When you went to prom, you made sure that your date’s tie matched your dress. When you went to Halloween parties in college, you and your current flame searched high and low for a costume fit for two. So when it came time to choose your wedding bands, you knew they had to match. After all, when you’re half of a couple, coordinating your look is just part of the territory… right?
Traditionally speaking, yes. For example, ever since wedding bands became popular in the United States in the mid-20th century, it’s been customary for the couple to have a matched set of simple gold wedding bands. But here’s the thing: many wedding traditions have shifted or fallen by the wayside over the years. Why should the matching wedding bands be any different?
The wedding band is a couple’s accessory unlike any you’ve bought before. Unlike your prom dress and the cop and robber costumes you bought online, these babies are staying on forever! You’ll be wearing your wedding band everywhere you go for the rest of your marriage, so it’s important to make sure that you and your spouse have rings that you both really love.
The Case for Matching Wedding Bands
Wedding traditions often have bizarre or antiquated histories (you don’t really want to know why brides stand to the left at the altar), but wedding bands have a pretty sweet origin story. While women have been wearing wedding bands for centuries, men adopted the accessory during World War II, to remind them of their wives when they went off to fight. After the war ended, the tradition remained and the matching wedding bands quickly adopted romantic connotations.
Wedding bands are always a symbol of a couple’s commitment to each other and love for one another, but matching bands take it a step further. The rings don’t just designate your status as married folk, but the matching look of them indicates that the two of you have become one unit. It can also be a nod to your shared tastes and styles—another indicator that you both belong together.
Of course, symbolism is always subjective, but if the meaning rings true for you, it might be worth it to get a matching wedding band. They’re easy to find (most jewelers sell matched sets anyways), and most stores offer many styles you and your future spouse can choose from. Even if you and your partner don’t have the same taste in jewelry, you’re bound to find something that strikes the perfect compromise.
The Case for Mixing Wedding Bands
While it’s true that a married couple may be “one unit,” it’s also true that opposites attract. And when two people with vastly different styles join in holy matrimony, finding a ring to suit them both can seem impossible! One person may want an eternity band covered in diamonds, while the other may want something simple and understated. One may be obsessed with rose gold, while the other wants velvety matte black tungsten. How do you ever come to a compromise?
The short answer: you don’t. Your partner is marrying you because they love who you are—not because you like all the same things they do! Your tastes don’t have to be mirror images for you to belong together. Don’t be afraid to find your dream ring and let your partner find their own.
The Case for a Compromise
That said, there are ways to walk the line between matching and mixing. Choose different ring styles in a type of metal you both love. Choose matching designs, but in different colored metals (look for the shade that best suits your skin tone). Take two completely different bands and give them matching inscriptions! Any ring that you choose to represent your love and commitment will be just right.
Wedding bands don’t even have to be rings at all! Some couples opt for non-traditional shows of commitment, from matching tattoos on the left ring finger to simply displaying their marriage certificate in their home. Some couples even follow prewar conventions and forego wedding bands for the men completely (Prince William doesn’t wear one simply because he doesn’t like jewelry). As a couple, you and your love should do whatever you think will best exemplify your decision to share your lives together—and forget about what tradition has to say about it.
So, back to our big question: should your wedding bands match? If you want them to, then yes. If you don’t want them to, then no. The choice rests entirely with you and your husband or wife. After all, you two are the ones living with these rings for the rest of your lives! When you are choosing your wedding bands, make sure to look first at what catches your eye, and not at what you think you’re “supposed to wear.” After all, your ring should be something you absolutely adore, just like your spouse.