Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: What’s the Difference?

bride and groom wedding rings

Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: What’s the Difference?

The engagement ring is a key part of a marriage proposal. It is traditionally a beautiful gemstone set on a band and is a symbol of wedding culture. However, many people mistakenly refer to the engagement ring as the wedding ring.

So, what is an engagement ring?

An engagement ring is given to someone at the time of a marriage proposal. Traditionally, women receive the engagement ring and are expected to wear it starting from the time of the proposal. Having a ring on her finger will indicate to the world that she is taken and committed to her partner.

These rings can vary greatly in terms of extravagance and price, but the most common type of engagement ring has a diamond or another gemstone set atop a pretty band. The engagement ring is worn on the third finger of the left hand (the one next to the pinky).

What is a wedding ring?

Wedding rings are exchanged between partners during the wedding ceremony. They are typically more simple bands in comparison to the engagement ring and do not have a center diamond or prominent gemstone.

Both partners receive a wedding band during the ceremony and they each wear them on the third fingers of their left hands.

Many brides choose to wear their engagement rings on their right hands during the ceremony and then move them back to their left hands afterward so that their two rings are stacked.

The meanings behind the rings

The tradition of the engagement ring dates back many centuries when a man would ask for his lady’s hand in marriage by giving her a valuable ring in exchange for the father’s approval and exchange in “ownership” of this lady.

These rings became more and more extravagant over time because they came to represent the man’s wealth, which was very desirable for both the man and the woman and her family.

Although this notion is very dated, the tradition of offering a ring for one’s hand in marriage has lived on.

In addition to the historical significance of wedding rings, there is also a symbolic aspect. The circle of the ring represents eternity and infinity, and the hole in the ring represents the door leading to future events. Giving someone a ring shows a commitment to endless, eternal love.


Do I need to wear both an engagement and wedding ring?

Because the engagement ring is traditionally the flashier and more extravagant ring of the two, most women wear the engagement ring on their left-hand ring fingers.

Many women will also wear their wedding bands stacked underneath their engagement rings, while some women choose to wear just one ring to represent both. Many jewelers sell engagement rings and wedding bands as a set so they match and look elegant when worn together.

However, this is not a requirement and you and your partner can choose to buy wedding bands at your leisure if you wish to have them at all.

Men typically receive wedding bands on the day of their wedding ceremonies. These groom’s wedding bands are generally thicker in width than bridal wedding bands and are usually made of one type of precious metal, such as gold, silver, or platinum.

Today men are looking for a more stylish option when it comes to their wedding band, not too flashy but also not boring. Bands made from wood are becoming increasingly more popular, along with meteorite and black diamonds.

Some men’s wedding bands may contain small diamonds or jewels and the design and style of the band are up to their personal preference.

How much do wedding and engagement rings cost?

Wedding rings and engagement rings can vary greatly in price depending on the materials used to make them, the size, and your location. Most engagement rings include at least one diamond and most wedding bands do not have any gemstones, so engagement rings are usually much more expensive than wedding rings.

A general rule of thumb that many people choose to follow is to spend about two to three months’ salary on an engagement ring. Of course, how much you choose to spend on any of your wedding jewelry is entirely up to your preference and taste.

However, due to the growing demand for ethically sourced gems, there is an influx in diamond alternatives. Moissanite, emerald, and lab-grown diamonds are the biggest competitors to the diamond for their ethical nature as well as their variety in the price range.

Your engagement ring and wedding ring both represent the unity and bond that you’ve committed to one another on your wedding day.

If you choose to go with an extravagant jewel or an understated band, this piece of jewelry is something that will indicate to the world and yourselves your commitment to one another as a married couple. With the growing demand for ethically sourced rings, there are many different options to fit any price range.

There are so many different types and styles of both engagement rings and wedding rings, guaranteeing that you and your partner will surely be able to find the perfect ones for you.

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