When it comes to tradition, the hand the engagement ring goes on has remained fairly consistent over time.
With all the excitement of getting engaged, you may be left asking – Which hand and finger does my engagement ring go on? After all, this is probably the first time you've done this, so it's fair enough if you don't know. Besides, with all the modern takes on engagement and wedding ring traditions becoming more common, it’s understandable that things can get a bit confusing. So let’s review the essentials about wearing your engagement ring.
The Origin of the Engagement and Wedding Rings
Most western cultures wear the engagement ring on the fourth finger of the left hand. This is known as the ring finger, due to an ancient Roman belief. Romans believed this finger featured a vein that ran directly to the human heart. This connection with the heart led them to call it the Vena Amoris, or “Vein of Love.”
Although this Roman belief has long since been proven false, the tradition has remained strong and widely accepted.
In many eastern cultures and some select countries throughout Europe like Denmark, Italy, Norway, and Spain, the engagement ring and wedding band are worn on the right-hand ring finger. This practice also reaches back to ancient Rome, where it was believed the left hand wasn’t reliable.
There are also some cultures throughout Asia that consider the left hand to be unclean, therefore a very undesirable hand to wear an engagement ring or wedding band.
Where Does the Engagement Ring Go, in Relation to the Wedding Ring?
The answer to this question can be a little complicated, as the rings typically do some shifting in the journey to marriage.
When an engagement ring is given, it’s usually worn on the ring finger of the left hand. This is typically the case until the wedding ceremony.
During the wedding ceremony, there will usually be an exchange of wedding bands. During this exchange, the engagement ring shifts over to the right-hand ring finger. This is because of another tradition which dictates that the wedding band should be worn closest to the heart, with the engagement ring on the outside.
Wearing the engagement ring on the right hand during the ceremony also makes it easy for the wedding band to slip on the left hand without having to move a ring. After the ceremony, many will choose to shift their engagement ring back to the left-hand ring finger, so the two rings start to be worn as a pair.
Can You Wear Your Wedding Ring and Engagement Ring on Different Hands Post-ceremony?
The choice 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. Whether you choose to uphold a time-old tradition or create your very own is entirely up to you.