Getting hitched? Welcome to one of the most expensive events of your life! 

As we all know, weddings aren't cheap. What with the venue, the dress, the catering, the flowers…  even the simplest celebration can add up to be a pretty costly day. And up there with all the other necessary expenses are the wedding rings. 

But wait: there's another way to play the wedding ring game. 

Wedding rings don't have to be a lavish affair of gold, diamonds and intricate design motifs. Sure, your grandparents wouldn't have considered anything other than precious metals, but times have changed – as have the ideas about rings. 

A ring, after all, is a symbol of your commitment to one another: not a reminder of how much you spent. It's the meaning of the ring that should be worth the most, not what it's made of. Fortunately, there are many metals and designs that are as beautiful as they are affordable. 

All That Glistens… 

is not gold. Gold and diamonds may be pretty, but they're also pretty expensive.  There are no rules to say that a wedding ring MUST be made of gold, or that it MUST feature gemstones. And unless you tell them, who will notice, or care, that your ring isn't 6 carats? There are plenty of other uses for your cash: a new home, for example! 

Metals That Won’t Give You a Meltdown 

The good news is that a cheaper ring doesn't necessarily mean cheap-looking! Today, the range of metals available is so extensive, it pays to look a little further. 

Palladium: If you're desperate to have white gold but just can't quite afford it, consider palladium. It's a naturally white metal with the 'look' of white gold – but a fraction of the price. Palladium is elegant but still durable enough to take daily wear. It's also lightweight, hypoallergenic and can be re-sized to fit. Unlike white gold, it doesn't require any rhodium re-plating. Palladium is often chosen as an alternative to platinum and nobody can tell the difference! 

Titanium: Yes, it's used in aircraft machinery – which is why it makes a great choice for a lightweight, durable ring! Titanium is scratch-resistant, crack-resistant and handles plenty of wear and tear. It's available in either gunmetal grey or black, which makes it a trendy alternative to traditional gold or silver. 

Tungsten: You may have never heard of tungsten, but it's now becoming one of the most popular choices of metal for wedding rings. Also known as wolfram, tungsten is one of the toughest materials found in nature. Tungsten jewellery is usually made of tungsten carbide, a unique mixture of rare tungsten and a like number of carbon atoms. Although somewhat heavier than titanium, it's super-durable and resistant to corrosion. This is one ring that'll last a lifetime! Another wonderful thing about tungsten is that it's available in black, grey or white – perfect for "his and hers" rings. 

Sterling Silver: Sterling silver is indeed a beautiful precious metal, but it's nowhere near as pricey as gold. Real sterling silver is an alloy of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of another metal, usually copper. For a more durable silver ring, you may want to look at higher-grade sterling alloys such as Argentium.
Sterling silver has a shine and strength that can't be matched. It's naturally malleable, which makes it a good choice for engravings. Although it can tarnish over time, it's easy to polish it up to its brilliant shine. Another bonus is that it's hypoallergenic and can be resized. 

Stainless Steel: Before you turn up your nose at the thought of wearing cookware on your finger, check out why stainless steel is turning heads in the jewellery world. Stainless steel is an alloy of steel and chromium, which means it's durable, tarnish-resistant and hypoallergenic. Its greatest asset is that it looks as good as silver – but costs a fraction of the price! The range of designs is huge, and nobody will ever know that it's not real silver. A fantastic choice for the budget-conscious couple who want to save their pennies for the honeymoon. 

Ceramic: As strong as metal, yet just as durable. Ceramic is now trending as cool new cost-efficient style of wedding ring. It's made from titanium carbide so it won't crack or scratch, and it's light and comfortable to wear. The tiny price tag makes it ever better. Choose from an elegant matte finish or high-polish shine. Easy to care for, yet smart and beautiful. 

Cobalt Chrome: Another great alternative to white gold but with a big difference in price. Cobalt chrome is a metal alloy of cobalt and chromium, which means it's actually five times harder than gold and four times harder than platinum! It's also hard-wearing and hypoallergenic. Cobalt chrome sits at an affordable mid-market weight and has a lustrous shine. 

Design: Make It Beautiful Without Making it Pricey 

Forgoing diamonds doesn't mean you're left with a plain old band. Far from it! When considering ring designs, check out the variety of options for making your ring look that little bit different: tones, carvings, finish, inlays and edging. 

Two-toned: Mix up the mundane with different tones of black or silver – or put the two together. 

Toned inlay: An inlay of a different material makes for an incredible and unique design. Consider black carbon fibre, shell, ceramic, silver or even wood. 

Carvings: When metal isn't enough, say it outright with a special word, name or message. A simple engraving adds a huge amount of sentimental value without breaking the bank. 

Finish: The finish of a ring can really accentuate its beauty without pushing up the price. A brushed finish adds an interesting texture to silver rings, while a satin finish adds a timeless elegance. Black metals look incredible with a polished finish. 

Edging: A bevelled edge turns an ordinary metal into 'something different', adding contrast and intrigue. For a smooth look, check out rings with polished edges, or mix up a few different textures with a ring that has bevelled edges and a polished finish.
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