What’s the right way to wear a wedding ring set? Should you put your engagement ring or your wedding band on first? Or, should you perhaps wear your rings on different fingers or at separate times?
It’s easy to feel confused about how to wear a wedding ring set because, really, there’s no correct way to wear one. Unlike engagement rings, there’s no dominant traditional way of wearing a wedding ring set. Instead, there are a variety of popular ways of wearing a wedding ring set, some of which follow various traditions.
When you style your wedding set, you can choose to follow a certain tradition or you can simply wear your rings in whatever way best fits your personal style. Unsure of your traditional and non-traditional styling options? We’re here to help. Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to wear your rings in our comprehensive guide to wedding ring sets.
Basic Information About Wedding Ring Sets
Before we go over the finer details of how to wear a wedding ring set, let’s cover some basic information and FAQs.
What Is a Wedding Ring Set?
A wedding ring set is a set of rings worn by a married couple. Traditionally, a wedding ring set has three rings: the bride’s engagement ring, the bride’s wedding ring, and the groom’s wedding ring.
Wedding Ring Sets vs. Bridal Sets
The term “wedding ring set” is often used interchangeably with “bridal set,” but, technically, these are slightly different types of ring sets. A traditional wedding set includes both the bride’s rings and the groom’s ring, but a traditional bridal set only includes the bride’s rings. Bridal sets are also sometimes called engagement ring sets, since they include an engagement ring and a wedding ring meant to be worn alongside the engagement ring.
A jeweler will usually make a distinction between wedding ring sets and bridal sets, but be aware that non-jewelers generally don’t know the difference. So, if a non-jeweler is talking about a wedding ring set, they may be referring to either a wedding ring set or a bridal set.
Engagement Rings vs. Wedding Rings
Some people may refer to engagement rings as wedding rings, but there’s a distinct difference between these types of rings. Most importantly, engagement rings and wedding bands have different symbolic meanings. Typically given during a proposal of marriage, an engagement ring symbolizes commitment, love, and an engagement. Then, wedding rings, typically worn only after a couple is married, symbolize eternal love and the bond of marriage.
In addition to having different meanings, engagement rings and wedding rings tend to have different designs, so they generally look quite different. Modern engagement rings usually have a large center stone. This center stone can be any gemstone, but is most often a diamond. Solitaire engagement rings have only one center stone, while other engagement ring styles have a center stone, then also feature lower carat weight accent stones upon the ring’s setting or band. Wedding rings, on the other hand, usually don’t have a center stone and they may or may not feature gemstones. Wedding bands can be made solely of pure yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, or platinum. Wedding bands can also feature a range of diamond or gemstone accents. Most commonly, wedding bands will feature pavé diamond accents along a large stretch of the band.
Do Our Wedding Bands Need To Match?
In the past, it was common for the bride and groom to have matching wedding bands. However, today, matching sets are far less popular. Modern couples usually choose their wedding band styles independently based on their personal preferences.
Traditional Ways to Wear Engagement Rings and Wedding Rings
Before the Wedding Day
It’s traditional to wear only your engagement ring before the wedding day. In western culture, an engagement ring is traditionally worn on the fourth finger of the left hand.
This traditional engagement ring finger placement dates all the way back to ancient times. Ancient Roman and Greek people believed that the left-hand ring finger was home to a vein that went directly to the heart. This vein was known as the vena amoris or the vein of love. Due to this belief, ancient people wore their wedding rings on the fourth finger of their left hand, believing this put it close to their heart. While we now know that the vena amoris doesn’t actually exist, the tradition of wearing an engagement ring on the left-hand ring finger has held strong in many parts of the world.
During and After the Wedding Ceremony
The most traditional way of wearing a bridal set is to wear both the wedding ring and engagement ring on the left ring finger, placing the wedding ring on first. It’s traditional to wear the wedding ring on the inside of a bridal set because this puts it closer to the heart.
To achieve this traditional positioning during their wedding, some brides will switch their engagement ring over to their right hand for the ceremony. This way, their wedding band can easily be slipped onto the left ring finger first during the ceremony.
Another very popular mode of thinking when it comes to bridal sets is that the rings should instead be worn in the order they were received. Some say that because the engagement comes before the wedding day, the engagement ring should be worn as the first ring. This way of wearing a bridal set is popular enough that it’s become a modern tradition.
When it comes to the third ring in a wedding ring set, the groom’s wedding ring, there’s only one predominant way of wearing the ring. During the wedding ceremony and for all the years after you say “I do,” it’s traditional for the groom to wear his ring alone on his left ring finger.
Non-Traditional Ways to Wear a Wedding Ring Set
You can choose to wear your wedding ring set in accordance with a particular tradition if it feels right for you, but you can also simply wear your rings however you like. You don’t have to follow the “right way” or “proper way” of wearing your rings based on someone else’s idea of ring etiquette. If you want to wear your rings based on some personal meaning or just on what you like the look of most, you should feel confident in doing so.
A common non-traditional way to wear a wedding ring set is to switch your rings to the opposite hand. This is often a practical choice, since some people may find it more comfortable to wear their rings on their right hand. This is especially true for people who are left handed.
Another common non-traditional way to wear a wedding ring set is to only wear your engagement ring out for special occasions. Some people don’t like wearing their engagement ring everyday, but still want to wear their wedding band everyday. This may be because their engagement ring is cumbersome or because it’s so valuable that they’re afraid of losing or damaging it.
Apart from these common non-traditional options, there are so many other ways you can decide to wear your rings. You could wear your rings on opposite hands, on different fingers, or in combination with any number of other rings. You could also have more than three rings in your wedding ring set. Today, it’s becoming more and more popular for both halves of a couple to receive engagement rings. How many rings you and your spouse wear is entirely up to you, as is how you want to style them.
How To Wear An Anniversary Ring
An anniversary ring is a ring that’s given to commemorate a wedding anniversary. Usually, an anniversary ring is given on a major milestone anniversary, such as the 5th, 10th, 15th, or 20th anniversary. Often, the ring will be a diamond eternity band, but an anniversary ring can have any design. A trending anniversary ring style of the moment is an eternity ring that features birthstones, such as the wearer’s birthstone or the birthstones of the couple’s children.
So, how should you wear an anniversary ring? There are no set rules on wearing an anniversary ring. It’s common to add your anniversary ring to your bridal set, but it’s also common to wear it alone, substitute it for your wedding band, or even substitute it for your engagement ring.
Final Thoughts on How To Wear a Wedding Ring Set
Your wedding set is more than a beautiful set of jewelry. It’s also a symbol of your love, your devotion, and your bond as a couple. And just as your love is unique, the way you want to wear your wedding ring set is unique. We’ve given some guidance on the traditional ways to wear a wedding ring set above, but feel free to take or leave these traditions as you please. Ultimately, what’s most important is that you enjoy wearing your rings however you choose to do so.
If you’re still searching for the perfect ring to add to your wedding ring set, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Barkev’s. Our expert jewelers are always here to help you find your perfect piece and answer any questions you may have about bridal jewelry, fine jewelry, diamonds, or gemstones. We look forward to assisting you!