Let’s be honest; you’ve probably got an opinion about this. Whether it’s informed by a love of shiny men’s jewellery, a disdain for tradition or by whatever does or doesn’t occupy your father’s ring finger, you’ve likely already decided whether or not men should wear wedding rings. And there’s nothing we can do to persuade you otherwise, right?
And yet, here you are. You’ve clicked through to see if there may be a definitive answer to the question, after all. Well, we hate to disappoint you, but there’s not. Even when heritage jeweller William May conducted a study last year, it only concluded that 52% of women thought men should wear engagement rings. Only 32% of men, you won’t be surprised to hear, agreed.
So, like guest lists, venues and what whisky to stock behind the open bar, it seems that wedding rings are just another of those big-day decisions you’ll have to make yourself. But, to help you come to a conclusion, we’ve laid out some pertinent facts…
Why does it even matter?
Let’s start with the blindingly obvious. Why does wearing a wedding ring ever matter for a man? Surely, if he doesn’t want to wear a wedding ring, he shouldn’t have to. Of course, if he sticks to that logic, then his wife-to-be shouldn’t have to wear one either. And what would he think of that?
Because the real answer to ‘Why does it matter?’ is, of course, because it is no longer the 17th Century. Bridal rings have been around for centuries — first used to represent ‘ownership’ of a wife by the husband. That, as you should know, isn’t a word bandied around in many healthy relationships these days. Instead, the ring — for most modern couples — has become a symbol of equality.
Of course, if your fiancée doesn’t mind you not wearing a ring, and you didn’t want to in the first place, then there’s no problem. But if you’re refusing to wear one, then we’ve got to ask…
Why wouldn’t you wear a ring?
Your soon-to-be spouse has asked you to wear a wedding ring — so why on earth would you refuse? You’re marrying them, after all — which is a much bigger commitment than popping a metal band on your finger. And point blank refusing to wear one doesn’t look good.
Why? Because there’s no good reason to refuse. The first thought that’ll pop into your fiancée’s head is one of future infidelity; an image of you, sans ring, propped up against a hotel bar trying to pick up women. It’s not an attractive picture — and certainly not one you want her to be fretting over before you even tie the knot.
Of course, the other predictable reason you wouldn’t want to wear a ring is because it’s exactly that; a ring. But, if you’re the sort of man who quakes in his boots at the prospect of wearing jewellery, not only do you need to grow up — you’re probably not mature enough to be getting married, either…
What does tradition dictate?
So what’s the history around wedding rings? As we mentioned, these little rings were once signifiers of ownership — like a tiny shackle placed on a woman’s finger to remind her who was in charge. Times, thankfully, change and rings have since become symbols of celebration and love.
Men’s wedding rings, also, have been around for some time. Back in the 1960s and 70s, the continental, cosmopolitan gents of Europe began to wear jewellery — and everything from necklaces to earrings to wedding rings became socially acceptable accoutrements for men.
Even the male members of the British royal family have worn their fair share of wedding rings. Both Prince Charles and the Prince of Wessex wear Welsh gold wedding rings — albeit on their little fingers alongside signet rings. Prince William made headlines in 2015 when he decided not to wear a ring, but Harry righted the royal ship in 2018 when he adopted a platinum wedding band. And, if it’s good enough for the gents of the gentry, then it’s good enough for you.
What sort of ring should a modern man wear?
Which, of course, brings us to design. Because, for all the colourful ideas of jewellery swirling about in your worried head, the wedding ring is not an engagement ring. If you’re concerned you’ll be forced to wear gems and precious stones, that is still one tradition reserved for the ladies. The closest men get to the glitz of an engagement ring is a nice watch.
Instead, for your wedding ring, the band should be simple. It’s an understated, undecorated, subtle symbol that encompasses the promise you make in marriage. That’s it. You should opt for a simple design in a precious metal such as gold, platinum or titanium. Most people won’t even give it a second look.
But, to the one person who matters, it’ll show that you’re not only proud of the promise you’re making — but also that you’re entering into your marriage as equals. So shut up, slip one on and get on with a life of unbridled happiness…
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