If someone asked you at age eleven, “What finger does the wedding ring go on?” you probably knew the answer. It’s pretty common for most people, particularly in the United States, to sport their wedding ring on the left ring finger. But why is the wedding ring worn on the “ring finger” in the first place? And do brides and grooms absolutely have to?
What Is An Engagement?
An engagement is a formal agreement and a mutual promise of two people to marry. With an engagement, the couple testifies to their desire to marry. They are two people serious about pursuing the lifelong commitment of marriage and though they are not yet fully committed to marrying one another, they are escalating their intimacy to ensure that they can be suitable for one another. It does not matter whether the partners are the same sex or different sexes.
What Is An Engagement Ring?
Although the ancient Egyptians are sometimes credited with inventing the engagement ring, and the ancient Greeks with adopting the tradition, the history of the engagement ring can only be reliably traced as far back as ancient Rome.
Traditional engagement rings typically have one dominant stone, which either stands alone or is surrounded by additional smaller stones. An engagement ring is usually given as part of the proposal, or if not, at an early point in the engagement.
What Hand and Finger Does the Engagement Ring Go On?
Traditionally, you wear your engagement ring and wedding ring together on the fourth finger of your left hand. As far as how to stack them, tradition holds that you’ll wear the wedding band inside the engagement ring so that it’s closer to your heart.
Some brides opt to wear their engagement ring on one hand and their wedding band on the other, especially if they’re very diverse rings that can’t be easily stacked.
Story of the Origin of the Engagement Ring Finger
The story of why the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger from the right on the left hand can be traced back to ancient times.
“According to legend, it was believed the ring finger had a vein that connected directly to the heart, so lovers’ hearts would be connected by their rings. The early Romans called this the Vena Amoris (Vein of Love),”.
Naturally, to solidify a union based on love, they’d place the ring on that finger that housed the vein of love to signify the romance that the newly married couple shared.
Unfortunately, our modern-day understanding of biology suggests all your fingers have vein connections to the heart. Yet, tradition still holds true for many couples who designate their left hand ring finger as the ideal finger to signify their commitment to each other.
What Hand Do You Wear Your Engagement Ring After the Engagement and Before the Wedding?
True to tradition, the newly-engaged have also taken to wearing the engagement ring on the left ring finger (commonly referred to as the engagement ring finger). Interestingly, many of the people in Europe who choose to wear their wedding rings on the right hand’s ring finger, still wear their engagement ring on the left and then transfer it over.
What Hand Do You Wear Your Wedding Ring?
Wedding rings are most often worn on the fourth finger from the right on the left hand, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom.
You’re welcome to wear your wedding ring on the right hand ring finger. In doing so, you’d be following the example of many central and northern European couples. The list includes Norway, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Belgium (some areas), Germany, Russia, Latvia, Bulgaria, and Ukraine.
The preference of which hand you wear your rings on often comes down to personal or cultural preference. Some women opt to wear their wedding ring on the left ring finger and their engagement ring on the right ring finger.
Engagement Ring Types
- Halo Engagement Rings
- Classic Engagement Rings
- Solitaire Engagement Rings
- Vintage Engagement Rings
- 3-Stone Engagement Rings
- Complete Engagement Rings
If you’ve decided to wear your engagement and wedding rings on the same finger, you’re now wondering about stacking.
Wedding Band Types
Married duos conventionally wear their wedding bands closest to their hearts, meaning they’re the bottom stack, below the engagement ring, pushed towards the base of your knuckle.
If you want to honor this on your actual wedding day, the most popular strategy is to switch over your engagement ring to your right hand right before you walk down the aisle. Now your spouse-to-be can slide the band right up your left finger, and can then top it off with the engagement ring during the ceremony, or later on.
There are brides who, either in an attempt to save themselves some trouble or enact another “marital bond” metaphor, have the wedding and engagement rings soldered together into one jewelry piece.
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