One of the highlights of a wedding ceremony is the introduction of, and the placing, of the wedding ring. This obviously, for most brides, means that they now have two very special rings that are meant to be worn every day, and traditionally, in Western cultures anyway, they are supposed to be worn on the same finger.
But should your pink diamond engagement ring go on top of the new wedding ring? Or should your diamond engagement ring sit below it? Do you really have to wear both of these rings on the same finger? Or could you wear one of them on a different finger, or even a different hand?
In the 21st century, when many of the traditional ‘norms’ attached to marriage in general have changed, the answer would be whatever you prefer. However, if you are wondering what the conventional wisdom is when it comes to how to wear a diamond engagement ring with your wedding ring, and how these conventions were decided in the first place, read on.
Wedding Ring Vs. Diamond Engagement Ring
Despite the fact that the phrases are commonly used interchangeably, each ring represents something distinct. An engagement ring is given when the person is proposed to, and a wedding ring is usually given after the couple marries.
There are also differences in design, positioning, and price range between the two. A wedding ring, which usually consists of a number of small diamonds or other gemstones all the way around or a plain band, is usually less expensive than an engagement ring, which traditionally features a “center stone.” While that center stone is often a clear diamond, an increasing number of brides are choosing to go a different route and opt for fancy colored diamonds or even for other precious gemstones.
Often a wedding ring is an afterthought when compared to all the planning and shopping that goes into choosing an engagement ring. This is something of a shame though, as if they are to be worn together, ensuring that these two very important rings complement one another is something that the extra time is worth taking to do.
Who ‘Chose’ the Ring Finger?
In Western cultures, the ring finger, where diamond engagement rings and wedding rings are traditionally worn, is the fourth finger of the left hand. But why? Why that finger of the eight we have?
The custom of exchanging wedding rings can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Because people believed there was a vein in the fourth finger of their left hands that led directly to the heart, these cultures all decided to wear their wedding bands on the fourth finger of their left hands.
The heart was, unsurprisingly, thought to be the emotional center of the body. The ancient Romans even named the vein that reportedly ran from the fourth finger to the heart the vena amoris (Latin for “love vein”).
Unfortunately, we now know that this old theory is false: there is no vein connecting our ring fingers to our hearts. So, why do we still wear our wedding and engagement rings on this finger? Engagement and wedding bands are still worn on the fourth finger nowadays since that’s how we’ve always done it! Even if we no longer believe that emotions originate in our physical hearts, we nevertheless refer to our “heart” as passionate, loving, and emotional.
How To Wear a Diamond Engagement Ring and Wedding Ring On Your Wedding Day
Before the ceremony, many brides may switch their diamond engagement ring to their right hand so that the wedding band can be put onto the left hand alone. After the ceremony, brides can place the engagement ring on top of the wedding band. Or underneath it. Which is where things get confusing.
Top or Bottom? When It Comes to Diamond Engagement Rings, It’s Your Choice
Even if you want to ‘follow tradition’ there is no right or wrong answer to the ‘top or bottom’ question. Logically, you’ll wear them in whatever way feels most comfortable and showcases both pieces to the best effect.
As most engagement rings do feature that prominent center stone, most brides prefer that it remains the focal point after the wedding ring is added into the mix. Whether that means it is placed on top or underneath depends on the styling of both. One of the biggest reasons brides choose very simple wedding rings is to allow them to showcase the ring they spent so long agonizing over!
As to wearing the rings separately, you can. Or, if you have a physically demanding job that involves lots of use of your hands, you may prefer to wear only the simple wedding band every day and ‘save’ the addition of the engagement ring for special occasions. Or to place the band on top of your diamond engagement ring to help hold it in place.
And sticking to the left hand? Most people actively look at the hands of other adults in search of those left hand rings to determine their marital status. Nosy? Yes, but it’s become almost second nature to most of us. So, if it matters to you to display that status, when wearing an engagement ring on another finger – or a wedding ring – it really won’t do that. But if you care more about comfort, personal choice and style preferences, go ahead and wear them however you want, they’re your rings after all!