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Which Hand Does a Wedding Ring Go On and Why?

Jewelry shopping can be intimidating. That’s why we started Ask HOLDEN, our blog where we answer your FAQs, break down scary industry lingo, and guide you in finding the perfect piece of jewelry.

Which Hand Does a Wedding Ring Go On and Why?

Picture this: it’s your wedding day. You’re standing at the altar facing your partner and spouse-to-be, who is looking at you with heart eyes and waiting for you to put a (HOLDEN, of course!) ring on their finger. But wait, you think, which hand does a wedding ring go on again? Today we’re going to answer that question for you and go into the history of why the wedding ring goes on a specific hand (and finger!).

The most important thing to keep in mind is: it’s your hand, your wedding, and at the end of the day, you can choose to wear your ring wherever the heck you want, tradition or not. But today, we’re talking about the tradition, just so you know the history before making your decision.

Speaking of history, let’s go back to the Ancient Romans. They’re the ones who started the tradition of wearing your ring on the fourth finger (the one next to your pinky!) of your left hand. In Ancient Rome, it was believed that brides and grooms were supposed to wear their wedding rings on the left hand ring finger because that finger connected to the “vena amoris” (also known as the vein of love), a vein that connects directly to the heart. Aw!! It makes sense to us that you’d want to honor your heart when you’re marrying the love of your life.

Of course, we know a lot more about science today than we did back then, and this vein...doesn’t actually exist. Still a sweet thought, and the tradition has stuck - in many countries, couples still choose to wear their rings on the left fourth finger. Of course, this depends completely on your location, and in some countries, such as Greece and Colombia, couples choose to wear their wedding bands on their right hand. In some places (such as India), the left hand is historically considered unlucky, so wedding rings are traditionally worn on the right hand. However, many Indian couples today choose to wear their rings on their left hand. All this goes to show, it’s totally up to you!

Pairing With an Engagement Ring

But what if you’re already wearing an engagement ring on the fourth finger of your left hand?! Well, as they said in middle school, sharing is caring! Many marriers choose to wear their engagement and wedding ring on the same finger. Not comfortable with that? Some people move their engagement ring to their other hand, particularly if their engagement ring looks similar to their wedding band (rather than a diamond engagement ring).

We love the idea of partners of all genders wearing engagement rings, and some partners might prefer to switch out their engagement ring completely for a wedding ring (sort of how some couples will switch out a promise ring for an engagement ring!). For some, retired engagement rings are worn on a chain as a necklace if the partner prefers not to wear two rings on their finger.

Okay, so if you do decide to wear your engagement ring and your wedding ring on the same hand, what exactly are you supposed to do on your actual wedding day? Traditionally, the wedding band is worn underneath the engagement ring (closer to your heart!). Because they don’t want their engagement rings to get in the way of wedding ring placement during the vows, some partners will choose to wear their engagement ring on their right hand for the wedding ceremony. Then they’ll place the engagement ring over the wedding ring (on the left hand) once it’s been officially placed on their ring finger by their partner.

And by the way, if you’re worried about whether or not your wedding band and your engagement ring will fit together, fear not! We’ve got a selection of curved wedding bands that will accommodate stones with a lower setting. Not sure if you need a curved band? We also wrote a blog post on curved rings and when you might want to consider them. You’re also always welcome to send us an email with a photo of your engagement ring at help@hiholden.com, and we’ll help determine what might fit your engagement ring best.

At the end of the day, it’s your wedding, and it’s up to you where you choose to wear your ring - we’re just here to break down where all these customs came from in the first place. And of course, if you’re in the market for a wedding ring, we’re happy to help you out with that, too. ;)

Here at HOLDEN, we want to take some of the headache and confusion out of the wedding industry and your special day, so if there's another tradition you want us to unpack (like why do people carry a wedding bouquet and what's up with the wedding veil, anyway?), shoot us an email at help@hiholden.com and we’ll tackle it next!

Want to read more? Check out some other recent blog posts:

10 Surprising Facts About the New York Diamond District

Decoded: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

The Ultimate Wedding Band Buying Guide

Questions? Give us a shout at help@hiholden.com or a ring at 917.719.3634