If you’re getting married soon and shopping for either an engagement ring or a wedding band, we send our best wishes. What an exciting time in your life. You’ll be considering an engagement ring and wedding bands, often for both the bride and groom. You may have a lot of bridal jewelry questions now that this topic concerns you both! Like, what exactly is the difference between your engagement ring and wedding band? Some women love their engagement ring so much, they’re reluctant to add another band after they get married.
Here are some interesting opinions on engagement ring vs. wedding ring etiquette, and we’ll go over them all to finally sort this all out - before your big day.
Engagement Rings -v- Wedding Rings
Let’s start with the engagement ring — first things first. Traditionally we see engagement rings having a dominant central stone, which is often a diamond. But modern brides are opting for colored gemstones to further personalize their engagement ring, and we applaud that choice. The central stone either stands on its own as a solitaire or is surrounded by accent diamonds or colored gemstones. The engagement ring is presented at the time of the proposal, or if (the groom is not 100% sure he’ll get a YES, a bit after the lady accepts his proposal. The meaning of an engagement ring is an outward symbol of a promise of commitment between the couple before their marriage.
Next, let’s consider the wedding bands. The couple must decide if both bride and groom want to wear a wedding band—some men still prefer not to wear any jewelry. If the couple is in agreement about both of them wearing wedding rings—do you want a match or each person have individually chosen rings. There are no hard and fast rules on this. Please consider these choices to be very personal to your taste and style preferences. Just have that discussion beforehand. The wedding bands themselves symbolize the moment when those promises are realized, and the two commit to a lifelong union.
You can, of course, toss all traditions aside and further personalize your bridal jewelry. It’s your day — have it your way. Modern brides play a bigger role in selecting their bridal jewelry today. Years ago, the man presented a ring that was a complete surprise to the bride-to-be. Seems a bit odd now, as couples generally search for their rings together. That is a fun part of starting a new life together.
With the greater emphasis now on highly individualized rings, either the engagement ring or the wedding bands, designers are responding to the call by offering an extensive array of personalized options to choose from.
Wearing Engagement Rings and Wedding Rings
In Western culture, it is traditional to wear an engagement ring and wedding ring together on the fourth finger of the left hand. Legends inform us those earlier civilizations thought a vein from the left hand’s ring finger led straight to the heart. So that is why this symbol of love and commitment would be placed on that finger. Vena d’amore, they called it, or vein of love. Therefore, the order of wearing your bridal jewelry after you marry is that the wedding band is inside the engagement ring so that it's the closest one to your heart.
Some engagement rings are quite elaborate, or at least the trend these days is for the engagement diamond (or colored stone) to be quite large. Because of that, today’s bride may opt to wear her engagement ring on the right hand and the wedding band on the left hand. This happens often when the wedding bands are quite different from the engagement ring, making stacking impossible or not a pretty as wearing them separately.
Shopping for Wedding Bands
We recommend that the couple select their wedding bands a good two months or more before the wedding so it's one less detail that you’ve put out of the way.
You may be waffling about the kind of wedding band you want, so enjoy wearing your engagement ring for a while, and then focus on the wedding bands. After seeing so many new styles, your preferences might evolve. Enjoy wearing your engagement ring while shopping for a wedding band and eventually it will become clear to you what you like and want to live with for the rest of your life.
Finally, it comes down to your style preferences and taste. If you’re a traditional gal, then you’ve got plenty of elegant options available. Whether you're selecting a diamond eternity band or a sleek unadorned metal ring, a wedding ring and engagement ring pairing are a personal expression of how you want to memorialize your union. If you’re leaning toward romantic rings, then bonafide antique and vintage rings are the way to go. Manufacturers make modern versions of period jewelry too. Trending designers create wedding jewelry in alternate metals, and those particularly appeal to men.
But Do You Need Two rings?
Of course, it's perfectly ok if you opt for wearing a single ring to symbolize first your engagement and then later, your married status.
Fortunately, there's no single rule when it comes to selecting and wearing bridal jewelry. Look over the ideas here to form your own decisions. Then remember, the most important thing of all is to commemorate the love and commitment that you have for one another—every day, for the rest of your lives.