Are wedding rings the same as engagement rings?

Posted by Jewel Heart on

If your partner surprised you with the perfect sparkler, you might be wondering if you really need to add another ring to your fourth finger once you're married. After all, if you love your engagement ring so much, do you really need to sport a wedding band, or can you simply continue to wear your engagement ring solo after you've tied the knot?

The short answer: This decision is completely up to you! To help you figure out what works best for your personal needs, let's break down the differences between engagement rings versus wedding bands—plus, tips on how to wear both pieces after the big day.

Which Finger Does a Wedding Ring Go On?

Traditionally, the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger of your left hand, also known as the ring finger. This is the same finger where the engagement ring is usually placed. During the wedding ceremony, many brides transfer their engagement ring to their right hand to make space for the wedding ring, which is then moved back to the left hand after the ceremony, stacked above the wedding ring.

The Differences Between Engagement and Wedding Rings

At a base level, an engagement ring is typically given during a wedding proposal or at an early point in the engagement. It usually features a dominant stone, either standing alone or surrounded by smaller stones. In contrast, a wedding ring is traditionally a plain metal band or a diamond-encrusted eternity band exchanged during the wedding ceremony.

There's also a significant price difference between engagement rings and wedding rings. Even if a wedding band has inlaid diamonds or other gemstones, its total carat weight is generally less than that of an engagement ring, making it more affordable.

Do You Need Both?

Ultimately, this really comes down to your personal preference. If you like the traditional look of both an engagement ring and wedding band, then yes, you should wear both. Whether you're adding an eternity band set with pavé diamonds or a plain metal band, a wedding ring and engagement ring pairing is a timeless and beautiful look, and it publicly declares that you've officially tied the knot.

However, it's perfectly fine if you'd rather wear just one ring to symbolize both your engagement and your (future) married status. Here are a few sensible reasons why some brides opt to wear just one ring:

  1. Comfort:

    Single rings can be more comfortable and less obtrusive than a combination of a wedding band and engagement ring.

  2. Simplicity:

    It's one less ring to worry about losing.
  3. Matching:

    You don't have to be concerned about finding a wedding band that perfectly matches your engagement ring.
  4. Budget: 

    The funds that would typically be allocated for both rings can be invested in a single, standout ring.

If you're unsure whether you'd like to sport both rings, wear your engagement ring for a few months before choosing a wedding band. This will allow you to decide if you'd like to wear one or two pieces after the big day.

How to Wear Your Engagement and Wedding Ring

Tradition dictates that you wear your engagement ring and wedding ring together on the fourth finger of your left hand, with the wedding band inside the engagement ring so that it's closer to your heart. Some brides, however, choose to wear their engagement ring on one hand and their wedding band on the other, especially if the rings are diverse and can't be easily stacked.

The Bottom Line

There's no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing, designing, or wearing engagement and wedding rings. Whatever you choose, make sure it holds enduring meaning for you for many years to come.

Real-Life Example

When actress Anne Hathaway got engaged to her husband, Adam Shulman, he proposed with a ring featuring a beautiful emerald-cut diamond center stone set on a thin diamond-studded band in platinum. Her wedding ring was a slim gold band with no embellishments. This classic combination highlights the differences between the two types of rings and how they can be worn together.


If you are expecting or planning a proposal soon, or are about to get married, understanding the differences between engagement rings and wedding bands is crucial. These rings will be the most beloved jewelry pieces of your life hereafter. Remember, the choice of whether to wear both rings or just one is entirely personal. What matters most is the symbolism and the commitment they represent.

Also Read What is The Difference Between a Pendant and a Necklace?

Should I Wear My Engagement Ring to Work?

Wearing your engagement ring to work is a personal decision and depends largely on your work environment and lifestyle. If your job involves manual labor or working with your hands frequently, it might be safer to leave your engagement ring at home to prevent damage or loss. However, if you work in an office or a similar setting where the risk of damaging your ring is minimal, wearing it can be a beautiful way to celebrate your engagement daily. Always consider the value and sentiment of your ring, and ensure it’s adequately insured against potential loss or damage.

Is It OK to Use an Engagement Ring as a Wedding Band?

Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to use your engagement ring as a wedding band. Some brides prefer to keep things simple by wearing only their engagement ring, which can symbolize both their engagement and marriage. This choice can be more comfortable and less cumbersome, especially if the engagement ring is a standout piece. Additionally, using one ring can eliminate the challenge of finding a wedding band that perfectly matches the engagement ring. Remember, your wedding jewelry should reflect your personal style and preferences, so if you love the idea of a single ring, go for it!

Do Both Partners Get an Engagement Ring?

Traditionally, engagement rings are given to women by men during the proposal. However, this tradition is evolving, and more couples are choosing to exchange engagement rings as a mutual symbol of their commitment. Some modern couples opt for both partners to wear engagement rings, reflecting a shared promise and equality in the relationship. Whether or not both partners get engagement rings is entirely up to the couple's preferences and their views on tradition and equality.

 Read about: How to Determine Your Ring Size Without Leaving Home

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