Which Finger Does A Wedding Ring Go On?

When thinking about which finger your wedding ring goes on it might feel like a no-brainer. But did you know that wedding ring and engagement ring placement varies around the world? Yup, that’s right, while you might have thought that rocking a wedding stack on your ring finger was your only option there are actually several choices when it comes to ring placement.

In this article, we’ll explore the history of wearing one’s wedding ring on the left hand vs the right hand and we’ll tackle the pros and cons of each to help you decide which placement is the best for you.

What Is the Ring Finger?

In many Western cultures, the ring finger is designated as the fourth finger on the left hand. The tradition of wearing a wedding ring on this digit originated from the belief that this finger has a vein running directly to the heart.

“Historically, wedding rings have been documented to be worn on every finger, even the thumb,” says jeweler Stephanie Selle. “Today, wedding rings are most commonly worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. But some countries including India, Germany, Spain, Norway, and Russia traditionally wear their wedding rings on their right hand.” Overall, it seems cultural traditions and norms set the standard for this custom. “It’s interesting that with all of the wedding traditions and trends that people decide to make their own in some way, the ring finger is one that most people keep,” notes Selle.

Wedding ring on left-hand meaning

There’s archeological evidence to suggest that ancient Egyptians were wearing wedding rings crafted from reeds, leather and bone on their left hand as long ago as 4000 BC. This tradition continued in other early civilizations as people in ancient Greece and Rome adopted the fourth-finger rule believing this finger to have a special connection to the heart via a vein that they referred to as vena amoris, or the, “vein of love.”

Who Wears a Wedding Ring on Their Left Hand?

Perhaps it’s the romantic sentiment, but the ring finger still remains the most popular finger for wedding ring placement. Jeweler Stephanie Selle said the following in an interview with Brides, “Historically, wedding rings have been documented to be worn on every finger, even the thumb. Today, wedding rings are most commonly worn on the fourth finger of the left hand… It’s interesting that with all of the wedding traditions and trends that people decide to make their own in some way, the ring finger is one that most people keep.”

Can You Wear Your Wedding Ring on Your Right Hand?

Ancient Romans are widely credited for sparking the tradition of wearing one’s wedding ring on the right hand. During these times, Romans believed that the left hand was unreliable, untrustworthy, and unhappy. Similarly, wearing rings only on the right hand was customary in India for several years because the left hand was considered “impure”.

Luckily, the stigma of wearing a ring on the left hand isn’t such a big deal in modern times. However, some countries and cultures still prefer the right hand vs the left or a mix of both. For example, in Germany and the Netherlands, golden engagement rings are worn on the left hand and wedding rings go on the right hand.

Wedding ring on the right-hand meaning

There are several cultures that wear their wedding ring on their right hand instead of their left. Additionally, sometimes the engagement ring is moved from the left hand to the right after marriage, or the bride and the groom wear their rings on different hands post-ceremony.

Why Engagement Rings are Worn on the Fourth Finger?

Engagement rings and wedding bands are almost always exclusively worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. Most of us even call this finger our “ring finger.” But do you know why this finger became the preferred placement of engagement rings? Here’s the answer!

The tradition of exchanging wedding rings is dated back to ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and ancient Rome. These cultures all chose to wear their wedding rings on the fourth finger of their left hands because they believed there was a vein in this finger that went directly to the heart.

Not surprisingly, the heart was considered the emotional center of the body. The vein that supposedly went from the fourth finger to the heart was even dubbed the vena amoris by ancient Romans (Latin for the “vein of love”).

Unfortunately, we now know that this ancient belief is not true — there is no vein that runs from our ring fingers to our hearts. So, why do we continue to wear our engagement and wedding rings on this finger?

Do You Have to Wear Your Wedding Rings on the Fourth Finger of Your Left Hand?

If you don’t love the idea of the following tradition, you may be wondering if you really have to wear your ring in the customary place. You certainly don’t have to (there are no rules here). However, other people may not realize that you’re “taken” if they don’t see your ring on the traditional finger since it’s such a common practice in our Western culture.

There are several countries throughout the world that have switched things up, though! In Germany, Austria, Denmark, and India, wedding rings are often worn on the right hand. However, people in these countries still choose the fourth finger for their rings, so it’s safe to say that this is a global custom.

How Are the Engagement Ring and Wedding Band Worn?

The answer to this question can get a little complicated as the rings typically do some shifting in the journey to marriage.

When an engagement ring is first received, it’s most often worn on the ring finger of the left hand. This is typically the case right up until the wedding ceremony.

During the wedding ceremony where there will most likely be an exchange of wedding bands, the engagement ring shifts to being worn on the right-hand ring finger. This is done because due to another tradition, as a symbol of ultimate love and devotion, the wedding band is typically worn closest to the heart with the engagement ring on the outside.

Wearing the engagement ring on the right hand during the ceremony also makes it easy for the wedding band to slip on the left hand without having to move a ring. After the ceremony, many will choose to shift their engagement ring back to the left-hand ring finger so the two rings start to be worn as a pair.

What Are Other Ways to Wear an Engagement Ring?

After the wedding and throughout the marriage, tastes and styles may change, and there are several ways to continue to wear engagement rings and wedding bands.

  1. A traditional style is to wear both the wedding ring and the engagement ring on the same ring finger. Depending on the style of your engagement and wedding ring, this may mean the wedding ring first, followed by the engagement ring, or as in some cases we’ve designed a wedding band to accentuate the top of an engagement ring.
  2. Some choose to wear the wedding band solo on the left hand and keep their engagement ring on the right hand, or on another finger on their left hand.
  3. One style we’ve seen grow in popularity is to add stacking rings to wear alongside and highlight their engagement ring, whether on the ring finger or on other fingers.
  4. Another option is to solder the engagement ring and wedding band together so they become one piece of jewelry. If it’s known that they’re always going to be worn together, this makes a great choice since it will keep the rings perfectly aligned and can even represent the marital bond. This being said, we recommend that you try wearing both rings for some time before making the decision to solder them together permanently. It’s always good to have the option of leaving your engagement ring at home, especially when traveling or engaging in vigorous activities.

There may also be circumstances when you’ll want to wear your ring differently to protect it better. During lengthy travel or a day at the beach, it can feel safer to string the engagement ring on a chain to wear as a more secure necklace. Also, people who use their hands a lot with work and risk hitting their ring often may benefit from keeping their ring on a necklace.

How Much Money Should I Spend on an Engagement Ring?

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about how much you should spend on an engagement ring. According to our latest National Wedding Survey, the average engagement ring spend is now £2,419. While the traditional amount was always thought to be around three months’ salary, a lot of jewelers are seeing engagement ring spending decline to around a month’s wage.

The truth is that you should only spend what feels right for you and what you can afford – and Emma agrees. “It really is completely up to you, and what your budget will allow”, she explains.

When it comes to buying the ring, a good jeweler will be able to suggest options that fit into your price range – be it a more affordable style or stone.

“I always try and make the bespoke process as transparent and educational as possible so that my client understands why a certain grade or cut of the diamond is more expensive than another one”, Emma says.

“I am also able to recommend certain styles or stones that will make the ring more affordable: a halo ring, for example, is a great option for a client wanting something super impactful that won’t be prohibitively expensive, while a chrome tourmaline is a good alternative to an emerald or a tsavorite, for example.”

Where Should I Go to Buy an Engagement Ring?

We advise that you do the majority of your searching in person – seeing the ring up close makes a big difference and will give you peace of mind that you’ve chosen the right one! It also means you can negotiate a price with the jeweller or sales assistant, which is common practice when it comes to buying an engagement ring.

If you’re heading to the shops, do some online research into different stores and boutiques you want to visit before you go. It’s always good to have a plan of action rather than blind-buying.

To see as many rings as possible, we can’t recommend Hatton Garden enough. “It’s a great place to buy an engagement ring in terms of value for money: you won’t have to pay the sort of premium that you might expect to spend in a Bond Street jeweller”, Emma explains. The run-up to Christmas and before Valentine’s Day are their busiest periods, so if you’re planning to pop the question around those dates it’s a good idea to leave yourself plenty of time.

If you’re 100% confident in the supplier then buying an engagement ring online is totally fine and very common, just make sure you take your time browsing.

What Are the Most Popular Cuts, Stone, Settings and Metals I Need to Know About?

Engagement Ring Cuts

If you’re buying a diamond, then the cut (or shape) is really important because it will define the overall look of the engagement ring you buy.
“There is no one cut that is more popular than another but brilliant, cushion and emerald cuts are consistently popular and for good reason: they are timeless and beautiful”, Emma tells us.

“I predict that we’ll see more of the oval cut in the future – thanks to the likes of Hailey Bieber. And, of course, the three-stone diamond ring will never go out of style thanks to the Meghan Markle effect!”

Engagement Ring Metals

Rose Gold Engagement Rings

This dreamy colored metal is very up and coming in the engagement ring market. If your girlfriend is a girly girl who loves anything with a feminine touch, then a trendy rose gold engagement ring could be the perfect pick.

White Gold Engagement Rings

If it’s a diamond you’re looking for, a white gold engagement ring is one of the most popular choices. It looks super classy and is a mix between yellow gold, silver, palladium and zinc – a real recipe for beauty.

Yellow Gold Engagement Rings

Yellow gold is one of the most traditional ring metals around and is 75% pure gold. This ring metal is perfect for women who like a classic jewelry look. If your girl likes an edgier look, try designers such as Anna Sheffield who do contemporary rings in this metal.

Platinum Engagement Rings

The purest metal available, platinum is extremely strong and has a gorgeous white shine to it so there’s no need for coating. Women who like stunning, clean-cut jewellery that’s guaranteed to stand the test of time will love an engagement ring made from this metal.

Do I Need to Know My Partner’s Ring Size?

It’s not crucial but it can certainly help! Emma recommends taking one of your partner’s day-to-day rings and using a ring sizer to measure it, or taking it with you when you go ring shopping. “I advise bringing an existing ring with you to an appointment to make sure we get the sizing right the first time round”, Emma explains.

How to Give a Promise Ring?

Another thing there’s no hard-and-fast rule for? How to give a promise ring. It doesn’t come with the same traditional expectations of an elaborate, planned proposal where the proposer gets down on one knee. Promise rings are most often given as a birthday, Valentine’s Day or holiday gift, McLeskey-Dolata says. Even a romantic dinner for two is the perfect place for this meaningful exchange. “In the case of a promise ring, it’s more of a conversation about the meaning behind it, and the promise that’s being made,” Brinkman explains. “Whereas for an engagement, the focus is on the ring and the ‘moment.'”

What Happens to the Ring if You Break Up?

While promise rings are intended to signify a lifelong vow, things happen and relationships change. In this case, even if the pledge is rescinded, promise rings aren’t always returned. In short? “It depends on the nature of the breakup,” Brinkman says.

For many couples, promise rings do precede an engagement. If you’re ready to upgrade from a promise to a proposal, check out these romantic proposal ideas. You can also check out How They Asked for real proposal inspiration and even a proposal idea generator.


At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal choice and beliefs. If you aren’t guided by tradition or religion, you can pick any finger you wish to be your wedding ring finger.

It might be confusing for some and may get raised eyebrows, but as there’s no law stating that your wedding ring needs to go on your left hand, you’re free to get as creative as you like.



Sophie is a fashion&jewelry lover. She is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that helps thousands of small businesses to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. She is a true jewelry expert and she will keep sharing some information you are looking for.

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