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  • Writer's pictureAnnabel Law

Difference Between an Engagement Ring vs. a Wedding Ring

Updated: Apr 24

Most women have dreamed of putting a diamond ring on their wedding ring finger. What a glamorous thing to boast to your friends - a stunning diamond engagement ring. But is this the only important thing regarding an engagement ring or a wedding ring? How about what that yellow-gold wedding band symbolise?

I'm sure you're dying to put that ring on your newly manicured, lotioned, and smooth left hand from your future spouse. Or you are still reeling from the rush of different emotions you have felt - from confusion to excitement and everything in between - when he got down on one knee in the restaurant where you had your first date accompanied by the most romantic music you have ever heard. Emerging from that little red box is a diamond-encrusted eternity band that promises forever. Now you're starting to picture your wedding day with a little boy walking down the aisle holding an intricately designed little box with your wedding band inside ready for that part where you are exchanging rings with your spouse. Realizing what that wedding ring symbolise.

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Here's what we'll cover in this article

In this article, we first tackle the definition of wedding and engagement and how they differ from one another. Then we proceed to delve into details about the difference between engagement rings and wedding rings. And then continuing with answering the age-old question of: Do you really need both? To wrap this up, we have prepared some frequently asked questions with their corresponding answers.

I hope that after reading this article, you would look at a wedding ring as not just a mere sparkly object but something more than a diamond ring. It is not just a plain metal band but rather a ring that holds the promises of the next chapter of your life. A ring that is not meant as a shackle but guides you toward a blissful life with your spouse.

Take care of your engagement rings and wedding rings, our dear readers! Research the engagement ring etiquette too if you have extra time.

Difference between wedding and engagement

Wedding - (noun) a marriage ceremony usually with its accompanying festivities; an act, process, or instance of joining in close association [Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

Engagement - (noun) the act of engaging: the state of being engaged; emotional involvement or commitment [Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

A wedding is a formal ceremony that marks the union between two people who have decided to spend their lives together as husband and wife. It is typically a public celebration, where the couple exchanges vows and rings in front of family and friends. It signifies the beginning of their journey together as a married couple.

On the other hand, an engagement is a pre-wedding state of commitment between two people who plan to get married. It is the period of time when a couple decides to take their relationship to the next level and make a formal commitment to each other. An engagement typically involves a proposal; one partner asks the other to marry them, and the other accepts. It is a private event usually celebrated between the couple, close friends, and family.

In summary, a wedding marks the formal union of two people as husband and wife, while an engagement is the period of commitment that leads up to the wedding.

Wedding ring vs Engagement ring

Wedding ring

A wedding ring is a ring worn by both partners after they have married. It is a symbol of the commitment and bond the couple shares. Generally, wedding rings are unadorned, simple bands made of gold, silver, or platinum.

Engagement ring

An engagement ring, on the other hand, is given to a person as a promise to marry. It is traditionally given before the wedding as a symbol of love and commitment. Engagement rings are typically adorned with a diamond or other precious stone, and they come in a variety of styles and designs.

In summary, the main difference between a wedding and an engagement ring is the timing of when they are given and their purpose. An engagement ring symbolizes the promise to marry, while a wedding ring is a symbol of the marriage itself.

Which finger should rings be worn on which hand?

Should I wear two rings on the same finger or not? Well, which finger? First, second, third, or fourth finger? Or do I wear the rings separately?

An engagement ring is typically given as a proposal of marriage and is usually worn on the ring finger of the left hand. It is usually a single, striking diamond or gemstone set in a band of precious metal, and it symbolizes the intention to get married. The engagement ring is meant to be a surprise and is typically more extravagant than a wedding ring.

A wedding ring, on the other hand, is exchanged between the couple during the wedding ceremony, usually as part of their vows. It is typically a simple, unadorned metal band, although modern couples may choose to have their wedding bands engraved or include gemstones. The wedding ring represents the couple's commitment to each other and is a symbol of their marriage and partnership.

In most countries, an engagement ring and wedding ring are traditionally worn on the left-hand ring finger. However, in some cultures or religions, such as Hinduism, the right hand may be preferred. Ultimately, it's up to personal preference and cultural or religious traditions.

Do You Need Both an Engagement Ring and a Wedding Band?

It is common knowledge that wedding rings cost a lot. Not to mention how an engagement ring can cost more. Therefore, we understand if you are thinking twice about buying a separate wedding ring.

Traditionally, engagement rings and wedding bands are two separate pieces of jewelry that serve different purposes. An engagement ring, as stated above, is typically given during a proposal and is a symbol of a couple's commitment to each other. A wedding band is exchanged during the wedding ceremony and serves as a symbol of the couple's marriage. While it is common for couples to have both an engagement ring and a wedding band, it is ultimately a personal preference and some couples may choose to only have one or the other.

Other reasons to have both engagement and wedding rings are:

Expensive diamond rings are usually kept when not in use

I have mentioned that, generally, engagement rings are adorned with one dominant stone or feature large diamonds. Meaning, these are precious, and a large sum of money is needed to purchase these. Just like all of your most valuable possessions, you would want to preserve their beauty so you do everything to protect them - like keeping them in storage for the most time.

We don't want to look too flashy

Wedding bands are more plain-looking and perfect for everyday use. We don't want people to think we only flaunt our expensive rings. We want them to think we are wearing our wedding band to show that we are committed to someone.

Plus, we don't want to gain attention from thieves who only see that shiny thing on your finger. It's for our safety, too!

Do you need a wedding ring to get married?

A wedding ring is not a legal or official requirement for getting married, but it is a traditional part of many wedding ceremonies as a symbol of commitment and love between two people. Couples may decide whether to exchange rings or not based on their personal preferences and cultural and religious beliefs. The legal process and requirements for getting married may vary according to countries and states, but the exchange of rings is not usually mandatory.

In a wedding ceremony, the bride and groom exchange rings

Personally, I haven't witnessed a wedding ceremony wherein the exchanging of rings part is omitted. Quite frankly, this is one of the parts of a wedding that is highly anticipated by the guests together with the recitation of vows and promises for each other. Hence, although it is not legally required, a wedding would not be complete without a wedding ring.

Frequently Asked Questions About Engagement and Wedding Rings

What should you consider in choosing rings?

We know you want to buy the best engagement ring and/or wedding ring for the best person in your life. But don't rush and just get the first ring you'll see. Consider these things first:

Budget: Determine how much you are willing to spend on the ring(s) and find options that fit within your budget. You still have a lot of things to pay for to achieve your perfect wedding day so don't spend too much on this.