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.
In western cultures, the correct way to wear a wedding ring set is engagement and wedding rings are worn on the left hand’s ring finger. This dates back to ancient times when people believed that the left ring finger held the vein 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.
How To Wear Wedding Ring Set During And After The Ceremony
Traditionally, couples wear the wedding ring “closest to their heart”. This means the wedding band is stacked below the engagement ring on the left ring finger. Many future brides will move their engagement ring to their right hand before the ceremony so that the wedding band can be slipped onto the left hand by itself. Brides can then move the engagement ring on top of the wedding band after the ceremony. Some women choose to get their engagement and wedding rings soldered together after the wedding to make their bridal set one piece. This helps to keep track of it, as well as making it one unified piece so that you can add other anniversary bands while still keeping your bridal set separate.
Sometimes, when women work at a job where they regularly use their hands, they choose to wear only a wedding band for everyday wear. This means they bring their engagement ring out for special occasions. This is also common when travelling, or in other situations where a person may be afraid of losing or damaging their expensive engagement ring. Ultimately, how you choose to wear your rings is up to you.
Men & Engagement Rings
Can men wear engagement rings? Of course! Although it’s not traditionally the way it goes when a couple gets engaged, the practice isn’t completely unheard of. For example, Ed Sheeran wore a silver band on his left ring finger when he got engaged.
Diamond or gemstone eternity bands (where the stones go all the way around the band) are popular gifts to mark milestone anniversaries such as 5,10,15, 20+ years. Anniversary rings are extremely versatile, and we always encourage couples to get creative in mixing metals or styles with their wedding and engagement rings for a unique look that reflects their style!
Coloured gemstone accents are also growing extremely popular for anniversary rings (often based on a person’s birthstone, children’s birthstones, or maybe even a favourite colour!). There are no “set rules” about what finger a person should wear their anniversary ring(s) on. Stacking anniversary rings with your wedding and engagement ring is an ever-popular choice, and some women choose to swamp their wedding band for their anniversary ring if they’re not a fan of the overly-stacked look.
When it comes down to it, your wedding jewellery symbolises your commitment to and endless love for your partner, and how you decide to wear it is completely up to you! There is no “right or wrong” way. If you’re interested in learning more about wedding, engagement, or anniversary rings… a member of our team would be happy to help you out! Write us an email, and we’d love to hear your thoughts and assist you in any way we can.
Engagement ring and wedding band conventions can be confusing for the uninitiated.
When it comes to the “right way” to wear your wedding ring, there are many options, and it’s important to keep in mind what fits best with your style! To provide guidance to new fiancés, we’ve pulled together some popular traditions on when and how to wear wedding rings and engagement rings.
The Basics: Engagement And Wedding Rings 101
Engagement Ring Vs. Wedding Ring
Despite the terms being used somewhat interchangeably, each ring signifies different milestones. There are a few differences between an engagement ring and a wedding ring, including design, placement and price-point, but the main difference between the two is when each ring is given. An engagement ring is typically given at the time of a proposal, and a wedding ring is commonly given when a couple exchanges marriage vows. Couples will frequently buy matching wedding ring sets so they can have similar ring styles to signify their union. However, it’s becoming more common for couples to buy wedding bands that reflect their styles without worrying about coordinating with their spouse.
In western cultures, the engagement and wedding rings are worn on the ring (or third) finger of the left hand. The practice dates to ancient Romans, who believed the left ring finger held a vein connected directly to the heart, making it a symbolic gesture for newlyweds. Ultimately which finger you choose to wear each ring on is up to you, but people will typically look for a ring worn on the left ring finger as a sign of engagement or marriage.
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 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!
Can Men Wear Engagement Rings?
Of course! Although men don’t traditionally receive engagement rings in western cultures, the practice is not unheard of. For example, Ed Sheeran wore a silver band on his left ring finger while engaged to his now-wife, Cherry Seaborn. When asked about it, he said, “I never saw why men didn’t wear engagement rings. It’s the same commitment either way.”
Other celebrities, including Skylar Astin, Michael Bublé, and professional wrestler David Otunga have also sported engagement rings to show their decision to get married.
What About Anniversary Rings?
Diamond eternity bands or other rings are popular gifts to mark milestone anniversaries such as 5, 10, 15, and 20. Anniversary rings are very versatile, and couples should feel free to try mixing metals or styles with their wedding and engagement rings for a unique look!
Coloured gemstone accents are popular in anniversary rings as well, often based on a person’s birthstone, the birthstones of your children, or simply a favourite colour. There are no set rules about which finger to wear anniversary rings on. Stacking anniversary rings with your wedding and engagement ring is a popular choice, and some people will swap their wedding band for their anniversary ring if it’s a good match with their engagement ring.
Is There a Right Way to Wear Your Wedding and Engagement Rings?
Rings on the Left Hand
Perhaps the most common way to wear them, this tradition stems 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.
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.
Wedding Ring First, Engagement Ring on Top
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 another 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.
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.
Wearing a Wedding and Engagement Ring
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 asymmetrical 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.
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.
A Symbol of Your Love and Commitment
Understanding how to wear wedding rings can help couples wear these symbols of their commitment with style, grace and dedication, no matter if they’ve only been married one day or many happy years. Wearing your wedding ring can be a daily celebration of the love and commitment you and your spouse share. Take a look at your ring and how it fits your hand to determine the best way to wear it, from the time you say ‘I do’ to all the moments that life brings after the wedding.
Tips for Wearing Wedding Rings
While wearing a ring may seem straightforward, there are many tips that can help to ensure that your ring is shown off well, protected from damage and is easy to remove if needed.
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.
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.
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.