Traditional etiquette dictates that the groom buys the bride’s engagement and wedding rings, and that the bride purchases the groom’s wedding band. While steeped in old custom this is also a romantic gesture that makes each band seem like a gift from one party to the other.
However, in today’s modern world traditional etiquette isn’t always observed, though it doesn’t have to mean that the exchange of rings is any less lovely or sentimental. Sometimes all of the costs fall on the groom, including his own band. This may be because he is the primary earner in the family, or it can be due to the fact that the bride or her family is shouldering the majority of expenses for the wedding.
In the case of couples who are already living together and sharing expenses, the cost of the rings can be split straight down the middle, whether intentionally or simply by default. For these couples, a pragmatic view can rule their purchasing decisions – they figure that their expenses will be shared soon enough, so they might as well get a head start.
The decision of who buys the wedding rings can vary with the cost of the rings themselves. Usually the bride’s engagement ring is the most expensive, followed by her wedding band. The groom’s wedding band tends to be the least expensive ring to purchase, though this depends on the ring – it may be a traditional gold band, a less expensive contemporary material or incorporate luxury elements like diamonds. Because of this, sometimes the groom will buy the bride’s engagement ring and she will buy both his and her wedding bands.
In some cases, couples end up using one or more rings that have been handed down through their families. In this event, since purchasing the ring or rings was a non-issue, a nice gesture is to show some token of appreciation to the family member who passed it down. If using an element from a gift ring – like a diamond, gemstone or the upcycling the material of the band itself to use for a new ring – the debate starts anew as to who will pay for a new setting or a band made from old materials.
In terms of choosing the actual designs of the bands, there is even more variation. Some grooms surprise their brides with a ring, some get her to pick one out in advance, some design their bride’s engagement ring and some use a placeholder and have her pick her own ring out once officially engaged. In most cases, the bride and the groom will pick out his wedding band together once it gets closer to the wedding date.
Ultimately, the choice of who buys the wedding bands is a personal and individual one. Whatever makes you and your betrothed most comfortable and works for your particular financial circumstances is always the right decision.