Wedding Bands (not the musicians) | The Budget Savvy Bride
The Budget Savvy Bride

The wedding band that serves as a symbol of your commitment to each other. When Nick proposed, he gave me a beautiful engagement ring, we went later that day to have it sized (he had made the appointment knowing he was proposing that day and that it was likely the ring wouldn’t fit – it was too big). It was a fun outing because I got to learn more about my ring. Nick had given me a Hearts on Fire Transcend engagement ring that he picked out on his own. I didn’t know anything about Hearts on Fire before this, so I was in for a little treat. The jeweler explained to us what makes Hearts on Fire so special. There is a lot to it, but I’ll give you the main gist and if you’re interested in learning more you can read more here. Hearts on Fire is known as the most perfectly cut diamond in the world, all of their diamonds are cut under 100x magnification while other diamonds are generally cut under 10x magnification. Each facet must be perfectly cut or it will not be sold as a Hearts on Fire diamond. Under magnification, you can see the fire from the top of the diamond and the hearts from the bottom. When we went to the jeweler I was able to see the fire in my diamond and the hearts in another loose diamond (couldn’t see if in mine because of the setting). Pretty cool.

Image via Starnes Jewelers

While we were there the jeweler had me try on the band that went with my ring just to give me an idea of what it would look like. It was a beautiful half eternity band that matched my ring perfectly. In my mind, we would be getting the matching band when the time came to purchase our wedding bands. We had just gotten engaged a few hours earlier, I was getting ahead of myself, picking out wedding bands would come about 7 months later… We had budgeted $1200 for my wedding band (when I tried it on that day, I tried to sneak a look at the price tag without being obvious, I though I caught a glimpse of a 120, so I figured the matching band was around $1200). We knew it was a splurge and a big chunk of our budget, but it was our wedding band – the thing that would symbolize our marriage to each other for the rest of our lives. Well, turns out I was wrong and the 120 was part of the pricing code, not the price itself… In mid-July we decided it was time to start looking at the wedding bands to see how they would fit into our budget. We went back to our jeweler and unfortunately, they didn’t have the matching band in stock. I was able to try on something similar – it was beautiful – then the hard truth came – the price. The matching band was twice our budgeted amount…I was sad. I knew there was no way we could afford that ring. The jeweler must have seen our eyeballs pop and our facial expressions change and opted to show us some other options. Here’s where things got tricky… my wedding band had to be platinum because I’m allergic to white gold (I’m allergic to nickel which is an alloy they use to make white gold). This made things really difficult because platinum ain’t cheap, so if a wedding band was in our price range when the jeweler picked it out of the case, it was no longer in our range when they made the switch from gold to platinum. We talked about other options, estate rings, plain bands and upgrading later. But I knew that I would not be happy having a stand in wedding band until we could afford the diamond band. What we got married with and what is blessed by our priest is going to be my wedding ring for the rest of my life. We walked out not quite sure what we could do. Everything we looked at was over $2000 and that just wasn’t in the cards because we didn’t have anywhere else to cut from in the budget. We got an email from our jeweler that we might consider having a ring custom made to match in palladium which is in the platinum family but not as pricey.

When I went to meet with her about that, she told me that the company who does their custom jewelry does hand carving, not computer carving, so they would need my engagement ring for SIX weeks! That made my heart drop, I could not imagine giving my ring up for that long, not after waiting over 8 years to get it!! I didn’t put the idea completely out of my mind, plus it would be cheaper, she ballparked that the custom ring would be between $1600-1800. We were feeling a bit down on our luck, but we decided maybe we should go to a few other stores and see what they had to semi-match my engagement ring since the HOF band was off the table. More of the same, everything was in the same range of $2K and up once you make it platinum. I decided to try my luck online. I looked on Blue Nile and chatted with one of the reps about what they thought might match my ring. They recommended two rings, so I ordered one of them knowing I had 30 days to return it if it didn’t match. I ended up ordering their platinum pave band, crossed my fingers and hoped it would be a match. It’s so hard to tell online and while it looked like it would match, there was nothing to be sure of until we got the ring in person. The ring was $1460 in my size (the size changes the price because it’s an eternity ring – I ordered a 5 1/2 because my engagement ring is a 5 3/4 but a little big now that I’ve lost a few pounds, then I had a coupon so it was $1346 and I didn’t have to pay tax (NY and WA residents pay tax). This was more in our price range – still a little over – but not twice the budget like everything else we looked at.

Image via Blue Nile

Blue Nile does overnight shipping so I ordered and it arrived that Tuesday morning. I excitedly opened the box…the ring was very thin: Here it is out of the box to give you an idea of how thin it is.

I wasn’t sure it was going to work with my engagement ring which is a little thicker in the band and has larger diamonds. I decided to wear it for the day and it grew on me. Next to the engagement ring, it does not look as thin and looks like a pretty close match – at least to me! I also like that they meet up pretty well, that was not the case with many of the other rings I had tried on.

We’ve decided that since it’s much closer to our budget and is a full eternity that we are going to keep it – we went $146 over budget, but considering we thought for a second about spending TWICE our budget – I think we did pretty well! I can’t wait until we’re married in less than 3 months and I can wear it all the time!!

What do you think? Is it a close enough match? Have you bought your wedding bands yet? Was it a fun or dramatic experience?

I'm Erin, a 29 year old teacher living in Baltimore, MD. I am marrying Nick who is obviously the love of my life, after 8 years together, Nick proposed on December 29, 2011 and we're getting married on October 27, 2012 in Ocean City, MD.

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