Rings are a symbol of love and commitment. It is common for couples to have an engagement ring and a wedding band. Although some may prefer to wear only one, either an engagement ring or a wedding band. However, deciding how to wear these rings becomes trickier the more rings are added.
Traditionally, wedding bands go on the bottom, just below the engagement ring. The wedding band’s placement on the ring finger and closer to the palm is based on the belief that it has a vein directly connected to the heart. However, it is ultimately up to a couple to decide how they want to wear their wedding bands.
More details are given as to why tradition states that wedding bands go below engagement rings. Alternative ways of wearing sets of rings are also listed. Moreover, things to keep in mind when deciding which way is right for you are outlined.
Does the Wedding Band Go on Top or Bottom?
Tradition states that wedding bands should go on the bottom, with the engagement ring on top. This order puts the wedding band closer to the palm.
During your wedding ceremony, you can switch your engagement ring to your right hand just before walking down the aisle. This allows your spouse to put your wedding band on the ring finger of your left hand. In the subsequent parts of the ceremony, you can put your engagement ring back to its original place, letting it rest on top of the wedding band.
Wedding rings in themselves have a rich history. It was first found in Ancient Egyptian culture, which viewed it as a symbol of everlasting and eternal love. At this time, only women wore rings, as they also represented being “owned” by a man — men only started wearing wedding rings as recently as the 1940s and 1950s.
Various ancient cultures believed that the ring finger of one’s left hand housed the “Vena amoris,” or the vein of love, directly connected to the heart. This belief is why most people today wear their rings on their left hand’s ring finger; the closer your wedding ring is to your heart, the more sincere your promise and commitment are.
With that said, the order in which you wear your rings is ultimately up to your preference. Your decision may be based on the style of the rings, comfort, and more. There are alternative ways you can wear your bridal set.
More Ways to Wear Ring Sets
Placing the Wedding Band on Top
Some couples prefer to wear their rings in the order they received them. This means that the engagement ring, which is typically more ornate in design with a center stone, goes under the simpler wedding band.
Wearing One Ring for Each Ring Finger
You may wear your wedding band on the ring finger of your left hand, while your engagement ring sits on the ring finger of your right hand, or vice versa. This allows both rings to have their own spotlight.
Wear One Ring at a Time
As mentioned earlier, engagement rings generally come in more intricate designs and consist of a diamond or another gemstone, thus making them more expensive. To prevent wear and tear, you can opt to wear only your wedding band most of the time.
When a special occasion arises, such as an anniversary dinner, you can put on your engagement ring and show off its brilliance.
Use One Ring as a Pendant for a Necklace
Though this is more commonly done with commitment rings and promise rings, you can also have your engagement or wedding ring as a pendant for your necklace. Depending on your attire, this method can be a discreet way of still wearing your band, as it will be hidden under your garment.
If your ring is engraved, wearing it as a pendant gives you easy access to the inscription inside the ring. Whenever you are feeling down, one glance at the words you and your partner chose to have inscribed will give you the assurance and motivation you need.
Have the Two Rings Soldered Together
Soldering refers to the process of joining two metals together. If you purchased your rings as a set with matching styles, soldering them is a viable option. The advantage of soldered rings is that they will not turn in different directions; however, this means you cannot wear them separately anymore.
Wear Them on Whichever Finger You Prefer
Although tradition tells you to wear your engagement or wedding band on the ring finger of your left hand, you have the autonomy to decide if you want to stick to such tradition. For instance, you can wear your engagement ring on the ring finger of your left hand, while your wedding band can go on your index finger.
Wear None at All
Albeit rare, some people choose not to wear any ring. This may be for convenience, as their work requires extensive physical labor. Regardless of the reason behind it, you can opt to forego wearing your rings.
However, you must keep in mind that this can draw suspicion from the people around you. It is best to have a conversation about this matter with your partner and talk about what you two are comfortable with.
Things to Consider When Deciding How to Wear Your Rings
If your rings are part of a bridal set, the rings are individually designed to be harmonious and complementary when worn together.
Otherwise, stacking bands together might be a little trickier. For one, the color of the metals or the stones could clash and create an unaesthetic image. Additionally, rings with intricate styles, such as those with a pavé wrap, can completely overshadow the simpler bands.
People have widely varying finger types. Corollary to this, wearing two rings stacked together may not be the most comfortable experience for everyone. Moreover, not everyone is used to the feeling of wearing a snug accessory at all times.
Sometimes, getting your ring resized is necessary to have more comfort. Keep in mind, however, that certain rings are challenging, if not impossible, to be resized. Factors that contribute to this include the width of the band, the complexity of the design, and the metallic composition of the ring.
As mentioned earlier, wearing two rings may not be the most practical for people with jobs that require a lot of physical labor. This includes those working in the retail industry, food and beverage industry, manufacturing and construction, and so forth. For instance, your rings may tear through your gloves.
You must also consider the area you are living in — some cities have higher crime rates than others. Wearing two rings, especially one with an eye-catching diamond or gemstone, might put you in harm’s way.
Rings can get expensive, and not everyone can afford to buy one, let alone two. Getting a second ring might not be a financially wise decision for some couples. If that is the case for you, a simple wedding band will more than suffice. Likewise, your engagement ring can double as a wedding ring. At the end of the day, the important thing is your commitment and love for each other.
Where you wear your ring can also be based on your culture. Placing the ring on one’s left hand is much more common in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, South Africa, and multiple Asian countries.
Citizens of Northern and Eastern European nations, like Russia, Denmark, and Poland, prefer to wear their rings on their right hand. The same can be said for Spain, Portugal, Greece, and India.
Some countries have more specific customs. Brazilians, for instance, wear their rings for the ceremony on one hand, and after exchanging their vows, switch them to the other hand. Another example can be found in China: Chinese women wear their ring on their left hand, while the men wear it on their right hand, representing the yin and yang.
Other cultures and religions may have a different visual marker of marital status. Hindu brides have mangalsutra, which is a golden necklace or pendant with black beads or strings, and bangles, which are metallic, wooden, or glass bracelets either white or red.
Some people do not accessorize. There are multiple possible reasons behind it: the jewelry may irritate their skin because of allergies; it may not fit the aesthetic they are going for; and sometimes, they simply cannot be bothered.
Regardless of the reason, it is perfectly understandable if you choose not to wear a ring at all or choose only one ring to wear. It is your choice.
Wedding bands, according to customs and traditions, go at the bottom; the engagement ring, if the bride chooses to wear it, goes on top. Keep in mind that this is simply tradition — you are not required to comply. It is perfectly fine to opt for a different configuration of rings to wear.