The Ultimate Guide: Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring

Getting engaged is exciting, but you’re likely realizing how many minor details go into planning for your big day. When you get married there are a few things you need to understand, and that includes learning about engagement ring vs. wedding ring etiquette. There are some wedding ring traditions that you may have heard about, and you should know the difference between engagement ring and wedding ring protocol so you can decide whether you want to adopt these traditions for yourself or do something different. Let's look at all the particulars so you can get started with your wedding planning!

Engagement Ring vs. Wedding Ring: What’s the Difference?

What are the differences between engagement rings and wedding rings? Do you need both? And if so, how do you wear them? We'll answer all these questions and more for you. Let's look at each question, one by one.

Difference Between Engagement Ring and Wedding Ring

An engagement ring and wedding band are two different things, even though sometimes people use the terms interchangeably. So, what is an engagement ring? The engagement ring is typically the first of the two that you receive and is presented during the marriage proposal. You’ve likely seen elaborate and romantic proposals on TV or social media. This is the ring that traditionally has one prominent gemstone, sometimes surrounded or flanked by smaller gemstones. 

While a diamond is historically the most traditional gemstone for an engagement ring, nowadays many people are choosing the diamond alternative called moissanite. Moissanite is a popular choice because it’s so similar to a mined diamond, but is more environmentally and ethically responsible while being just as beautiful, if not more.

What is a wedding band? The wedding band is the ring exchanged during the wedding ceremony. It usually doesn't contain gemstones, or if it does, they are generally quite small and inconspicuous in comparison to the engagement ring. In terms of gemstones when comparing engagement ring vs. wedding ring, the wedding band lends itself to inlaid gemstones rather than mounted ones such as on an engagement ring.

Engagement Ring Etiquette

Knowing engagement ring etiquette is helpful, especially if you're worried about making a faux pas in this important moment of your life. Tradition dictates ways to shop for and wear your engagement ring, but you don't have to follow the crowd if you prefer to stand out.

Nowadays, couples often shop for the engagement ring together. While many still opt for surprise proposals, many choose to have their special someone’s input on the ring beforehand. The same goes for spending. The requirement for an expensive diamond ring is going away thanks to concerns about the environment and a push for engagement ring accessibility for all. It’s no longer necessary to spend an exorbitant amount of money to get a real diamond ring. Moissanite engagement rings are affordable and offer even more sparkle and fire than authentic diamonds, without the environmental implications of a mined diamond ring.

Wedding Rings Etiquette

When it comes to wedding rings etiquette, tradition dictates that on your wedding day you should wear your wedding ring on the third finger of your right hand. Then, after the wedding ceremony when you're officially married, you place the wedding ring on your left hand next to your engagement ring. Etiquette states that the bride typically pays for the groom's wedding band. Sometimes couples divide the cost of the rings in their shared budget. Traditionally, the groom pays for the engagement ring as well as the bride's wedding band.

What are Wedding Ring Traditions?

The tradition of exchanging wedding bands goes back to ancient Rome. They are a symbol of fidelity with their unbroken circle, representing eternity. Sometimes couples choose to have their wedding bands engraved on the inside, for example with the date of their marriage or their names. Traditionally during the wedding ceremony, the best man or the maid of honor will look after the wedding bands until the moment during the ceremony when the rings are exchanged. 

When comparing engagement ring vs. wedding ring, there are also many traditions associated with engagement rings, such as presenting the engagement ring during the proposal on bended knee.

How to Wear Wedding Band With Engagement Ring

Many people wonder how to wear a wedding band with an engagement ring, which finger to wear them on, and if they’re worn together or separately. Nowadays people are also starting to wear no wedding band, only engagement ring. The most traditional method is to wear both rings, one for the proposal and one for the wedding day, on the left "ring" finger, the fourth finger of your left hand.

Shop for Your Forever Ring at Gema&Co

Gema&Co has a beautiful collection of moissanite engagement rings and wedding bands, all of which are conflict-free and environmentally responsible because moissanite is a lab-created gemstone. You'll love its sparkle and fire, and so will your special someone. Find your forever ring now in the online collection at Gema&Co.
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