Engagement ring on top? Wedding Ring on top? Yeah, we know… it’s confusing! When it comes to the “correct” way to wear your wedding ring, it’s just important to go with what best fits your personal style.
A wedding ring is typically worn closest to the heart on your left ring finger as it’s meant to represent the symbol of your commitment to one another. However, this trend has been changing and evolving with people’s personal preferences and styles. A wedding ring is closer to a joint effort in terms of romantic accessorising. Spouses’ wedding bands often resemble one another, but it’s no longer a “must” that these two rings match exactly.
Depending on who buys the wedding bands, the rings’ look and feel are based solely on personal preference and style as modern designs have influenced this classic piece of bridal jewellery, partners mix and match precious metals, designs, width, and more to create customised rings to symbolise their connection. These rings are often exchanged at the wedding ceremony itself, usually directly after vows are spoken before an officiant. Once a wedding ring is placed on the hand, it’s usually worn daily for the rest of the wearer’s life. However, it may be upgraded at a milestone anniversary or temporarily removed for safety when performing manual labour.
Now that you are married and have both your engagement ring and your wedding band, the real question is, how do you wear them? Should you wear them both on your ring finger on your left hand? Should you wear the engagement ring on top or bottom? Or maybe you should wear them on two different fingers altogether? Here is a rundown on how to wear wedding rings.
To help, here are some popular traditions on how to wear a wedding ring set.
How To Wear Rings During And After The Wedding Ceremony
Conventionally, couples wear the wedding band “closest to their heart”, meaning the wedding band is stacked below the engagement ring on the left ring finger. Many brides-to-be will switch their engagement ring to their right hand before walking down the aisle so that the wedding band can be slipped on to the left hand first. Brides will then move their engagement ring on top of the wedding band during or after the ceremony. Some people choose to get their engagement and wedding rings soldered together after the ceremony to make their bridal set one unified piece.
For practical reasons, such as a job where you regularly work with your hands, women may choose to wear a simple wedding band every day and only wear their engagement ring for special occasions. This is also a common practice when travelling, or in other situations where a person might be afraid of losing or damaging a diamond ring. Ultimately, however, you wear your rings is up to you!
Is Wearing One Ring an Option?
Yes, if you want to wear only one ring between your engagement ring and your wedding band, that’s perfectly fine as well. Generally, people wear their wedding ring because wedding bands are more durable than engagement rings, and wedding bands don’t have large stone settings that can be cumbersome to wear daily. There are also other practical reasons to choose to wear only one ring, such as:
- When you have short fingers and wearing both rings simultaneously, it can make it hard for you to use your hand properly.
- You’re a bit clumsy or forgetful when it comes to keeping your rings safe, so it’s one less ring to worry about daily.
- The rings don’t match when it comes to their colour, shape, or style, and they can look awkward and forced when worn together.
- You simply don’t feel like it.
Yes, even if you just don’t feel like wearing both rings, that is a perfectly acceptable reason! There is no “proper” way to wear a wedding band set; whether you wear one, two, or even more rings, it is up to you. Just keep in mind that the rings you wear will symbolise the love and commitment you and your partner have together; how to wear wedding ring set is really up to you.
Does The Placement Of the Rings Matter?
Here’s another question you might be pondering, “if I want to wear both rings, does it matter which one goes first?”
Again, the short answer is, no: the rings’ placement doesn’t really matter unless you have a practical or sentimental reason. For an example of a practical reason: if you have an active lifestyle, it can be cumbersome to keep removing your rings if they are not in a particular order. Thus, wear the ring that you wear on a daily basis first, then the second ring on top of it. That way, you can easily remove the second ring when you need it removed. How to wear a wedding ring set depends on the person who’s wearing it.
For a more sentimental reason, you can wear the rings in the order that you got them because they remind you of your love story. This means that you will wear your engagement ring first, then your wedding band on top.
Tips for Wearing Wedding Rings
While wearing a ring may seem straightforward, many tips can help to ensure that your ring is shown off well, protected from damage and is easy to remove if needed.
Sizing: Choose a wedding ring size that is easy to remove; with no set to grip, it can be difficult to loosen stuck rings. This may make the wedding ring a slightly larger size than the engagement ring.
Placement: Place the wedding ring outside of a loose or oversized engagement ring to help keep it in place, or place a larger wedding ring on the inside of a tighter engagement band.
Customs: Consider regional, cultural, and religious customs for how to wear wedding rings. Many eastern European cultures, for example, prefer a wedding ring to be worn on the right hand.
Curved rings: Position a curved wedding ring on the inside of the engagement ring, to allow the curve to show off the diamond to its best effect.
Rings with large stones: Position an engagement ring with an oversized diamond or gem on the outside of the wedding ring. Place a smaller diamond on the inside to help accentuate it.
Tips on How to Wear Your Engagement and Wedding Ring
Let’s break it down… first, we need to know the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring. Despite the terms being used interchangeably, each ring signifies something completely different. An engagement ring is given at the time of the proposal, and a wedding ring is usually given when the couple gets married. There are also differences between the two that include design, placement, and price-point. Traditionally, an engagement ring has a “centre stone”, and is more expensive than a wedding ring, which usually consists of a lot of smaller diamonds all the way around or a plain band.
The correct way to wear a wedding ring set is engagement and wedding rings are worn on the left hand’s ring finger in Western cultures. This dates all the way back to ancient times when people believed that the left ring finger held the vein that connected directly to the heart. At the end of the day, which finger you choose to wear each ring on is completely up to you, but traditionally most people will look for a ring worn on the left ring finger as a sign of engagement or marriage.
Rings on the Left Hand
Perhaps the most common way to wear them, this tradition stems all the way back to an idea from the Ancient Egyptians, who believed we had a vein leading directly from the left ring finger to the heart. By wearing your wedding ring on the inside, you guarantee it’s as close to your heart as possible. This left-handed ring wearing custom is popular in certain regions, such as the United States, France, the UK, Canada, Mexico, South Africa and many Asian countries.
Ancient Romans used rings as a symbol of ownership, and they believed that there was a vein in your left ring finger that was connected directly to your heart. In essence, wearing a person’s ring over your left ring finger meant that they owned your heart.
Rings on the Right Hand
How to wear a wedding band may be determined by the area you are living in or the cultural traditions you are accustomed to. While wearing your rings on your left hand is common in many Western countries, you will see many couples wearing their rings on their right hands in Northern and Eastern European countries, such as Russia, Poland and Denmark. It is also common in India, Greece, Spain and Portugal. What’s more, in some countries, like Brazil, couples will wear their wedding rings on one hand and switch hands after saying their vows at their wedding.
People who are from Northern and Eastern European countries such as Poland, Russia, and Denmark wear their wedding bands on their right hands. This is also true for people from Greece and India. In Brazil, couples getting married will wear their wedding rings on their right hand then move the rings to their left hand after saying their vows.
Wedding Ring First, Engagement Ring on Top
If a woman chooses to wear her wedding and engagement ring as a matched set, the wedding ring is typically worn on the finger first. Women should keep in mind that some rings, such as bridal set engagement rings, are incomplete if worn separately.
However, if the set is a symmetrical diamond ring wrap, the band closest to the hand will not be as significant, particularly if the rings are soldered together as a single unit. If the rings are separate, it is easier to remove the engagement ring during gardening, exercise or other potentially dangerous activities if the wedding band is worn closest to the hand.
Some people like to stack their wedding band and engagement ring on the same finger. In this case, you wear your wedding ring first, followed by your engagement ring. So how do you wear your engagement ring and wedding band at your wedding? If you go this route, remove your engagement ring before the ceremony so that you don’t have to deal with potentially losing it or awkwardly fumbling with it at the altar. Wear it on your right hand or keep it in a very safe place. Once you’ve said “I do,” you can slip your sparkler back on for the reception or wait a little bit to admire your new band on its own.
Engagement Ring First, Wedding Ring on Top
Another popular choice is to wear them the other way around. Logically it might make sense to wear your rings in the order you received them (even though Ratajkowski got her engagement ring second and still wears them in this order). Symbolically, the idea that your engagement represents a promise and your wedding ring crystallise that promise might speak to you. Wearing your wedding ring on the outside gives your engagement story a sort of figurative bookend—first, you’re engaged, now it’s official—time to start stacking with anniversary rings (wink!).
Engagement Ring One On Finger, Wedding Ring on the Other
If you’re wondering how to wear a wedding band, this is one prime option if your band doesn’t match your engagement ring. Some prefer wearing their engagement ring on their left ring finger and their wedding band on their right ring finger. Though not a traditional choice, it’s great for those who don’t have a matching set or don’t like the way the rings sit together on one finger. It’s also perfect for those who prefer not to stack more than one ring on a finger. Aside from personal preference, you will often see couples wearing their engagement rings on the right hand and their wedding bands on their left in countries such as Germany and the Netherlands.
When it comes to how to wear wedding rings, there are no rules. No one ever said you have to wear them at the same time. Some like to wear their wedding bands every day and reserve their engagement rings for special occasions or when they dress up. Conversely, some like to wear their sparkling engagement rings all the time and forgo their wedding bands entirely. The choice is yours.
Though both rings are intended to be worn, and most women do, some choose not to wear both of them at the same time. This could be because one ring is very expensive and is only worn on special occasions. Another reason could be because two rings are too much for some women, and wearing one at a time is simpler.
Finally, you can simply opt just to alternate the rings since there is no rule saying that you need to wear your wedding band set at the same time! Some people prefer to wear their wedding ring more often because wedding bands are more durable and practical. They will take out their engagement ring for special occasions. On the other hand, other people prefer to wear their engagement rings and keep the wedding ring for special occasions.
How to Wear Wedding Rings that Don’t Fit
A wedding ring may grow either too loose or too tight to be worn comfortably over the years. If the ring cannot be resized, however, it may still be able to be worn. Try these ideas:
- Wear the ring on a different finger. Sometimes the same positioned finger on the opposite hand may be bigger or smaller, which may accommodate your ring.
- String it on a coordinating chain to wear as a pendant close to the heart.
- Reset the diamonds or gemstones into an upgraded ring, necklace or pair of earrings to be worn instead.
When to Remove Wedding Rings
There are certain times when it may be best not to wear a wedding ring at all. Like the engagement ring, a wedding ring should be removed for chores, gardening, sports, and other activities that could damage the metal or gemstones. Fingers can shrink in water; it is also wise to temporarily remove loose fitting rings when swimming or bathing.
Certain life changes may bring up the question of removing a wedding ring permanently. If a couple chooses to divorce, the ring may be removed when the couple separates or finalises the divorce. If a spouse dies, the living spouse may choose to remove the ring after a suitable period of mourning, though it should always be a personal decision; do not feel obligated to remove the wedding ring if you do not want to.
Your wedding jewellery symbolises your personal commitment to and love for your partner, and how you choose to wear it is up to you—interested in learning more about wedding and engagement rings? Our jewellery specialists at Temple and Grace would be happy to help!