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/ Source: TODAY

With all the immense wedding planning, it’s hard to give the right amount of attention to one of the most important wedding elements — the ring signifying one's commitment. To help ease the load, jewelry and style expert Michael O’Connor shares practical advice on picking the best style for your special day:

Search at least six months prior to the weddingWedding bands are the most important symbol of the bond between the couple and they need to be given importance. Wedding bands are also an item that will be worn every day. Because of patterns, various sizes and stone content (if there are diamonds or gemstones), your rings will most likely need to be specially ordered.

Additionally, you may wish to have your rings personalized and engraved with a special message or date (a popular trend these days). Ordering rings can take up to eight weeks depending upon size, etc., and personalization of those rings with engraving may take additional time. Don’t wait until the last minute and have to settle for second-best or something you aren’t completely thrilled with. Start your search at least six months prior to the wedding.

Don’t skimp on the wedding band budget Unlike many of the other wedding elements, like flowers, cake (that will only last for a few hours) or invitations (that will end up being thrown out), the wedding band is one of the few elements that you will have, and wear, daily for the rest of your life. From a symbolic perspective, while the engagement ring may be the symbol of your promise to each other, the wedding band is the symbol of your lifelong commitment and marks a true change in your life and status. Make sure you assign an appropriate budget to the wedding bands to ensure that you’re happy with it for life. Make sure that the bands will wear well over time and not wear down easily or need replating to maintain their color.

One rule of thumb might be that if you used the “two-month salary guideline” for the engagement ring, a “one-month” salary is a good indicator of budget for both wedding bands.

Have a frank discussion with each other Today, wedding bands don’t necessarily need to match each other exactly, but they should be complementary and say something about the fact that the two people wearing them are “together.” Talk about the styles you like and if you want bands that are an exact match, or simply work beautifully together. 

For the women, don’t feel that you must wear your wedding band together with your engagement ring on the same finger. Many active women today prefer to wear their band for daily wear and their engagement ring for special occasions. Some fashion-forward women, at the time of the wedding, choose to transfer their engagement ring from their left hand to their right hand, creating a more “fashion” look.

Pick a design that works with your style and your hand Nobody wants to wear something that looks poorly on them. Look at a variety of widths and finishes to see how they work on your size and shape of hand. If you have shorter fingers, stick to narrower widths of band style rings, or opt for a ring that is less horizontal in design and more vertical in orientation (something that goes from knuckle to fingertip). You may want to go with a nontraditional type of ring and not a band style. Don’t overwhelm your hand merely for the sake of “bling,” and for ladies, if you’re going to wear your wedding band with your engagement ring, don’t upstage the engagement ring with a band that’s too flashy or fancy on its own. Both people should look at a variety of wedding ring styles to ensure that you get something that works with your sense of style and that you will be happy to wear forever.

Try returning to your engagement ring jeweler
Chances are that the jeweler who sold you the engagement ring that you’re happy with will have wedding bands that work perfectly with that engagement ring and carry complementary rings for him to choose among. If you were happy with the service and selection he showed you when shopping for the engagement ring, most likely you’ll be happy with his selection of wedding bands and the service and guidance he will provide you when shopping. 

This is also a good time to have the diamonds or gemstones in your engagement ring checked by a professional to ensure that everything is secure and clean and there is no chance of loss. Have your jeweler clean and check your engagement ring at this point and make any necessary repairs.  

Purchase a wedding band that is made of the same material as your engagement ring Different metals wear at different rates. If you are wearing your wedding band on the same finger as your engagement ring, the two rings will inevitably constantly be rubbing up against each other. If one ring metal is harder, stronger or more dense in nature, than the other, predominant metal will win, and wear away at the other.