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What Hand is Your Ring Finger On? Where to Wear Wedding & Engagement Rings

Unsure which hand you should wear your wedding ring and engagement ring? We explore the meaning of the ring finger in our handy (pun intended) guide

a close up of someone putting a wedding ring on their partner's wedding ring finger
unsplash / matheus ferrero

a close up of someone putting a wedding ring on their partner's wedding ring finger
unsplash / matheus ferrero

There's a reason we commonly call one of our fingers the ring finger, as it's the one where, in the UK, the engagement and wedding ring traditionally sit.

But what hand does a wedding ring go on, which is your engagement ring finger and what finger does a promise ring go on? 

Here, we answer all the questions you have about your wedding and engagement ring finger, including the meaning of the fingers and rings, and what happens in different countries and cultures.

Your Guide to Wedding Ring Finger & Engagement Hand Etiquette

Whether you're into tradition, or prefer following wedding and engagement ring trends, the history behind the wedding ring finger is still interesting.

To help us give you all the information you need on the married hand ring finger traditions and rules, we've enlisted expert advice from Rebekah Ann, founder of eco-conscious jewellery brand Rebekah Ann Jewellery

Her extensive experience in working with couples buying engagement and wedding rings makes her the perfect person to give valuable insight on engagement and wedding ring finger etiquette. 

What Hand Does a Wedding Ring Go On?

two men showing their wedding rings on their wedding ring finger
unsplash / nick karvounis

Traditionally, in the UK, couples wear their wedding ring on the fourth finger of their left hand. This is commonly known as your wedding ring finger. 

Whilst this is tradition in the UK, not everyone follows tradition, and the hand you choose to wear your wedding ring on is actually entirely up to you. What's more, other cultures have differing traditions, but more on that later...

Offering additional insight, Rebekah adds, "Although it is customary in the UK to place the ring on the left hand during a wedding ceremony, there is no obligation for it to remain there permanently. I always advise my customers to be true to themselves and do what feels right for them.

"Personally, I predominantly wear my engagement ring on my left hand and my wedding ring on my right hand because it brings a sense of balance for me. Some customers opt to wear their wedding rings on the right hand or even on the index finger of their left hand.

"I've playfully designated the left-hand index finger as the "self-engagement" finger, inspired by historical royal practices where a ring on this finger signified power.

"Rings are often the most personal pieces of jewellery, as they are visible and enjoyed by the wearer. As such, they should feel special and right for you. I say play around with your wedding rings, switch up hands, do what feels right for you. There are no hard rules."

What Finger is For an Engagement Ring? 

a close up of a woman's hand with an engagement ring
unsplash / alekon pictures

Traditionally, the engagement ring finger is the same as the wedding ring finger - the fourth finger on your left hand. It's common for most nearlyweds to wear their engagement ring on their wedding ring finger, but there's no set rule on this. 

Tradition also states that the person who was proposed to is the one who wears an engagement ring on their ring finger, but you don't have to stick to that either. Perhaps you both want to wear a ring on your wedding ring finger, or you feel strongly about saving that space for your wedding ring on the day you marry. 

Adding to this, Rebekah says, "Ultimately, engagements, weddings and, more importantly, marriages are deeply personal. The way you choose to wear your engagement or wedding ring, if you choose to wear one, is entirely up to you."

What Finger Does a Promise Ring Go On?

Which finger, and even which hand, you wear a promise ring on is entirely up to you. Promise rings are sometimes worn on a person's wedding ring finger as a placeholder for a wedding or engagement ring.

It's an old wives tale that wearing a ring on your wedding ring finger that isn't a wedding or engagement ring is unlucky. We don't hold much store in old wives' tales, but if you are superstitious, you may want to choose another finger.

As an alternative, some people choose to wear a promise ring on the fourth finger of their right hand, and some even choose to wear it on a chain around their neck.

What's the Meaning of the Fingers & Rings?

a close up of a man doing his tie pin with a wedding ring on his ring finger
unsplash / cofohint esin

Explaining where the meaning of the fingers and rings originally came from, Rebekah says, "The tradition of wearing wedding rings on the left hand can be traced back to ancient Roman times. According to Roman belief, there existed a vein, known as the 'vena amoris' or 'vein of love, running directly from the fourth finger of the left hand to the heart.

"Wearing a ring on this finger symbolised the connection between the heart and one's love for their partner. This tradition gradually spread throughout Europe, evolving into a widely adopted symbolic gesture of love and commitment. Many cultures worldwide have continued this tradition, wearing wedding rings on the left hand."

Though this custom comes from deep-rooted history, it's important to remember that traditions don't make them compulsory.

Adding to this, Rebekah says, "Traditions are customs passed down through generations, not rigid rules to be strictly followed. The choice of the finger on which you wear your wedding ring is entirely based on personal preference. The wedding ring serves as a symbol of love and commitment to your partner, and its placement is a personal decision."

Wedding Ring Finger Traditions in Other Cultures & Countries

a couple looking at each other during their wedding ring ceremony at an indian wedding
unsplash / rupinder singh

"It's crucial to recognise that not all cultures follow the tradition of wearing wedding and engagement rings on your left hand," says Rebekah, "In countries like India and Germany, wedding rings are worn on the right hand."

If you choose to wear your wedding ring on your right hand, you’ll be in good company! Married couples in the following countries tend to wear their ring on the right hand:

  • Bulgaria
  • Germany
  • Norway
  • Austria
  • Latvia
  • Denmark
  • Poland
  • Netherlands
  • Russia
  • Some parts of Belgium
  • Ukraine

In India, the left hand was considered unclean and unlucky, so wedding rings have always been worn on the right. Greek brides and grooms traditionally wear their wedding rings on the right, as do Orthodox Christians.

What Order Do You Wear Rings on Your Ring Finger?

Traditionally speaking, your engagement ring and wedding ring are worn on the same finger, the fourth finger on your left hand. 

For that reason, when it comes to the order you wear rings on your married hand ring finger, you have a couple of choices.

Lots of people stack their wedding and engagement rings and wear both of them on the left hand ring finger.

In the UK, those with engagement rings wear them on top of the wedding ring, meaning that the wedding ring is placed on the finger first. This is because superstition states that the wedding ring should never be taken off.

If you want to do this, before you walk down the aisle, you should switch your engagement ring to your right hand. When the wedding ceremony is over, you can then slide your engagement ring on top of the wedding ring to seal it in place.

If you don’t want to wear both your engagement ring and wedding ring on the same finger, there are a couple of things you can do.

You could move your engagement ring to the ring finger on your right hand, you could weld the rings together and create a bespoke ring or you could forgo wearing an engagement ring altogether.

Whatever you decide to do, the most important thing is that you wear your jewellery in a way that is comfortable for you.

Interested in other wedding traditions and superstitions? If so, check out this round up of wedding traditions and their meanings. Or, if you're more about creating your own traditions, here are 23 wedding traditions you can totally skip or re-invent.