When thinking about which finger your wedding ring goes on it might feel like a no-brainer. So, what hand does the engagement ring go on? Well, did you know that wedding ring, eternity 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 left ring finger was your only option there are actually several choices when it comes to ring placement. Although the ancient Egypt origin wedding ring tradition of having your marriage ring finger on your left hand is still common in western culture, other cultures use the right hand.
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 Hand Does a Wedding Ring Go On?
Wearing wedding rings was present even in ancient times. In the Western World and much of Europe, it’s tradition to wear one’s wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand, aka, the ring finger. Before the ceremony, the engagement ring is exchanged onto the right hand. This is so that the wedding ring can be placed on the left hand instead, allowing it to be worn closest to one’s heart. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to abide by this “rule” if you live in those regions. In fact, there are several countries and cultures that wear their forever adornment on their right hand instead, including Russia, Poland, Norway, Austria, Denmark, Latvia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Spain and India.
Essentially, there is no “correct” hand or wedding ring finger to wear your diamond wedding ring on. Instead, your ring placement may come down to tradition, culture or personal preference.
Wedding Ring On Left Hand Meaning
There’s archeological evidence to suggest that ancient Egyptians were wearing a wedding ring crafted from reeds, leather and bone on their left hand as long ago as 4000 BC. This wedding ring 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 or eternity 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.” Nowadays, it is uncommon to see someone using their middle finger or index finger as their engagement ring finger.
Wedding Ring On Right Hand Meaning
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.
Who Wears a Wedding Ring On The Right Hand?
There are several cultures that wear their wedding ring on their right hand instead of their left. Additionally, sometimes the diamond engagement band is moved from the left hand to the right after marriage, or the bride and the groom wear their rings on different hands after the wedding ceremony.
For example, countries like Syria, Brazil, Turkey and Lebanon wear the ring on their right hand pre-ceremony and then move it to the left after they tie the knot. In Sri Lana, the groom wears their wedding band on the right hand and the bride wears it on their left. Right hand rings are also a staple in Jewish tradition where women wear their engagement band on the right ring finger and then swap it out for a wedding band on the same finger after marriage.
Wedding rings aren’t the only jewelry worn on the right hand that holds significance. In fact, there are several reasons that one might wear a right hand ring. Some women choose to wear a diamond ring that they purchased on their own as a non-verbal signifier of financial independence. Others wear family heirlooms on this hand as it might feel too cluttered to wear them on the left. LGBTQ+ couples often wear a ring on the right hand to symbolize same-sex marriage. Alternatively, some people simply opt to rock a ring on their right hand because they’re left-handed having their marriage ring finger on their dominant hand can be uncomfortable.
WHAT HAND DOES A PROMISE RING GO ON?
Even before a proposal or marriage, some people wear a promise ring. A promise ring is a symbol of commitment, often given in a romantic context, to signify the promise of a future engagement or a commitment to a romantic relationship.
While there is no definitive rule about which finger a promise ring should go on, in North America, it’s common to wear a promise ring on the ring finger of the left hand. However, in some European countries, it’s more customary to wear it on the ring finger of the right hand. Ultimately, the finger you choose to wear your promise ring on is entirely up to you, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it.
What Hand Does the Ring Go on When Proposing?
The most common diamond engagement ring placement is on the left ring finger. The engagement ring is then worn until the wedding ceremony where the engagement ring is placed on top of the wedding ring again on the fourth finger of the left hand ring finger.
But, just like classic wedding rings for women, engagement rings can be worn on different finger placements around the world. Couples in Colombia and Brazil often wear wedding bands as engagement rings on their right hand ring finger and move them over to the left after completing their wedding vows. Alternatively, some Europeans wear their engagement ring on the left hand and then transfer it over to the right hand alongside their wedding ring after they say, “I do.”