You’re engaged, and soon to be married—yay! Or perhaps that glorious day has already occurred. We’re so happy for you. And you have the symbols of your love to let the whole world know—both your engagement ring and the wedding band. Every woman is proud of her bridal jewelry. From the first ring, that stunning engagement ring, to the very meaningful wedding band, these are cherished pieces of jewelry to be worn every day of your life.
When you are just engaged, the envy-making engagement ring is all that is worn. It allows friends and family to swoon over it, exactly as it should be. But when you get married—the two rings join forces on your hand—just like two lives will always be in unison forever after.
But you want to know exactly what is the correct way to wear both pieces of your bridal ring set, don’t you? We thought so. If you’re like us, you’ve seen women wear them both ways—with the engagement ring first and next to the wedding band. But you’ve also noticed it done in the reverse. Wedding band first, and then the engagement ring after. What’s the right way? Is there any right way? And does it matter?
Around the World with Wedding Bands
The tradition of wearing wedding bands is an ancient one. Many historians point to Medieval European nobility who were early adopters of ‘betrothal rings’ as they were called. But not so fast. We can harken back to ancient Egyptians too. Both cultures believed there was a vein leading from the left ring finger straight to the heart. Early Europeans called it the Vena d’ Amour - or vein of love. How romantic. By wearing the wedding band on that important ring finger of the left hand, it guaranteed a direct line to the heart. Works for us.
The left-handed ring-wearing tradition has remained steadfast in multiple regions throughout the world to this day, like the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Mexico, France, South Africa, and many Asian countries. Although wearing bridal jewelry sets on the left hand is traditional in many Western societies, you are going to notice couples wearing wedding rings on their right hand in places like Poland, Russia, Denmark, and other eastern and northern European countries. In Brazil, the bride-to-be starts out wearing her engagement rings on one hand and then switches to the other hand after saying their wedding vows.
You may have noticed that in Western culture, brides today wear their engagement ring on the left hand once they are engaged. But not all brides get matching wedding band sets, and some wedding bands can be uncomfortable or just not look right when placed together on the same hand.
Wearing Your Ring During the Ceremony
In that case, at the marriage ceremony, the bride will be seen wearing her engagement ring on the right hand (or have it kept somewhere safely). So, when vows are exchanged, and the couple helps each other place the rings on their fingers, the bride’s left hand is free to have her wedding band slipped smoothly on the left hand—no struggling. Thereafter, she’ll continue to wear her engagement ring on the right hand and the wedding band on her left.
Even if the engagement ring doesn’t present a challenge with getting the wedding band on the ring finger of the left hand—it’s not all that uncommon for brides to move their engagement ring to their right hand during the ceremony, making the placement of the wedding band by the groom a much easier task. It may also be preferred for the wedding photographs—showing both the bride and groom exchanging their simple bands.
Traditions are traditions, and in most western societies there is a tried-and-true preference to wearing both engagement rings and wedding bands together when that is the brides’ choice. It also has to be comfortable to wear all the time. Remember you’ll be wearing this every day of your life, and you don’t want to feel that your rings impede normal activities or work. Try wearing them together for a while before your wedding day, and see how comfy they feel to you under normal activities.
How to Stack your Bridal Jewelry
When stacking both rings is desired, you will place your wedding ring on first, then slide on your engagement ring after. The long-standing tradition cements the idea that the wedding band is nearest to that “vena d’amour” vein running straight to the heart. Our bridal jewelry is rich with symbolism and deep sentiment. The classic wedding ring idea is that your engagement represents the promise of new life to come. Your wedding ring seals that promise with a commitment of marriage.
They are two parts of a beautiful love story meant to last a lifetime. There’ll be other milestones to come in the years ahead with your personal love story. Anniversary rings for the 5th, 10th, and hopefully the 20th and beyond offer more opportunities to share your commitment throughout the years.
Finally, a word of comfort if you have already decided you want to wear your engagement ring first on the left finger, and the wedding ring on the outside. It’s your comfort we’re thinking about, so wear your rings in a way that’s most comfy to you—and enjoy them every day of your lifetime.