Who Buys the Wedding Bands? – 2021 Guide

by Rita Easter

In the wedding planning journey, you might find yourself asking time and time again: Who pays for what? The reality is that — contrary to many longtime traditions and societal norms held by many — there is no guidebook to dividing up wedding expenses. For most modern couples, both bride and groom contribute to the cost of the big affair, splitting costs for the ceremony, reception and honeymoon in the way that makes the most sense for them financially.

Still, understandably, there is much confusion among couples about who is supposed to pay for the wedding bands. Unlike other facets of the wedding, the wedding band is viewed as a gift from one partner to the other, exchanged as a symbol of commitment and eternity. Because of this, it’s not totally clear who is supposed to foot the bill. While there are many ways to go, the reality is that there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Who pays for the wedding bands is entirely up to you as a couple.

The Most Traditional Way

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We did say there was no guidebook to wedding payments, but if there were, it would be written by Emily Post. The original etiquette queen says that, according to tradition, the groom or his family should pay for the bride’s wedding ring, while the bride or her family should pay for the groom’s wedding ring. The bride and groom may also pick out the ring for one another, creating an element of surprise.

Sounds like an even swap, right? But here’s the problem: Costs are higher for wedding bands for her than they are for him. In fact, the average cost of a woman’s wedding band is around $900, while the average cost of a men’s wedding band is around $500. Not surprising, given that men’s wedding bands are often simpler and typically don’t have diamonds. These prices can vary pretty widely depending on what metal and style you prefer, so it’s totally possible to rack up a couple thousand dollars total on wedding bands.

There’s one more thing to consider when planning for this transaction. For women, the engagement ring and wedding band may be sold as a set, which means it may make more sense for the groom to purchase it while picking out the engagement ring.

The Most Common Way

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Tradition is nice and all, but it’s not practical nor desirable to everyone in every situation. That’s why so many contemporary couples have begun to ditch the most commonly held and seemingly arbitrary wedding payment customs in favor of more modern ones. Today, more couples are footing the bill for the nuptials as a couple rather than contributing separate funds or asking the parents for assistance. That could be because more and more couples already share their finances before they say, “I do,” so there are no separate pots to draw from.

So what does this mean? To put it simply, it means that the most appropriate way to handle this scenario is to talk it through with your partner and look at all available options before settling on one. It doesn’t matter whether you love the idea of tradition and decide to pay for each other’s rings or add it to the overall wedding budget, pulling from one big pot. Both are completely valid and sensible ways to go about things, depending on your unique scenario and preferences.

Who Picks Out the Wedding Bands?

So now that we’ve covered who is supposed to pay, let’s go over one more common question with regard to wedding bands. Who picks them out? The most common — and, in our opinion, sensible — way to go about this is to head to the jewelry store together and try on your options as a couple. The reality is that you and your future spouse will be wearing these rings for the rest of your lives, so it’s a good idea to pick them out yourself so you get exactly what you want.

How Do You Choose Wedding Bands?

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The simplest way to pick out a set of wedding bands that you know you’ll love forever is to start your search online. Whether it be Pinterest, Instagram or your favorite fashion blogs, it helps if you go into your jeweler of choice with some idea of what you like. These days, there are also many reputable online jewelry stores like Verragio that are completely legitimate, so that’s an option as well. Just make sure to do your research and check reviews beforehand.

At the end of the day, your best bet is to head to your local jeweler if you are unsure where or how to buy the bands. They will be able to offer you a ton of different options and are often more willing to work with you on pricing than you might expect. What’s more, the in-person shopping experience ensures that you get to see different rings on your finger and that you automatically get the right size.

Do What Makes Sense for You

Ultimately, figuring out who will pay for the wedding bands is a couple-by-couple decision, and there’s no right or wrong approach. If you prefer the traditional method and even want to surprise your partner with a ring you picked out just for them, that’s totally fine. If you prefer to go to the jewelry store and handle it together, that’s totally fine, too. The most important thing to do in this situation is to be clear with your partner about your expectations and come to a decision together.

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