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 personal 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.
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 that 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 work regularly 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 traveling, 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. Ed Sheeran, for example, 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 years. 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!
Colored gemstone accents are popular in anniversary rings as well, often based on a person’s birthstone, the birthstones of your children, or simply a favorite color. 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.
At the end of the day, your wedding jewelry symbolizes 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 jewelry specialists would be happy to help! You can reach them through the live chat on our site. Share your bridal sets with us on our Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!