extending perhaps halfway across the wedding band. If you like, a single diamond might signify to your other half that he or she is “the one,” while a three stone band symbolizes the past, present and future.
Diamond wedding bands may be chosen to complement the engagement ring and purchased only for the bride as part of a bridal set or you might both wish to have diamonds set in matching rings. A diamond wedding ring tells the world how you hold your spouse precious…and how you didn’t waste all of your money on the cake.
A Christian wedding band is a sincere way to manifest your shared faith with an extrinsic sign you’ll wear each day. A simple cross motif. A dove to symbolize the Holy Spirit. A verse from Corinthians or the Song of Solomon. Even a crown of thorns. There are a variety of resonant Christian symbols you can choose to sanctify your matrimonial union and express your passionate conviction that marriage is a holy sacrament, a union blessed by God
Christ will be at the center of your life and the strength of your faith gives you hope for a long life of love and service together. The choice of a Christian wedding band is ideal for a devout couple seeking to bear witness to Christ in their every deed.
A nod to your Irish heritage or lifelong love of all things in Irish culture and folklore, the Celtic wedding band features a popular motif. A Celtic cross like an ancient symbol set in the weathered stone of an old country church declares both your faith and your love of the Emerald Isle. An intricate Celtic knot evokes images of King Arthur and his knights, bearing the air of an unbreakable bond of honor…a knight’s pledge to his lady love or a man’s vow to his bride. The iconic claddagh design traditionally symbolizes your friendship, love and loyalty to one another by depicting a heart (love) framed by a pair of hands (friendship) and topped by a crown (loyalty)—all ideals we want for our marriage’s strong foundations. If you want to take your love of all things Celtic to the next level, let your geek flag fly and put it on the invitation. Celtic themes may be incorporated to your wedding ceremony and reception through cosplay, encouraging your guests to wear Celtic costumes that would have been suitable for a Bealtainne or Yule celebration. Whether you do a little Celtic or go all out, it’s a sure way to personalize your wedding bands and your celebration.
Just as your lives will be intertwined as you knit your soul with his in the holy ceremony of marriage, your wedding bands can be braided to exemplify the different threads of your selves that you will weave together to create a new life as one. Braided wedding bands have a practical aspect as well as the metaphysical symbolism though. If you select a braided wedding ring with multiple metals such as silver with gold or rose gold, you have a more versatile piece of jewelry for everyday wear than a single metal could provide.
The two of you will make each other complete, complementing the differences between you and a braided wedding band shows the strength of that joining, the indivisible devotion you share. No matter what any jaded and possibly single wedding guest mutters about excessive sentiment, weddings are the time to be romantic and show your true heart. You have permission to be the shmoopiest because it’s your day! To see all of these wedding ring collections, visit ApplesofGold.com.