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Wedding Bands Aren’t Necessary and Here’s Why

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Are you trying to decide whether or not to buy wedding bands on top of the expensive engagement ring you already have?

Wedding bands in addition to one’s engagement ring are a “tradition” but absolutely NOT necessary and you shouldn’t feel obligated to buy wedding bands just for the sake of it. If you and/or your partner aren’t into the idea, skip the wedding bands and move on with your planning.

PRO-TIP: If you’re not the type of person to wear “hardware” on your finger every day, consider getting a less-costly, more flexible option such as a silicone ring. If you’re interested in checking out the best options for silicone wedding rings (for men and women), you can find one of the most popular brands on Amazon by clicking here.

Here are the reasons why you should not feel obligated to buy wedding bands:

1. The “need” for both an engagement ring AND a wedding ring is arbitrary.

2. If you already have an engagement ring, you can just use that as your wedding ring too!

3. Some brides just don’t like having so much “hardware” on their hands and that’s okay.

4. The ethical and environmental practices of engagement and wedding band production is iffy at best.

5. There are alternatives to exchanging wedding bands.

6. It’s your wedding and you should always do WHAT YOU WANT.

If you DO want wedding bands, but aren’t sure if they’re supposed to be a surprise at the altar or if you should go pick them out together, you may want to take a look at my article on The Pros and Cons of Surprise Wedding Bands.

1. The “need” for both an engagement ring AND a wedding ring is arbitrary.

Even though wedding rings have been a tradition for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Egyptians and the Greeks, I don’t believe that we modern-day people have to stress out about not doing what ancient people used to do… I mean, ancient people did a lot of crazy things that we don’t still do. Why do we HAVE to buy wedding bands just because they did?

And you will be bombarded with advertisements from the wedding industry, and comments and questions from friends and family – but if you don’t want to buy this thing, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BUY THIS THING (whatever thing this happens to be)! And you don’t have to explain yourself either.

If you do want to buy wedding bands in addition to your engagement ring, that’s great! Go for it! But if it’s a burden on your bank account and/or not something that you would normally be into, please don’t lose sleep over not buying them. It’s a made-up thing that you don’t HAVE to follow “just because.”

And if people tell you otherwise, let them think what they want. It’s not their money and it’s not their hand that has to wear it. In my opinion, this should be a conversation between you and your partner and no one else.

2. If you already have an engagement ring, you can just use that as your wedding ring too!

So, you and your partner might decide that you don’t want to do wedding rings or an engagement ring/engagement rings at all, and that’s fine.

Or maybe you want to do the engagement ring but no wedding bands. Also fine! If you want to still exchange rings at the ceremony, just use the engagement ring that you already have.

If only one partner has an engagement ring, you could choose to just buy a wedding ring for the other partner. And then exchange these two rings at the ceremony.

3. Some brides just don’t like having so much “hardware” on their hands and that’s okay.

I’ve heard some people say that they don’t like to wear their wedding bands or engagement rings because they hate the heavy feeling of them. Or they’re just not “jewelry people.” Some people hate the asymmetry that wedding bands cause (really!). Also, some people travel a lot and don’t want their rings to draw unwanted attention, or hate taking their rings on and off to clean.

If this is the case for you, you could either not wear wedding bands or engagement rings at all… Or just wear your engagement ring… Or wear your engagement ring on one hand and your wedding band on the other hand…

Or you could choose to put your rings on a chain and wear them as a necklace instead. I remember Carrie from Sex and the City filling my young twenty-something head with all kinds of messed up thoughts that doing this means you don’t love your partner as much (remember that?!), but in my older wiser years I realize that is stupid. Wear the rings however you want!

Another alternative could be to tattoo your “wedding band” on each of your fingers – bold!

4. The ethical and environmental practices of engagement and wedding band production is iffy at best.

Another reason wedding bands aren’t necessary is because of the ethical and environmental concerns that they bring up.

Mining for precious metals for our wedding bands (and the gemstones for our engagement rings) is super dirty business and beyond hazardous for the workers. Every year, thousands of acres of habitat is destroyed, enormous amounts of pollutants are pumped into the air, soil, and water, and thousands of workers, including young children, are exploited for the purposes of mining precious metals and stones.

About 20 tons of waste is generated in the making of one gold ring… imagine how many gold rings are produced each year!!

Is it necessary for these atrocities to happen so that we can have a beautiful ring on our fingers representing the depth of our love? No, it’s not.

Before buying any jewelry, we should check to see if the jeweler sources in responsible, ethical ways. If we really want to buy wedding bands, we can choose to buy from eco-friendly companies that sell pieces made from recycled materials.

We can choose to recycle our own jewelry or alter family heirlooms. All of these are better options than purchasing wedding bands from unchecked companies that may be sourcing from nefarious mining practices.

5. There are alternatives to exchanging wedding bands.

If you don’t want to buy wedding bands but want to exchange something at your ceremony, there are alternatives.

As mentioned, you could exchange another type of jewelry if you’re just not into rings. For example, you could exchange bracelets, watches, or necklaces.

For eco-friendly couples, you could exchange a small potted plant, flower, or tree as a symbol of your love. You could exchange your favorite books.

In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter what you exchange! It’s a symbol. It’s just an outward gesture for the connection that exists between the two of you. You know what’s real and you don’t NEED to have this symbol to prove anything. It’s nice to have if you want it, but I just wouldn’t like any kind of object, thing, material, etc. to take on that much importance. Remember what’s real and what’s really important before drowning yourself in debt over “stuff.”

6. It’s your wedding day and you should always DO WHAT YOU WANT!

If you want to have wedding bands, do it! If you don’t want wedding bands, don’t! BUT DON’T get wedding bands just because other people made you feel bad that you didn’t get them. Talk to your partner. What do the two of you want?

Think about all of the expenses of your wedding. Is there something that’s more important to you than wedding bands? If so, nix them and get what you really want.

In all of our wedding decision-making, we should stop for a minute and ask ourselves, am I doing this because I want to be doing this? Am I buying this thing because I want it? Or am I buying it because an advertisement made me feel bad for not having it? Am I buying this thing because I will feel embarrassed if everyone else expects me to have it and I don’t?

If you’re not buying something because you truly want it, it’s not necessary. Don’t get it and be courageous in the face of any petty judgement from others, who frankly, don’t matter all that much.


Brittany is a writer and teacher in Vancouver, Canada. She started the website Wayfaring Weddings as a way to share her research on affordable, eco-friendly, and less stressful approaches to wedding planning.