Now that your significant other has agreed to make you the happiest man or woman alive, it's time to get down to business and start planning your big day. One of the biggest and most meaningful to-dos on your list will be selecting your wedding rings. Depending on who proposes in a same-sex relationship, one or both of you may already have a ring. First, you'll have to decide if you both want to new bands to exchange during your ceremony. Assuming you do, you have to decide how you'll select them. Some couples prefer to each choose their own bands, while others like to have the opportunity to select one for their partner. No matter how you choose to purchase them, you're about to make a big decision: These rings will symbolize the bond that the two of you share. To help guide your search, we talked to jewelry experts and asked them to share their best tips for same-sex couples who plan to shop for wedding bands together.
Find a jeweler you can trust.
As a same-sex couple, you are entitled to the same experience every other couple has, so do your due diligence to ensure you find a jeweler whom you trust and are comfortable with, says Julie Weintraub, owner and president Gold and Diamond Source in Clearwater, Florida. "You should be able to be yourself and celebrate your love when you walk in the door, regardless of the relationship you're in," she says. "You should feel welcomed with open arms!"
Don't wait until the last minute.
Even if neither of you plan on wearing a ring with a diamond, you'll still want to give yourself plenty of time—we're talking months—to choose your wedding bands before your big day. "Wedding bands are literally the only thing that you will wear every single day for the rest of your life," says Amanda Gizzi, spokesperson for Jewelers of America. "Don't put buying your wedding bands on the backburner." It can take several weeks for your dream ring to be finished, and costs associated with expediting the process can add up!
Try on different metals and styles.
Before you start your search, Diane Roth, owner of L'Armoire, in New Canaan, Connecticut, recommends couples know what type of metal they want for their rings. To help you decide, she suggests going to different stores and trying on different bands. "Don't just go to one store, as the styles and prices for very similar items can vary immensely," she says. "You might want to choose rings that complement each other, but know that they don't have to be identical." The key for this, she says, is choosing the same metal and then adding on different details from there.
Make your selection a symbol of love.
While your wedding bands don't need to match, coordinate, or even be similar in style, Weintraub urges same-sex couples to not lose sight over the purpose of their purchase: to share a physical symbol of your love and commitment to each other. "One individual may be flashier than the other and wants something big with a lot of diamonds; the other may be more reserved and wants a simple gold band. The one thing they should be is meaningful," she says.
Gizzi recommends talking to your jeweler about getting your wedding bands engraved with your wedding date or special messages to one another. "It's like having a secret message between you that the rest of the world can't see," she says. "It also ensures you will never forget your anniversary!" Diamonds or gemstones set inside the ring are also a special reminder of the beauty of marriage, she adds. You can also add a coordinated design element. Ian Harris, store manager at Spence Diamonds, recommends this if you're looking to go a more traditional route. "Consider bands that easily complement each other such as matching metals, mirrored designs, and connecting inscriptions," he says. "A thoughtful, matching set of wedding bands expresses the unity you share as a couple."