Perhaps you're thinking of sourcing your own flowers from the Market and maybe crafting some cute guest favors for your reception. But what if we told you you could also DIY your wedding bands? Read on.
Something clicked for Seattle jeweler Stephanie Tomczak Selle when she and her now husband made their own rings for their wedding about a year ago, and With These Rings was born. We talked to Tomczak Selle about her innovative hands-on workshops and what it means for couples to take this active part in their wedding jewelry.
ShopTalk: How and when did the idea for a make-your-own wedding ring concept come to you?
Tomczak Selle: I’m an instructor at North Seattle Community College in the jewelry department and my now husband was always asking me to teach him how to make something in metal. One day he said, “How about we make each other’s wedding rings; you can teach me how.” Of course I loved this idea because I knew it would bring so much meaning to our bands and would be an awesome experience. What I did not expect was for it to become a business.
Once we were married and started telling people about our rings, it quickly became apparent that there was a market for this type of opportunity. This realization could not have come at a better time; I had become bored with my jewelry line and wanted to go back making jewelry that would mean more to people then just matching their favorite outfit. I had also fallen in love with teaching jewelry and wanted to find a way to do more of it.
Can you tell us about one of the couples who has gone through the process?
Right now a couple that I am working with has decided to melt down their grandparents silver flatware to make their bands. I think that this is such a lovely way to incorporate family and heritage into your marriage. It's a welcomed twist on the traditional heirloom ring.
How do prices compare with what we might call ready-to-wear rings?
Prices for making your own rings are on par with what you will see while ring shopping. It is also easy to work within a certain budget, since all aspects of your rings are customizable. The total cost comes down to the weight of your metal, plus any extra elements, and how many hours of private instruction go into your session. The way this process works, it is always very clear how your price breaks down, so it is easy for you to make an informed decision. When making your own rings you are not only investing in a custom set of bands, you will also walk away with a very unique experience and the rings that you will give to each other on your wedding day will already be full of memories. I recently had a couple say that “The experience was as deeply personal as the rings themselves.”
What would you say to couples who may think they don't have the artistic talent to pull something like this off?
You don’t have to be artistic or creative to make your own wedding bands, many of the people that I work with wouldn’t describe themselves as either. When it comes to the designing process I always say that there is nothing wrong with keeping it simple. Many people think that they need to come up with a design that is totally unique to them and will sum up their relationship. But sometimes less really is more. The wedding band itself is already rich with symbolism and by making them for each other you are adding a deeper layer of meaning. After we design the rings together, it’s all about following a series of different metalsmithing techniques that I will walk you through step by step. I make sure that everyone leaves with professional quality handmade rings.
For more on With These Rings, watch this Vimeo video.