Congratulations are in order! You are getting engaged, and you want to find that perfect wedding ring for your future bride to be. It’s (hopefully) not often we find ourselves in this position, and you probably have so many questions on engagement rings and wedding bands and how to get it right on finding something she’ll love.

Some of these questions rolling around in your head are:

  • What exactly is the difference between wedding rings and engagement rings?
  • What if she loves her engagement ring? Do you really need to fit a matching wedding band?
  • After you are married, can she just wear her engagement ring instead?

Let’s get to the bottom of this by unearthing the answers we need, once and for all, to those pesky engagement ring vs. wedding ring etiquette questions.

Why Wear Rings at All?

Both engagement rings and wedding rings hold a special meaning for your upcoming nuptials and the days to follow. 

Forget the traditional context of a wedding ring for just a minute and think about the gravity of wearing a reminder of your spouse and your love right there on your hand. It’s there while you work. It’s there while you sleep, eat, drink, think. This little band of metal ends up having a big meaning and being a part of your everyday life. Hello, accountability!

So, make sure to choose rings that accentuate and match your unique style, are comfortable, and made of quality and easy to care for materials that follow you and your partner’s taste in jewelry.

After all, you will be wearing these bands every day for a lifetime.

What Is the Difference?

The distinction between an engagement ring and a wedding ring is that a ring of engagement is given on a proposal or when a couple agrees to marry. At the wedding ceremony, a wedding ring is exchanged and reflects the official marriage bond. As tokens of love and loyalty, both rings are mostly worn together.

Typically, a wedding ring is a simpler ring, such as a traditional band like this engraved gold band. Wedding rings do not feature big diamonds and gemstones in most instances. Be sure to do your research on vetting out diamonds before you make the leap.

In order to complement their engagement ring, some brides select a simple, pavé, or channel set band.

Wedding Ring vs. Engagement Ring

Engagement Ring

Engagement rings can actually be any ring. They do not have to be a diamond ring or expensive. They can be a family heirloom or a handmade ring from non-traditional materials. The most important aspect of choosing an engagement ring is to find something that reflects your partner and your love together that will also stand the test of time.

Usually, conventional engagement rings have one main stone. With a lot of modern rings, this tends to be a diamond. This main stone traditionally stands alone, but in recent decades it has been fashionable to surround this main stone with smaller stones.

It is also traditional that the engagement ring is a very big aspect of a proposal. Though this isn’t always the case, some couples get engaged, and then go ring shopping afterwards.

Some couples skip the engagement ring all together, or they skip the wedding band. It is not uncommon that the engagement ring may be the only ring that is worn. In this case, it functions as both the wedding ring and the engagement ring. 

It depends on you and your partner’s personal choice and whether you want to use the ring as a wedding band for your engagement. That means that even after the wedding service, you can wear an engagement ring with no wedding band.

Wedding Ring

Typically, married couples wear their wedding bands on their left hand. Wedding bands are typically a simple metal band. However, it has also become trendy to wear a diamond covered eternity ring, which is covered entirely with gems all the way around, that you would receive during the exchange of vows during your wedding ceremony. 

Wedding bands are not as flashy as engagement rings and, on average, cost less. The typical price variance is significant between the engagement ring and the wedding band. 

Want a band absolutely covered in diamonds or other gemstones? Even with modifications like these, you can expect your wedding band to have fewer carats than that of your engagement ring. So depending on your budget, it might just be worth it to go all out for the wedding band over the engagement ring.

Wedding rings are just as much about the tradition as they are the ring themselves.

You can always leave tradition behind as your something old, of course. Brides have much more of a say than ever before on the overall design of their engagement and wedding rings. Modern brides are not only parting with tradition, but they are choosing much less traditional settings and are diversifying their options for both engagement and wedding rings.

How to Take the Plunge

You can buy a wedding band and an engagement ring together, particularly if you want to ensure that the two fit and complement each other. Typically, these are called bridal sets.

The sets work easily together and typically match metals. However, several individuals purchase the rings separately. It isn't necessary to match the precious metal color — i.e., white gold or yellow gold, but it can help to match them if you are blending two different sets together. This gives the bands a more natural look together, but it is totally up to you!

How well the rings match is up to personal preference because the engagement ring does not have to match your wedding band. If you choose, you can wear two distinct styles or two different gold colors.

Also, the wedding band of your partner does not have to match yours, although it can. A bride may have a wedding ring and a white gold engagement, while the groom has a yellow gold wedding band. It’s all about your personal preference. 

What Finger Are You Wearing Your Rings On?

The digit next to your pinky finger on the left side is your engagement ring finger. Your ring finger for the wedding is the same. Most people wear their ring of engagement and wedding band on the same finger next to each other. As it is closest to the heart, the wedding ring is located closest to the hand.

If You Like it Then, You Should Have Put a Ring on it

If you are unsure of your style or needs when it comes to your wedding band, you can always test out wearing your engagement ring for a few months before you pick the wedding band. This will also help you get an idea of how you like to wear your rings and even your ring sizing. This way, you’ll know a little bit more about the comfortability of your ring, if adding a band to that finger is feasible, and you’ll be able to get your engagement ring resized before your big day.

Should You Wear Both a Wedding Ring and an Engagement Ring?

Wearing both rings or only one ring is a personal choice. Tradition used to dictate this, but nowadays, if you like the traditional look, then you should go that route. If that doesn’t feel like your style, then there is no harm. Some older generations might assume you are simply engaged, but that is usually just to congratulate you, so stressing over it isn’t necessary.

There are some benefits to only wearing one ring. You save extra money, which you could spend on an even more glamourous engagement ring, the wedding itself, or on amping up the honeymoon. Plus, it is way easier to care for just an engagement ring instead of both.

Compared to a wedding band and engagement ring combo, if you want a more comfortable feel, go for the single ring. It is more relaxed and way less finicky. Without a wedding band there to detract, your engagement ring can garner the attention all by its stunning little self. If you’re more of a minimalist then having only one ring might feel just right.

With just the engagement ring to worry about, you will have an easier time keeping up with your valuables. Which if you are prone to losing things of value, we wholeheartedly suggest simply investing in one or the other.

Another positive of skipping the wedding band is that you don’t have to worry about finding a wedding band to match your dream engagement ring. Oftentimes, if you are not already buying the rings as a package deal, finding a second ring that fits the style of an engagement ring you love can be an incredulous task.

Don’t ever let this stop you. Your rings don’t have to be a perfect match. They can complement one another, have similar elements, and they simply have to feel like the right rings for your partner.

Dollars and Cents May Influence Your Decision, But Love Conquers It All

It can be hard to stick to a budget once you start ring shopping. If this is the case, then it is totally acceptable to wait to purchase your wedding bands at a later date.

However, when designing or adorning your ring finger with your engagement and wedding ring, there’s no right or wrong answer. You may wear none or as many as you like. Just make sure you choose quality pieces that your partner will love, as that band will be a symbol of your union till death do you part.

Sources:

https://www.brides.com/story/engagement-ring-etiquette-questions-answers

https://www.vogue.com/article/engagement-ring-rules-care-how-to

https://www.theknot.com/content/diamond-wedding-band-traditions