Perpetual cool girl Mila Kunis just solidified her status as the ultimate chill bride, and it’s making us rethink wedding traditions. While popular wedding websites like The Knot estimate that you should spend about 3 percent of your overall budget on you and your partner’s wedding bands, last week Mila made it known that she chose to break away from the norm and purchase her wedding bands on Etsy. Her dream ring was “the thinnest possible platinum band,” and after researching several high-end jewelry stores she turned her attention to Etsy where she found exactly what she was looking for at a fraction of the cost; $90 to be exact.
Mila’s frugal (or as she describes it, “a nice way of saying cheap!”) perspective on ring buying might be signaling a larger trend and turning tide in the world of wedding jewelry. Once a standard wedding budget item, wedding bands are now being reconsidered in favor of practicality.
For ladies like Mila who do not wear their engagement ring every day (hers features a stunning round-cut three-carat diamond), a wedding band that is more symbolic than showy just makes sense. Ebbe Sweet, a Manhattan-based photographer who specializes in engagements and weddings agrees with the utility of a simple metal band like Mila’s. “If your work requires you to use your hands during the day — whether you’re a chef, a doctor or a photographer — you’re probably not going to want to be wearing a valuable piece on your finger,” she says. She also points out that actors like Mila and her husband Ashton Kutcher often have to remove their jewelry when working, thus making the odds of it getting misplaced more of a possibility.
Aside from the practicality of buying a wedding band under $100, buying a piece from Etsy is a quick and easy way to directly support a small business and learn about the artisan who will make your ring by hand. However, for the design-minded bride who is looking for a band that boasts a unique setting or an assortment of stones, spending more than $100 on a wedding band might make more sense. After all, it’s something you intend to keep for the rest of your life, so high quality and jaw-dropping details are worth investing in.
“It’s all about priority and where you are in life,” says Kira MacLean, the Accessories Buyer for Halsbrook.com. “If you are at a point in life where you are able to spend money on an exquisite band that will stand the test of time and potentially be passed down for generations, that’s what matters,” she says. “It’s all about assessing what you and your partner hold important.”
Tapping into the movement that more brides are making toward high-end wedding bands that defy tradition, jewelry designers like Jennie Kwon and Claire Kinder now offer alternative designs alongside their collections of ready-to-wear necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
Thankfully there is no rule, spoken or unspoken, that says you have to spend hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on your wedding band. When it comes to choosing rings for you and your partner, it’s important to think about the characteristics of the ring that matter most to you: intricate design, affordability, responsibly-sourced materials, etc.
“I think it’s important to research the designer you’re buying from and the type of materials they will use. Because it’s something you will be wearing often, you want to make sure of the quality and durability of the ring,” says San Francisco-based event planner Alex Harvey. “But if everything checks out and the ring is still under $100, why not?”
As atypical as Mila’s $190 Etsy purchase was — especially with magazine headlines boasting multi-carat rings and million-dollar weddings — one thing is clear: she and her husband discussed their expectations for their wedding bands and what will make them truly happy when they catch a glimpse of their ring fingers.