For many couples, the engagement ring gets most of the spotlight, but in reality, the wedding band is often a bigger milestone. “A wedding band is a symbol of love, unity, and commitment,” explains Tonia Zehrer, senior vice president and chief merchandising officer of Signet Jewelers. “It’s a beautiful reminder of the person you’ve chosen to spend the rest of your life with.”
While plenty of couples do choose to utilize rings to commemorate their marriage, the concept of a wedding band isn’t for everyone; and grooms who aren’t used to jewelry can feel anxious about wearing a band forever. According to Jenny Wu, founder of Lace by Jenny Wu, it's common for grooms to be apprehensive when it comes to donning a wedding band, since wearing a new piece of jewelry can oftentimes be an adjustment.
Meet the Expert
- Jenny Wu is the founder of Lace by Jenny Wu, a luxe jewelry line specializing in three-dimensional printed rings and statement pieces.
- David Schoenfeld is the founder of Ring Bear, which offers men's wedding bands and gifts.
- Tonia Zehrer is the senior vice president and chief merchandising officer of Signet Jewelers, the parent company of major jewelry retailers like Kay, Zales, and Jared.
Regardless of your specific concerns, the good news is that there are plenty of ring alternatives out there to consider. The best part? Chances are there’s an option that will work within your budget, and from cufflinks to silicone rings and matching watches, the choices are fairly endless.
If a classic band doesn’t suit your tastes or you're working to build up your jewelry tolerance, check out some of our favorite ring alternatives to help showcase your love in your own special way.
Whether you choose to wear a traditional band, a non-traditional ring, or forgo jewelry altogether, what's most important is that you and your partner are happy. Simply put, make the best decision for your relationship and marriage, and leave the rest behind.
What better way to remind your partner that you’ll love them for the rest of time than with a watch. Zehrer has recently noticed that couples are opting for matching watches in exchange for wedding bands. Not only is this a common and useful piece, but it also has major heirloom potential and can be easily customized or engraved. What's more, depending on the style and brand of the watch, you may end up spending less on this accessory than on an actual ring.
For a fashion-forward groom who isn’t looking to wear a ring, Zehrer suggests considering a diamond-cut chain bracelet or personalized bangle. If you want something that'll stand the test of time, rows of diamonds on your wrist will certainly remind you of your dazzling love. For those who would prefer something more sentimental, a personalized bracelet, carrying a special message, will also be sure to showcase your union forever.
Wedding Band Necklaces
If you still love the idea of a wedding band but aren't comfortable wearing one on your hand, consider wearing your ring on a chain. "Some grooms will wear their ring on a chain, as a necklace," Wu says. Multiple experts agree that from a comfort standpoint, a necklace is less obtrusive, and you're a lot less likely to lose or misplace your ring. The best part is, whatever your budget, there’s a chain out there that can work for grooms of all styles.
For grooms that are hesitant about rocking gold or a traditional metal ring, opt for more non-traditional materials. “With the recent utilization of tungsten, men can get wedding bands that incorporate materials like wood and carbon fiber,” explains Schoenfeld, founder of Ring Bear. “A portion of the population is allergic to gold, which in the past kept guys from wearing traditional wedding bands. Now those grooms can wear platinum or tungsten wedding bands as they’re [made from] hypoallergenic materials.”
Showcase your love forever by getting a visual representation permanently tattooed on your ring finger. You can sport your wedding date, initials, or a small symbol tattooed where you would traditionally wear a ring, for a long-lasting reminder of your bond.
And for couples who decide to opt for this non-traditional option, you’ll be in good company. Lots of celebrities have traded bands for ink, like Beyoncé and Jay-Z who both have the Roman numeral "4" on their ring fingers.
Silicone rings are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason: They’re flexible and great for grooms who work with their hands. "Some of our customers want rings that are not metal-based. A ring that is more casual while fitting a more active lifestyle," Wu says. Though they fall into the ring category and, thus, need to be worn on a ring finger, they're generally more comfortable and oftentimes can feel barely there.
For a unique take on a wedding band alternative, take the idea of a signature bracelet and pair it with the permanency of a ring tattoo. While a traditional style might involve getting a tattoo in the design of a bracelet, don't let that curb your creativity. You can opt for personal designs that convey your love to your partner, and even go further by embracing a full arm tattoo to illustrate your marital commitment.