A Quick Guide to Men's Wedding Band Styles
April 30 2020 – Mike Yarbrough
We all have a story to tell, and every story is unique. Rings are like that too. When you are searching for or custom-creating a wedding band or engagement ring, you're not just buying a trinket or a piece of jewelry. You're telling the story of you and your fiancée’s journey together. There are a wide selection of men's wedding band styles that allow you to weave meaning into your ring.
Choosing Your Wedding Band Material
Each wedding band style includes several different components, and every material has its own distinct character, so you have plenty of options to choose from. Platinum, yellow gold and white gold tend to be the most popular choices for men’s wedding ring materials. Compared to gold, platinum is more expensive but it is also more durable, being more dense and less likely to show scratches. Yellow gold is a classic, timeless choice, while white gold is a more modern design.
Not to be forgotten are the non-traditional metals like strong, lightweight titanium, and shiny, lustrous sterling silver. There are also alternative ring materials like wood, leather, and carbon fiber.
Wedding Band Finishes
Once you find that special wedding band material that speaks to you, the next step is choosing the style. Do you want the band to be wide or thin? Should the fit be snug or loose? Guys with bigger hands will usually find wider wedding bands to be more comfortable, while a narrow wedding band is better for guys with smaller hands or more slender fingers.
There’s also the finish of the ring to consider. If you like metal bands, there are any number of finishes to choose from. A polished finish will make the ring very shiny and bright, allowing light to reflect off it like a mirror. A satin finish is more subtle. Satin will diffuse the light that hits the ring giving it a smooth, softer appearance. To really enhance the shine of silver-white colored rings, there’s also the option of rhodium plating. Rhodium plating makes the surface of the ring look more white and reflective and helps protect against scratches and scuff marks.
There is also the option to go with a matte finish or a sand-blasted finish. Matte is a flat finish, neither shiny nor reflective, while a sand-blasted finish makes the ring look rough and grainy. Sand-blasting gives the ring a unique texture and doesn’t show scratches easily, which is great if you’re concerned about your ring showing signs of wear and tear. All tough choices.
Wedding Band Structure and Detailing
Next, we come to the detailing and structure of the ring. Structurally, there are generally 3 main choices:
1. Flat - The ring has straight edges and no curves. This type of ring doesn’t conform to the shape of your finger and, consequently, may not be as comfortable. However, flat rings are becoming increasingly common with younger men as they are seen as more minimalistic.
2. Domed - The ring has a rounded surface and rounded edges. This is the traditional ring shape and is generally more comfortable for men with thicker fingers as it fits more naturally than a flat ring.
3. Concave - The surface of the ring curves inward toward the middle. This ring style is much less common and can be a great way to stand out from the crowd.
As for detailing, you can enhance the ring with carvings, engravings, small balls of metal called milgrain, and even diamonds. That’s right, men can wear diamond wedding bands too! For the men of simpler tastes, there’s always the choice of going with a more traditional, classic style without all the bells and whistles of carvings and stones.
Wait, Didn’t You Mention Wood?
Wood rings have some additional styles and characteristics not found in metal rings. They can feel more comfortable due to the fact that they're lighter than metal rings. Whereas some metals can be weighty and cold, wood has a natural warmth to it. Due to the variety of wood types and other materials which can be inlaid into wood rings, they can have a range of styles that really stand out and tell a story.
Thanks to their versatility, wood rings offer plenty of style customization options:
- Primary Wood - The primary wood is the wood that makes up the majority of your ring. Depending on your preferred style, there may be several kinds of wood used, from local hardwoods to whiskey barrel woods and even wood from the decks of historic American battleships.
- Lining Wood - This is an optional component but it is for anyone who would like the lining (interior side) of their wedding band to be made of a different wood than the primary wood. This is a great way to provide some contrast in your ring or build on a theme to make the ring uniquely yours.
- Inlay - Most wood rings include one or more inlays (ornamental strips that run the circumference of the ring). Inlays are most often a metal such as brass, copper, sterling silver or gold, but there are also alternative inlay materials like elk antler, celtic tartan ribbon and even coffee -- yes, even coffee! There are 5 different placements of inlays that we commonly use:
- Center Inlay - Center inlay rings include one primary wood, bisected by a single inlay through the center of the ring. A popular example is this weathered whiskey barrel wood wedding ring with center gold inlay, shown below.
- Offset Inlay - With an offset inlay, the inlay is closer to one edge of the ring rather than centered. This historic teak wood wedding band from the USS North Carolina is one example.
- Custom Edge - Similar to the offset inlay rings, this option offers an offset inlay that separates the primary wood from a smaller strip of edge inlay material. This weathered whiskey barrel wedding ring with elk antler edge and offset gold inlay is an example.
- Half & Half - Offering a primary wood and a secondary option separated by a centered inlay, the half & half style rings include wedding bands like this Springfield 1903 rifle stock wood wedding ring with wool from a WWI uniform and silver, shown below.
- Three Inlay - These unique rings, like this antique walnut wood wedding ring with Colorado elk antler and double rose gold inlays, include a center inlay separated from the primary wood edges by two offset inlays.
What is Your Style?
There are virtually endless combinations of different metals, woods, finishes, designs, sizes, shapes, inlays and edges allowing you to find the ring that represents you. Take our ring style quiz and discover which Rustic and Main ring collection best suits your style.