Wedding Ring Etiquette: How to Wear


Are you clueless about wedding ring etiquette and how to handle the engagement ring? Wondering how and where to shop, and what to look out for? Wondering whether you have to spend on both the wedding ring and engagement ring? Here is what you need to know.

Engagement vs. Wedding Ring and Wedding Band

There is usually a lot of confusion regarding the wedding ring, wedding band and engagement ring. Wedding ring etiquette dictates that the engagement ring should be more extravagant than the wedding ring and wedding band. This is perhaps due to the significance of the engagement ring since it is presented at the moment of proposal. Wedding bands, on the other hand, are more subtle and therefore cheaper. They are exchanged during the wedding ceremony. The difference between a wedding band and a wedding ring is not much. The wedding ring is simply a more stylized version of the wedding band. The wedding ring could feature decorative metal work or diamonds set all round.

How to Wear Engagement Ring and Wedding Band at the Wedding

If you have an engagement ring and a wedding band, you should move the engagement ring to the right hand just before you walk down the aisle. After the ceremony, you should place it back on the ring finger of the left hand and stack it in front of the wedding band. Some brides choose not to wear the engagement ring at all during the ceremony. Traditionally, you should wear the wedding ring underneath the engagement ring so that it’s closer to your heart.

Do I Have To Buy An Engagement Ring and Wedding Ring/Band?

Many buy a more extravagant engagement ring, which is usually diamond, and the bride and groom exchange wedding band at the ceremony.

Many couples nowadays choose to get one ring as opposed to buying an engagement ring and wedding ring. This enables them to save money. This means you can afford to spend more on one outstanding stone.

Who Buys the Ring?

This is usually a big deal to couples. Wedding ring etiquette dictates that the woman buys the man a wedding band while the man buys the woman a wedding band and engagement ring. However, this rule is not cast in stone. More and more couples are breaking the norm.

Do the Rings Have to Match?

If you’re really keen on having matching rings, knock yourselves out. However, it is not a requirement to have matching rings. Many couples choose to buy a wedding band that matches the engagement ring. Some rings even allow the rings to merge into one ring.

Wedding Ring Etiquette - Before the Wedding

What’s Her Preference?

Before deciding on the 4Cs (cut, clarity, color, and carat), find out what shape your fiancée would prefer. The shape refers to the stone’s geometry and not the angles of the stone’s facets. While you might decide to shop for the ring together as is the norm nowadays, you can opt to surprise her with the kind of ring she’d love. You can ask her close friends or siblings to help you pick out a ring. You could also check out the kind of jewelry she currently owns. Does she own more yellow-gold pieces that platinum sliver? Does she prefer simple, classic pieces to vintage? Spy on her at every opportunity until you’re sure about what she likes.

Work Within Your Budget

Do not get caught up in the 2-months’ salary myth. Do not go into major debt just for a ring. There are ways to get the most bang for your buck that do not involve auctioning one of your kidneys. While you will not get as much sparkle as you’d bargained for, one carat will look a lot larger if the stone is not too deep. If you aren’t too keen on sacrificing on the look of the stone, you can buy a stone that’s a bit smaller than the target carat. For example, you can but a 1.8 carat ring instead of a 2 carat one. This could save you up to 20% of the total cost.

Give Yourself Ample Time

You should start shopping for a ring early enough to forestall unforeseen delays on your big day. You should make a point of having the ring with you 4 weeks to the weeding. Normally, a ring can take up to 6 weeks to arrive after you have placed your order. It could even take longer if you want an intricate custom design. With this in mind, you should start the process at least 2 months before the wedding.

Get Referrals

Buy the ring from a reputable jeweler. Start you search by asking for recommendations from your family and friends. Check for stores that are accredited by GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or the Jewelers of America. Check out the return policy since you might want to exchange the ring if your fiancée doesn’t like the one you picked.

Wedding Ring Etiquette - On the Wedding Day

Exchanging Rings

The exchange of rings is an outward expression of the couple’s promise to faithfulness to each other. It is, therefore, the highlight on the wedding. You should have decided on the placement of the engagement rings as mentioned above prior to walking down the aisle to avoid any confusion or mishap during the ceremony. If you are wearing gloves, you can remove them and give them to the maid of honor. Alternatively, you can buy gloves that are made with this situation in mind. The gloves are made with a slit down the middle on the wedding ring finger. The ring can be slipped onto the finger by separating the glove to expose the finger.

The exchange of rings is usually accompanied by an exchange of vow. Below are some examples that can inspire you:

You’re the love of my life ,

And you’re my best friend

I give you this ring

May it be a symbol of my undying love,

My eternal devotion and faith

It’s an outward reminder of our commitment

With this ring, I bind my life to yours

Let it be a symbol of my never ending love,

My eternal friendship,

And a promise of all tomorrows


Photography is an integral part of any wedding. So, what is the wedding ring etiquette for taking photos?

  • Take photos of the rings by themselves. The photographer can use various backdrops including the wedding invitation, a flower, a page of the bible or a prayer book.

  • A photo of the ring on the brides left hand while she’s holding her bouquet.

  • Intertwined hands of the bride and groom showing their rings.

  • A photo of the couple cutting the wedding cake that highlights the rings.

  • A shot of the groom and bride signing the marriage certificate

You can get creative with this. Try and take as many photos as you can, then pick out the best.

Wedding Ring Etiquette – Tips for Accepting the Ring

  • Never complain about the size or the type of diamond

  • The ring is a gesture of love. Do not tie the size of the diamond to his ability to provide for you.

  • If you think he’s being stingy, try and find out what his plans are. He could be saving up for a home. If it’s his character, then you need to figure out whether he is right for you.

  • You can also ask your future husband whether you can rest the ring. He will probably be okay with this.

  • You can also choose to wear the ring and reset it during your 10 year anniversary.