Wedding Ring Finger: What Hand Do Your Wedding and Engagement Rings Go On?

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

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You probably already know what your dream wedding ring and engagement ring look like, but which finger is your wedding ring finger? How should you wear your engagement ring? And do you even have to wear a wedding ring at all?

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Here, we answer all the questions you have about your wedding ring finger, including where all the traditions actually originate from. Grab a cuppa – it’s time to get clued up.

READ MORE: The Most Unusual and Unique Wedding Rings

Which Finger is the Wedding Ring Finger?

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The majority of people wear their wedding ring on their left hand, particularly in the UK.

Tradition states that you wear your wedding ring on your fourth finger. This finger is often known as the wedding ring finger, and is also the finger you wear your engagement ring on.

READ MORE: How to Choose Your Wedding Rings

Why Does Your Wedding Ring Go on Your Left Hand?

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The tradition of wearing your wedding ring on your left ring finger dates back to Roman times, when it was believed that the vein in the fourth finger of the left hand ran directly to your heart – how romantic!

Romans named this vein the “vein of love”, and placed the ring over it to signify the love the newly married couple shares.

READ MORE: How to Buy an Engagement Ring

Why Do Some People Wear Their Wedding Ring on the Right Hand?

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Image: Folega

If you don’t want to follow tradition, you’re actually more than welcome to wear your wedding ring on your right hand. You make the rules!

Some people prefer to do this if it feels more comfortable or if they simply prefer the look.

READ MORE: 11 Wedding Rules That You Can Break

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 do the same:

  • 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.

READ MORE: The Best Budget-Friendly Bling

What Hand Does Your Engagement Ring Go On?

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Your engagement ring goes on your left hand ring finger, the same as the wedding ring. For that reason, on your wedding day you’ll 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, most women wear their engagement ring 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.

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 hand, 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.

READ MORE: Where to Buy a Bespoke Engagement Ring in London

Why Does Your Engagement Ring Go On Your Left Hand?

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The engagement ring tradition goes back to ancient Rome, where it was customary for suitors to give their bride a ring prior to marriage as a promise that they’d marry them.

The left hand is the chosen hand for the same reason that the wedding ring goes on the left hand: Romans believed there was a vein which ran from your fourth finger directly to your heart.

In Colombia and Brazil, anyone who’s engaged wears their engagement ring on their right hand and then moves it over to their left hand after making their vows. Alternatively, in Germany and the Netherlands, they wear their engagement rings on the left hand and then their wedding rings on the right.

READ MORE: Temporary Engagement Rings to Pop the Question With

What Hand Should You Wear a Promise Ring On?

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Image: Elijah & Susannah

Which finger and even which hand you wear a promise ring on are entirely up to you. They can be worn on any finger, and are sometimes even worn on a chain around your neck.

Promise rings are typically given as a token of commitment to your other half before getting engaged. By giving your partner a promise ring, you’re devoting yourself to them and often signifying future engagement. A pretty romantic sentiment, don’t you think?

READ MORE: How to Write Your Wedding Vows

Do You Have to Wear a Wedding Ring?

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Image: Folega

Rings are a lovely way to symbolise your union and the love you have for your partner, particularly because the circular shape has a connotation of “endless love” and “infinity”.

That said, you don’t have to wear a wedding ring or engagement ring.

You might want to wear an engagement ring only and give the wedding band a miss. Alternatively, you could select another piece of jewellery to stand in the place of a ring, like a necklace or a bracelet.

READ MORE: Alternative Engagement Rings for Untraditional Couples

The traditions and options surrounding how to wear your engagement ring and wedding ring are exciting, and in an increasingly accepting society, there’s actually only one rule: wear your jewellery in the way that feels right for you!

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Now you know how to wear your rings, you’ll want to consider buying them! Have you ever thought about designing your own bespoke engagement ring for yourself or your partner? Our guide tells you all there is to know.