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Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: What’s the Difference?


One of the most important aspects of getting engaged is picking out the ring. This ring is traditionally a beautiful gemstone set on a band and is what has come to be known as a symbol of wedding culture. This piece of jewelry is oftentimes mistakenly referred to as the wedding ring. The two terms seem to have become interchangeable in everyday vocabulary. But, what really is the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring? Do you need to have both? All very valid questions that we will address in this blog.

The Engagement Ring

An engagement ring is given to someone at the time of a marriage proposal. And they are expected to wear it starting from the time of the proposal. Having a ring on their finger will indicate to the world that they are taken and committed to their partner. These rings can vary greatly in terms of extravagance and price. However, the most common type of engagement ring has a diamond or another gemstone set atop a pretty band. The engagement ring is worn on the third finger of the left hand.

The Wedding Ring

Wedding rings are exchanged between partners during the wedding ceremony. They are typically more simple bands in comparison to the engagement ring and do not have a center diamond or prominent gemstone. Both partners receive a wedding band during the ceremony and they each wear them on the third fingers of their left hands. Because the diamond wedding band is placed on the same finger as the engagement ring, many brides choose to move their engagement rings to their right hands for the ceremony and then move them back to the left hand afterward so that their two rings are stacked.

Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: Do I need to wear both?

Because the engagement ring is traditionally the flashier and more extravagant ring of the two, most wear the engagement ring on their left-hand ring fingers with their wedding band stacked with it. (The wedding band goes on first followed by the engagement ring) Some choose to only wear one ring to represent both. This is popular with medical professionals or any professional where minimal jewelry is allowed. Some even opt for a silicon band for work purposes.

Many jewelers sell engagement rings and wedding rings as a set so that they match one another and look stylish when worn together. However, this is absolutely not a requirement. If you want a more extravagant wedding band you may be better off finding that perfect band separately. However, if you would like something super fitted to your engagement ring a set is probably your best bet.

Groom’s wedding bands are generally thicker in width than bridal wedding bands and are usually made of one type of precious metal, such as gold, silver, or platinum. Some men’s wedding bands may contain small diamonds or jewels and the design and style of the band are up to their personal preference.

The meanings behind the rings

The tradition of the engagement ring dates back many centuries. When a man would ask for his lady’s hand in marriage he would give her a valuable ring. This was in exchange for the father’s approval and exchange in “ownership” of this lady. These rings became more and more extravagant over time. This is because they came to represent the man’s wealth. Which was very desirable for both the man and the woman and her family. This notion is clearly very dated. However, the tradition of offering a ring for one’s hand in marriage has lived on.

In addition to the historical meaning of the wedding ring, there is also a symbolic aspect as well. The circular shape of a ring represents eternity and infinity. The hole through the ring signifies a doorway leading to events in the future. To give someone a ring indicates the commitment of never-ending and immortal love.

The ring finger became the ring finger a long, long time ago—specifically, during Ancient Egyptian times. It was then that, according to George Monger’s Marriage Customs of the World, people started to believe that there was “a vein or nerve that went from this finger to the heart” called the vena amoris (AKA the vein of love).

Science has since proven that every single finger has veins running to the heart. However, that hasn’t stopped engaged and married individuals from keeping up with this wedding tradition. The science might not all be there, but the romantic notion remains.

About Complete Weddings + Events Fort Myers

Are you looking to tie the knot or throw an epic event? Well if so, you have come to the right place. Complete Weddings and Events will help you find the right event or wedding DJ, wedding photographer, and videographer. Everyone needed to throw a phenomenal party.  Plus we have fun photo booths. And lighting rentals to elevate your event and give you the type of unforgettable experience you’re looking for. In addition to Naples, Cape Coral, & Fort Myers, we also serve Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Lehigh Acres, Bonita Springs, Estero, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, & Marco Island.

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