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With This Ring

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apracticalwedding

Meg Keene is the founder and Editor-In-Chief of A Practical Wedding, a sane resource for wedding (and marriage) planning. Her book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, has been a top three bestseller on the wedding shelf since it came out in January 2012.

Engagement rings get a lot of airplay, and no wonder. No matter how we feel about zillions of carats, or ethical sourcing of stones, or engagement rings and gender roles, I’m pretty sure most of us will agree: engagement rings are pretty. They’re pretty, sparkly and excellent forms of self expression. Show me your pink diamond sparkler, and I’ll show you my black diamond ring designed by a hot indie designer.

Except I won’t. Because my engagement ring was stolen a few months ago. It wasn’t anything as exciting as a pink or black diamond, but it was a little vintage square set ring, picked at the moment we decided to make our relationship forever. And now it’s gone, taking its sparkly memories of that happy moment with it.

But as sad as I am about my missing engagement ring (and trust me, that’s really sad), I’m equally grateful that it’s not my wedding ring that went missing. (Well, wedding rings, plural. I have a plain one, as per Jewish tradition, and a sparkly one, as per my personal tradition). Because it’s my wedding rings that connect me to that moment where I made enormous vows on that hot August day. It’s those rings that tie me to the moment I chose to build this particular life.

Today, I’m offering a love song to the too-often-ignored wedding band, with all its creative and emotional potential. When I polled the staff and writers of APW, many of them said that they thought the engagement ring was the thing, and that the wedding ring was nothing more than a check box. For that I blame their feisty and non-traditional ways, but also US Weekly. We grow up hearing about who got what as an engagement ring, but not much about the moment where you swore your life to someone forever, and left a simple unending circle as the symbol of that hope for eternity.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated

Which brings me to my first piece of advice. With all the exhausting and expensive hullabaloo around weddings, let your wedding band be a simple choice. When buying an engagement ring, there is a tendency to think about others. What will people say when they see the ring? What engagement story will you tell when people look at it? Will the ring end up as a heirloom? But the wedding band is just for you, and the story it tells is as simple as the moment you said your vows.

What do you love?

By simple, I obviously don’t mean that you need to have an unadorned piece of metal on your hand, if that’s not how you roll. I mean ask yourself what you love, and stick with that. Do you just want a $20 marker of the moment? Go for it. Do you want sparkle, sparkle, sparkle? Don’t apologize. Do you want to tattoo the sucker on? Ink it up. The wedding band is personal, and it’s a way to mark an important moment between you and your partner. Figure out what you love and don’t second-guess yourself. Chances are that no one will think to ask about your wedding band until after the ceremony is over. It’s better that way.

Make it yours.

And finally, consider doing something to make your wedding band feel more personal to you. I engraved my husband’s ring with a line from our vows. Most days we forget about it, but when the going gets hard, sometimes it’s nice to pull the ring off remember what we said that day. Brent & Jess offer rings with your partner’s fingerprint inside them, as a way to carry them with you always. I have a vintage band bought on the same day as that ill-fated engagement ring. And one of APW’s contributing writers Elizabeth told me, “I asked (told) K to engrave mine with something meaningful, and she picked ‘I love you, E.’ No sonnets or sweet quotes, just the damn truth.”

Read all of A Practical Wedding’s stories of engagements and rings right here.

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2 Featured Comments

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  • FalconandFinch

    Lynelle Miliate-Ha from FalconandFinch says: Featured

    When we got married, we couldn't afford to buy a wedding ring for me. I have a very pretty engagement ring - Art Deco, platinum, green diamonds - so I didn't really care. We figured we would save up, and then find the right band to match it. But then my husband found a ring that belonged to his mother, who died, with his father, when he was a teen. It's a simple, thin, yellow gold band. It was not the ring I would have picked out for myself. Over time, however, I've become extremely attached to it. I love that it doesn't match my engagement ring, which makes it seem a bit more important, less frivolous, a better symbol for our vows. And I love that it connects us to two people I can never meet - Andrew's parents, who raised him to be the man I would marry. Their love and history informs who he is, and my simple gold band is a reminder of that.

    1 year ago

  • MrsGingerandWasabi

    Marta DQ from tribomo says: Featured

    I love rings but for my wedding ring we just chose a very simple thin wedding band, and I love it. It's not the ring itself, is all the memories/moments linked to it.

    1 year ago

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie says:

    My husband and I have very unique wedding rings. They are a matching gold set etched with silver markings around the entire band. We had the words "I Promise" engraved on the inside of both of them. I still find myself staring at it all the time and we've been married over 10 years now. We love them!

    1 year ago

  • jessgreenleaf

    Jess Greenleaf from GREENLEAFblueberry says:

    I so agree with this! The wedding band is what stays on your finger (hopefully) forever. And there really is something to be said for the simple gold band. My great grandmother wore hers all her life- I was fascinated by it as a child. It was a beautiful smooth gold band, worn for decades. There was just a certain beautiful gravity about it.

    1 year ago

  • NoaSharonDesigns

    Noa Sharon from NoaSharonDesigns says:

    Great article! The wedding ring is the only item you carry with you everyday for all your life, it's got to be something timeless and special to you ♥

    1 year ago

  • skullandsparrow

    Sarah Clark from skullandsparrow says:

    My parents have custom wedding rings with ferns around their bands, I love them and would definitely like to have a unique set for my husband and I some day.

    1 year ago

  • agebo

    Ann Cosgrove from acbcDesign says:

    Great finds - love the titanium and wood

    1 year ago

  • WhisperingOak

    Quality Handmade Items from WhisperingOak says:

    I admire the great designs shown on the post. I especially like the secret message rings.

    1 year ago

  • AbleAprons

    Erika Kelly from PortlandApronCompany says:

    You have a beautiful and fun style of writing! I'm sorry about your stolen ring, and impressed with your perspective about it. I really loved reading this. Thanks!

    1 year ago

  • astronette

    Bridget Miller from astronette says:

    Lust worthy wedding bands!! So dreamy! One day I would like to get a masters degree in metal smithing & make wedding bands. What an honorable &romantic job!! : )

    1 year ago

  • debvasbinder

    Deb Vasbinder from BabyCuteBaby says:

    Enjoyed this article ! The ring is the symbol showing the start of the great adventure. -you shouldn't have to spend a fortune or the price of a new car - it's all about the meaning and the promise - "forever" - that the ring stands for. You never forget that moment when you slipped on that very special ring .

    1 year ago

  • danpickedminerals
  • landseasky

    Erica from landseasky says:

    Beautiful work. Makes me want to renew my vows (and get a new ring!).

    1 year ago

  • valeriephoto

    Valerie from valeriestitchery says:

    Meg makes a great point. Engagements can be broken, but the fact of making it to the wedding, of committing everything forever, is what's really remarkable. And to have all that, all your vows, all the excitement and hope and joy of that day condensed into a small circle is truly amazing. It's worth celebrating, and making it something special and meaningful to you both.

    1 year ago

  • WickedDarling

    WickedDarling from WickedDarling says:

    Beautiful article! Love the antique fede gimmel ring from The Deeps!

    1 year ago

  • Laladesignstudio

    Lala Jewelry from Laladesignstudio says:

    Beautiful selection!

    1 year ago

  • TheDeeps

    Hazel Deeps from TheDeeps says:

    Thanks so much for including my fede gimmel ring in this great article. I love the statement about an unending circle as a symbol for eternity. I'm especially fond of the Art Deco eternity rings, with uninterrupted patterns all the way around, and am on a mission to find one in every size.

    1 year ago

  • Tenitsu

    Trisha Jackson says:

    My engagement ring was simple, nothing crazy like those designer diamonds, nothing fancy like 10-24ct gold, just a little sterling silver wide band ring with an oval cut aquamarine stone in the center, surrounded by a cloudy design at the top. it was $25 haha!! Our wedding bands, well we've been to poor to afford them the past year we've been offically married, but we wanted something unique, something that truly said something about ourselves as much as it said about our eternal promise to each other, our wedding bands have a simple inscription "5-22-13 TM <3 W" just as a reminder of when we sealed our love forever and our promise to always be there for each other =) On the bright side, we finallllly got to order our wedding bands!! =^-^=

    1 year ago

  • lynnhilton1

    Lynn Hilton from ArtsyLynnHilton says:

    Beautiful rings, love your taste!

    1 year ago

  • babsfsu

    Barbara Gable from CrazyLovely says:

    I'm so sad your engagement ring went missing! But I do think you're right-wedding rings are much overlooked. Great rings!

    1 year ago

  • kattaime

    Elizabeth from AtolyeMetiista says:

    I love my wedding ring as much, if not more, than my engagement ring, though both are very special to me. Neither is overly fancy: my engagement ring is a simple round solitaire--probably around 3/8 of a carat, but its setting comes up almost like a tulip, so I love that detail, and my wedding band has a low, milgrain edge that adds just a little texture and fanciness, but is still not "blingy." I tried on engagement rings with bigger stones (they looked excessive, even fake on my small fingers) and wedding bands with stones (too much sparkle with the simplicity of my engagement ring), but in the end, this set worked perfectly together. We bought them at the jewelry store where my husband bought his first gift to me, and they're both vintage pieces of jewelry (not antique, per se, but a few decades old), so they are extra-special to me on those counts.

    1 year ago

  • FalconandFinch

    Lynelle Miliate-Ha from FalconandFinch says: Featured

    When we got married, we couldn't afford to buy a wedding ring for me. I have a very pretty engagement ring - Art Deco, platinum, green diamonds - so I didn't really care. We figured we would save up, and then find the right band to match it. But then my husband found a ring that belonged to his mother, who died, with his father, when he was a teen. It's a simple, thin, yellow gold band. It was not the ring I would have picked out for myself. Over time, however, I've become extremely attached to it. I love that it doesn't match my engagement ring, which makes it seem a bit more important, less frivolous, a better symbol for our vows. And I love that it connects us to two people I can never meet - Andrew's parents, who raised him to be the man I would marry. Their love and history informs who he is, and my simple gold band is a reminder of that.

    1 year ago

  • katiecairncross

    Katie Siebold from katieskottage1 says:

    Love the unique rings. Very Pretty

    1 year ago

  • MrsGingerandWasabi

    Marta DQ from tribomo says: Featured

    I love rings but for my wedding ring we just chose a very simple thin wedding band, and I love it. It's not the ring itself, is all the memories/moments linked to it.

    1 year ago

  • thecupcakekid

    Rin from thecupcakekid says:

    A perfect compilation of beautiful rings -- simple designs, yet so meaningful.

    1 year ago

  • mandaleighf

    Amanda Fortier from MandaleighDesigns says:

    I loved my engagement and wedding ring set with all it's diamonds and shine, but was always sad that we couldn't have it engraved because of its size. For our 10th Anniversary, my husband surprised me (evidently I had been hinting for 10 years...) with a simple wedding band with a sweet engraving on the inside. Now that is all I wear =) Happy as can be with a simple band!

    1 year ago

  • jizbasusan

    Susan Jizba from TheWeaverOfWords says:

    Such beautiful rings. simplicity can be so very lovely, sometimes a lot of bling is just too much! I think the personalized rings are the most meaningful & sentimental. I believe that the most memorable weddings the ones that have special touches that reflect the uniqueness of the couple. I love that you engraved your vows into your ring. It's such a special everyday reminder of why you chose to love and marry him.

    1 year ago

  • susanjizba

    Susan Jizba from AFiresideTale says:

    Such beautiful rings.....simplicity can be so very lovely, sometimes a lot of bling is just too much! I think the personalized rings are the most meaningful & sentimental. I believe that the most memorable weddings the ones that have special touches that reflect the uniqueness of the couple. I love that you engraved your vows into your ring. It's such a special everyday reminder of why you chose to love and marry him.

    1 year ago

  • lkaneoka

    Lance K from InSearchofSunrise says:

    Insightful and romantic. We'll keep that in mind when we choose our wedding bands. xox

    1 year ago

  • nlbgrammy

    nlbgrammy from Qt2t says:

    I love looking at my ring!!! Simple and beautiful just like my marriage.

    1 year ago

  • MyChouchou

    MyChouchou from MyChouChou says:

    Going crazy for all these beautiful, amazing rings! so romantic!

    1 year ago

  • Agasart

    Aga from AgasJourney says:

    Beauties! fingerprints rings are my favorite, very personalized, simple, delicate and beautiful! Great and inspiring selection. Thank you for sharing

    1 year ago

  • anklamike

    Mike Ibarra from Sterlingsilverrings says:

    Beautiful rings! Wonderful photos. Very pretty.

    1 year ago

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage says:

    Beautiful designs!

    1 year ago

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat says:

    As someone who wears rings on every finger & never takes them off, simple, flat bands are by far the most practical rings to wear. If I had ever married my better half, I would never have wanted a traditional engangement ring bevause I'm not fond of the usual designs, but my eternity ring is virtually flat despite containing 18 tiny diamonds (I was 18 when we met) & I also have another wide band ring with a single flush set diamond (kinds like a fake wedding ring) Heirlooms are all very well, I have my grandmother's & her mother's wedding rings, soldered together into a double band. It was taken off my grandmother's cold dead finger & immediately presented to me, my mother still doesn't understand why I won't wear it but it just creeps me out.

    1 year ago

  • dominna

    Katrina Dzerkale from Dominna says:

    I love the one with fingerprint on it :)

    1 year ago

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage says:

    Gorgeous! Something for every taste.

    1 year ago

  • essentialimages

    Kate from essentialimages says:

    Meg is right on as always! The ring that you "seal the deal" with, your wedding band holds the significance of the step you are taking, in front of family and friends. I've maintained, right along, that the marriage, not so much the wedding is the hugely important part of this whole thing. All the other stuff —— rings, cakes, invitations (even tho that's what I sell here lol!) — all that stuff is still just stuff if the marriage isn't the most important part of your wedding. Thanks Meg!

    1 year ago

  • jewelflip

    Chrysalet from Chrysalet says:

    I adore the one with finger prints inside the band!

    1 year ago

  • lovelygifts

    Linda from lovelygifts says:

    Great article and lovely rings!

    1 year ago

  • clarekapin

    Clare and Richard Kapin from VarietyArtworks says:

    These stories are wonderful, I really enjoyed reading through the article and then the featured comments. Lovely!

    1 year ago

  • DazzlersAccessories

    Chris from HarmonyBalls says:

    great find!

    1 year ago

  • katherinedooren

    katherine Lenz from 214EVER says:

    WITH THIS RING, PLEASE MARRY ME!!! HAHA, IT MAKES ME THINK OF THIS MOST BEAUTIFUL THING IN THE WORLD, WITH FULL OF LOVE IN THE HEART,THE NEW COUPLE GOING DOWN THE AISLE TO GET MARRIED. THEN THEY BECOME ONE AND ENJOY THE NEW BEAUTIFUL LIFE!

    1 year ago

  • ethyricalartist

    Donia from DoniaLillyFineArt says:

    wow - I never thought of tattooing a wedding "ring" but that's a great idea - no losing it and it's definitely permanent! (Also love the fingerprint bands) Great article on the all-too-often "afterthought" for a wedding.

    1 year ago

  • sarantos

    sarantos from SARANTOS says:

    Love the rings! :)

    1 year ago

  • Jusadreamin

    Jusadreamin from Jusadreamin says:

    Love those rings nice blog

    1 year ago

  • woodiphonecases

    Wood Iphone Cases from WoodiPhoneCases says:

    The rings are beautiful and the engraving is on point. especially the victorian cigar band

    1 year ago

  • cquis13

    Colleen Quisenberry from LavenderRoseAcc says:

    So sad to hear about your ring being stolen :(. I loved that you engraved a line from your vows! Brilliant idea so special! Love the rings you choose to feature in this article. Beautiful finds! Great blog!

    1 year ago

  • MeetPeopleOnline

    Carlos Paredes from MeetPeopleOnline says:

    Very Nice Rings

    1 year ago

  • kranok

    June McDowell from jwhitevintage says:

    Beautiful designs

    1 year ago

  • qachesa

    Kate Che from qachesa says:

    Every designed item holds it's own message & a story. I love that even though it's one shop, each & every piece is so completely unique.

    1 year ago

  • I365Art

    Peipei M from I365Art says:

    I think regardless of the fact that your lost engagement ring wasn't as pretty, it's really just the sentiment of the ring. These rings are very pretty though I must add.

    1 year ago

  • edieandglo

    kelly hickey from edieandglo says:

    I love wedding bands and their significance and this article made me a bit teary. My husband gave me an engagement ring of 3 pearls and together we had a wedding band made that resembles waves gently supporting each pearl. His band is the impression of the waves and looks like a treasure from deep in the sea. Our marriage has ebbed and flowed through hard times and good in the past 20 years but the rings remain a reminder of the promise to be strong and compassionate for the each other. Thank you for reminding me to reflect again today!

    1 year ago

  • QueenofCuffs

    mary from QueenofCuffs says:

    Love these great ideas - so special !

    1 year ago

  • metalicious

    Stephanie Maslow Blackman from metalicious says:

    Such great sentiment in this article, rings and jewelry have so much meaning. Wedding bands are as unique as the couple getting married. My favorite thing is to work with a couple to create custom bands to symbolize their forever. Their excitement and happiness is contagious!

    1 year ago

  • lesniakorientalrugs

    Mike and Jess from JessiesOrientalRugs says:

    I love the finger print ring, very nice ideas!

    1 year ago

  • csburdick

    csburdick from callmebrazen says:

    I love A Practical Wedding and this post is so true! Wonderful picks - the fingerprint idea is particularly compelling! To know your partner's print is literally with you all the time is an incredible way to begin the journey of marriage

    1 year ago

  • Addy

    Addy from Addy says:

    You have perfectly outlined why wedding rings are hands down my favorite piece of jewellery to source and wear. When meeting with clients in person to help them choose their engagement ring I often go without one, but never without a wedding band (I have two too!). Diamonds are exciting and wonderful, but the rings he put on my finger that day are my most treasured possession.

    1 year ago

  • GracefullyGirly

    Kimberlee from GracefullyGirly says:

    I SO feel for you about your ring being stolen! Before the "real" ring (because he didn't have the money, just the love) my (now) hubby gave me a little diamond necklace as a promise, along with a simple promise band. When I was trying on wedding dresses I must have pulled my necklace off accidentally and it was left there. I got out to the car and realized the necklace was gone but it was unfortunately never recovered. I just couldn't believe someone stole it! But I am so happy to still have the ring as well as the engagement and wedding ring. We had the same thing engraved in both our wedding rings, "love united." It means so much to us. I don't wear any other rings, just the most meaningful ones!

    1 year ago

  • MountainMommaGems

    Shannon Duffey from MountainMommaGems says:

    I loved helping people find and create their wedding rings when I worked in a custom jewelry store back home. One of my favorites was a couple who had 3 mountain ranges engraved on matching bands .One range was where she grew up, the next one was where he grew up, and the third was where they met and married. Another of my favorites was a gentleman bought for his wife a simple white gold band and had a single, small diamond flush set in the band every year for their anniversary. It was such a joy to see him every year. I love the sentiment behind jewelry and take pride in helping people find sparkly ways to represent their love and meaningful life events.

    1 year ago

  • Oliverink

    OliverINK Publishing from Oliverink says:

    I love all the unique rings!

    1 year ago

  • qwynnstudios

    Qwynn Studios from WinstonandQwynns says:

    I love these! I work within the wedding industry and get so bored with the sameness of everything. A special ring is priceless! Great job.

    1 year ago

  • Vivitis

    Vi.Vi.Anna from vivi2anna says:

    LOVE your work! Congrats on the feature and best of luck!!

    1 year ago

  • catherinemaria

    Catherine Maria Charalambous from BouncyTree says:

    Thank you so much that someone finally said it. It is nice to read about the true bond and unity of marriage for a change. It seems these days to be coated in flashy bling and as if the true beauty has been lost. Beautifully expressed.

    1 year ago

  • vtorys says:

    your work is fantastic! ♥

    1 year ago

  • TRENDYTATTLETAIL

    TRENDYTATTLETAIL says:

    I had a similar experience. Although it wasn't my ring that was lost my husband came home one day and told me he had lost his ring. I was so sad because it was engraved inside with "Love Kate" . When I finally decided to replace it, I bought something really simple from the mall jewelers. Thank goodness a week later he found his old in the rocks by our driveway. If it happens again, I will be shopping for a new one on Etsy.

    1 year ago

  • DeEscalaArt

    BEATRIZ DE ESCALA from DeEscalaArt says:

    Very beautiful rings love it

    363 days ago

  • sofiasipsa

    Sofia and Dionisis from muchoshop says:

    Beautiful work, congrats!

    344 days ago

  • joynoel3208

    Joy Anderson Kiefner from BlueSwanJewelry says:

    Your rings are absolutely wonderful. Congratulations.

    338 days ago

  • SarahOakes2013

    Sarah Oakes from FromFenwayWithLove says:

    Etsy has some of the most beautiful wedding rings a couple could ask for :) Such creativity <3

    338 days ago

  • giftsvintage

    Hamid from ShoppeVintageGifts says:

    Great ideas here. Every ring seems so unique.

    194 days ago

  • calliopeialutenist

    Calliopeia Lutenist says:

    I truly don't want to sound pathetic or anything, but I truly wish my love had been able to give me a ring when he proposed..... I would have loved a white gold ring.....

    173 days ago

  • swelsh014

    Sara Welsh says:

    My fiance and I have very simple rings, but we wanted to do something special with them. I love the idea of having something engraved into our rings. A wedding ring itself is a profound treasure to be given and I feel it's given more meaning when you add something that makes it yours. http://goldmarkjewelers.com/bridal_sets.html

    169 days ago

  • tantawanlights

    Sirikuwan Thipkum from tantawanlights says:

    Beautiful designs !

    163 days ago

  • Laladesignstudio

    Lala Jewelry from Laladesignstudio says:

    Im husband and I got married this summer. My engagement ring was very traditional white gold halo style. For our bands I wanted something more unique. I made matching bands for my husband and I with a stylized arrow pattern. His in white gold and mine in yellow gold. I love the mix of rustic and traditional. They suit us and are special because I made them. I don't always wear my engagement ring but my band never comes off.

    148 days ago

  • yzfashionbridal

    YZfashionbridal Inc from YZFashionBridal says:

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

    143 days ago

  • aviantijewelry

    Avianti Jewelry from AviantiJewelry says:

    I love the finger print rings

    79 days ago