Will You Follow These Wedding Ring Traditions?

Posted March 28 2017

Will You Follow These Wedding Ring Traditions?

While we're all about doing what you feel is right for you, these wedding ring traditions are classic and fun to learn about. Will you be keeping them in mind?

Keyword(s): wedding ring traditions


Getting married? Relax. It only seems complicated.

In fact, at its simplest, you don't need much more than a blood test and a license.

Oh...and you probably need to pick out rings. They're not essential, but rings are some of the oldest and most widely recognized symbols of a lasting relationship. First use dates to the Egyptian pharaohs and engagement and wedding ring traditions have existed since second century Rome.

So while personal taste obviously plays a big role in your choice, you also have a fair body of history to guide you. And few things about wedding planning are more fun than learning the traditions, deciding which ones to follow and picking out your rings.

Do Wedding Ring Traditions Require an Engagement Ring?

More than 80% of brides today receive an engagement ring, and most of those are diamond rings. American couples spend an average of $4,000 on an engagement ring.

But it wasn't always that way. The first use of a diamond engagement ring was probably in 1477, when Archduke Maximillian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy.

Wedding ring traditions involving diamonds didn't really gain traction until the mid-19th century, when the DeBeers Mining Company discovered a South African diamond mine. And even then, rubies and garnets remained more popular than diamonds until after the First World War.

Assuming you go with the traditional diamond engagement ring, the cut of the stone should be one of your first decisions. Princess cut and round, square, cushion, emerald and heart-shaped cuts each say something distinctive about your taste and sense of style.

Remember, too, that engagement rings aren't necessarily only for women. Though they're less popular now, men's engagement rings with birthstones were a popular tradition through the 1920s.

Must Wedding and Engagement Rings Match?

In a word, no. Wedding ring sets with interlocked, matched engagement and wedding rings have been common for many years.

But custom-designed rings are growing in popularity. You won't look at all out of place wearing distinctly different engagement and wedding rings.

One Ring or Two?

Maybe surprisingly, until the middle of the last century, wedding ring traditions didn't include the groom and only a small minority wore wedding rings.

That changed during the Second World War, when many men leaving for overseas wanted a reminder of their wives and families.

But even today, exchanging rings isn't a requirement. Like Britain's Prince William, you may prefer not to wear jewelry as a matter of taste. And depending on your occupation, you may feel, along with some surgeons, that wearing a wedding ring will interfere with your work.

How Are They Worn?

The tradition of wearing rings on the fourth finger stem from an ancient belief that a special nerve ran from that finger directly to the heart. Traditions die hard, but we're considerably more flexible these days.

For example, since the wedding ring traditionally fits below the engagement ring, the engagement ring has to come off before the ceremony. Some brides just put their engagement ring on their right hand. Others leave it home or in a safe place during the ceremony.

If you have unmatched engagement and wedding rings, it's also completely acceptable to routinely wear your engagement ring on your right hand, wedding ring on the left.

Where Do You Go from Here?

Whatever you and your partner ultimately decide, wedding ring traditions are classic for a reason.

But they're only there to guide you. So decide on your budget, pick a shape and a setting, and have fun. (And don't forget to buy insurance.)