You’re planning a Valentine’s Day marriage proposal, and you just bought a perfect, stunning engagement ring from Diamond Castle Jewelers. At this point, many of our customers ask us this question before walking out of our Novi jewelry store: Which finger does an engagement ring go on?
It may seem obvious, but the truth is that it depends whom you ask.
Here’s a little background information that may help.
General Standard Regarding Which Finger an Engagement Ring Goes On
In American traditions, an engagement ring goes on the fourth finger of the left hand, and the wedding band is placed on the same finger during the wedding ceremony.
There is a minor caveat in that regard, however. Traditionally, the wedding band is supposed to be closer to the palm of your hand so that it is closer to your heart. As sweet as that may be, that can be rather awkward. It means the bride would have to take off the engagement ring prior to the ceremony, possibly wearing it on the right hand until after the wedding band is placed on the left hand. The bride or groom can then place the engagement ring beside the wedding band during the ceremony or afterward.
The other option is to skip the tradition of wearing the wedding band first and simply slip the band onto the finger beside the engagement ring.
How the Wedding Ring Process Works in Some Eastern Cultures
And then there is the other method regarding which finger to place an engagement ring on.
In some Eastern cultures, the engagement ring is placed on the fourth finger of the right hand. This signifies that the bride is engaged, not married.
On the wedding day, both the wedding band and the engagement ring are placed on the fourth finger of the left hand.
One Common Denominator: The Fourth Finger
Neither process is perfect, but they’re both beautifully meaningful in their own ways. The one similarity is the “fourth finger.”
That’s based on a historical belief that the fourth finger contains a vein that leads to the heart. The ancient Romans called it Vena Amoris, which means “vein of love.”
That’s so sweet.
And so incorrect.
There is no such vein, but the beautiful, sentimental tradition stands.
Another fun way to explain why a wedding and engagement ring go on the fourth finger is that the fourth finger is one of your least mobile digits. That represents the idea that your love and your marriage is strong, steady, and unwavering.
Are Men Supposed to Wear Engagement Rings Too?
Many people wonder if the men are supposed to wear engagement rings as well. The answer to that question also depends on cultural traditions, as well as personal preference.
While only about 6 percent of heterosexual American men wear engagement rings, it’s a very common and traditional practice in some Eastern cultures.
Whether the man wears the engagement ring on the left or right hand depends on the cultural significance, and it’s likely to mirror his fiancee’s preferences.
The man’s engagement ring and wedding ring are typically two different pieces of jewelry, and it’s unlikely that he will wear them on the same finger. Therefore, most men choose to move their engagement rings to another finger and wear the wedding band on the fourth finger of the left hand.
No matter what you decide to do, both men and women should make sure that the wedding ring fits on the fourth finger of the left hand prior to the ceremony. That’s where it will be for the rest of your life, after all, and you want that moment of your ceremony to be magical — not clumsy.