You’ve got the engagement ring, and the date is set; it’s time to start planning your dream wedding – and your dream wedding band. For some insights into the process, and the traditions of wedding-day jewellery, we spoke with the team at Haywards of Hong Kong.
It’s believed that wedding bands date back as far as ancient Egyptian times; in those days, however, rather than metal rings, married couples exchanged braided rings of reeds or papyrus. Roman men also gave rings to their brides – though, contrary to the Egyptian belief that a ring symbolised eternal love, the Romans used it as a symbol of ownership. Roman rings were mostly made of iron, though sometimes a groom would give his bride a rare ring made of gold or silver to demonstrate that he trusted her with his property.
To this day, most Western brides wear their wedding band and engagement ring on what is known as the ring finger, a tradition that was first documented in 1686 by Henry Swinburn, an English ecclesiastical lawyer. Swinburn published work citing the vena amoris, which translates from Latin as “vein of love”. This vein was thought to run directly to the heart from the fourth finger on the left hand; consequently, people wear their wedding and engagement rings on this finger.
Wedding bands should be a priority in a wedding budget; this is because they are among the few things, besides the fantastic memories, that will remain with you after the big day. Wedding bands are something you hope to wear for the rest of your lives and wearing your wedding band on your hand every day is a statement and symbol of the love you share and the commitment you’ve made.
Couples can choose to have matching or similarly designed wedding bands that are personal to them. However, often the bride and groom choose more individual wedding bands based on their own preferences. The bride’s wedding band may have a particular design if she wishes to wear it on the same finger as her engagement ring. Here choosing a bespoke wedding band and engagement ring is important to make sure the two rings fit precisely and complement each other.
Since you’ll already be wearing the most precious dress of your life, along with your engagement ring and – following the post-wedding vows – your wedding band, finding the perfect wedding jewellery to complement your look is vital. Whether you choose to wear a bracelet, pendant or necklace will really depend on your dress, but opting for some simple and stunning diamond drop earrings, or diamond stud earrings will add that extra sparkle, particularly if you are wearing your hair up.
In Chinese culture, gold is traditionally a symbol of good fortune and wealth and therefore on the day of her wedding the bride will only wear pure gold jewellery. A pair of gold wedding bangles (known as dragon and phoenix bangles) are given to the newlyweds, usually by the groom’s family. These two bangles fit together and are believed to symbolise the union of the newly married couple.
On Bended Knee
CALLUM and MARIE NIETO had their rings made by Haywards. Here they share the story of their perfect proposal – and the jewellery they had made to match the moment.
Callum: I had decided to propose to Marie in the winter of 2009. The ring was made, Marie’s father’s permission secured and then it was all about the timing. I had two false starts with everything planned – private dining at The Peninsula overlooking the HK skyline – only for Marie (both times) to be too hungover from the Christmas party season to actually want to go out! In the end I decided to stop trying to manufacture the perfect moment and just proposed over breakfast on a lazy Sunday in January; it was perfect!
I wanted to have the actual ring to propose. If you’ve ever bought a car and thought it was stressful, multiply that by nine. Ring shopping is the World Champion of Stressful Moments. I wanted Marie to love it. I went to Haywards and went through design ideas with them. It took a quite a while looking at styles and getting to grips with the “four C’s”. I spent so much time looking at different diamonds, by the end of it I felt like a gemology expert. The people at Haywards were very patient though – they’d obviously dealt with stressed men before! Finally, I settled on a perfect simple diamond with great cut and clarity – something that I could see Marie wearing for the next 50 or so years. (But I kept the receipt just in case!)
Marie: After the proposal, we visited Haywards, and they came up with a few options for wedding bands. Callum and I sat down and decided on our designs together. We wanted simple and classic to match my engagement ring. Haywards were very patient with us as there was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing. I wanted my wedding band to be perfect as it was going to be on my finger for a while! Callum wanted simple and straightforward. It was fun designing the rings and not as stressful as I’d thought – we were able to focus on the stress of organising a big wedding instead! We got married in a winter ceremony that year at Culzean Castle, in Scotland.
For more information, visit haywards.com.hk. For enquiries, email email@example.com, or call 2545 4400.