Consider this your ultimate pre-wedding jewelry care timeline.
Your dress is tailored, your hair and makeup trial is complete, and you’ve also lined up all the vendors, paid the deposits, and sent every invite. With all of the major to-dos checked off your list, you may be wondering what’s left to be done. While floral arrangements and seating charts may be top of mind, don’t forget about the reason this all began in the first place: your engagement ring! Prepping your wedding jewelry—your engagement ring and both wedding bands—is an important but often overlooked step in the getting-ready process; just as you were diligent about ensuring that your diamond or colorful gemstone looked its best in your engagement photos, you should extend that same level of care for your jewelry in the days before you say “I do.” “There are likely many wedding guests who will see your rings for the first time on your wedding day so they need to be on point,” shares Sharon Schatner, GIA Diamond Graduate at Filigree Jewelers. “And let’s not forget about your wedding pictures. Your rings will be highlighted in those forever photos so they need to look perfect.”
Easter Ahn-Lee is a fine jewelry and engagement ring designer, and the founder of the jewelry brand Easter Ahn Design.
That’s why it’s so important to properly care for your special pieces ahead of the big day. To take the guesswork out of caring for your wedding jewelry—and ensuring they’re in the best possible condition on the day you say “I do”—we created a timeline that outlines exactly what you need to do and when, from the moment you get engaged to the day you tie the knot. Follow the expert advice of Schatner and Easter Ahn-Lee, a fine jewelry and engagement ring designer, and your rings will be ready for their wedding debut.
As Soon as Possible: Get Your Ring Resized
Before we dive into the specifics, if your wedding rings don’t fit your finger the way you’d like, be sure to have them resized as soon as possible. “I would recommend having your ring resized right away, whether it’s too big or small,” says Ahn-Lee. What’s more, while weight loss shouldn’t be a priority on your to-do list, Ahn-Lee further notes that “for couples who lose weight before the wedding day, I would recommend resizing the wedding bands to fit a few weeks before the wedding day so there isn’t a significant change to ring size.”
One Year Out: Establish Your Budget
When establishing a comprehensive wedding budget, make sure you account for your wedding bands—while they’re not as pricey of a line item as catering, for example, knowing how much you have to spend allows you to better consider your options. “Your wedding jewelry is usually part of your wedding budget, so it is also helpful to know how much you plan on spending,” explains Ahn-Lee. “You’ll also need time to research and plan your [pieces] if you are doing any custom jewelry work.” Start saving photos of ring stacks and individual bands you like in order to share them with your partner and jeweler when shopping.
Planning on wearing earrings, a bracelet, or a necklace alongside your bands? Consider whether you want to purchase those items, or if you’re borrowing them from family members, and include that in your budget. And if those borrowed items need to be cleaned, bring them along on your next trip to the jeweler.
Six Months Out: Take Your Engagement Ring in for a Checkup
About six months before you say “I do,” visit your jeweler for a quick ring checkup. This is also a great time to ask questions about how to best care for your rock while at home. “General knowledge on how to care for and protect your jewelry will help maintain its beauty,” says Ahn-Lee. Lastly, while we highly recommend this step ahead of the wedding, you should continue to get your ring examined on a regular basis and add it to your routine for years to come. “A half-yearly to yearly checkup is also recommended to ensure the stones are secure and prongs, links, clasps, and settings are in good condition,” Ahn-Lee adds.
Three to Four Months Out: Buy Your Wedding Bands
It’s generally recommended that you choose your wedding bands at least three to four months before the wedding, and Schatner adds that couples should buy their bands no later than one month before the big day. When selecting your bands, make it a day-long event with your partner and schedule time to grab breakfast or lunch, then head to the jeweler to try on those all-important pieces. As for who picks up the tab for the rings? That all depends! If you want to purchase your partner’s band and they yours, that’s great, but it’s certainly not a requirement. “Since wedding bands are generally part of the wedding budget, the couple can discuss how they want to purchase them,” explains Ahn-Lee. “There is no right or wrong way on who should be buying them.”
Finally, once your rings are ready, Schatner advises couples to pick them up together so the jeweler can make sure they’re a perfect fit. “If an alteration needs to be made, you can leave it with the jeweler, saving yourself time and an extra trip.”
About a Week Out: Get Your Rings Cleaned
“It’s ideal to get your rings cleaned as close to the day of the wedding as possible, so they are at their sparkling best for your special day,” says Schatner. “Your jeweler is happy to clean your rings for you, and when we clean them we also check for loose stones or lifted prongs.” If you’re having them cleaned a week out, you may want to store your jewelry in a ring box rather than wear it; if going a week without your precious rock feels unimaginable, be sure to remove it whenever cooking, cleaning, working out, or applying makeup, sunscreen, or moisturizer, thus ensuring it remains clean and shiny ahead of the wedding. If you’re nervous about keeping it pristine, see if your jeweler can send you home with a convenient cleaning pen for on-the-spot touchups or else try to squeeze in a cleaning appointment closer to the wedding date.
What to Avoid
In the lead-up to your wedding day, it’s important to be extra careful with your jewelry, and when in doubt, take it off. “To protect their jewelry and reduce the risk of damage before the wedding day, a couple should avoid impact on hard surfaces, gripping items with force, or applying strong pressure to jewelry or hands when jewelry is worn, such as when working out or performing physical labor,” shares Ahn-Lee. “Avoid harsh chemicals such as chlorine and household bleach and everyday substances such as lotion, hairspray, and perfume.”
If you’re concerned about potentially damaging your band or stone before the big day, consider taking your ring off as soon as you get home. Keep a small dish near the sink so you remember to remove it when washing dishes, and designate a spot in the bathroom and bedroom so your precious jewels are in a secure place when you’re not wearing them.
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