Which finger to put your engagement ring on
Are you curious about how to properly wear your engagement ring? Find out how geography and religion help determine which finger to put your engagement ring on!
Your engagement ring should be worn at the base of your finger to prevent it from slipping off. Jewelry trends suggest new ways to wear a ring, at the upper section of the finger or on a chain around your neck. This is not advised for an engagement ring because your ring may fall off, or be mistaken for a non-bridal accessory.
Proper time for wearing an engagement ring on your finger
As per tradition, your engagement ring will be placed on your finger when your fiancÃ©e pops the question and enthusiastically you make the declaration “Yes!” Assuming it fits properly, your engagement ring should remain on your finger until the wedding ceremony. A bride-to-be traditionally makes a game of hiding and covering the finger with the ring until her engagement announcement is made.
Where engagement ring tradition started and how it’s changed
Today, we practice marital traditions that were established thousands of years ago. Ancient Roman grooms used to place handmade engagement rings on the fourth finger of the bride’s left hand. This finger was believed to hold a vein that led directly to the heart. An engagement ring was considered to be a band around the heart, symbolizing a commitment to love.
You can learn the detailed history of engagement rings and finger placement if you are interested in honoring age-old marital traditions.
These traditions have been adopted by other cultures worldwide. Some couples follow the traditions set by the church while others follow the norms embraced their region. Take a look at the different engagement ring traditions used around the world.
Which hand does the engagement ring go on?
In the United States, Canada and Great Britain, brides wear engagement rings on the fourth finger (aka ring finger) of the left hand. The opposite is true in Spain, India, and Russia, where engagement rings are worn on the fourth finger of the right hand.
Wearing an engagement ring somewhere besides the ring finger
Brides in some other cultures wear their rings on different parts of the body. Even an American bride may choose to wear her engagement ring in a different way. You are free to let go of tradition and do what suits you best. Just be aware that in American culture, others may assume that you are not engaged or married if the ring finger of your left hand is bare.
- Neck Bands – Kenyan tribes wear ornate necklaces made with specifically colored beads to represent an engagement, instead of wearing rings.
- Toe Rings – Where toe rings are more popular than finger rings, a bride in Nepal or Bangladesh may prefer wearing her engagement ring on her foot.
- Necklace Chain – If wearing your ring on your finger is uncomfortable or it gets in the way during work or hobbies, you can put it on a nice chain and wear it as a necklace.
- Another Finger – If your engagement ring doesn’t fit properly, move it to another finger until you can have it properly sized.
Engagement ring traditions vary by religion and region
Religion plays a role in engagement ring placement, too. In countries like Austria and The Netherlands, Catholics wear engagement rings on the hand opposite from the rest of the population.
Jewish brides traditionally do not receive engagement rings, but the groom presents a ring on the wedding day. The ring is placed on the bride’s index finger of her right hand during the ceremony and is later moved to the usual spot on the left hand.
Ireland has a methodical tradition for engagement rings. Proper Irish proposals include something called a Claddagh ring. A single woman wears a Claddagh on her right hand with the heart facing out showing that she’s available, and turns it around when in a relationship. Once engaged, the groom moves her Claddagh to the left hand with the heart pointing outward and he turns it around on the wedding day.
Choose the engagement ring finger that is most fitting
Wearing your engagement ring is a personal choice. If you want to follow tradition, wear your engagement ring on the fourth finger of your left hand, which is the norm for brides in the western world. If you are part of a church that places engagement rings on the right hand, you may wish to adopt this tradition.
You could opt to wear your engagement ring on another finger, or wear it as a necklace by attaching a nice chain. Maybe you are less concerned about tradition and you feel inspired to wear your ring in an unusual way.
Ultimately, the choice is yours – But consider what is most comfortable and convenient. No matter the expectation of your region or religion, now is the time to start making decisions as a couple while entering this new chapter of life. Congratulations!