How to Wear a Wedding & Engagement Ring

Incorporate new and symbolic rings into your daily life

By Jen Whitten

Bride and groom hands with wedding rings
Photo by Michael Graham PhotographyBookmark and Share

After you complete all the wedding planning and return home from the honeymoon, learning the various aspects of your new marriage becomes the first order of business after sending out those thank you cards. Wedding and engagement rings are a small yet symbolic etiquette detail, and many young brides pause to wonder how to wear them together. No concrete rules exist, only tradition, so each bride must decide for herself the best way to incorporate her rings into her daily life.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Ask your relatives if there any cultural customs regarding wedding rings.
  • Talk to your spouse about situations where either ring might need to come off and discuss a plan for keeping your rings safe.
  • To keep your rings clean and sparkling, invest in a jewelry cleaning solution or regularly visit jewelers to have them use an ultrasonic cleaner.
Choosing and Wearing Wedding and Engagement Rings

Step 1:

Evaluate your ring style. Depending on the nature of your rings, you may have little to decide. You have fewer options on how to wear a wedding ring if you weld the engagement ring to the wedding band. If your rings are still separate pieces, you can consider merging the two.

Step 2:

Think about your wedding band. Is it ornate or simple? You won't want to leave a band designed as a ring guard alone on your finger because it will look odd without a solitaire inside or beside it. A wedding band with elegant etchings or a few gemstones set into the metal looks lovely on its own or next to an engagement ring.

Step 3:

Research regional and cultural customs about wedding rings. In many parts of the world, wearing your ring on your left hand is bad luck because some cultures perceive the left to be evil. In other countries, it's just customary to wear it on the right. In the United States, married couples customarily wear their wedding rings on the third finger (not counting the thumb), or ring finger, of the left hand.

Step 4:

Decide if you will wear the rings on the same finger. Wearing wedding rings on the same finger is common, but you can split them up if you don't like the way they look together on your finger. An alternative is to wear your engagement ring on your right ring finger; however, this may not work if you already wear a class ring or family ring on that finger.

Step 5:

Consider how to wear your rings on the same finger. There is a different rationale for each order to wearing your rings. One custom has you wear the wedding band first so that your marriage is closest to your heart. The other custom means placing the wedding band on the outside of the engagement ring because the marriage vows solidify the engagement into a permanent arrangement.

Step 6:

Develop a plan for keeping your rings safe when you have to take them off. If you need to remove your rings when you work out, find out if your gym has secure lockers. If not, you should leave your rings at home. Keep a jewelry box in your kitchen so that you have somewhere safe to store your rings while you are doing dishes.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • If wearing an engagement ring on the right hand is out of the question, consider resizing it to wear on the middle finger of your left hand so it will stay close to your wedding band.
  • Wear your engagement ring on the outside of your wedding band if you must take it off for daily for cleaning or work, to avoid unnecessary switching of rings.
  • Wear one or both of your rings on a chain around your neck if swelling knuckles is an issue.

About the Author

Jen Whitten is a freelance writer and worked in the event and wedding planning fields.

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