It’s a valid question; who buys the man’s wedding band? A century ago that would have been a non-question because back then most Western men simply didn’t wear them. Even seventy years ago it would still have been causing heated debate because we lived in an age of patriarchy.
During those times, not only were men thought of as “in control”, but they also bore more fiscal responsibility. That basically meant most men would have been offended if a woman had to buy them a wedding band.
Fortunately, as time has passed and humanity has become more enlightened, customs have changed. Traditions have evolved. Society’s perceptions have shifted, as have people’s expectations.
In today’s world, there are now several scenarios that have become commonplace when buying men’s wedding rings. There’s no perfect answer here, and it’s really up to the soon-to-be-married couple. Each couple must decide for themselves which option works best for them.
When it comes to men’s wedding bands, traditionally the bride does the shopping and purchasing. However, tradition is becoming a thing of the past, and different couples have different preferences. What might work for one couple, might not do well for another? We’ve broken out how a Hitched wedding band home try-on can help you, no matter which of the following categories you fall into.
You finally popped the question and asked the most important question of your life. Your partner gleefully answered, but now you are left with a new question (or forty), including who buys the groom’s ring? While it is a widely accepted notion that the groom should purchase his fiancee’s rings, no one ever mentions who is expected to pick up the bill for the slightly less exciting man’s ring. Luckily for you, we here at Manly Bands have done the hard work for you and are proud to present some of the most popular traditions regarding who foots the bill for the groom’s ring. Spoiler alert: it might be you.
According to The Knot 2019 Jewelry and Engagement Study of over 21,000 to-be-weds or newlyweds, 94 percent of proposers pay for the engagement ring. But who buys the wedding bands? As with engagement rings, a precedent has been set. That said, there actually aren’t hard-and-fast rules.
Here, we tell you what’s “traditional” when it comes to who pays for wedding rings, plus what modern couples are doing. Yep, you have options—so choose what’s right for you. And once you determine who’s footing the bill, we’ll help you find a place to buy the jewellery.
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History of the Groom’s Wedding Band
Have you ever glanced at someone’s ring finger to see if they’re married? We’ve all done that, of course. The sight of that wedding band there tells us that someone is already spoken for.
But you might be surprised to learn that if you looked at a man’s left hand just a couple of generations ago, you wouldn’t have been able to tell whether he was married or not. That’s because, while the tradition of the bride’s wedding band goes back hundreds of years, men in America have only been wearing wedding bands since about the 1940s.
Many people believe that men’s wedding bands became popular during World War II. Men who were sent into service during the war often chose to wear simple gold bands to remind themselves of their beloved wives.
Their wedding rings, which made a statement that they had someone to go home to, weren’t necessarily exchanged at the wedding itself. Instead, the wives of many soldiers bought rings for their husbands before the men were deployed, often with the financial assistance of parents or other family members. Unlike the more elaborate engagement and wedding rings worn by women, these bands were remarkably simple and often of little value.
Women’s wedding rings around the world date back to ancient Egypt, when the rings were often made of ivory or bone, or even of leather. But men’s wedding bands simply didn’t exist in most traditions around the globe. One small exception: In Romania, husbands and wives gift each other a silver ring — but this tradition is pegged to the 25th anniversary, not to the wedding. Twenty-five years is a long time to wait to get to wear a ring.
America turned out to be a trendsetter for other cultures. Now, many husbands around the world opt to wear a wedding band along with their wives. Some people even raise a suspicious eyebrow about a married man’s intentions if he chooses not to wear a wedding ring.
Women have been wearing some form or fashion of a wedding ring for ages. The Neanderthal women used to wear wedding rings around their waist, usually made of twigs and grass as a way to signify loyalty to their partner. In Ancient Egypt, they also wore wedding rings, at first made of materials like reeds and rushes, and eventually graduating to rings made of more durable materials, like ivory, leather, and bone.
The ancient Romans had a version of a wedding ring as well. However, instead of symbolizing things like love and loyalty, the Roman wedding ring was a symbol of control and ownership. Men would give women a wedding ring and “claim” them as their own. Though that may seem somewhat romantic in theory, it’s a sure bet that in those days, being “claimed” by a man was anything but romantic. Roman times were violent, and women were not valuable to men beyond their ability to reproduce. They were simply property. Romans are also thought to be the leader of the pack when it comes to ring engravings, so at least something good came from that era!
Eventually, Christians started exchanging rings during the wedding ceremony and went through a few different styles. First, they were ornate and intricate, such as two doves linked together, or two hands linked together. But eventually, these styles were considered “heathen” in design, and the style began to change. The rings became simpler and clean, and ergo, more “spiritual” looking.
Though it’s believed that wearing a wedding ring of sorts was quite common for women throughout the ages, men didn’t really start wearing wedding bands until sometime in the 1940s, during WWII. Men wore wedding bands to help remind themselves of the love and commitment waiting for them back home.
It was a time of major upheaval and uncertainty, and couples needed something to hold on to when they weren’t sure if they would ever see each other again. In most cases, these wedding bands were plain and simple in style and worn more for symbolism than looks. Once America set the stage and men wearing wedding bands became more popular, the trend began to spread to other parts of the world.
Back in the 1920s, the jewellery industry made a botched attempt to market pre-wedding bling for men. But with today’s egalitarian marriages, the time may be right for another try.
On a clear day in Laguna Niguel, California, Anthony Franco and Shawna Stewart stood together at the altar, surrounded by 40 family members and friends. It was a traditional ceremony: The two Colorado natives smiled in a sea of purple and white, Franco’s lilac tie matching the strapless dresses of Stewart’s five bridesmaids. Sunlight bounced off of the round brilliant-cut diamond on her left hand. But one small detail set their ceremony apart from others. When the time came to exchange wedding bands with one another, Franco was already wearing a ring.
According to a recent survey by XO Group Inc.—the parent company of leading wedding Web site The Knot—5 percent of engaged men are wearing engagement rings. It’s difficult to pinpoint the origin of this little-known piece of jewellery, but it certainly predates the 21st century. Vicki Howard, author of Brides, Inc: American Weddings and the Business of Tradition and an associate professor of history at Hartwick University in New York, spent hours poring over jewellery trade magazines to trace the history of what the industry calls the “engagement ring.”
In 1926, jewellers tried to popularize the concept, but to no avail. Companies like L. Bamburger & Co., a large department store later rebranded as Macy’s, joined together for a cooperative advertising campaign. The ads, which ran in East Coast newspapers, featured black and white photos of a man’s left hand, a cigarette resting between the first two fingers and a large rock flashing on the fourth. The rings even had ultra-macho names: the Pilot, the Stag, the Master. But these campaigns were unable to overcome the ingrained femininity of the symbol, and the movement flopped.
Who buys the groom’s wedding ring?
Tradition has it that the “bride” (with or without help from her family) buys “the man’s” wedding ring. But this “rule” is obviously binary—it assumes that all weddings involve a woman and her groom. In more inclusive terms, each half of the couple is expected to pay for their other half’s wedding band.
Nowadays, though, who buys the wedding bands is pretty up in the air. Some couples are splitting the cost of their wedding rings. This might make sense if you’ve already combined your finances pre-wedding, or if you two are paying for all (or part) of your wedding together as a shared expense. This doesn’t mean you have to contribute an equal amount to the bands though (you could divide the total cost proportional to your individual incomes, for example, which is a common practice when it comes to splitting costs as a couple in general.)
As with most relationship situations involving money, talking it out and coming to a mutual agreement is the best course of action. Maybe you buy both the wedding rings, and your partner covers a different wedding expense. Maybe your parents chip in. Maybe you buy your own ring, and your future spouse buys theirs! It’s all about what works for you, your significant other and your families.
While wedding traditions seem to evolve constantly—even your parents’ wedding will probably look much different than yours—so do wedding ring traditions. For decades it was thought that your gender would determine what role you had in purchasing the wedding rings. Now, the rules have flipped, and it’s much less clear as to who is responsible for simulated diamond jewellery. More couples than ever are discussing wedding expenses—including both engagement rings and wedding bands—together as a team.
Although making these decisions as a couple has become the more common approach, many still choose to participate in classic traditions. These traditions may include the groom purchasing the rings, the bride being handed down an heirloom engagement ring, or customs on how to wear a wedding ring set. Before you celebrate your big day or even pop the question, it’s important to know who buys the wedding bands for the wedding ceremony.
Similar to who buys the bride’s wedding band, many couples have opted for making both ring purchases together. Even men’s wedding rings can be costly as they contain a lot of metal. For this reason, couples may choose to purchase rings for each other, or together using the same pot of money. While the price between a men’s and women’s wedding ring may not be entirely equal- especially if one of them features accents- paying for them using one of these two methods is a good idea to even out the expenses.
While most of the attention is often on the bride’s wedding rings- both her engagement ring and wedding band- the groom’s band is frequently left as a last-minute purchase. Men’s wedding bands are indeed much more simple in design than women’s, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less important. They are still just as significant in representing marriage and should have just as much thought put into the buying journey. Couples may even opt to match their wedding bands slightly, and in which case, will most likely need to be purchased together. Some matching sets will have similar metalwork or accent stones- although they may still differ in shank width. No matter who buys the groom’s band- whether together or separately- it should be purchased with the bride’s wedding band in mind as well.
The most traditional way to go about this would be the bride pays for the groom’s wedding ring plus a gift, and the groom pays for the engagement ring and matching wedding band for the bride. Today, a more modern approach by many couples would be to accept the wedding bands as a joint investment by both people. Perhaps there is no real answer, with the best option being what is most comfortable for the unique relationship that each couple has.
It’s not actually so long ago that planning and organizing a wedding was largely done along lines split by financial responsibility. The bride’s parents would pay for the wedding itself and make most of the big decisions, with the groom’s parents often contributing by way of paying for the flowers. As costs increased, however, these lines became more and more blurred to the point where costs are now usually much more evenly shared among the two families. There are still weddings in which the choice is made to stick with tradition, of course, but it’s certainly less common than even 20 years ago.
One of the few aspects of the wedding that managed to hang on to the old ways for a little while longer was the buying of the rings, but even that “rule” has been relaxed somewhat, over time.
Engagement rings are still typically bought by the groom-to-be, despite fewer and fewer proposals being the surprise event it once was. Brides are, however, choosing their own engagement rings more and more, often with matching wedding rings in mind further down the road, but the buying of the wedding bands themselves is now very much more a joint venture.
For reasons which will probably never quite become clear, wedding bands are seen as the slightly boring cousins of engagement rings. After all, people rarely ooh and aah over a gold band with little or no decoration, but this doesn’t do justice to the role the bands play in the marriage itself. After all, an engagement ring’s job is technical – if not emotionally – done when the first “I do” is spoken, but a wedding ring’s gainful employment lasts for as long as the marriage does. In short, it may well be a job for life.
The fact is that the wedding ring is probably the most symbolic element of any marriage. So it’s not unreasonable to think that choosing and paying for them should perhaps be done jointly between fiancé and fiancée. Despite this, wedding rings have long been bought as gifts for each other, and it’s only very recently that they have been bought as a kind of package deal, paid for equally from the same pot of money.
Part of the reason might be that matching wedding rings are very much in vogue now, and so any lasting remnants of secrecy about the design has been surrendered. It would also probably be slightly awkward to have a couple standing in a jewellery store splitting the check like it’s a night out with work colleagues at the Olive Garden.
There’s also actually a lot of sentimental merit in practice. After all, it’s a major milestone at the beginning of a life together, so why shouldn’t that journey begin with steps that are both in time and in tune?
The question of who buys the groom’s wedding ring is another of those who have no right or wrong answer. Weddings can be – and are – expensive affairs and, even if the main costs of the wedding are being met by one or both sets of parents, it’s nice to be able to do this with and for each other. If you are traditionalists, then, by all means, buy each other’s rings because, in the big wedding scheme of things, it’s actually one of the less pricey aspects of your day. If, on the other hand (no pun intended!), it’s solely about what the ring represents, then have fun browsing and choosing the wedding bands that you both want.
Since the tradition of men’s wedding bands is — surprisingly! — so new, perhaps it’s less surprising that the tradition of who buys the ring is still a bit up in the air.
Many brides and grooms choose to buy their rings for each other. Those with a more traditionalist bent may even decide to surprise each other with the rings at the wedding ceremony.
More often, though, practicality wins out. After all, most brides already have engagement rings on their fingers. If they expect to continue wearing their engagement rings, they’ll want a wedding ring that matches, probably even one that comes as part of a matched set. And since many men aren’t used to wearing rings, they may want to try on several to make sure a certain style is comfortable for everyday wear.
Some couples choose matching rings, perhaps with personalized inscriptions inside the ring. Sometimes those rings look essentially the same, but the man’s ring is a thicker width than the woman’s. It’s also fine to choose rings that don’t match at all — a current trend with new grooms in 2020 is wooden rings.
Choosing the rings is one thing — but paying for them may be a different story. Often the couple just buys the rings jointly, considering them part of the overall wedding expenses. If one member of the couple makes significantly more money than the other, they may choose to buy both rings. And in a fairly new tradition that’s just starting to take hold, sometimes the bride’s parents buy the groom’s ring, with the groom’s parents buying the bride’s wedding ring, as a statement of family love and solidarity.
The bottom line? Set your own tradition, and decide what works best for you when it comes to choosing and buying the groom’s wedding band.
Go the Traditional Route
Both women and men wear wedding rings as a sign of eternal love and commitment to one another. If a man is a traditionalist, he may choose to buy his own wedding ring, as well as the bride’s ring. Some guys may find that they want to personally choose a specific style and design when shopping for men’s wedding rings. It can also be for financial reasons as well if your partner earns less than you. This stems from a time when most women were of much lesser means than men. It’s also the more logical choice, especially if you are a man that has a substantially higher income level than your fiancée. There’s no need for her to spend money she can’t afford.
Old traditions stemming from the days before brides were active in the workforce offer a glimpse into 20th-century society. Without any income and with the expectation of the bride being a young housewife, grooms often purchased their own wedding bands if they were trendsetters but most simply went without. In fact, most married men in America did not wear wedding bands at all until the 1940s. It is believed that the trend of men sporting wedding bands first began around World War II when soldiers opted to wear rings to remind them of their spouses while they were deployed. These rings were fairly basic and unadorned and were used to symbolize the uncertainty of whether or not a husband would ever return from war to see his wife again. In some circumstances, the bride of a soldier would receive financial assistance from parents or other loved ones to purchase the groom’s ring. Still, both rings were more focused on symbolism than on the jewellery itself.
Meanwhile, you tediously agonized over which ring to purchase for your partner before proposing. You had nightmares of gold and platinum and silver and diamonds for months. After waking up in a cold sweat one morning, with visions of price tags dancing in your head, you finally made a decision. You chose the ring that you felt would be the ultimate “proposal gift.” In the traditional sense, you purchased an engagement ring for your fiance as a gift. In return, your fiance then purchases your wedding band as a gift to you. This is a long-standing tradition with roots that can be traced back to the days of brides first entering the workforce (but likely well after the times of a bride’s parents offering a dowry of sheep, pigs and other glorious livestock). Today, however, most old wedding traditions have since been abandoned, meaning no sheep for you. However, you may still receive your wedding band as a gift.
There is something to be said about sticking with tradition. It makes for a romantic and truly enjoyable wedding experience. When it comes to ring selection and purchase, tradition says that shopping for and buying the groom’s wedding band falls in the bride’s lap. Are you a bride looking to keep to tradition but struggling with picking out your groom’s band? This is where Hitched becomes especially helpful. With our home try-on, you can choose five bands that you like (and think he will like) and surprise him at home. He can then seal the deal and firm up his size with the provided ring sizing tool. Convenient for you, fun for him! Get started by browsing our selection.
Traditions are important. They set standards, and many couples love and value those standards and traditions. If you and your guy fall into this camp, your man may want to buy his wedding ring himself. He may even want to buy your ring as well. That’s just the way it’s been done for centuries, it’s tradition, and for some couples, that tradition is important.
Also, keep in mind that women haven’t always been equal to men when it comes to money and means. So not only is this decision steeped in tradition, at one point in history, it just made financial sense. If a woman didn’t make a lot of money, but her man did, he paid for the rings, and that was that.
If money weren’t an issue, many men would often purchase the bride’s engagement ring as a gift, and the bride would then purchase the partner’s wedding ring as a return gift.
We’re a Non-Traditional Bride and Groom
Maybe you’re not concerned with tradition. That’s great! In our experience, most couples shop for the men’s wedding band together, which can be a really fun part of the wedding planning process. We know that most guys have never worn a ring before and that it can be difficult for the bride to find and size the perfect wedding band without the groom’s help. With Hitched, brides and grooms can browse and shop together, all in the comfort of their home. Just grab the laptop, cozy up on the couch and explore the different men’s wedding bands we offer. Pick your top five together, and they will be sent to you both along with a ring sizing tool. When the home try-on arrives, make it a date night!
In the modern-day, wedding bands for married men are expected. Fortunately, these days men are not limited to basic gold, shiny bands, as they once were. Designs for men here at Manly Bands are modern and intended to reflect your suave personality. When it comes to who will purchase your one-of-a-kind masculine band, there are a number of arrangements made by engaged couples in today’s day and age. Some traditionalists prefer to keep the old sentiments alive and purchase rings for one another as gifts.
More commonly, however, couples tend to shop for their wedding bands together. They may opt to purchase a matching set, such as bands with personalized inscriptions, or the same band’s in different widths. Or they may just enjoy having a shopping partner who knows them best when it comes to picking a ring that’ll be on their hand till the end of time. In either scenario, couples often come to their own conclusions about the cost of their wedding bands. If one partner earns significantly more than the other, they may decide to have the breadwinner purchase the rings. They may even opt to each purchase their own wedding band without consulting the other person at all. Whichever route you and your fiance decide to take in purchasing your rings, it is likely to be only the first of many important discussions that you will have with your beloved fiancee. Get them, tiger.
Nowadays, as we’ve explained above, who buys the wedding bands is really up to the couple. Go ahead and gift each other wedding bands ahead of the big day, or work out a different payment plan with each other and your families.