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Engagement Rings vs. Wedding Rings: What’s the Difference?

Wedding and engagement rings symbolize love and declaration. They mark the beginning of a new phase in the life of two people in love. The message and goals aren’t far apart, but they are entirely different when you take a deeper look. Engagement rings open a new chapter in the lives of two people in love by preparing them for marriage. Wedding rings seal the decision by lovebirds to become lifelong partners. Read on to learn more about the differences between engagement rings and wedding rings.

Engagement and Wedding Bands: The Differences and History Behind Them

Rings given during marriage proposals and the marriage ceremony are unique symbols in the life of couples. You or your partner-to-be can decide to give a marriage-proposal ring at any time. These engagement rings are an ideal symbol to prepare couples for matrimonial ceremonies. Although not mandatory, engagement rings have become a staple in modern times. Historically, bands made for marriage proposals had unique stones with multiple styles of bands. The modern engagement band comes in numerous stone-band styles and depends on the wearer’s preferences.

The engaged couple often exchanges wedding bands to seal their marriage during the wedding. The wedding bands are a physical symbol to remind the couple about the vows they made to each other. As for the pre-marriage engagement rings, traditionally the recipient of the proposal wears the engagement ring. However, it is becoming increasingly popular for both partners to wear an engagement ring if they so choose! And in the case of wedding rings, both partners wear bands.

Engagement rings tend to be more costly since they feature a center stone and are sometimes custom designed. So, unlike engagement rings, wedding bands typically have no large or intricate centerpiece gemstone. In addition, wedding bands have less overall carat weight compared to engagement rings. However, some wedding bands can be complex with intricate metal details, such as diamond sets, milgrain, and paves.

Engagement Rings: What Betrothal Rings Mean

Betrothment rings are considered one of the fundamental aspects of a proper wedding announcement. Historically, betrothal rings signified that the bride’s dowry had been paid. Today, these rings are more of a romantic symbol. Partners use engagement rings to propose and promise marriage, and by accepting the ring, the recipient promises to commit themselves to the relationship.

Traditionally, the common belief was that the ring finger connected directly to the heart. And a betrothment band’s circular shape indicated that the relationship will be bound to eternal love, infinity, and faithfulness. So as an indicator of perpetual connection and immeasurable love, the engagement band was made to connect the two and prove that they will soon be married.

Wedding Rings: Meaning of the Marriage Ring

The wedding band symbolizes and publicly professes marriage. The ring signifies love, fidelity, and that the two have devoted their lives to love each other. The vows given before partners exchange rings are virtually the same in all cultures and traditions worldwide. As the couple promises to stick by each other for the remaining part of their life, the circular shapes of the bands indicate eternal love for one another.

Is It Necessary to Have Both Rings?

No, this depends on preference. If you or your partner love simplicity, then you might find it unnecessary to buy and wear an engagement ring. You and your partner can decide to throw a ring-less engagement party or not hold an engagement party at all. You can also opt for twin rings, where one of you wears the engagement ring before the marriage while the other wears the ring once you have completed the wedding ceremony.

Should You Wear a Proposal or Marital Ring First?

When it comes to the order in which the two rings should be worn, it’s also subject to personal preference. Traditionally, it is said that the wedding band should be worn closest to the heart. So, most people put their wedding band on first and then their engagement ring. That’s the standard ring etiquette, but it’s not mandatory to stick by this well-known method of organizing your rings. There is no rule that dictates how you or your spouse should wear their rings.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, your engagement ring and wedding band boils down to you and your spouse’s happiness. How and what you choose to wear is completely up to you! Interested in learning more about our bridal sets? Our jewelry specialists would be happy to help! You can reach them through the live chat on our site. Share your engagement and wedding rings with us on our Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!

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Engagement Rings vs. Wedding Rings: What's the Difference? - Brilliant Earth Blog