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.
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, but both rings were more focused on symbolism than on the jewelry 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 fiancé as a gift. In return, your fiancé 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.
Traditions Around the World
Much like wedding bands for men not being popular for men in the United States until the 1940s, the same can be said for other cultures around the world. Wedding bands or engagement rings for women, however, can be traced back as far as the Neanderthal days. At this point, a woman would wear a "ring" of grass or twig tied around her waist to symbolize loyalty. Later, wedding rings made of leather, bone or ivory would be worn by women in Ancient Egypt. The tradition of wedding or engagement rings for women would continue for many years to come in nearly all cultures, but men's wedding bands did not become widely popular until after the trend began in America. The exception, however, began in Romania, where it is customary for both husband and wife to wear silver rings after their 25th wedding anniversaries. In this situation, it is the custom for each partner to gift a silver ring to the other.
Today, in most cultures, it appears as if there are two prominent practices. Either the groom purchases both wedding bands himself or his fiancee purchases his wedding band and presents it as a gift.
A More Modern Approach
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 bands 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 til 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 fiancé 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 fiancé. Go get 'em, tiger.